My most memorable gig was a very small and intimate affair that took place in a tiny theatre in the Sheffield suburbs one cold Autumn night. Now I liked the Bluetones. I was 16 in 1995 after all. Britpop was my generation, but I hadn't kept up with frontman Mark Morriss' career.

In February 2011, without warning, an aneurysm in my brain ruptured. It was a life and death situation, but a very skilled and lovely man cracked my head open and repaired the damage. Recovery took a long time, but one first things I asked my husband to do from my bed in HDU was to send in that month's reviews I'd completed for Pennyblackmusic. Music was such an integral part of my life, but all of a sudden that stopped. I had the mother of all headaches for months. I couldn't bear loud noise. Music sounded confusing at best and physically painful at worst. Losing my hair was one thing, but losing music was something else entirely. It felt painful and disorientating. My husband brought my iPod into hospital automatically, and I didn't want to tell him that I couldn't bear to listen to anything.

Slowly my tolerance to sound and crowded environments started to improve. I couldn't stand for long periods of time and got motion sickness just sitting still, so it felt unlikely I would ever return to seeing live music. During this time my friend Helen sent me a copy of Mark Morriss' solo album 'Memory Muscle' because she thought I would both enjoy and identify with it. She was right as I did. So much so that when Mark launched a project on PledgeMusic to fund his recent album 'A Flash of Darkness I had no hesitation in pledging my money and support. In the summer of 2012 Mark appeared at Sheffield Cathedral as part of the Tramlines festival. I planned to attend because I figured it couldn't get to noisy or full on in a cathedral. I was excited, all set and then the day of the gig I fell over and got a migraine, so the plan was scrapped and I felt more than a little defeated. Fast forward a couple of months, and I finally made it to a gig.

It was Mark, a guitar, several glasses of wine (him not me) and countless slightly risque musings on current news stories. The theatre was so small I thought it might be uncomfortably close to the stage, but it was actually perfectly relaxed. Mark performed old and new solo material, the latter of which made me anticipate the new album all the more. He also performed some acoustic versions of old Bluetones classics despite being overcome with a fit of giggles which proved infectious and required multiple attempts to start 'Slight Return'.

My first gig post-haemmorhage will always have a special place in my memories. It marked a turning point for me. While respecting my newly drawn limits was an important part of my rehabilitation, so was pushing those limits and challenging myself appropriately. This gig would have been a very good gig by any standards, but by my very specific ones it was fantastic.












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