Which side of me will win?


There’s something inherently juvenile and lame about telling people the story of how you got into a fight – especially a fight as silly and clumsy and messy and embarrassing and crap as the one I got into last night – but the fact is that fights make for good stories.

The story of my Friday night goes… I had a nap, ate dinner then watched Dead Set on 4oD. That’s a shit story. The story of my Saturday night is loads better because I had a fight. It was a crap fight, but it’s still a good story.

Last night I drove to Oxford to see one of my favourite bands, Orange Goblin. My passengers were Bear, who I don’t know very well, and Bear’s mate Pete, who I don’t know at all. Sound fellas though, both of them.

Anyway, let’s cut to just before Orange Goblin start their set. We’re standing in the middle, near the front. Almost as soon as the band starts, a mosh pit opens up immediately to our right.

Now I, like most Orange Goblin fans, don’t really understand the point of a mosh pit at an Orange Goblin gig. This isn’t Hatebreed or Lamb Of God or something. It’s bluesy, stonery, doomy metal. It’s headbanging music, not fighting music.

Still, if that’s what they want to do, I have no problem with it in principle. Trouble is, it soon becomes apparent that this particular mosh pit has a couple of grade-A dickheads in it.

I don’t mind people bumping into me and whatever. I don’t mind being the big guy that stands at the edge of the pit acting as a barrier between it and the rest of the crowd (in fact, I feel that if I move out of the way I’m adding to the problem because then the pit just gets bigger and the majority of the crowd have less space in which to enjoy themselves – Bear is of the same view). But I don’t tolerate anyone who thinks that a mosh pit gives them license to act like a cunt.

There are many ways to act like a cunt in a mosh pit, but the main one being adopted by a couple of tools in this pit is to ignore one of the very simple rules that makes a pit work – always try to throw yourself into the middle of the pit.

Anyone throwing themselves deliberately and repeatedly into the crowd around the pit is being a cunt. Especially, as in the case of one particular guy in a Ramones T-shirt, you’re making a point of actively annoying people who don’t want to play your homoerotic little game.

Almost every time someone annoys me, it’s Ramones guy. Whether he’s charging head-first at me, grabbing tightly onto my shirt and yanking hard on it, pulling my hair, putting his hands in my face and around my neck – it’s this same fucking guy. And my policy on dealing with cunts like this is to hit them. Purposefully and hard. Usually their drunken brain will make a connection between annoying that guy over there and getting hurt, and they’ll stop it.

The message isn’t getting through to this guy though. I’ve punched him a couple of times in the body and he’s only getting worse. It seems that idea of being able to get away with being a cunt in a mosh pit is ironically working against me. I’m smacking this guy and ‘getting away with it’ because he thinks it’s all part of the fun. I don’t want to get away with it – I want him to realise there’s actual hostility and threat behind what I’m doing.

It’s worth pointing out that the O2 Academy Oxford had apparently not thought it necessary to deploy any security staff whatsoever inside the venue. There were two on the door, which was down some stairs well away from the crowd, and that was it. None on patrol. None at the front of the stage. None.

Most gig-goers don’t like security and sure, they can be killjoy twats sometimes, but they are employed for a reason. Good security won’t stop a mosh pit, but they will keep an eye on it and identify anyone who’s blatantly spoiling other people’s fun. What usually happens is a big guy in a yellow jacket walks into the pit, grabs the dickhead by the shoulders and tells him to calm down or else get thrown out. I’ve seen it happen dozens of times and it works. But it obviously didn’t happen last night. Nice one, O2.

At one point, it looks as if the problem might snuff itself out. Ramones guy tries to jump into the air, but just as his feet are leaving the ground, he slips and lurches forward, resulting in a spectacular face-first high dive into the floor. Other people reach down to help him up while I burst out laughing. Like a hyena.

I stop laughing quite so hard when I realise he’s still conscious. How, I do not know.

Orange Goblin launch into Round Up The Horses, my favourite Goblin track and, sure enough, Ramones guy sets about spoiling my enjoyment of it. He slams into me, gets one hand around my neck and starts tapping me on the face with the other, with this drunken fuckwit grin on his face. That’s it. I’ve had enough.

I grab the front of his shirt firmly with both fists with the intention of pulling him right up to me so that he will see and hear me very clearly when I say, “Fuck off or I really am going to hurt you” or words to that effect. Unfortunately, when I pull him towards me he slips again and falls down at my feet.

So I just think, “Fuck it…” and kick him hard in the stomach or the back or the side. I’m not sure.

Now, that was a little bit naughty. But honestly, I was so frustrated with this little twat.

Next thing I know, someone’s punching me repeatedly in the head. I glance up to identify who it is, then put my head back down and my arms up. I’m thinking, “Perfect! One of these pricks is finally giving me an excuse to properly beat the crap out of him!”

I’m not a violent man, and I generally have a very long fuse. But once I snap, there’s nothing I want more than lots and lots of violence.

So as soon as this cunt pauses for long enough, I straighten up and start hitting him back. I’ve only thrown one or two punches when I notice Bear appear to my left and he too is throwing punches at my attacker.

Bear is 5’ 7” and weighs about 19 stone. I am 6’ 1” and weigh about 13 stone. This guy suddenly realises he’s up against a formidable hybrid of…



So he starts backing off very quickly. Neither of us is done with him yet so we carry on after him. Someone holds me back though, so Bear ends up pursuing him across the pit alone, exchanging a few blows before people step in and separate them.

At this point Ben, Orange Goblin’s singer, says something about not fighting, please.

I have mixed feelings. On the one hand I’m like, “Bear! I was hitting that! Bring it back!” but on the other hand, I’m quite touched. I hardly know the guy, and it’s good to know he’s got my back. Or I suppose he might have just been thinking, “Don’t knock him unconscious, he’s driving us back to Bournemouth after…”

Bear and I are starting to calm down, but my attacker is not. He’s pointing at me and shouting that I kicked a man when he was down, which I did, but no one really seems to care. People are basically just pulling him back and telling him to fuck off, which he does, along with Ramones guy.


At the end of the song, Ben reiterates his point about not fighting and jokes, “Don’t make me come in there with you. Because I will. And you don’t want that.”

Ben is taller than me and probably heavier than Bear. I dunno, I think it would be pretty cool to see him wading into a pit…

Anyway, his comments illicit a cheer and from that point on, the gig is more fun for pretty much everyone. The pit continues, but it’s not fucking everyone else off any more.

So, while this whole incident was clearly undignified, embarrassing and silly, I can’t help but also think of it as a job well done. Clumsy and bad-tempered though my actions were, they ultimately proved to be a solution to a problem that was pissing a lot of people off. I’m not a trained security guard but, seeing as there were none available, I did what I could.

One thing though… I didn’t think at the time that I’d really been hit squarely. My forehead and nose felt a little tender, but it I thought his fists had only glanced off. However, during the drive back I put my hand to my head and discovered there was a big, swollen, lumpy bruise at the top of my forehead. Here’s why this is annoying…

You know when you have a black eye, or a fat lip, or a cut cheek or swollen knuckles because you’ve been in a fight, but you have to make some kind of excuse, like “Oh… I walked into a door.”?

This is the opposite. It looks exactly like I walked into a door.

No one is going to believe I got this in a fight.


Filed under: Fighting, , , , , ,

3 Responses

  1. Glenn says:

    Wow. You actually have me in tears! That’s the funniest fight story I’ve ever heard. Personally though, I would have fell on the guy knee-first. You would have broken a rib or two and he would’t have got up for more after that.

    Good work though.

  2. Iceman says:

    Mate… I was at that gig too and I found there to be a lot of egos… And I fairly moody crowd which was fairly unusual for an orange goblin gig.. Somehow (I’m not sure how but possibly due to alcohol) I missed the entire fight… But I too have experienced a “ramones” style jerk before in the mosh pit… Who I ended up throwing across the floor.. Also as you say security was a joke… I went out for a breath of fresh air and the two tossers on the door wouldn’t let me back in without paying again.. Although I had my ticket… But big up to you and the bear for slamming that cunt… Just wish I could have got in the mix and put an extra boot in!!

    • Myself and Bear tried to go out as well, but the door staff did at least tell us that there were no re-admissions, so we didn’t bother.

      You missed it because it happened quickly and was rightly defused just as fast. I’m glad it didn’t get completely out of hand, to be honest. Even if, in the moment, I wanted to flatten the guy that was playing into me.

      Bear actually saw both of them at the bar later on – turns out they’re brothers – and they were both very embarrassed and apologetic. Hopefully they’ve learned a bit of a lesson.

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