Pit of Despair

Call it the Ten Commandments of the Mosh Pit:
Thou shalt double-check thy landing before stage diving. If you don't have a clear scope on at least six pairs of ready, upraised arms, you're a candidate for the empty-swimming-pool syndrome.

Thou shalt not smoke in the pit. Hey, you're gonna put somebody's eye out with that thing.

Thou shalt rescue thy fellow mosher. The greatest danger in a mosh pit is getting kicked and stomped by a crowd that doesn't even know you're there. If you see someone go down, you have to make sure he gets back up. Get ahold of him by his forearm or, better yet, an armpit and yank him to his feet. This is exactly what didn't happen in Dublin, with tragic results. If you go down, cover your head with one arm and extend the other toward salvation.

Thou shalt not take bottles into the pit. Duh.
Thou shalt not wear steel-toed boots while crowd surfing. When you crowd surf, you're relinquishing control of your body to the chaos of crowd movement. Your feet, along with the rest of you, will spin and drop at random. Catch somebody in the temple, nose or jaw with a steel-toed work boot and you can mess him up good. Lots of blood, lots of pain, lots of buzzkill.

Thou shalt double-knot thy laces. The key to not getting fucked up in a mosh pit is to keep moving. Stop to tie your laces and you're a sitting duck waiting to get blasted. Not to mention the fun you'll have when someone pins your loose lace to the ground right before someone else lays a hit on you, and your foot pops out of your shoe. There's nothing like barefoot moshing to sober you up in a hurry.

Thou shalt not sexually harass thy fellow mosher. Women who crowd surf are not de facto offering themselves up for a group grope. Why do so many guys have to be idiots about this?

Thou shalt not wear hoop earrings big enough to fit a finger through. One word: riiiip.

Thou shalt look out above. The second-biggest danger in a mosh pit is having a crowd surfer scrunch your head. "I never saw 'im coming." That's what you'll say. But moshing is like crossing the street--stay alert, and look both ways. Do it every few seconds. That way you won't get scrunched, and the surfers won't "wipe out" when a hole of oblivious moshers opens up beneath them.

Finally, thou shalt watch for skins. Skinheads of the racist, red-suspendered, asshole variety are not out for "cathartic, ritualistic, controlled violence." They're out for blood. So unless you're huge or a total badass (or better yet, both), get far away from any mosh pit they enter. And remember--beware the UberOaf.

--David Holthouse

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