Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Sunday 12 September 2010

'Elf 'n' Safety in the mosh pit

There's been some hilarity in the Tavern this weekend at the expense of a nephew who returned unexpectedly early from a gig on Saturday night, having been thrown out for 'misbehaving in the mosh pit'.

The nephew in question, let it be said, is a generally polite and well-behaved ex-grammar school boy; though well over six foot, he does not weigh enough to present a significant hazard to others.

His misdemeanour, apparently, was to keep pogo-ing when asked to desist by security guards. Though he was not the only one, he was the tallest and thus became the the target for a firm escort to the exit.

In fact, far from the churning, headbanging mass some of us remember - with varying degrees of accuracy - from our misspent youth, it seems the mosh pits of today present a spectacle more reminiscent of a vicarage tea-party, with any infractions immediately suppressed.

It's all very laudable, and a relief to know our young will not be trampled, concussed or otherwise injured in the melee, but if, for you, the phrase 'men in black' conjures up the Stranglers rather than Will Smith, then I'm willing to bet there's a small part of you, however irrationally, asking 'but where are the mosh pits of yesteryear?'*

*Or, as Jean-Jaques Burnel might put it (to the accompaniment of a moody guitar solo), 'Mais où sont les moshs d'antan?'

A propos of which, the French Wikipedia article, unlike the English one, includes no fewer than 17 'précautions' such as 'Ne fumez pas dans les moshs!' and 'Ne portez pas de lunettes' as well as detailed instructions for a properly-conducted mosh.


  1. Nuclear Assault at Dingwalls, a venue which actually had pillars in the middle of the dance floor. Three ambulances.

    Cheers for the Wiki link by the way. Reading such a thoroughly anal dissection of such a thoroughly fun and loony activity was hilarious.

  2. DSD, you don't say whether you were reading the English or French Wikipedia article.

    If it was the English one, you might be pleased to know the French one, as well as laying down the rules, details the various dance moves popular in 'les moshs', such as 'le windmill', le side to side' and 'le kick-moshing' (with helpful intructions, presumably so you can try them out at home).


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