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Rumors once circulated that Denton—-three-plus hours north of Austin—-is a good place to play. Even though my shows in Denton are never good, I have played there three times. If I was a football coach and every audience member at every Denton that show I’d ever played was a football player, I still might have trouble fielding a football team.

Denton does have other charms. For example, there is exactly one thing for me to eat in Denton: a peanut butter smoothie at Jupiter Coffee House. In addition, Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Hall, my venue of choice, has a Joust machine. I am no Joust expert, but take delight in the Joust gaming interface which reminds me of my blissful childhood. I also find Joust delightful is its Zen simplicity. Oh, to be a futuristic ostrich who must kill other futuristic ostriches by flapping higher than them and bopping them on the head, then be forced to retrieve the strange eggs produced by this bopping!

Because few Denton citizens are interested in my music, I am tempted to put the city on my “DO NOT PLAY” list. I have considered putting Pittsburgh and the entire state of North Carolina on this list as well. However, I do not have the heart to write a “DO NOT PLAY” list. That is, I don’t have the heart to never play somewhere again—-never ever.

Once, I played a show in a town called Cheb in the Czech Republic. Cheb was part of Germany until the end of World War II, when it was annexed to then-Czechoslovakia and everyone with money fled across the German border. In Cheb, I played at a dive bar with no P.A. A band that may or may not have been skinheads opened, either ironically or not-ironically welcoming the crowd with Nazi salutes. The promoter of this show had just been released from Czech prison after serving seven years for possession of a very small amount of marijuana. Outside the bar, small children were selling cocaine and their tiny bodies for cash. Who would go back to such a place?

I will, especially if they get a P.A.

Last night, I played to 5-10 people and earned $75, Still, I will go back to Denton. After all, Denton is better than Cheb and Rubber Gloves has a P.A. Two kids drove all the way from Dallas to see the show. Who has the heart to disappoint these two kids, especially on a Saturday night?