Let me preface this entry by saying that I am not the biggest fan of the concept known as “nightlife.” I’d rather be home with some tea and crumpets than sitting in a too-high stool in some random bar, being accosted by random strangers and listening to music that I do not like, but somehow I must be obligated to hear simply because I am there, and the people playing it are under the delusion that they are doing me a service by continuing to beat “rhythmically” on the descendant of the hide drums used by Homo Habilis. Completely maddening.
However, when the time came for me to actually go to one of these said bars (and may I add, against my will) I decided to might as well skip the long trip to that one popular place in south that everyone talks about and go to this newly built “entertainment” centers, a few blocks away from my residence.
Setting aside how much PDA was there in said area (absolutely no sense of decorum whatsoever!), I decided to pick this one place where they had this random band (for the life of me that I cannot remember, and likely never will,) since it seemed to be the noisiest and most obnoxious of the lot. If I am doing this, I might as well do it thoroughly as to build up an excuse not to such kinds of things ever again.
The performance itself was on an upper floor, thus forcing me to walk unnecessarily up stairs, where as I was promptly overwhelmed by the combined scents of cigar, beer, and god knows what else. After ordering a beer I suspected I would never drink and picking a nice, safe (if albeit dark and seemingly dangerous) corner to sit down in, and started looking around.
The place was enclosed, dark except for the stage lights trained on the next performance. I suppose this was out of practicality more than anything else, but I shudder at the thought of dropping a sixpence on the floor or my handkerchief and groping about it in the dark. Of course, the tables are all round, thus giving the impression of a “communal” place where in fact it seemed to merely promote clichés, like that ridiculously cheerful musical about high school. It didn’t help that it was a glass room, so I remember shuddering at the thought of a loud burst of sound to shatter them all around us, thus rendering my night even more ruined than it already was.
As for the people… they were a mixed lot. Some of them, I assumed, were regulars who frequented this kind of place. Others were probably some of the performers’ friends, either genuinely interested or emotionally blackmailed into going here. And a few seemed to be staring blankly at the stage or into space, a bottle in their hand and several more in front of them. I sighed delicately and looked at my own beer- no offense to beer drinkers, but it looked so much like pee that I poured it out on the conveniently placed plant beside me.
Finally, the performance began. After introductions of this and that, and a few rounds of (I suspect drunken) applause, the band in question began their set. A few minutes into the first song and I already knew I would not appreciate the rest of their repertoire (Wonderwall? Really?), and so proceeded to observe everyone else instead, as to salvage something from this already sinking ship of social circles.
My first question is why do these kinds of things exist? Certainly I would have preferred a good game of whist, bridge, or any good card game- which I know I would win, incidentally- than this piece of horseradish. Was it for exposure? Maybe. I personally didn’t believe that the next Beatles would come from a place like this (or anything remotely better than Justine Bieber or those five effeminate boys… who were they again? One Way?), but hope springs eternal after all, and who would I be to judge that? My tastes were different, after all, and I suppose that such an establishment- indeed, even the entire institution of those things was the clientele of tastes different from mine.
My next thought was the people who were playing on stage. Why would they go, do, or otherwise participate in such matters or things? Was it spite? Was it a form of very late teenage rebellion? An expression of disgust with society? Subliminal messaging? Secret acts of anarchy? I wasn’t really sure, until I examined the faces of the band after each song was made. Certainly, they were tired, sweaty, and in one case extremely bloodshot (easy on the drink, perhaps?). But there was that little gleam in their eye, that smile of satisfaction after each song was played, and I began to realize that they actually enjoyed what they were doing. As unbelievable as it seemed to me, these people truly loved (or were under the delusion that they were, I’m not being too nice here,) what they were doing. It was like having their brand of methamphetamine, to complete the metaphor.
And as for the people, well, I can’t really say. Perhaps some of them actually like going to places like this. Perhaps some of them simply needed a place to kill some time. Perhaps a few of them only needed a beer, and an excusable place to drink. There could have been some spies in that very room and I probably didn’t notice.
Seeing as I had probably gotten all I need from the place, I put on my coat and walked out. Glancing back at the place in question, I somehow formulated an answer as to why this kind of thing exists today. Like every hand in every card game isn’t always the same, so are people. I suppose the reason why I questioned its existence in the first place that it wasn’t my hand of cards- I was just different.
However, I always cheat at card games. Chuckling, I turned my back on it and went to have coffee.
SA 21 Q 111409