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Like half of Australia, I sat in front of my screen on Wednesday waiting in hope. I was in The Ticketek Queue. I was pretending it was for my daughter but it was at least half for me. My phone kept refreshing. Things looked good. Social media lit up with screenshots of The Queue. Then some lucky chosen got through and bought actual tickets.
But as time dragged on, my son reminded me of the kayak fishing session I’d promised him. So there I was, in a Queensland canal on holiday, baiting hooks and checking my phone inside a Ziploc bag. I was putting in the time. Surely my effort would pay off. Surely, I would be worthy.
The Taylor Swift presale was over and I’d missed out.Credit: Getty
I wasn’t. My phone timed out. The fish weren’t biting. I headed back to civilisation, shoulders slumped. The Taylor Swift presale was over and I’d missed out. Now I’d have to contend with the general public sale. Which meant further disappointment.
It’s unthinkable to get angry at the artist. She can do no wrong. So in these situations, it’s customary to blame the ticketing provider. I was ready to fire up about the ills of Ticketek. First the fees to print your own ticket! Now this! No wonder angry punters were calling for a royal commission into Ticketek not so long ago.
But four million Swifties don’t go into 400,000 tickets, no matter how you slice it. And while Ticketek is one of those companies we love to hate, in this case, I’m compelled to defend it.
Ticketek is a bouncer at a nightclub, sifting worthy from unworthy, with no rhyme or reason. And that’s as it should be.
What I like about travelling carnivals like TayTay’s Eras Tour is the ritual of it. She is coming, to our shores! Tickets are limited! She will fill the MCG, one of the largest stadiums ever built, with ease. 100,000 chosen ones will file in next February, and Sydney’s Accor Stadium will host 80,000. That’s each night. The famed Colosseum of Rome could hold only around 50,000 to watch the circus.
And then you can choose your level of fandom. I’d love to be there with my eight-year-old. But how much do I want to be there? $1000 a ticket? In this economy? The most hardcore fans can show their worth to their idol. Save for a house deposit? Boring and all but impossible. Front-row seats and meeting Taylor Swift in person? A far better investment.
Me, I’d be happy with the cheap seats. But even these are fought over. You have to prove yourself. A ticket isn’t just for everyone. Only the worthy will get one. By waiting, by stressing, by praying to any god you hold holy. And even then, some miss out. Even some of the most devoted fans spent Wednesday night grieving. No doubt, a few scalpers and bots and half-arsed fans like me (but not me) secured these golden tickets.
The reality is, there was never a queue. It was random. But was there really any other way? Everyone is able to click the link at precisely 2pm. You can have four laptops lined up for instant clicking. But there’s no skill here either. You either make fandom a job and require everyone to submit an application form detailing your service to Her, or you make it random.
That’s why it was right that Ticketek handed it over to fate. If Taylor Swift is the closest we come to a pagan goddess (she is), then it makes sense there is no right to see her. Gods and goddesses are fickle. Sometimes they help. Sometimes they’re doing their own thing. And sometimes they don’t choose you.
She has already consented to new shows – the first time Accor Stadium will ever have the same artist for four nights running. The last time the MCG had an artist running three consecutive nights, it was Madonna, a similarly capricious goddess with the same knack for reinvention. She has already given of herself.
So don’t hate Ticketek. Don’t doubt your fandom. There’s no rhyme or reason. Your lucky undies won’t get you tickets. It’s fate. And if you, like me, are judged and found unworthy, that means you just have to try again.
So please, fates. May I be worthy next time. May Ticketek’s random number generator spit out my IP address. May there no longer be a blank space where my tickets should be.
Doug Hendrie is a freelance writer.
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