The crowd went wild. The music seemed to pulsate from the very core of the gig. Josh sang the last song, his powerful voice blasting out the sound. Behind him, Jazz belted out the beat on the drums, his background vocals perfectly complementing Josh’s voice.

On the stage was where he felt more alive than anywhere. Up there, in front of a raucous crowd, he could forget his paltry life; the council house, the dole and the meagre existence.

He was appreciated.

As he looked down at the crowd of jiving bodies, partially covered by masses of long hair as they swung their heads in time to the sound, he felt a connection. They wanted the same as him; to forget the troubles of life, poverty and shallow lifestyle. To forget sullen partners, whinging girlfriends, and judgmental parents.

The song ended on a high with a final crash of drums. The room went wild.

At the bar, the queue was three people deep. Josh approached, the lights from the rows of scotch beckoning him to drink some of their nectar. A group of lads around his age stood back, making a space for him to order. They patted his shoulders, looking in awe.

‘Great man, you were just great.’ the nearest lad sang, in a thick Geordie accent.

Josh never failed to enjoy the adoration of the crowd. This spurred him on; the thought that he could get out of his dull existence.

Just last week, he’d had a bluey with his uncle, who’d called him a ‘no good dole scrounger.’ Josh had not risen to his bait; he knew how dull their lives were, existing for week to week with barely enough left for cigs and fags.

He was going to be different. he was going to change the world….

Suzanne Bowditch, 2016

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