Last week, I wrote: If you think God moves in a mysterious way, you haven’t dealt with Ticketmaster.
I owe you an explanation for that cryptic pronouncement:
You know I love Leonard Cohen (Yes, you do! You’ve been reading my blog for a while so you are aware of that fact). Well, he’s embarking on a world tour in a minute (please keep your fingers crossed he doesn’t give up the ghost because of it; the poor man is 73 this year; I am, er, xx years younger and I know how I feel when I go out just for a couple of hours; I can’t imagine singing my heart out every night and travelling from city to city for an entire year)... where’s the beginning of my sentence... ah, yes, and he is coming to London.
Yeah, right! He’s going to perform at the O2 Arena (aka the stupid Dome). I ask you! In Nice, he’s going to stand (or sit down maybe, poor darling) in the middle of a beautiful Roman amphitheatre, surrounded by scented trees, on a soft, warm, quiet summer night (the crickets will presumably have shut up by then). In London, he will be surrounded by 20,000 people, a good number of whom will be hanging on for dear life on tiers as high and sheer as any cliffs.
The tour was announced in January, I think, but I wasn’t aware of it. On Friday 14 March, I noticed a small, mysterious ad in the Evening Standard that seemed to indicate that something was in the offing – a new album, OMG, a tour maybe? So I logged on to a wonderful forum full of lovely Leonard fans (his music attracts nice people) and discovered that tickets for the London concert (on 17 July) could now be booked on the O2 website (they had, in fact, gone on sale that very morning).
So, like thousands of others, I logged on, went through all the Ticketmaster hoops to secure two seats (the best available at that point), and sighed with relief when I got the email confirmation.
Only later did I notice the blah blah saying:
PLEASE NOTE Seats located on Level 4 (Upper Tier, Upper Bowl) are not recommended for those who have a fear of heights.
I have problems standing on a stool to replace a light bulb. I started getting nightmares about it. What if I couldn’t actually climb up to my seat on the night; what if, once seated, I couldn’t bear to look down at the stage (a million miles away); what if I couldn’t leave my seat at all at the end (I have been known to freeze at the top of a ladder, when retrieving a book in a library)? I started panicking. And then I read on the forum that Ticketmaster deliberately kept seats aside and released them bit by bit later.
Indeed, three days on, better seats came up for sale, and I immediately grabbed two. So now I won’t be hanging from the ceiling, but I will need powerful binoculars to even catch a glimpse of that lovely, lived-in face, because it’s going to feel like he’s in Greenwich and I’m still in Shepherds Bush, the seats are so far away from the stage.
And then, a few days later, Ticketmaster released even better seats, for the same price. This time, I abstained because I can’t really fork out that much money all in one go, without knowing whether I can get rid of my extra tickets first*. And, at the moment, I only have virtual tickets because Ticketmaster are holding everyone’s tickets hostage. They ask people not to contact them if they haven’t received them. They warn they might not send them until five days before the event. Like I’m going to wait until then to raise a stink.
Slap slap slap!
*I will let you know when I actually get my tickets so you can fight over them here. Won’t that be fun? I will charge what those tickets cost me (i.e. quite a nice sum plus some ridiculous booking fee – why? – plus even more ridiculous postage), plus a year’s worth of psychotherapy sessions for the stress I suffered in the course of booking those tickets and waiting for them to arrive, please god.