Tired of standing?

17 April 2019

Liam Rees is feeling fatigued after seeing two shows back to back

Back in high school my English teacher said something that’s stuck with me ever since: “The opposite of love isn’t hate but indifference.” and I keep coming back to that in relation to Standing Too Close On Our Own In The Dark, a love story to which I am totally indifferent.

To be fair some context is required. On Monday evening myself and everyone on the green track had to go through an emotional rollercoaster. Emerging from Yen, hollowed-out yet full of anger and anguish, desperate to hold someone and be held, I (along with my fellow greens) had to to rush from the Curve to 2Funky Music Cafe to catch Standing Too Close On Our Own In The Dark. In case you couldn’t tell, the 30 minute gap between the two shows was far from enough to process it all and get in the right headspace. A lot can happen in half an hour. I could have a cup of tea. I could watch an episode of Bojack Horseman. But I couldn’t do the emotional reset required to watch Standing... on its own terms.

In an earlier interview with Helen Goalen from RashDash, she warned against getting weary after seeing multiple shows back to back because everyone’s put in so much work (and paid so much to be here!) that they all deserve our undivided attention. So consider this an apology and an admission of defeat at the hands of festival fatigue.

As pints poured and lights dimmed, the band started and performer, Jack Chamberlain, waxed lyrical with some faux-philosophical musings for which my dazed self simply wasn’t in the right state of mind. After watching people try and fail to deal with trauma and abject poverty for 2 hours and caring so deeply for them, I had nothing left to give to Just Club’s evening of (self-professed) self-indulgence.

This skinny, speccy, twenty-something, white gay boy with depression listens to another skinny, speccy, twenty-something white boy talk about anxiety and a girl who doesn’t love him back. Surely some common ground should make it easier to relate and feel for him? Instead it’s created a gulf of disinterest, the territory he’s treading rendered familiar unremarkable. Yet the world of Yen, alien to me, and an actor from the University of Warwick pretend to be a deprived boy living in squalor connects so much more. How we can care about fictional characters more than real people? Humans are weird.


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Image credit: Beatrice Debney