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That time I put makeup on Belle and Sebastian

Five years ago today, my friend and I managed to stake out a sweet spot at the very front of the sold-out Treasure Island Music Festival in San Francisco, California. One of my all-time favorite bands, Belle & Sebastian (from Scotland), were headlining. Other glorious acts responsible for entertaining the crowd prior to the main event that day included The National, She & Him, Broken Social Scene, Phosphorescent, Super Chunk, Rogue Wave, as well as a few smaller, more local acts. 

We’d been at the festival all day, braving the treacherous elements just to secure our optimal, super-fan view. Even the gorgeous view of San Francisco’s clustery buildings hazily rippling on the waters of the bay, gold and blue lights briefly catching tiny waves, did not make up for the fact that it was raining off and on, all day, and bitterly cold. Our clothes and hair were wet, noses red and runny, and our skin slightly puckered from the relentless dampness. Umbrellas had been banned (last minute, because they had been listed on their website as acceptable contraband), so I’d started the day off in a bad mood. I get it, umbrellas might block the view for some people, but so do tall people and you won’t find too many of them in a concert dumpster. Besides, both stages at TIMF are raised and the main stage also boasts large video screens. It’s true, for a nanosecond, I considered going home when I was forced to deposit my new, politely-compact umbrella in the trash before being allowed to enter the gates. I felt especially cranky because I was rather proud to have had the foresight to bring an umbrella. Was it worth it? Well…

As you can see from the attached video, when the time comes for Stuart Murdoch to sing the line about mascara, he often asks someone in the crowd to apply makeup on him. I had always hoped to be one of the lucky, chosen few pulled onto the stage for “a bit of a dance” at one of their shows, but this was even better, in my opinion. Before the song began, he asked if anyone up front had mascara or eyeshadow. I admit, for an adult woman, I may have been overly excited at this prospect. Perhaps, I even muffled a teeny, mouselike squeal. Which begs the question…how old will I be before I cease giddiness over my favorite artists? Maybe never. Meh. That’s okay. Adulthood is overrated. And besides, I think I’ll stand behind this random fandom concept (that I may or may not have just made up): if one becomes a fan of an artist in their teens or twenties, the resurrection of past zeal is predominately, practically involuntary. 

I was picked to quickly transform Stuart’s look for the rest of the evening. So, note the 2:19 (or so) minute mark in the attached video/song where Stuart jumps down from the stage and says, “makeup?” People point at my polka-dotted head, just above my frozen and shaky hands, prepped and ready for the sassy application. It was either Covergirl or Revlon and the color was a bright bruise-purple. These are important details, right?

And where was my friend to photograph this glorious scene? In the loo! Yup. This shining moment with my beloved Belles was not appropriately documented because his bladder could not last the set. And of course he was unable to wade his way back through the muddy muck. He was lost to the sea of wet and semi-rabid fans, darkness covering us like a strange consolation prize in the absence of our umbrellas/protection from the weather.

At least there’s this video. And should you ever wish for an expert touch-up on that eyeshadow, Mr. Murdoch, I’m your gal. However, next time, let’s play beauty shop indoors, shall we?…with plenty of paparazzi, perhaps some scotch in our hot cocoa, and a solid barrier of thick glass between us and the biting rain. 

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