Overheard outside concert venue in Lille, France:
French Promoter (FP): I’m sorry about the show tonight.
Me: Don’t be sorry. I’m the one that is sorry.
FP: You should have been able to play a full set.
Me: It’s all right. We played for four minutes. Four minutes of any band is enough. The audience gets the basic idea quickly, efficiently.
FP: You see, really, I am so fucking angry at the owner of the club. Because, when I book the show, the owner does not tell me that, at 10:30, at the music must be done. Instead, he tells me at 10:30 that all the music must be done at 10:30. So, when you start playing at 10:30, there is no time for you to play. So, I stall and stall and stall. But, then, the promoter says he will pull the electricity. So, there is nothing for me to do but go on to the stage while you are playing and ask you to stop.
Me: That was quite surprising, when you just walked right up to us while we were playing. That’s a first.
FP: Otherwise, the police come. If you don’t stop.
Me: We were just happy to have the show. We did not have a show on this day. With your help, we book this show less than a week ago. Because of you, we have a show and a place to sleep and something to eat. So, even if it is only a four-minute show, we are satisfied.
FP: I am not satisfied.
Me: We even sold some merchandise. That’s the famous “the four-minute sale.” You play for only four minutes, so people want more, so they buy the CD. A good scam. From now on, we will only play four-minute shows. In America, we will play for two-minute shows!
FP: I am not satisfied.
Me: The next time we are in Northern France, we will play a bigger venue. Not that this venue isn’t wonderful. It is wonderful! So incredibly small! When I first came to the show, and we went into the basement under the bar, I thought to myself—-‘Justin,’ I thought, ‘this is the smallest venue you have ever played. A tiny basement in a medieval bar in Northern France. This basement is smaller than the basement of your house in Washington, D.C., and older than the United States of America!’ But, somehow, we got forty people into that tiny, tiny space! So, the show was only four minutes, but was the sweatiest four minutes of my musical career. I was singing into the microphone, sweating, and was literally singing into the face of the audience and sweating on the audience. I worried about my breath because the audience could smell it.
FP: This venue is shit. We will find another venue.
Me: But the venue is okay.
FP: This venue is shit. We will find another. (A moment passes.)
Me: So…how is your life?
FP: My life?
Me: Yes. Music and shows aren’t everything. So, I ask you—-how is your life?
FP: My life? My life is shit.
Me: That’s no good.
FP: You see, I am supposed to study in Brussels. In Belgium. But something has been fucked up and now I cannot study there.
Me: Perhaps you will be able to study in Brussels in the future.
FP: I don’t know. I’m sorry about the show. I hate this venue.
Me: Don’t say that.
FP: Can you do me a favor?
Me: Yes. I mean, maybe.
FP: Can your band drink loads of free beer tonight to say ‘fuck you’ to the owner of this club?
Me: Well…I don’t know. We’re not much for beer. Maybe we’d drink one beer, or two.
FP: But you must drink many beers. We will say ‘fuck you’ to the owner of this club with free beers.
Me: Maybe you can drink the beer.
FP: I can! I will! I will drink the beer! You will get the beer! I will drink the beer! And we will say ‘Fuck you!’ Fuck you to the venue! So, you get the beer, and I drink it! I drink the beer! I drink the beer! Fuck! I mean, fuck!