Sunday, 24 September 2017

Ticket Touts Start to Get Their Comeuppance

Three years ago, a group of fans in the UK launched a Kickstarter campaign in order to raise awareness on the issues surrounding concert tickets. Primarily they were going after the ticket touts, a business that had grown from a man hawking second hand tickets outside a concert venue to a multi-billion pound industry that involved sophisticated computer programs.

On September 19th 2017, they saw some results from their campaign when a Foo Fighters concert at the O2 in London descended in to chaos. The O2 have been criticized for partnering with a secondary ticket seller. The O2's website links with StubHub were disabled at the request of the band

When tickets went on sale in June 2017, official sellers warned buyers that they would need to bring photo ID to the show. This is a warning that has been issued for years and one which many venues have never instated. It's also never stopped the secondary sellers from snapping up entire blocks of tickets in the hopes of selling them on for a profit.

Foo Fighters, along with the fans, have tried a number of ways in recent years to help combat the issue of ticket touts. In 2014, they had fans queue at local venues to buy tickets. This year they've implemented the photo ID policy and are having a release delay on tickets (Tickets can be purchased on the day of release but they won't be posted or emailed to buyers until several months later).

At the September show, the band asked that the photo ID rule be implemented. O2 complied with this and hundreds were turned away because their tickets had been bought from secondary sites thus meaning that the names on the tickets didn't match.

However, it also seems as though the ID rule was taken to the extreme. Initially it seemed as though only the lead booker (person whose name appeared on the tickets) needed identification. There was at least one story of a group who were turned away because only the lead booker had ID. They were told that everyone in their party would need to have some form of photographic identification in order for them to get in. Others were stopped because of minor spelling mistakes in their names (Q being substituted for A etc).

The tabloid media were quick to jump on the band and blame them for the chaos. However, from reading news reports and fan stories, it looks as though the venue's security were told to push the rule to the limit.

Dave has now confirmed that the photo ID policy will be in place at all of their shows (apologies for the TMZ link).

If you were affected on Tuesday, there's some fantastic advice over at on how to claim your money back.

If you are going to a Foo Fighters show this year, make sure that everyone in your party has their ID with them. In the UK acceptable forms of photo ID tend to be a driver's license or passport (make sure that they're in date before you go.). If you don't have either forms of ID, look at applying for a Citizen Card which is a UK photographic ID card. However, please check with the venue before you use this as each venue's rules may be different (the website does say that this card is endorsed by the Home Office and police and can be used aboard domestic flights). You may also be able to use work IDs as long as they have a photo on them. Again, please check with the venue before you and, if you can, get their confirmation of your ID being valid for them in writing (and then take that email with you just in case).

Buy your tickets from official retailers only. The bands will provide a list of these when they release their tour dates. If you find yourself on StubHub, Viagogo, or GetMeIn, you're not on an official retailer. Those are secondary ticket sites and those tickets run the risk of being turned away at the gate. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of secondary ticket sites out there with new ones appearing every day. If you're unsure whether you're on an official site or not, stop and check. Normally you can tell by the price of the tickets. If they have several different prices for the same section, chances are it's a secondary site.

My original posts from three years ago can be found here.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Finding the Motivation to Write

Sometimes it's not the lack of inspiration that can trip us up when it comes to writing. Instead, a lack of motivation can stall us. Every day tasks – cleaning, washing, cooking – can throw us for a loop and kill that desire to want to sit down and create. We feel worse because of it, as though there's a blockage deep inside of us that needs to be cleared but can't because we're tired, or busy, or otherwise obligated to do other things.

Like any kind of passion, writing is something that needs to be practised frequently. Without it, those metaphorical muscles that we've spent so long developing begin to weaken. One of the most important things is to just write. Something as small as writing a shopping list or keeping some kind of journal can help to keep the writing muscles strong.

A change of location can also be a key factor in kickstarting your motivation. Often, when we're at home, we can find a million and one reasons to not sit down and concentrate. The laundry needs doing, the cat needs feeding, the dog wants walking, the dishes in the sink aren't going to wash themselves, email needs checking. We become overwhelmed and the easiest thing to do is to ignore that grinding desire in our soul to create. So we do the other things (Or not, depending on your mood). Try going somewhere and sitting for a while. A local coffee shop, a nearby church, the park up the road. Even the local train station is a good place to just sit and wait. Hopefully it won't be long before the desire to pull out a notebook hits.

Carry a notebook and pen wherever you go. Or leave one beside the bed and jot down ideas just before you go to sleep. Often the motivation will hit just as we're relaxing. When we're in a constant state of looking for what to do next, our brain finds it more difficult to settle and do what we love the most.

Sometimes finding creative ways to work writing in to your day may also help. A laundry cycle can take over an hour so make a drink, sit down, and let your brain wander to those far away places. Finding a few minutes in an otherwise busy day to sit and write can seem like a challenge but it can be done. Ten minutes here and there is all it needs before something finally clicks and you find that spark to power you along.

When your motivation is lacking it can feel like an uphill struggle to regain it. But you can. It's just finding that one thing, or that one block of time, when it'll just click back in to place for you. But don't give up and keep on trying. You've got this!