One of the best parts of LSE is that we’re located in the heart of London. Throughout my time at LSE, I’ve taken advantage of this and have gotten into the music scene in the city. Not only has it been incredibly cool to see shows ranging from The 1975 to The Dead South, but to my surprise, I’ve been able to use skills I’ve learned at LSE while exploring the city. Here’s one of those times when I spent an entire night outside.

21:00– I look through my bag one more time. Ticket-check. Duvet-check. Both portable phone chargers-double check. I look wistfully at my bed and sigh, it’s going to be a long night.

22:00– The people on the floor of North Greenwich bus station is hard to miss. It’s definitely the place I need to go. Two girls  write the number 22 on my hand. Not as good as I would have wanted, but it could be worse. I reserve my little area on the concrete ground and roll out my duvet, I doubt I’ll sleep but at least it will keep me cold in this 3° weather.

23:00– The 1975 seems to have such a dedicated fanbase that a multitude of people from the London Night 1 show leave the show before the encore to make sure they can get a good spot in the queue for tomorrow. Chaos ensues. The two girls in charge of the queue start to panic, they’ve never done this before and are slightly younger than a lot of other hardcore fans. As someone who has run concert queues before, I take over the numbering system.

00:00– We’re now up to 36 people. Since people haven’t returned, I turn the 22 into a 13. I am guaranteed a decent spot at barricade now.  I curl under my blanket and do my best not to shiver. With most people using their two- hour break from the queue now to get ready for the concert, I figure now is my time to relax before I have to do a check to make sure people haven’t left for good and therefore lose their spot in the queue. I am not afraid to yell at people if I need to. Rules exist for a reason after all.

03:00– It seems as if 5 people never returned. I wish I could get an hour or two of sleep like everyone else is, but it’s too cold for me to get comfortable. Oh well, it’s better for someone to be awake anyway.

06:30– I pace and wait for the Costa to open. I need caffeine, I just want somewhere warm for a minute.

08:15– If I thought last night was chaotic, I don’t know what to call this in front of me. Not only are more and more people starting to join the queue, but I have to also renumber people in line. The first 25 are easy, I’ve spent the whole night with them. The rest, well that’s more of a challenge. Not to mention the 20 people harassing me to give them a number.

10:00– To thank me for running the queue successfully, my new friends decided to let me be the first in line. I glance down at my hand and smile at the big bold black ‘1’ on my hand. I’ll be the first one, the first person to enter the arena and the first person to pick a spot to stand. Part of me doesn’t believe it’s true. Only 9 more hours until the show.

I could continue with my play by play of the day and my experience in the queue for The 1975 show, but it would be repetitive. The rest of the day consisted of waiting, waiting, and more waiting. At this point, you probably don’t want to hear more about my day but are wondering how this possibly has to do with my studies at LSE. I promise it does. See, my experience as a student at LSE gave me the skills it took to get through the night and take control of the queue.

Being so dedicated to my studies has taught me how to be passionate and dedicated to other things in my life, such as being at barricade for concerts. My rigorous school work that seems too hard at times gave me the skills to push through when things got tough and keep going. Readings have taught me that details and good note taking matter-the reason I could keep a numbering system. Interacting with people from so many countries helped me make friends with the international concert-goers and make them feel welcome. Keeping track of my workload and staying on top of my schedule taught me how to run the queue successfully and keep track of people coming and going. And getting into academic debates with colleagues and peers taught me how to explain both nicely and firmly how to tell people they had to follow the rules.

But most importantly, my time at LSE conducting research and learning in modules has taught me how rewarding patience can be. It sometimes takes ages to dig through literature to find what I need. I could study for hours to understand a concept. But the time I put into my work pays off, just as the time I put into that queue paid off. In the end, being in the middle of the front row at the concert was an indescribable experience. And it helped me realize that what I learn at LSE isn’t only applicable in my studies, but in my life as well. As Matt Healy says in one of the songs off of the new album, “You learn a couple things when you get to my age” and in this case, that’s the skills I’ve learned at LSE.


Debra Winberg


Can be found in the library or baking in the kitchen. 50/50 change of finding me in either.