Punk Rock and Sharing in an Open Society

Being a teacher is the best job in the world, but sometimes it prevents me from having the punk rock lifestyle I dream of living (if I could stay up past 10PM more often). Case in point: I had to sell my ticket to see a punk-rock band that I love called Ignite because the show was on a Sunday night in a city over an hour by train from Brussels and by the time I got home it would have been way too late to get in even 6 hours of sleep. I am one of those people who needs 8-10 hours a night. To fully understand why I think this deserves an entire post, please keep reading!

Ignite released their album Darkest Days in 2006. This is the same year I moved to Colombia and I remember listening to it nonstop on my daily commute from my apartment in Bogotá to the town of Chia where the school I worked at was located.  When I returned to Bogotá for a second time in 2011, I found myself listening to the album again on my daily commute because of all the positive memories I had of that first year in Colombia.

Flash-forward to my life in Belgium. In 2015 I noticed that Ignite was playing a show in Paris. I can get to Paris in an hour and a half on the train, but this was a Sunday night and I actually had to be in the Netherlands that Monday for a ModelUN event with my students, so couldn´t make it work. The same thing happened in 2016, Ignite played in Belgium this time, but still a Sunday night and in a town called Torhout, which doesn´t have many train connections, so it was impossible without a car.

Then summer holidays came. Sundays no longer were school nights! I could stay up past 10PM if I needed to! I noticed Ignite was playing a show on a Sunday night (July 17, 2016) in Cologne, Germany. I decided to book a ticket to the show and figure the rest out. I managed to find a ride to Cologne (and back) using the carpooling service, Bla Bla Car. Then I booked a private hotel room for €40 on booking.com because it was last minute. At the concert I discovered that I was not the only person on a punk rock road trip. People had travelled from all the countries in Western Europe to see this show! For many people it was their 17th time seeing Ignite play live! I was at a concert alone, but felt very connected to everyone in the audience despite music being a very private experience. During the song ¨Better Days¨, which is on the Darkest Days album, I had this epiphany that everyone in the audience was having the same feeling inside that I was as they sang along to this, despite us all being individuals with zero connection to one another. Here is the video I took to capture that moment, it doesn´t do it justice, but it connects to why I am writing this post.

So, of course, this is why I had bought a ticket to the show on a Sunday night in Liege, Belgium. Worst case scenario I would catch the last train home and be extremely tired on Monday. This was no longer an option because my Grade 12 students had their IB Oral exams for Language & Literature, so I had to be fully awake and functioning to administer them to each student individually. I used the Facebook event page for the concert and said I was selling my ticket. I got not response, so figured I was just going to lose my money. Then a guy named Stijn messaged me. He was wondering if I was still selling my ticket. I said I would sell it to him for €10 and asked if he would take a video of a song from the concert for me. The openness of Facebook groups allowed a complete stranger to enjoy a show that I was unable to attend and then to share his experience with me. Here is the video he sent me:

His video is of the exact same song I had recorded in July when I felt that deep emotional connection from the entire crowd. The story shared at the beginning of the song further exemplifies that power and need for sharing. Here is the original video that Ignite recorded about Ellen, who spoke at the show in Liege last night.

So I say goodnight
To dreams that won’t be realized
I can’t sleep with desperation
By my side
The memories start to fade
Now I live for better days

– Ignite, ¨Better Days¨


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