Yes – last week I went to a Jason Donovan concert. If you’re younger than me you might not know who he is. Lucky you. He’s the bloke who was Kylie’s ‘Neighbours’ counterpart way back in the 80’s. He was also a ‘pop star’ – the Bieber of his day, sort of. Personally, I’m not a fan. Not at all. However, one of my bessies truly is, so another bessie (yes, I have two – go me) and I treated her to the concert for her birthday. Whilst there, surrounded by screaming Vans (is that the name for his fans? It sure ought to be) it occurred to me that perhaps our experience could be likened to those of our ‘un-churched’ mates, when we drag them along to church…
Not knowing the words.
Song after song, and all those around us sang along with untamed gusto… yet we knew none. Well, a couple of songs sounded vaguely familiar (I am a child of the 80’s, after all) but most were a total and utter mystery to us. The fact that everyone else (bar my non-Van bessie and I) could participate and we couldn’t felt proper naf. Granted – we didn’t particularly want to join in, but it would have been peachy to have had the choice. Our options were stripped down to:
Guessing the words
Faking it – opening and shutting our mouths like goldfishes, in the pretence that we were indeed singing along.
Idea: Church services could cut down (or cut out?) songs altogether? Or sing ones that might be at least familiar to any guests, to save them from the cruel fate of ‘goldfishing’.
Not being sure whether to sit or stand.
Lots of standing was going on, but it appeared acceptable to sit for some of the time, although no one announced this in any way; they all just seemed to know the rules. Mimicking the Vans was the only way to go. If everyone was standing (and swaying, for the record) then so were we. If we could spot a sprinkling of Vans sitting, then we gleefully jumped at the chance. (Waving one’s arms in the air was a similar issue. One arm? Two? All the time? Some of the time? A chorus-only activity?)
Idea: Announce at the start of the service that during songs and suchlike, either standing or sitting is fully acceptable.
Not getting the in-jokes or Jason-related jargon.
Jase said a lot of stuff in-between songs that we simply didn’t get. We assumed it referred to:
His hair (?)
But we’ll never know for sure. Not a single Van looked as confused as we felt. They nodded along and even laughed hysterically in places. We were just relieved that we’d visited the bar before the concert and were still clutching our little (though wildly expensive) plastic cups, taking a further sip every time we felt left out and ‘other’.
Idea: On a Sunday morning, perhaps we should remember that not everyone attends every week, and that ‘being washed in the blood of the lamb’ could easily be de-jargonised to make sense to normal human beings. (Secondary idea: install bars in churches.)
Marvelling at unabashed and unrestrained enthusiasm of those around us.
And you thought I was only here to mock. Shame on you! The energy, passion and sheer commitment from the Vans was admirable. They loved him and they weren’t afraid to show it. Now and then a particularly wild one yelled “We. Love. Yoo. Jay-sun!”. Their behaviour clearly demonstrated that they were downright thrilled to be in a place with other like-minded Jason-worshippers, and their only aim was to show him, and each other, how they felt about him. As I watched my bessie light up every time he spoke, jig to every song he sang (she knew every single word to every single one) and generally have the time of her life, I knew that for her, despite my apathy, this was real.
Idea: (Self-explanatory, I hope.)
P.S. Keep it to yourselves, but I did, in actual fact, sing along to the very last song: Especially For You. I found, with horror, that I knew all the words – yikes! I did it for my bessie, and for Scott n Charlene and for all the memories.
But remember… Sshhhhhhhh.