11/27/2003
 

At Alexander Palace the huge queue snakes around the entire building. We wait outside in the cold for the doors to open and let us in. I realise how beautiful Goths are. Sure, some are frumpy with badly applied mascara (black tears are the unisex makeup du jour) but there’s a lightness to Goths that betrays their dark exterior.

The queue is enormous but there’s no pushing or cutting in. Will explains that Goths are very polite.

A nervous girl hands out flyers for her band.
“If you like Marilyn you’ll like us” she says, coyly passing me a photocopied flyer featuring a naked girl with a knife.
All of a sudden the queue lurches forward. I panic and ring Will and his friend Burak (who’s light as a Goth - but Turkish) because they’re getting food at a kiosk and I don’t want to get sucked into the concert without them. They hide their burgers and we walk through Security and join everyone else in the main room.

Peaches is on stage singing. She’s tiny all alone up there and people keep throwing plastic bottles. Next to me are three baby Goths. They can’t be older than 12. They smell of fabric softener but have perfect little Goth get-ups –angry black t-shirts, leather collars, safety pins & black lips.
Peaches finishes her set by giving us the finger, spitting fake blood and yelling “I win, I win!” before the lights come back on like we're at the cinema. Burak returns from the front of the stage and explains that everyone was booing Peaches. He’s a big fan. They play Prodigy's Fat of the Land while setting up onstage and the last of the audience filters in. A few chords are played and the crowd roars and gives the rock sign. I notice there’s a closed off section especially for VIPs and people in wheelchairs.

Finally Marilyn Manson appears on a podium, sitting in a throne. He’s lit from below and even from where I’m standing I can see the mean shadows cast over his face. The band comprises four musical gimps with bleached white hair and two girls who can high kick. The theme is a vaudeville show of the grotesque but it’s much tamer then I’m expecting. There’s a little simulated oral sex behind a screen and Marilyn dresses up like a distorted Mickey Mouse - a corporate black faced minstrel – but there’s no chaos and nothing shocking. I’m enjoying the music (especially “Sweet Dreams” and “Be Obscene”) but I’m also secretly pleased it’s not too loud. I think how interesting it would be to meet Marilyn Manson as I watch a drunk man in front of me pretend to cut his wrists and neck with a piece of broken plastic cup.
 

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