[sic] Magazine

No I.Dea

We’ve all been asked for ID at one point in our lives. Whether it was in a failed attempt to buy ‘booze’ for your high school graduation, or a genuine query from an overtly cautious bouncer whose midlife crisis has caused his interpretation of age to become irreparably fractured…
The phrase “Have you got ID?” is undeniably familiar to almost anyone out on a Friday night.

For the majority of us, being asked for proof of age is perceived as a compliment (in many cases delivered by devious bar tenders in search of a tip…) however for the few gig-goers below legal drinking age, admission to underground concerts is an undoubted pain in the nether regions. Thanks to the creation of (ahem) realistic teen programming such as E4’s Skins modern day parents are fully prepared for the arrival of drinking, drugs and an infuriating amount of drum and bass to envelope their teenagers lives with the arrival of birthday number fifteen. However, for some unidentified reason, the biggest issue on the agenda for Manchester’s promoters is preventing young adults from simply watching their favourite band in concert.

Understandably, anywhere with a liquor licence can be viewed by the public as ‘unsuitable’ for teenagers to be running amok…yet, let’s just take a minute to pause and look at the countless public locations in which the distribution of alcohol is in no way inhibited by the presence of those well below the age limit: pubs, festivals, restaurants, oh and let’s not forget the obvious: Christmas parties. In fact, by the age of five most children are all too familiar with the image of that estranged uncle asleep under the tree after an attempt to fornicate with the cat.


Having been on the receiving end of ‘the ID game’ (and having the ability to talk my way past some incomprehensibly stupid bouncers) I can safely ask the question: “Why are aged 16+ being denied entry to gigs?” It’s an increasing problem for the music-loving youth of today and our ‘banishment’ from Manchester’s most critically acclaimed venues is, in a word; ridiculous. Whilst attending local gigs at moho live (a notorious ‘over eighteens only’ venue) I couldn’t help but notice the lack of ‘teen scarring’ activities taking place. No audience members were participating in voting backstage, no driving lessons were being conducted behind the bar and, other than a few terrifying looking women latching onto the band members, there appeared to be no (noticeable) prostitution. And yet, for some unfathomable reason, the owners of Manchester’s premier venues would rather deny themselves an extra admission fee and see teenagers enjoying the delights of the street at night.

The lengths a true music lover (regardless of age) will go to in order to see that one special band live are often perplexing to the musically challenged viewer and teen fans are a perfect example of this trait. A teen fan will spend her entire week’s wages on a ticket to Birmingham simply so she can walk by the academy in hope of catching a snippet of song from inside. A teen fan will wait in the toilets of the ruby lounge four hours before anyone else has arrived simply for admission to the gig. I myself have spent almost the entirety of a gig backstage, only venturing out to see the headlining act.

Perhaps it’s simply the purchase of liquor promoters are trying to shield us from…well, firstly (though it may shock and terrify most readers) most teens are surprisingly knowledgeable when it comes to the effects of alcohol. And secondly: is it such a chore, such an inconvenience for bartenders simply to ask for ID from anyone who looks underage? Perhaps it’s time consuming but surely this idea is more economically intelligent for venue owners everywhere, along with being more satisfying for young gig attendees.

Unfortunately, a change of heart doesn’t appear to be close at hand, and the youth of today are confined to spending their weekends as the government intended: in parks drinking cider while indulging in premature sex and overdosing on pharmaceuticals -all of which are far more damaging than the antics of 18+ gigs.

However, a quick word of advice for anyone of a certain age attempting to enjoy the underground gig circuit: tell them you’re a journalist, you’d be allowed to fly a plane if you told the pilot you’re going to write about him.

But let’s not be too hard on Skins now, after all they must have done something to deserve that Bafta…