Club 007, where my band had just played a show.
“Hello, sir,” I replied. “Might I point out that you are enormously tall?”
“Perhaps,” the promoter shrugged. Glancing around Club 007, I noted that I was the shortest person in the venue. Now, I am not very tall. Still, in any given room, I expect to be of average height. But because I was the shortest person at Club 007, logic dictated that taller-than-average people patronize Club 007, and, perhaps, that humans living in Prague are taller than humans who do not live in Prague.
“Why are there so many tall people in Prague?” I queried, testing my hypothesis.
“Are there?” the promoter replied. I silently wondered whether Prague’s citizens had evolved. One theorist recently postulated that average human height will reach seven feet. Since the promoter was non-committal on the height issue, I decided to initiate a new topic of conversation.
“How goes Club 007” I asked the promoter.
“Wonderfully!” the promoter replied. I thought to remark that “Club 007” is cheeky name for a Czech punk venue. After all, Club 007 is the basement of an enormous, Soviet-era apartment building, and its name is ironically borrowed from the James Bond, that most bourgeois of international secret agents. However, I remembered that Club 007 is actually in Building 7 in the aforementioned Soviet-style housing complex. Thus, Club 007’s name is also its address, and its name is deadly serious.
“Has business at Club 007 improved since Western capital’s invasion of the former Soviet Union?” I queried. “Or have patrons tired of the novelty of so-called punk rock and, using MySpace and ITunes, moved on to new cultural frontiers?”
“Not at all!” the promoter answered. “I find that Club 007 and ‘the scene’ are in better shape than ever!”
“Really?” I remarked. I could not remember the last time a concert promoter had said anything remotely positive about anything.
“Yes,” the promoter replied. “You see, technology has improved access for artists in all media. This is a good thing! I would say that people are more connected, informed, and eager to make and consume art than ever before. For example, I run a record label. One of our bands recently toured Russia. Touring Russia is difficult. Visas are hard to obtain, and it is a money-losing prospect. Our band was harassed by cops and generally put-upon. But it was a great adventure!”
“Your positive outlook shines in a weary world,” I admitted.
“Indeed,” the promoter replied. “I recently became a father. At first, I thought I would not be ready. I thought my parental responsibilities would infringe upon my aesthetics. Now that I have a child, I see what I should have seen all along—-that whether my art quote-unquote succeeds or quote-unquote fails is immaterial! Freed from expectation, I am open to happiness!”
I considered the promoter’s outlook and recognized its perspicuity. Then, a showgoer asked how much one of my CD’s cost. I spent three minutes on the conversion from dollars to euros to Czech crowns. “The CD is 300 Czech crowns,” I finally managed.