Something to Tell You

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I haven’t updated this blog in forever but I’m back now and boy do I have something to tell you. (Three copies of it, in case you were wondering.)

If you follow me on any social media, you’ll have some idea of what I’m about to say so I’ll cut to the chase: I saw Haim, I met Haim, I love Haim.

 Last Tuesday, after three and a half years of wishing and waiting, Haim announced a surprise album launch gig for Sunday. To begin with, I couldn’t go due to a fixed prior commitment with a friend. Then I really, really couldn’t go. Then, after all that, I ended up in a situation where I could go but I didn’t have a ticket. That’s when my hero of a best friend, Hannah, rallied me from resignation; I was looking at an evening in alone with Poldark until Captain Positive made it her mission to get me to my girls. She trawled every ticket-selling website and hunted down every tweet about the event, eventually finding me two kind souls who were reselling their tickets at face value. It consumed all of Saturday but, by 7pm, I was in. I was going to see my faves. The very next day.

On Sunday, after a threatening bout of sun-related sickness (certified vampire over here), I met up with Hannah, Laura and Emma in Camden for a pre-concert late lunch. Emma and I accidentally came dressed exactly the same – a reminder that a shared love for Haim has always been at the foundation of our friendship. It wasn’t what introduced us, but I vividly remember Emma’s study abroad year in Canada being filled with fangirl-filled Skype calls that went on for hours. We’d dig up gems from the deepest depths of the internet – Haim karaoke (the best karaoke), Valli Girl content they probably wish we’d forget, and more. It was this closeness, despite the transatlantic distance, that inspired me to invite her on the first holiday I ever planned for our quartet, and it was then that the friendships between us all really firmed up. Anyway. It felt very special to see Haim but, in particular, to finally get to see Haim with the person who’d been my partner in Haim all along.

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We went over to queue early because, well, you know who I am by now, right? It was worth it. Once that ticket left my grip, I was running towards an incredible third row view right in front of Danielle.

There was no support act, unless you’d count the steaming of Danielle’s shirt onstage, which was, itself, some form of odd entertainment. (Why did it need to be steamed so many times? Why was it being steamed on the stage? Why wait until 8pm? So many questions.) At 8.45pm, Este, Danielle and Alana came out and, yep, as you might have expected, I lost. my. shit.

I knew Danielle’s mic was that close to me, but it didn’t quite prepare me for how close she’d actually be. Every time she had a guitar solo, she’d come right up to the edge of the stage and melt my face off. I also had a great view of Este and Alana either side of her, with that infamous bass-face back just as I remembered it.

Everything was just as I remembered it, only even better.

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I shan’t break down the show itself because, well, it was what it was: a moment that has to be lived to be understood. Just imagine seeing your favourite band – that band you listen to in every mood: when you want to dance, when you want to cry, when you want to rage, when you want to chill, when you’re feeling nostalgic. Imagine you’ve waited for years to see them. Imagine it’s a tiny venue and you’ve got the perfect view. Imagine you’re with the best friends you’ve ever had. Add that all together and turn it up to 11.

After it was over, I hugged Hannah in a burst of overwhelming gratitude. It turned into a group hug between the four of us on the emptying dance floor.

So often in life, the moments that stop you in your tracks are shocks and heartbreaks. To have a reflective moment like that, a pause to acknowledge the magic of the moment we were living inside of, was a rare thing. It was the feeling of being in exactly the right place at the right time.

On the way out, the crowd was a chorus of ‘Want You Back’. Emma and I were stopped by fellow fans for pictures of our Go Haim or Go Home t-shirts.


My friends and I said goodbye at Euston and, before I knew it, a half-day of work had flown by and we were saying hello again. The following day Haim were doing an album signing at Rough Trade. Thanks to Emma, we already had our wristbands. In fact, when I’d initially not been able to go to the gig, this had been my best hope of consolation. Now it was just the cherry on top.

The girls and I spent our queuing time agonising over what to say. In the end, we needn’t have.

You’ll need a little context for this next part.

11426968_10153026043725698_1316141659268624752_nBack in 2014, Danielle Haim introduced the world to Hawaii 86, a little red and white number that would soon become legend. She wore it everywhere in the months that followed, even writing earlier this year “i wish i knew how to quit you”. For any devotee of Haim fashion, it was a must-have and, sure enough, a few months after its debut, my lovely friend Emma gave me my very own Hawaii 86 to over-wear. It ended up being the perfect outfit choice for the occasion really: a hilarious combination of subtle niche and intense devotion that seemed to expertly communicate all the things I couldn’t verbalise.

As I waited my turn while Danielle and Este hugged the fan before me, a half-daydreaming Alana caught my eye. This was the moment it started to become real. I beamed back at her with an aggressive level of happiness that desperately needed to be turned down a few notches, dancing to the new album as it played in the background. She then gleefully called out to me, “I SEE IT!” and pointed at my t-shirt. Oh yeah. The t-shirt. Any façade of chill was going to be pointless.

If I thought I’d peaked at the Alana moment, what followed was… well, I don’t even know how to describe it. It was an out of body experience.

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Danielle’s eyes drifted from the fan walking away to little old me, with a big, dumb smile fixed to my ridiculous face. Instantly – and I mean instantly – she clocked it. All three of them did. Este and Alana exclaimed, “OH MY GOD!!!” as Danielle pointed at me, did a celebratory arm dance and said, “That’s my favourite shirt!” Cool, cool, cool, cool, cool. Garbled nonsense followed and I said, “What happened to yours? You need to bring it back!” She replied, “Yes! It’s in my closet somewhere,” while reaching out an arm to hug me. Este at that moment was grinning and pointing at Danielle as though to say, “You need to hug this dork before she cries on us.”

I told them how incredible Sunday night was as the hugs went down the line, with Alana climbing onto the table to get a better angle. I didn’t utter a word of exaggeration. The gig was everything; telling them the gig was everything was everything. Danielle kept laughing about my t-shirt the entire time, Este promised me they’d be back soon and playing so many shows that I’d get sick of them, Alana punctuated all of her eldest sister’s sentences with affirmatives. And then we took our posed picture together, with Danielle laughing a little at my peace sign before I got out of the way to watch Emma and Hannah enjoy their turn. (Emma’s opening line was, “No Frime today?” and I will love her forever for that choice. Este then proceeded to talk about how much of a babe Brie Larson is.)

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Afterwards, Hannah said to me, “I’ve never been so happy for another person before in my life – and I’ve been to weddings!” As ‘Walking Away’ came on in the store, we walked away together – #shook by the impossibility that after all that expectation, meeting our idols could possibly be better than we’d hoped. It truly was.

To Hannah, Laura and Emma, I owe you big. I will never forget this.

To Este, Danielle and Alana, 86 forever.

(Remember this? Yeah, we’ve come a long way, baby.)

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