Last night I dreamt

I threw myself into a sober challenge last night – I went to watch Johnny Marr, former guitarist of The Smiths, play at Sheffield’s Leadmill.

In the past, this would have been all about the alcohol but now, obviously, that is not who I am and so it did not form an integral part (or any part) of the evening’s unfolding.

I wanted to report back to you, on a truly amazing experience. First off, the Leadmill is a venue that I have frequented on countless nights out, and prior to last night I have always been worse for wear upon arrival. Looking round whilst sober was a strange experience – as though I recognised it but only out of a dream; semi-formed memories came back to me, rolling back and forth like a lazy tide.

People everywhere clutched beer in plastic pint pots, me standing amongst a sea of alcohol and anticipation for the arrival of a guitar legend with a glass of Coke, ice and a slice.

johnny-marrSomething that struck me hard last night about being there to see Johnny Marr is that in giving up alcohol, I haven’t lost me; the Lucy that poured booze down her neck in some misguided rock n roll mission, smoking like a chimney and gradually slipping into inebriation as the night wore on, well, she was not present. But the real, human character of me, the part of me that loves watching amazing, world-changing musicians like Marr, live on stage, the part of me that soaks up the atmosphere and has the ability to lose herself in the music, to step away from the stresses and busyness of everyday life for a couple of hours, eyes glued on the stage, not wanting to miss a second of what proved to be an incredible performance, she was right there.

Being straight just made it better; there was no fogging of the senses, no wobbling, no over-thinking about how to get more alcohol when you’re stuck fast in the middle of a heaving crowd, fastened together so tight that the hundreds have become just one seething mass of bodies.

I just listened and watched.

And Johnny Marr did indeed fill the shoes that the teenage Smiths-idolising Lucy had placed him in over twenty years ago. With a mix of new stuff from his album, The Messenger, and old Smiths classics (There is a Light That Never Goes Out, Stop Me if You Think You’ve Heard This One Before) Marr consistently delivered to a mixed crowd of old diehards and younger fans. His guitar-playing was as effortless and mind-blowing as it ever was – for me, seeing him perform without Morrissey by his side only served to highlight his musical genius even more, elevating his new material to one of my current favourite albums.

I owned sobriety last night; I concentrated on what I was there to see. My brain wasn’t dulled, my motives for being there not lost to a pointless addiction. I revelled in being present; I felt as high as a kite, full of meaning and anchored to what matters to me in my life. Last night, one hundred per cent of me got a massive kick out of living, of beating my problems and loving the present.

What a night.

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9 thoughts on “Last night I dreamt

  1. Sue says:

    just read this – need to try again – missed Robert Cray on Saturday as I was out of it – seen him before including Eric clapton support – what an idiot I am. – must try harder

    • Hi Sue, I think we all get there in our own time. I could not have conceived of going to a gig without booze for most of my adult life – I couldn’t even imagine going into a pub without having alcohol prior to 2 years ago. It wasn’t always easy but it’s so worth it; my life is infinitely better minus the alcohol. Wishing you all the best, and thanks for reading/commenting on my blog. Lucy x

  2. Loved this – it’s amazing how many things we thought were better with a buzz or beyond are actually much richer and clearer and more pleasurable when we do them sober. I have had several experiences like that and just soak it in, just like you soaked in JM’s riffs. I am a hardcore softie for the Smiths and Moz…had a quick listen to JM’s new stuff…maybe time to invest some more time into it.

    The real Lucy…why would the world want anything less?

    Love and Light,
    Paul

    • Hi Paul, thanks so much – your comment brought a smile to my face this morning 🙂 Hope you enjoy the new Johnny Marr album, and thanks for reading my blog! Lucy x

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