I left my notebook in Catherine's purse on Friday night. I was drunk, and taking off from the Guided By Voices show to go drink beer on my terrace with a foxy guy I had met a few hours before, but I'll get to that later. Just know that the following story is all culled from my beer-soaked memory, so if I get something wrong, I apologize in advance to all representatives of Matador Records, Mute Records, Shout, Guided by Voices (GBV), MTV, and The New Yorker.
Because it was that kind of night.
For those of you who aren't regular readers of this site, about a month ago, Cat's friend Leanne won the Guided By Bob contest from Matador Records. The prizes included a "tour" of the Brooklyn Brewery by Bob Pollard, lead singer of GBV, a signed CD, lots of free beer, transportation to the GBV show at Irving Plaza, free tickets to said show, and VIP passes. Because Leanne lives in San Francisco, she passed her prize onto Cat, and Cat decided to take me.
Cat's in love with GBV, and I am in love with no one, particularly not guys in bands, as past experiences have turned me into the bitter woman I am today. However, I support my young friend's opportunity to have her own experiences, which will ultimately turn her into a bitter woman in her own right. I will not let my shroud of misery taint anyone else's mid-twenties. So I attended for the free beer, and I attended for the free tickets, but more than anything else, I attended because I have Cat's back, and she knows that.
So Cat and I arrived promptly at the Brooklyn Brewery in Williamsburg at 6PM, as was requested by Christy, the sassy marketing chick from Matador. We noticed there were two other contest winners there, two young ladies in tube tops. Not good, I thought to myself. You can't compete with the tube tops.
Also of note: I had contemplated wearing cute flip flops to the event, but Cat talked me out of it, because if I was going to do any dancing at the show, my feet would get crunched. I chose practicality over fashion (yet again.) So it was funny to see the girls in the tube tops (another completely impractical fashion choice for a rock show) both wearing flip-flops, while Cat and I both wore gym shoes.
Christy told us that she would let us know when the band arrived, so we grabbed the first of many beers and sat down. She told me her dream of having a picture taken of two of the band members kissing her on either side of her cheek. I filed that away in my head. Our little girl was going to get her super fan shot.
There were Shout magazines everywhere, so I set to reading one. I have to admit I've never heard of Shout before, though I've heard of some of the writers, including the guy from The Cruise, Timothy "Speed" Levitch. He was actually at the event, which should have been my first tip-off that there might have been other writers there. Actually my first tip-off should have been that there were stacks of the mag everywhere. Anyway. I should have known.
Maybe then I wouldn't have started saying (loudly) things like, "I've never heard of this magazine before," and "There sure are a lot of curse words in here," and "Well, they've sold a lot of advertising. Someone must be reading it." And then maybe, an entire table of people wouldn't have turned and given me a dirty look.
A friend of my brother's, Roberta, who works over at Mute, showed up and sat down with us for a while. She said she was there because a Mute band was in the magazine. "And, you know, I came to hang out with the writers." She motioned with her hand to the table next to ours.
I thought for sure someone was going to beat me up. I began drinking faster, if that were at all possible.
Finally the contest winners were called over to meet the band. This was the part that I was dreading all along. I liked the idea of Guided By Bob a lot. I definitely liked the free shit I was going to get, and I've certainly enjoyed telling people about the upcoming event. But being presented as some sort of "super fan" - well, that's just not accurate. I don't know any of the names of their albums (to be fair, I'm horrible with titles of any sort - books, movies, albums alike), but I do know that I like their live shows a lot. What I'm trying to say is, I'm not exactly groupie material.
So everyone stood around awkwardly for a while. The tube tops admitted to me, in hushed voices, their love for Nate Farley, Cat's favorite boy. I thought maybe there might be some trouble. I noticed how pale those band boys looked. If they don't die young, I don't know who will. I also thought to myself, if these guys weren't in a band, there would be no way they'd be getting laid.
I decided to start talking to other contest winners, who were all boys. The boys didn't like me as much as the tube tops. Hell, I didn't like me as much as I liked the tube tops. They were much friendlier and happier and willing to take a requisite amount of shit to get what they wanted. I admired their ambition. They were out to get themselves a band member tonight. They were on fire.
Finally the tour started, and I began taking notes. I noticed another girl taking notes. She had pretty artsy girl glasses that she hung off of her lace belt, which was wrapped around a pink light-as-a feather dress. She wore her curly hair up and loose. She took shorthand notes, like a real writer. I write chunks and bits, but complete sentences for the most part, otherwise I'll forget things. I'm so not a real writer, I swear. Later, two of the other contest winners yelled at me for taking notes. I say to those two, fuck you and the smoke you blew in my face.
Eventually everyone started taking pictures of the band guys because the tour itself kind of sucked. The guy leading it, Sam, was drinking throughout the entire tour. Bob said nothing funny. It became this weird, like, camera free-for-all. I think I wrote a couple of funny things down, but mostly I tried to drink more. What can you say, really?
Mercifully, the tour ended quickly (Sam: "OK, well any questions? They told me to keep this brief."), and we went back outside. I ended up talking to the drummer and his girlfriend about Ireland for a while. They were pretty cool. I told them the Guinness tour was way better. They had one of those Disney animatron show things about the history of Guinness. They seemed excited, because they were going to Ireland soon on tour. I liked them the best.
That moment was probably what the event was supposed to be about, I think, but with all the flashing lights and notebooks (I condemn myself as well here), it was a little bit too much of a circus. Surreal? Yes. A good story? Perhaps. Fun? Well, the beer was pretty good.
Speaking of beer, did I mention that all of the Brooklyn Weisse I had been consuming for two hours was kicking my ass? I had a little edge on, I have to say. I was, perhaps, a little feisty. I saw Catherine standing by the band, camera in hand. I went over and pulled her two favorites and pretended like I was in charge or something.
"Hey guys, why don't you take a picture with the contest winner? Come on, yea, that's right."
As if they should listen to me.
And before you knew it, the double kiss pic had happened. Dreams really do come true after all. My work was done.
A few minutes later, Christy hustled us to the door to get into the waiting cars, which would take us to the show. We saw the tube tops sitting in a car, so we said, "Hey, is there room for us?" Two of the other contest winners walked up behind us and said abruptly, "No there isn't. We're riding with them."
In case you were wondering, chivalry is dead.
Whatever. I mean that was just so fucking rude I couldn't stand it. The girls were cute and all, and they were definitely much more open to a good time, but we were just trying to catch a ride, yo. Shitty, shitty, behavior, guys.
So we got in the car with Christy and met her friend, a guy who does some writing for MTV. I told her about what happened. "The other contest winners suck," I said. I didn't think the tube top girls really sucked, they were just doing the thing they were put on this earth to do. But the guys, wow, they were not very nice at all. Christy spent some time soothing me. I love marketing manager chicks from indie rock labels. They're the best.
We headed to Irving Plaza, and directly to the bathroom. We saw the writer girl from the beer tour, sitting outside the bathroom. I asked her who her employer was.
"I'm hoping this will be a 'Talk of the Town' piece for The New Yorker," she said.
So we chatted for a bit until Cat came out from the bathroom, and then she started interviewing Cat, and I was drunk, then I remembered Cat was drunk so I pulled her away and said, "You don't want to talk to the press right now, you can't trust the journalists!" Which is so true. Because plenty of times I've written things I shouldn't have just because I could. Fortunately I write for pissant websites that no one reads, but that New Yorker writer had Cat's first and last names, and no one needs to mess with that stuff.
We finally ensconced ourselves in the VIP area. The others had already arrived, and had taken the best seats in the area, right on the edge of the balcony. The boys had arranged a protective shield around the tube tops. Enough, I thought to myself. I am too old to be a contest winner.
I saw Christy's friend, the writer, sitting against the back wall, too. I asked if I could join him. He was all right. Smart and funny and tall. I am a sucker for a tall boy. I missed most of the show because we went to the back bar on the second floor and talked for a while. He told me he liked my anger. By then, after the beer, awkwardness, ego bruising, and general surreal quality of the evening, there was enough anger to last me till fall. I like anger too. It reminds me I'm still alive.
Christy would come by and say hi every so often. It must be nice to have a job where you're required to be charming and drink with people. She told me that she used to live in city, and now she lives in Brooklyn. She's never been happier in her entire life. She's good people.
After a while we decided to get out of there and retire to my terrace for a nightcap of watching people fighting outside of Spa. I wormed my way to the front of the stage, where I saw Cat dancing her ass off. I'm guessing she was extremely happy she wore her gym shoes. I grabbed my keys and wallet from her bag, hugged her and thanked her, and took off.
Later on he told me that he likes to write songs about his cat.