Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Concerts and book signings: No thanks

There’s an Underworld concert in August at the Fox Theatre in Oakland and I’ve asked Mr. Sierra if we could go. I love Underworld, they are my most favorite band, so saying I want to go see them shows how much I love them. Because I abhor, absolutely abhor, concerts. They’re filled with the unmistakable and inevitable stink of marijuana and/or patchouli, and yelling people, and people with lots of acres of piercings and die-hard previous world-tour concert shirts and in general it’s just a sea of humanity that I could do without. And the getting there and back is always a hassle, and it costs a lot, and wouldn’t it be nicer to just crank up the CD in your car? Because the band members usually do something disappointing like yell in a weird way or do a cheesy wave or some other embarrassing body movement that you wish they hadn't done and which changes your perception of them and their musical skill forever. They say Underworld is fantastic to see live because they don’t have a set list, which means they just play, and it’s often improvised so essentially you’re hearing remixes of your favorite songs. But if that plus the thought of loads of lovely Underworld merchandise are the only good things about the show, then it might not be worth it.

It’s like book signings, which I hope to never attend again unless I’m the one doing the signing. The author in every case without fail talks to the fan in front of me at length, listening to them go on about how much they love them and then passing the fan their personal contact information because they’ve made such a connection. But then when I get up there, nice and tidy and ready with my book open, he or she signs it without so much as a single glance upward, and then flicks it away. Done. Next. Or worse, as has also happened several times, the author suddenly contorts in his or her seat to speak in low undertones to his or her handler, leaving me standing there in front of the table looking stupid.

It’s just never any good meeting your favorite author or musician because you want to be friends and have them round to your house for drinks and dinner but they don’t want that at all. You’re just cattle to them. Move along, please. And I understand that it’s not possible to be “on” at every second, or connect with fans. This is precisely why I don’t go to those things anymore.

Mr. Sierra said he would go to Underworld if I would go with him to Black Sabbath. I pictured myself at a Black Sabbath concert and really couldn’t see it. It would be twice the annoyance of people at Undeworld, maybe three times, and there’s not even the added bonus of liking any of the music. It’s probably for the best that we just have a quiet night in.

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