Morrissey Live in Jakarta 2016

It was no fun standing for two hours, waiting on muddy wet grassy ground, with both legs asleep and pins and needle all over your feet. It was no fun indeed that the suede shoes you bought a week prior to the occasion (couldn’t afford Doc Martens) now ruined because you kept accidentally stepping on puddles of mud that most likely used to be one of the golf holes in this ex-golf course in Central Jakarta where Morrissey, the charming man of my life, would have his second live performance in Indonesia (pray to god it wont be his last).

Perhaps the promoter wanted to bring Glastonbury feels, you know, with all that grass, mud, light rain and all. But it’s Jakarta with its terrible and possibly deadly heat and humidity. And if this is true, then the promoter has failed miserably.

But as I stood there on the muddy grass waiting and partly enjoying the 30-minute montage (among which were Maya Angelou’s voice-over reading No, No, No, No and Sex Pistols’ God Save the Queen video), I kept thinking that the moment Moz came out of the wing, it was going to worth it.

And it totally, totally was. At least for the most part of it.

After a bow with the band, the charming man marched up to the mic and gave us a short acapella: “My heart, my heart, my heart, Jakarta!” The crowd roared and Suedehead came to play as the opening song for the night.

It was a good lay. Moz singing Suedehead.

It was my first time attending his gigs and it was almost surreal. I was constantly at the verge of bursting into tears, between utter joy and disbelief that I could live to see this day, that I could cross path with this man who came up with the most memorable lines in the history of song writing like to die by your side, well, the privilege, the pleasure is mine or the more you ignore me, the closer I get, you’re wasting your time.

I tried to keep my composure as I, along with the rest of the concert goers, sang along to his greatest hits including Alma Matters, Everyday is Like Sunday, Kiss Me A Lot, Speedway (where Gustavo flawlessly sang the last verse in Spanish), and Ouija Ouija Board.

And then it wasn’t long until Moz went political. After throwing his shirt to the audience during the end of Let Me Kiss You, he came back to the stage wearing a black shirt and asking the crowds whether we liked Donald Trump. I’m not sure what he made out of the noises coming from the fans, but then he went on saying “I’m surprised” followed with the exquisite World Peace is None of Your Business (substituting “ooh Egypt, Ukraine” with “ooh the USA“).

Each time you vote, you support the process. Moz during World Peace is None of Your Business.

He didn’t stop there. After I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris, You’re the One for Me Fatty, Judy is a Punk, and Jack the Ripper, he continued with Ganglord with a video montage of police brutality playing on the screen. This was too depressing I may say. Too much violence I had to look away from the stage. There were also some disturbing clips of police fatally harming dogs that I just couldn’t watch. Knowing Morrissey and his outspoken political views, it is not surprising at all.

The tension from the brutal video was eased a bit as Moz continued with First of the Gang to Die and The Bullfighter Dies. And then, the screen showed a picture of Prince William and Kate. Over this backdrop, Moz sang This World is Full of Crashing Bores.

They who wish to hurt you work within the law.

I enjoyed wholeheartedly the next two songs, How Soon is Now? and You have Killed Me, until I had to look away again after Moz pleaded “please don’t kill anything” and continued with vegetarian’s anthem Meat is Murder. This time, the screen showed horrifying video of animal cruelty.

Refusing to look at the stage, I only listened to Moz sang with my head turned sideways, fixing my gaze on some tall buildings nearby. Even after over three decades since the song’s first released, you can tell by the way he emphasized the lines “Eat, kill! Eat, kill! Murder!” that Moz is still as pissed at the meat industry as ever. After the song ended, the screen turned black and the huge white letters appeared.

Do you know how animals die?

When I looked up, Moz was nowhere to be found. At first I didn’t fret. I was so sure he was just changing and would come out again to deliver the encore (I was hoping I’m Not a Man as I heard it rehearsed during soundcheck).

But soon, one by one, the band exited the stage and I grew worried. It was not until 20 minutes when the crew packed up the set, I knew it was over. To this day, I still cannot believe that that was it. I thought I was going to experience something like “25 Live” with The Boy with the Thorn in His Side as the final song and people attempting to climb up the stage to steal a hug or a kiss. Too high of an expectation if I think about it again.

All in all, despite the slightly unenthusiastic crowd, the sickly heat, the muddy venue, and ruined shoes, I was having fun. The set was really nice, jam-packed with good old stuff while the not-so-recent stuff from World Peace was kept to a minimum (only three songs in total), although I was sincerely hoping to get more from it like Kick the Bride Down the AisleIstanbul, and especially Staircase at the University ’cause I really, really wanted to see Gustavo slayed the guitar solo. I’m not complaining though, the old stuff is what introduced me to Moz after all. So, it’s a glorious nostalgia.

Yet, as I drove back to Bandung on the lonely dark highway, I couldn’t shake this tiny disappointment that, I suspect now, stemmed from the belief that I deserve a proper goodbye, at least a little thank-you bow and a see-you-later wave. My girlfriend dozed off on the passenger seat and I was feeling blue. It feels like Moz has just broken this unwritten contract between a performer and the audience. But then again, he’s just Morrissey being Morrissey, unpredictable moody old drama queen. And I can’t help smiling when I remember, on some point during the show, he repeatedly yelled at the audience: “I love you, I love you, I love you!”

For what it’s worth, the most important thing is that I got to see the Moz in person, and that it’s a privilege and pleasure in its entirety for the opportunity to be standing before such a living legend.

Now I can die happy.

Tired but overjoyed. Trying to sneak an ugly self-portrait with the cardboard cutout Moz.



Why we hate it when our friends become successful

Admit it, you have to give it to Morrissey. I even unconsciously, mentally play this song in my mind whenever someone gets a raise, promotion or lands an ass-kicking job at a giant bona fide company with paycheck that makes you scream (mostly, internally) “ANJIR!”

So, why is it? Why, as Moz puts it, do we hate it when our friends become successful?

One thing and only, my friend: it’s—gasp!—envy.

The thing you should know about envy is that it’s different from jealousy. When you are jealous, you’re afraid that someone might take something or someone you love away from you. When you envy, you wish you had what another person has.

I don’t know about you but I experience envy since I was a kid. I watched with envy as my friend got a new, shiny pair of inline skates (I never had one, let alone a pair), I had a complete contempt for my friends who got fancy lunch box.

Even though I succeeded in getting over the inline skates and the lunch box cases, the feeling never actually goes away. It continues into my adult life.

Today, I can handle envy pretty well when my friends got new material possessions a.k.a stuffs but it’s worse when it comes to the context of profession and success. And thanks to social media, the situation now becomes more rampant as people shove their achievements in your face.

Let’s face it, there are a lot of people more successful than you and some of your friends (take Raffi Ahmad* or Mark Zuckerberg, for example). But, stangely, you don’t envy them, do you? Even though they have a bigger house, the former just had a huge, grand wedding and they both are a lot richer than you are.

(*I don’t think being a rich and famous celebrity is a sign of success, but I believe it is to some people).

But why is envy more apparent when it comes to your friends?

Because we are similar to them. We are the same age, coming from the same background, having the same degree etc., etc. And that’s why it’s a lot easier to envy our friends than Raffi or Zuck.

The easier we relate to somebody, the closer we are with them, “the more there is a danger of envy” according to Alain de Botton in his insightful TED talk.

(On a side note, imagine how Raffi Ahmad’s friends are feeling!)

Because envy is a painful emotion, we often try everything we can to reduce it. In his song, Morrissey wonders if he could inflict pain on his friends (If we can destroy them/you bet your life we will destroy them/if we can hurt them, well, we might as well). He also tries to ridicule his friends (Oh, look at those clothes/now look at that face it’s so old/and such a video, well, it’s really laughable).

Now, no wonder if you meet a coworker, say, spreading nasty rumors about someone (or—god forbid—you!) who earns more money than he/she does.

That, or you try to bring yourself up by working your ass off to get the same amounts of money, the same respectable job (often blood-sucking, soul-crushing, high-pressure ones), or anything that can take you to the same level as or higher than your friends.

While it can be one of the sources of your driving force to compete and achieve your goal, more often than not, the feeling of envy just sucks.

So, what can you possibly do about it?

I’ll say admit it.

Believe me, if there’s a thing shittier than envy it’s admitting that you have it. Remember that oh-so-profound quote from The Fault in Our Stars: “Pain demands to be felt.” Since envy is also pain, it too demands to be felt.

Whenever I’m overwhelmed by envy, I just let that icky feeling stir my gut, creating a churning sensation in my stomach and chest. Then I write down how it feels. I cry like a bitch. I scream my lungs out (through a pillow it is). I welcome it. I embrace it.

And, finally, I let it go.

Then I realize that only after the storm subsided do I get a clearer view about myself, my priorities, my values and the things that are important to me. I try to find what I’m good at, what I like to do and all the in betweens and focus on that.

You see, envy is not entirely bad. I believe that when you treat it right, envy can be put to a good use, say, as a motivation to work harder so that you can be the person you’ve been dreaming to be. But then again, make sure that your goals and what you strive for is your own. Because, as Alain argues (man, I really admire this guy!), “it’s bad enough not getting what you want, but it’s even worse to have an idea of what it is you want and find out at the end of the journey that it isn’t, in fact, what you wanted all along.”