I've got a golden ticket...

It’s funny those little things that you sometimes realise you define yourself by, isn’t it?

I’m good at buying tickets. Like, very good. Put it this way - if I have tried to buy tickets to a gig, no matter how immediately everyone agrees it’s going to sell out, I have managed to get them. Granted, I have never attempted to get Glastonbury tickets, you suckers are on your own for that one.

My crowning glory in this was all the way back in 2016. Radiohead (of course it was Radiohead, what else did you expect from me?) were back and playing their first shows in the UK for four years. In 2012, they’d played two nights at the O2 and a night at Manchester Arena. 60,000 tickets for the whole of the UK, instant sell out. Back to 2016, their first gigs in four years, just three nights at the Roundhouse, so about 9000 tickets total. At this point, Radiohead had been the band that meant the most to me in the world for about 8 years. I had never seen them live, and boy did it seem impossible that I was going to be doing so this time. Did I get those tickets? Well:

Yeah I did. That first half of 2016 was one of the happiest times in my life, and in amongst that was this, seeing Radiohead in the smallest feasible venue I’d ever get to see them, second row from the rail, Jonny Greenwood’s side. If you had told me that I’d never get another highly sought after ticket again in my life, I’d probably have taken it.

But that’s not the case. I’ve been to see Radiohead again since, I’ve been to see Thom Yorke multiple times since, I was there at the first LCD Soundsystem show at Alexandra Palace in 2017, at Bon Iver, and The National (so many times now), and The Antlers playing Hospice acoustically at Union Chapel, and Sufjan Stevens at the Colston Hall, and so many more. I have texted friends to confirm I’ve bought tickets less than a minute after they’ve gone on sale, before they could even load the queue to try to buy tickets themselves. I know exactly what I’m doing now. It’s an art, it’s a science, it’s a preternatural ability.

I didn’t realise how much that meant to me until this week. By all accounts, the gig I was buying for should have been a piece of piss - 60,000 tickets total, I’ve beaten shorter odds than that time and time again, but suddenly I realised that I’d so built up this idea of myself as being able to do this that I was so stressed it by it collapsing at this point. Of course in the end, I had the tickets bought and informed those who needed informing by 9.31am (and was even able to dial into the meeting I’d intended to miss to get tickets in the first place as if nothing had happened).

It’s easy to think you’re defined by the big things. The obvious things. And there’s no denying that they do define you, in a sense - I’ll always be a computer geek, a guitarist, the short blond one, the insufferably but broadly well-meaningly clever one - all things I’m proud of. But really, the small things can weigh an awful lot more. I know one day I’ll fail to get tickets to something. I’m almost looking forward to finding out what that gig is, which enemy finally fell me. But whatever it is, I’ll always have this:

Sam Healer

Sam Healer

Software engineer. Occasional musician. Erstwhile comedian. Cultural omnivore.

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