It was the summer of 1994, I guess. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t summer already, more like a late spring. It must’ve been late spring, because the students were still in school.
If I think more, I remember that I was still in school too, although I didn’t attend much of the courses. And I had a very good reason for that: I was working as a full time radio anchor. It wasn’t a big pay, but it covered my student expenses and gave me a few perks, like being recognized if I was saying my name out loud. Mind you, talking out loud on an FM radio gives quite a bit of popularity.
But working wasn’t the only reason I didn’t attend much of the courses. I confess I was big on parties too. I kinda liked to spend my nights on some of the terraces of the campus (oh, those were the days: bars were literally at the first floor of the hostels in the campus and you were allowed to sell beer in your own room, if you wanted).
During some of these nights I made a few interesting friends. They were as big on parties as I was, but they didn’t work. Instead, they were singing. On the streets. Literally. They were singing in the subway (again, it was a time when you could do this almost painlessly) and they lived off of what people were willing to give them. Sometimes it was a lot. Because they were good. Their name was “Grigore Ureche Muzicala”. In Romanian, there’s a gimmick with their name, but I won’t bother you with that. They were 4, 2 guitars, one voice and one percussion guy. I don’t know how, maybe because I was knowing some people in the radio world, I decided to become their manager.
Which, to be honest, opened a whole new chapter in the party area. We were meeting to rehearse, prepare shows and so on, and, during those rehearsals, parties were coming along like absolutely naturals. For a few months, I did ok. I found them a few gigs, they started to become known (as much as you could get known during those rather foggy times, only 4 years after the Romanian Revolution).
But, somehow, this wasn’t enough. We wanted more. We wanted our own concert. As a matter of fact, the band wanted their own concert, and I, as a band manager, I was supposed to take care of this. It didn’t bother me at all. I actually enjoyed the challenge. We had no authorization (nor did we knew we need one, to be honest), no music gear, no stage equipment, no seats, nothing. But we painted posters and hung them all over the campus. The concert was coming in 2 weeks. It was late spring, because the students were still in school. We wanted them to be there, otherwise, we wouldn’t have any audience at all.
So, during those 2 weeks I did whatever was in my power to make things happening. I contacted obscure people claiming they had music gear, enough to power a huge stadium, I was deceived, I started again, I negotiated insanely, I persuaded, I enchanted, I twisted arms, I did psychological counseling for some of the band members (who, apparently got some cold feet) and, apart from that, another gazillion things. But, 2 weeks later, the concert wars ready to start.
The Event That Shouldn’t Take Place
We came with a big truck with huge speakers (after I carefully drank a few nights with the owners until they agreed), with huge electrical stuff, stage equipment, you name it. A few students were watching us form the terraces, surprised. Some of them were giggling, some of theme were asking questions. As I was about to find out, none of them believed the poster. Because nobody, never, ever did a live concert in the campus. It was too complicated to obtain the paperwork, to take care of the logistic stuff, whatever. As the evening was coming, we were putting chairs in the courtyard, wiring up gear, testing lights and sound. It was an incredible sight.
One by one, the students started to get down from their rooms and put their chairs in front of the improvised scene. We set up the stage between two big hostels, just in front of a green area. It was magic.
And then, they started to sing. I don’t know if it was the novelty of the setup, the audience, the weather, but they did one of their best performances. If not the best. I don’t remember munch of this, because I was still on the logistic side, trying to dodge police officers asking me about the authorization (which came in the form of a vodka bottle, which seemed to be just enough of an authorization for them) and many other people.
In two hours, the concert ended. I helped the guys put their equipment back into the truck, then followed them to the party. I didn’t need to drink anything, though. I was already drunk. Without a sip of alcohol, I felt like I was floating. It wasn’t the artistic emotion, although it counted. It wasn’t the gratitude I read in the band eyes, although it counted. It wasn’t even the flow of appreciative words coming from the audience, although it counted.
What really made me feel like I was drunk with happiness was the fact that I just did something impossible. Yes, it took me time, energy, and, at times, I felt like everything will collapse. But I did it. I made it happen.
Soon after that, the band kinda break apart. The faculty was over, some of the guys got married, some of them got jobs in the advertising, some of them got back to their home cities and became professors.
Do something ridiculously impossible now. Your future, 20 year older you, will be incredibly grateful for these memories.
Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner
The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”
And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.
Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.
If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.