A concert gone wrong

Wrong turn, language barrier puts senior in unexpected position

There’s nothing like waking up in the morning, having a cup of tea, making plans to head into Amsterdam with your cousin for the day and stumbling upon an Anti-Semitic rally to really give you a broader perspective of the places to visit while on Holiday. Unfortunately for my cousin and I, this wasn’t a tourist attraction we were too keen on visiting.

My summer was quite an eventful one, chock-full of memories and experiences that I will take with me in my life, some more memorable than others. I spent the first half of my Euro trip in the Netherlands, where most of my family lives, and the other half in England and Spain with my best mate. These trips abroad were an amazing opportunity and one of my best Summers so far.

In between visiting relatives and family, I would head out with my cousins and attend music festivals, concerts etc. So, one morning, my cousin, Delano, approached me as I was eating the last of my chocolate biscuit, telling me about a very “underground” concert that was taking place in downtown Amsterdam.

Naturally I agreed and we got ready to set out and enjoy some good music. Our spirits were high and it was a splendid sunny day. We walked through the streets, and reached a very sketchy looking part of town, but we brushed it off and head inside a building that resembled an old warehouse. There was music playing, people were filtering in and out and most seemed to be having a good time.

We hovered around somewhere close to the stage and the first warning sign I noticed was the lack of instruments on stage, except for a single microphone. I just assumed that they hadn’t set up yet and began to strike up a conversation with another bloke on my right, who seemed a nice enough guy. I used my limited Dutch vocabulary and he did the same with his English, so we could communicate. I asked him if he came here often and he said that he’d been coming here since they first formed.

Now I’d like to stress the fact that I am not fluent in the Dutch language, only enough to get me by. So, when he said, “they first formed,” I assumed he was talking about the band. But unfortunately for me, I didn’t know the word for “band” in Dutch. That little word alone could have either been a major mistake or a stroke of luck, for I am not entirely sure what would have happened to me If I had said, “band.” That was the second warning sign; I was going to be in for quite a surprise.

A man all clad in black waltzed onto the stage and shouted what I understood to be an introduction to the performance. In a sense, I had been correct, but my cousin had established the reality a great deal quicker than I. It wasn’t until ten minutes into the “performance,” that it dawned on me that this wasn’t a concert at all. Far from it in fact.

There had been other little warning signs that we had been too naïve to realize, such as the swastika on the man’s forehead to Delano’s left, the humongous swastika banner on the wall and the lack of diversity in the room. I couldn’t find a single person of black ethnicity or descent in the room which I think it was for the better.

But by that point it had been too late. We were sandwiched in a room full of prejudice and rage with nowhere to go but hide inside our jackets. We tried not to act to conspicuous. But, we stood out like a sore thumb.

As soon as we could, we slunk out with our collars upturned and embarrassment hanging over our heads. It wasn’t until we were safely on the train back home that we turned to face one another and burst out into fits of laughter. It’s interesting to be able to say I have attended an Anti-Semitic rally, but I’m glad I will not be returning anytime soon.