A word in your ear - October 27, 2011

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Wasn’t the Government supposed to have clamped down on ticket touts?

You still see them now at gigs, not as prevalent as they were, ‘buying and selling spares’, providing a service to the needy music fan.

Two hours later they are back with a truck load of T-shirts that are neither authentic or in anyway going to survive more than one robust wash with a Persil powerball.

The ‘threat’ of the tout was big news a few years ago when calls were made to tighten up the way tickets were sold to make it fairer for the gig goer.

I tell you what it’s worse now – and its the supposed gig goers who are the touts. With the advent of the internet, it seems, the whole world has turned into money-making spivs.

Those who know my musical leanings will know where I’m coming from on this rant – the Stone Roses.

You have to imagine my excitement after it was announced the lads behind such killer tunes as Waterfall, Mersey Paradise and One Love had patched up their differences and were ready to ‘take on the world again’.

Being abroad, as I was when I heard the news, I knew I had to be prepared to secure my tickets for their comeback.

I found a small internet cafe and, after a nice chart with the Geordie owner who took pity on a needy music fan, I was in front of not one, but three computers in an effort to bag my tickets when they went on sale at 9.30am. I was like a post-millennium Rick Wakeman flitting between keyboards – and who said men can’t multi-task?

Sadly anyone who has been in such a position will know what happened next. Exactly nothing, well apart from a whirring timer and then a blank screen showing the words ‘system error’.

The 250,000 tickets sold out in record time. Before you could say ‘excuse me, hello’ the tickets were on eBay at £700 a pair. Some sellers were flogging up to 10.

I love the messages some ‘fans’ put on there when selling the tickets. Like ‘my auntie is at death’s door’, or ‘my girlfriend is now going with someone else’. A likely story – given they wanted £500 for the pair which cost £110. And as for the lad whose girlfriend had left him I hope you stay as celibate as Morrissey for the rest of your natural pal.

Bitter, I would have been had I not remembered a coach company round these parts always has tickets for big events and so I bagged one of the last pairs going.

I’m sorted, thankfully, but the whole experience was so frustrating. I remain to be convinced these ticket websites are up to the job and can handle anything other than an Olympic Games-style farce designed to drive you to eBay – which then is just what your modern tout wants.

It seemed better in the old days when you queued for tickets – not spent two hours of your life waiting for an egg timer to stop and then be left ticketless. It’s hardly rock and roll now, is it?