And Myles to Go Before We Sleep

So, it’s bores again, did we?

A particularly fine-fettled specimen of the bore, who can easily be found in the used clothing and liquor-dispensing sectors of our cluttered metropoli, is The Man Who Saw Them Before They Sold Out. Surely you have seen him, in his all-too-well-fitting pants and his courderoy jacketage and his hey-man-can-I-bum-a-square, lurking around the backways of your local pop music venues. He is always in the rear, not because he gets there late (nay, far from it, he is the first one to arrive, for what else has he got to do but set up his digital bootlegging kit? And yet at the club six hours, he only buys two drinks, one a Coca-Cola you can be sure of it), but because he wants to corral the latecomers like yourself into self-glorifying ‘conversation’. Shambling up to you and catching your attention — you give it to him, of course, you weak-willed bog toad — with a raised waggle of his duelling-caterpillar eyebrows, he makes some chit-chat about the last time he ran into you (surely you remember it, because you were twenty bones short after) and then launches into his act. It’s not the one you paid to see, but boy are you going to get it just the same.

“So, you’re hear to see the Packets of Causation?”

He’s left you an easy out, of course — he knows that’s what you’re here for, because they are after all the headlining combo this fair even and it’s rather doubtful that you’ve come all this way and paid the man at the door with the tattooed neck two hour’s wages just for the sake of using the grotty restroom. So he’s given you an ideal chance to short-circuit his awful line of chatter by an appropriately nasty response, such as “Oh, no, I’m moonlighting for the Health Department, don’t you know, old top, I’m only here to check the recharge dates on the fire extinguishers and then I’m off.” But you lack courage. You are a spineless thing and you hate yourself for it. You are his discounted meat. You do what you know you mustn’t, but daren’t not: you answer him straightforwardly.

“Yes. Yes, I’m pretty excited to see them. Aren’t you?”

Oh, pitiful slug of a man! You have not only given him the rope to hang you, you’ve tied the knot and slipped it ’round your own neck. He scarcely needs any prompting from this point on.

“Oh, I suppose, yeah.” He leaves you with a moment to contemplate, just as if he isn’t going to tell you himself, why it is a man would pony up some of the dear singles in his Velcro’d wallet to come and see a band he hasn’t any enthusiasm for. After a seemingly endless pause in which he waves his hand back and forth like a feeble crab-claw, a spastic gesture which you (damn you!) correctly interpret as evidence that he would be more forthcoming were he to have one of your cigarettes between his callused digits, he goes on.

“Of course I saw them back when they was only local.”

Now, you know for a fact that this shameless cad has lived his entire life in a dank, mold-green basement apartment not a mile from this very spot, the better to save on bus fare. The last time he left town was to attend the funeral services of a distant relative he vainly hoped had left him some money in the will so he could purchase a limited release heavy vinyl version of a song he already has in six other formats and never listens to. He no more saw these lads, hailing as they do from some distant colonial clime, when they were in the rock and roll equivalent of short pants than he did service in the Crimean War. And yet you feel the question welling up in your heart (curse the sentimental pumper, so inferior in its judgments to the brain, the guts and the feet), and sure enow it’s popped out of your gob: “Did you? How were they then?”

At this point he has no further need for you. You are a mere abstraction at this point, nothing but an accomodating set of ears to gracefully receive his standard line of blather. Oh aye they were so much better then, when they only knew two chords and hadn’t sold out for a nice haircut and brakes that work, don’t you know. Sure and they were a lot better when “Chan” played bass for them, or whatever fantasmic nonentity he has invented as the one former unit of utterly dispensable personnel whose departure unquestionably ruined their sound forever. The stories he could tell about seeing them headlining at the Sawed-Off Bar way back in that curiously unspecified point in the not-too-decent past! In fact, he will tell them all, right then and there, and you, you enabler, you vile facilitator, complicit as you are in his crimes, will have to sit there and take it until about five seconds prior to when the lads in question blare out the first note of their set, at which point he will pull the trigger:

“Yeah, it’s a fool who’d pay to see them nowadays.”

There is no way to avoid this species of bore that is not defined as a capital offense in all states of the grand old union, and yet somedays murder must out, because elseways he will spot his good chum The Man Who Always Gets Comped, and then my friend you’re well and truly ruint.


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