Thursday was the end of Me-Made-June and a day I had been looking forward to for a very long time. Not because it was the end of the challenge (although it was so much easier getting dressed on Friday and not having to think too hard about my outfit), not because I was on strike about my pension, but because it was a day I had dreamed of since I was 8 or 9 years old.
To quote a certain Mr Robbie Williams, for me Thursday had been “20 years in the making, 15 years in the waiting, and 5 years in the deliberating.” Yes, Thursday was the day I saw Take That perform as a group of five!
I was a big fan of Take That back in the early 90s and they were the first group I really followed. When they reformed as a 4-piece in the mid 00s I went to see them by myself (my friends thought they could wait until lunchtime to buy tickets, but I had a suspicion that would not be the case) and felt so care-free, alive and so much happier than I could ever remember feeling, that my love for them had to grow.
With the news that Robbie was returning, I knew demand for tickets would be even crazier than previous tours, so I got the first tube one October morning and joined the queue outside Wembley box office. Sadly my 6am queuing time was not good enough and the last Saturday tickets were sold to a lady 3 places in front of me! I got tickets for Sunday instead (plus a couple more shows) and was glad that at least we could spend the day queuing for a good spot. Then due to extra demand, the shows were changed and my weekend of queuing was replaced by a Thursday! I was devastated. Fortunately (well not really in the grand scheme of things) the government wanted to ruin teachers’ pension plans, so the union that never strikes went on strike and I was able to queue up! Hoorah!
A couple of friends and I took a picnic and spent the day sitting in sunshine and showers waiting for the gates to open. When they finally did, despite the security guards telling us not to run, I managed to power-walk and found a tiny spot of barrier left!
Optimistic that our queuing would be worthwhile, I knew we needed a banner or flag to help us find our spot. Outside the venue there are always people selling flags, but if everyone has an “I ❤ Gary” flag then it doesn’t help you stand out. A cheap flag would not be good enough for me, so I spent bits of the past 2 months testing out the stitches on my sewing machine to come up with…
The banner got lots of positive attention from all the other fans. I love the logo side – it is the classic design, but with an Alison-touch, using up lots of patchwork scraps. The lyrics-side was a bit trickier to do, some parts aren’t as great as I would have hoped, but I learned a lot doing it. In particular I learned:
- letters with straight lines are SO much easier to sew – I hate the letter S! (can you guess which one took me 4 attempts?!)
- the importance of clearly marking the pattern and making sure lines are straight before starting sewing.
- to make sure I have more thread than I think I’ll need.
- I think I need to investigate using a stabiliser of some sort. The cotton was very thin but I didn’t realise the effect this would have until I started sewing. I grabbed some interfacing which made it better, but I don’t think it was right for the job.
- I used a regular embroidery hoop half-way through the project and this helped a bit, although it took a while to learn how much space I needed to leave to allow the machine foot to turn around!
So, its not perfect, but I love it and it means a lot to me. I picked lyrics from my favourite songs that summed up my feelings when I see TT performing. In case you aren’t a big TT fan, the lyrics are:
- “All the stars are coming out tonight” from Rule the World (4 piece TT)
- “Never Forget” (old 5 piece TT – Robbie left during this song’s promotion)
- “Hold up a light, ’cause I’m loving this” from Hold up a Light (4 piece TT) I planned to have “and I’m loving you” underneath, but time ran out (and the lettering was too fiddly!)
- “I’m feeling happy now” from Happy Now (new 5 piece TT)
- “This is all that matters now” from Eight Letters (new 5 piece TT)
The banner did the job it was made to do for our group, and other fans near us, and it was nearly time for the show to begin.
Coming up in part 2: find out what happened during the show, and whether it was the “Greatest Day” of my life…