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“When you play in Europe, where do you sleep?” a friend inquired.
“Different places,” I replied. “Sometimes at a person’s house. Other times, in a hotel, or at the club.”
“At the club?” my friend persisted. “You mean the club you just played?”
“Yes,” I admitted.
“That sounds terrible,” my friend observed.
“Actually, sleeping at the club is quite humane,” I declared. “While touring America, one never knows where one will sleep. In America, I have slept in vehicles parked at rest stops, on floors of group houses amidst bong forests, and, once, in a pile of dirty mattresses on the floor of a warehouse in Providence. However, in Europe, a place to stay—-or, in Old World parlance, ‘accommodation’—- at a club can prove quite comfortable. The back rooms of many European clubs, which often have showers, bunk beds, and free-flowing Coca-Cola, are nicer than some places I have lived.”
“Perhaps, then, you have not lived in the right places,” my friend commented.
“Perhaps,” I conceded. “But the main problem with sleeping at a club is not one’s comfort, but one’s schedule.”
“Whatever can you mean?” my friend exclaimed.
“Well, consider,” I explained. “On October 11, 2007, I played at a club in Bologna, Italy. I arrived at the club at 5:00 p.m. At 6:00 p.m., I sound-checked. From 6:00 p.m. until 11:30 p.m., I waited to play. I played from 11:30 p.m. until 12:30 a.m. Between 12:30 a.m. and 12:45 a.m., I held awkward conversations with Bolognese friends I had met during previous trips to Europe—-they do not speak English, and I do not speak Italian. From 12:45 a.m. until 4 a.m., I waited for every single person in the club to leave. This included, but was not limited to, showgoers, soundpersons, bartenders, the clubowner himself, and some drunk guy. At 4:16 a.m., I raided the club’s fridge in search of something—-anything—-to eat. At 4:20 a.m., I brushed my teeth using the bar sink. And, finally, at 4:25 a.m., I went to sleep. When I finally left the club at noon, I had been in the club for 19 hours straight.”
“That is a long haul,” my friend commented.
“Yes, but it is possible to get some reading done,” I declared. “Once, while touring Europe alone, I played a show in Koeln, Germany. This show took place in Nazi bunker-turned-artspace—-a Kulturbunker, if you will. The night I performed in Koeln, I happened to be reading The Plot Against America, a WWII-themed modern novel by Philip Roth. After the show, the promoter led me deep underground to my sleeping quarters. ‘You will sleep here alone,’ the clubowner said, ‘and you will be locked in here until morning.’ Too terrified of Nazi ghosts to sleep, I proceeded to read The Plot Against America straight through.”
“That sounds…unusual,” my friend offered.
“Not so unusual,” I observed. “I gained an appreciation for The Plot Against America, and no Nazi ghosts materialized.”