The Darkness: Alexandra Palace, London, Tuesday February 7
Snapping at the crowd, exposing his beer belly and turning up for his own gig. Justin Hawkins’ mistakes just roll on and on
OK little Johnny, so you’re thinking of going into music journalism. Well, how about some friendly advice first? DON’T EVEN FUCKING THINK ABOUT IT.
Oh, sure, you get your good days – the days where you get sent free Rapture T-shirts or get to “hang” with that Preston off Celebrity Big Brother. But then you get the days where you get told to review The Darkness. The days where you’re politely informed that the band are still so miffed about a live review written in about 1943 that they’d sooner you propped up the piddling ticket tout trade outside the gig (only a tenner each!) than put you on the guestlist. And the horror hasn’t even started yet.
I’m not talking about the awful music, the Alan Partridge-style ‘banter’ or the kiddy-KISS attempt at pyrotechnics. I’m not even talking about the moment that snaggle-toothed gristle-brain paraded his sexual insecurities by floating over the crowd on a wobbly podium shaped like – titter! snigger! – a pair of woman’s breasts. God no, I was expecting all of that.
What really crippled my soul was the immense sadness that lurked in the air. For the people gathered here tonight are the ones who haven’t realised this joke isn’t funny any more. They’re the misfits of the world who never discovered The Smiths, but found Star Trek instead. And deep down they’re really lonely. All around is despair. One woman stands on her own, crying. Rebellion, excitement and youth culture couldn’t be further from the building if David Cameron was manning the sound desk. And as they watch The Darkness circus show come crashing down, the only person who seems aware of the failure is Justin himself. And he’s determined to take his bitterness out on his own fans.
“Are you still alive?” he snaps at one point, when the crowd fail to get excited by his comedy rendition of ‘We All Stand Together’ [The Frog Chorus]. During the ‘ballad section’ he whimpers, “I can see people going to the bar. That’s encouraging. Maybe we should shut it next time.” Then he finally cracks: “Oh come on for fuck’s sake!” he yells when the crowd don’t cheer loudly enough. One song later, the gig crumbles to an end and the band walk off.
Does this review sound harsh? Listen: you weren’t there. You didn’t see what I saw. You never witnessed Justin warning us he’d got fat before revealing a gigantic beer belly and making the crowd cheer whenever he bloated it out. The horror! The horror!
Justin Hawkins, with all his splendidly revolting physical features, is responsible for everything bad that festers in the pits of the human soul. You heard all that little Johnny? Temp agency Reed currently have 24,288 office jobs going in accountancy. See you down there.