It takes a lot of time, effort and practice to become a decent stalker. I can say this with conviction because I’ve spent the last nine or so years honing my skills on the delicate little souls of the brothers Hales, Matt V-B and Stephen. Time, effort and practice. Over 30 gigs. Travels to strange parts of the country. Finding work in the same place as the guitarist. Reviews, evangelising, cash. Occasionally I try to give it up but the hunger never entirely leaves, no it never ever leaves. [It will never, ever decay…]
So, yes, anyway, on Monday evening I queued up in the rain waiting to get into Koko for the recording of the televisual feast that is the Channel 4 Album Chart Show accompanied by two long-suffering friends, there only because of the extensive use of emotional blackmail (this is another highly useful skill for any would-be stalkers to develop, as it will be necessary to employ large amounts of it when faced with responses such as this: ‘but I’ve already seen them five fucking times and I don’t even like them that much, yes the one with the glasses is quite funny but I’d really rather stay home and watch Wife Swap, alright?’).
So, yes, anyway, queuing in the rain because of the audience email that promised Matt and Ben, these days of Aqualung, for the kind of event that only dedicated stalkers can be arsed to go to. Your common-or-garden gigs are fine, but what you really need to do is start turning up at places they might not expect. Student radio conferences. Record company shebangs. Their back gardens.
So, yes, anyway, get into Koko and the vapid stage manager announces the bands playing – Maroon 5, Manic Street Preachers, Dizzee Rascal, Akon – you’ll notice no mention of Aqualung in that list. We watched the Manics and got out of there before Fucking Akon had a chance to show his face.
You will find false trails laid for you. Do not be downhearted. Take refuge in the pub. Your headache the following day will simply bolster your resolve for the next effort.
Oh, and always remember to pack a camera with a telephoto lens.