Here are the ten nominees for the "2010 Asshole of the Year." The winner becomes the first nominee for the "Asshole of the Decade." Voting will be available until Valentines Day, so you have time to think about it. If you think I am an asshole for writing this, you can vote for me as well.
Here is how the voting works. Rate the top three assholes in order. Number one gets three points, number two gets two points, and number three gets one point. You can post your vote in the comments section here, or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll post the winner in mid February.
1. Craigslist MGMT Ticket Purchaser
If you haven't read The Cog before, you might not know that I usually buy an extra ticket or four to sold out shows, for either a date, or my lazy friends. I sell any unused tickets for face value (or face + fees if I paid the fees). After seeing MGMT at Sasquatch, and having a five day hangover, I wasn't interested in going again (even though they were pretty good live). Therefore, I sold two tickets for face + fees, to a nameless dude for $40 each.
He called me two hours later, accusing me of selling him fake tickets, and asking for a receipt (like anyone saves their receipts?). He said his friends bought tickets for $90 each, and were given a (fake) receipt, therefore my discounted rate was fake. You know where I fucking live, if the tickets were fake, you know where to find me.
The conversation was more about me defending the legitimacy of the tickets, so it never got to the point where he asked for his money back. I wasn't going to buy back the tickets anyway, because if he was that convinced the tickets were fake, he wasn't showing up alone. I know I can take you, but I'm not interested in getting jumped by your frat brothers. Fuck you, asshole.
2. Bored Friends Wanting To Leave (Zappa Plays Zappa)
I was standing near a man at least 20 years older than myself who was extremely into the show, pumping his fists, howling, and generally having a blast. It was rather apparent he was intoxicated, but he wasn't being annoying. Then one of his friends approached him (45 minutes into a nearly three hour show), and asked, "Can we go now?" Spazz (I like to refer to him as Spazz) replies, "wait, listen to this song, hold on." There were attempts over the next 25 minutes by other friends trying to get him to leave, including one friend trying to physically remove him from the show. Spazz replied, "hands off," while giving a spazzed-out evil glare, quickly followed by his head turning back to watch the stage (with a huge grin). The next person to greet Spazz was a security guard, which led to this exchange:
Security: "You can't stand here, come with me."
Spazz: "Why, I didn't do anything wrong?"
Security: "You're cut off."
Spazz: "Cut off, I'm not even drinking?" (He wasn't drinking)
Security: (Pause) "You, just, uh, can't be here right now."
Spazz: "You're cutting me off from Zappa? I'm getting cut off from Zappa?"
Security: (gears grinding, light bulb turns on) "You're too drunk to be here, come stand over here (in the under 21 section)."
Normally, this wouldn't be a huge deal, but the under 21 section was very tiny, and jammed in the back corner of the venue, near the entrance, behind a pole. He stood there for a couple minutes fuming, and straining his neck to see the stage. Five minutes later, he was gone. The show lasted another 90 minutes.
It was obvious to me the friends provoked the security guard, to get Spazz to leave. Otherwise, there was no reason for them to single him out. Shoot, I was probably as intoxicated as Spazz, and I had a beer in hand. Why was getting your friend to leave with you that important anyway? He was having fun, and could have taken a cab home, right? Asshole move.
3. Drunk Backpacker Dude Falling Down (Neil Young)
Tickets were about $75 per. Neil Young was playing a solo show, wandering around stage, playing various pianos, guitars, and other instruments. After three songs, drunken backpacker dude wanders in with his date, and screams "hell yeah." No big deal, I appreciate fans who are overly enthusiastic.
After they were seated, he decided he needed to use the facilities. He came back, and routinely fell down trying to get back to his seats. Security eventually escorted him out, while his date followed. He wasn't even fighting it, he was appreciative they were helping him walk.
They spent $150 on tickets, and saw two songs. I hope the girl he was with was actually his wife, or serious girlfriend, otherwise, that's a pretty shitty date. Do you really need to get that fucked up before a show? What a waste, and the show was pretty much amazing. Asshole.
4. Lawn Chair Camper (Bob Dylan/John Mellencamp)
So you show up early for a show at Edgefield, you are one of the first people there, and maybe you waited in line for a long time. Congratulations, I hope you get a great view for the show. Just understand this, people stand in front of the stage. Knowing this phenomena occurs, plan on where you should place your armada of chairs and blankets. For example, if you place your gear within ten feet of the stage, you are an idiot, and you deserve to have your gear trampled. I would recommend staying at least 50 feet away from the stage, maybe more. I'm talking to you older woman who decided her empty chairs and blankets belong six feet from the stage, while continually telling people, "Don't move those."
I was standing in front of one of her empty chairs, close enough to Mr. Dylan that I could have hit him with a baseball nine out of ten times. I could almost touch the front rail, yet halfway through the show, I have someone slapping the back of my legs, wanting me to move out of their way so they could sit down. Guess what, I'm taller than you anyway, so even standing, you won't see the stage. Next time, try not to section off a 40 square foot area right in front of the stage for you and your three friends. I hope you had a great view for the first opening band.
A lot of places allowing lawn chairs have a "No Lawn chairs Past This Point," sign. It's probably Edgefield's fault for not having this signage. I don't hate you pretty old lady, you just made a really bad mistake. I hope pretty old ladies read this, and learn from your mistake. You're still an asshole for doing it.
5. Jade (Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros)
Remember those airline commercials, "Want To Get Away?" Remember the rapper who thanked Detroit, when he was in Chicago, leading to crowd silence, and his compadre saying, "Detroit was last night?" Well, during the rambling part of their biggest hit, "Home," the song 90% of the crowd was there to see, Jade thanked Eugene (the show was in Portland). Awkwardness ensued. Edward immediately corrected her, then tried to play it off by telling stories about how cool Portland is, and how they rode bikes around town all day. Nice try, "A" for effort.
Honestly, the crowd barely noticed. I didn't hear one person boo. There wasn't even a noticeable drop in crowd volume. Watching Jade's "I'm giggling to cover up being really embarrassed and wanting to cry," laughter was painful, and it lasted a good ten minutes. Her goof was bad, but her reaction was extremely awkward. I still feel uncomfortable talking about it (the reaction, that is).
6. Wonder Ballroom Entry Staff (Day 1, MusicfestNW)
Can you believe a venue could turn away half the paying customers when the doors opened? It happened.
I showed up early to day 1 of MusicFestNW to guarantee entrance. The line was pretty short, only about 20 people when I arrived. After waiting for 25 minutes, the Wonder Ballroom staff came out and notified everyone that entry with a white (general) MusicFestNW wristband would not be allowed. One now ex-patron asked, "Since when?" Her reply was, "It's always been like that." How could I have blatantly misread the MusicFestNW website and overlook this rule?
Since there were less than 100 people when they told us to leave, and the show didn't start for an hour, I took off on foot heading downtown to Jackpot records to get the free ticket allowing me entrance. I left my car at home knowing I was going to be drinking, so my options getting there and back were limited. Long story short, it took me a little over an hour to get downtown and back, free Jackpot Records ticket in hand. Upon re-entry, I noticed they were allowing people in with white wristbands. I asked why I was turned away, and was belligerently told, "There was confusion earlier."
Look, I respect the fact you choose to employ workers who are mentally challenged, I even find it admirable to give them such an opportunity (Wal-Mart door greeters come to mind, bless their hearts). But allowing these same mentally challenged employees to decide who is allowed in is ludicrous. The people who paid for the wristband and showed up early were turned away. The people who picked up a free ticket at Jackpot Records were allowed in. Assholes.
7. Wonder Ballroom RE-Entry Staff (Day 1, MusicfestNW)
It's not over. The concept of a stamp at a concert is not new. Typically, when your ticket is torn or scanned, you are offered a stamp, which allows you re-entry. I wanted to catch some fresh air after the first act, so I asked the stamp guy near the entrance inside, "Does this stamp get me back in?" He assured me it did. I was being safe, you know, there could have been 8,000 people waiting in line outside.
Ten minutes later, I walk up to the entrance, flash my stamp, and was pointed to the end of the line. I said, "really, I asked the guy up there before I left, he said the stamp guarantees re-entry. "Well I guess you got lucky then," was the reply, (referring to the lack of line). Yes , luck was definitely on my side this afternoon.
Dude, I get it, you've worked hard in your life to put yourself in a position where you can work the front door of a venue, and be prick to patrons. It boosts your low self esteem, and makes you feel empowered. Since the line ended up being empty, you basically told me to walk 40 feet away from the front door, around a couple people smoking cigarettes by a tree, and back the same 40 feet to get in. Why not just let me the fuck in because I have a stamp, and a wristband. Asshole.
8. The Black Keys
Who doesn't think playing the same show back to back nights in the same city is lame? Many of you might say, "You are lucky to even have seen them two nights in a row." Sure, I do feel privileged (smart enough) to have bought tickets before they sold out, but literally everyone I have talked to about this thinks playing the same show is bullshit. No matter what you think of my views, or music in general, you are wrong if you think this act is acceptable. If you want more of my opinion of the bullshit I encountered, here is my review of the first two shows.
And for good measures, they played the exact same show two months later, only without the cool light show. No grudge, I don't hold grudges, it's worse than that. I no longer respect this band. In fact, fuck you, assholes.
9. Wonder Ballroom Front Stage Security (Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros)
Near the end of the show, Edward Sharpe asked the crowd to sit on the floor while they played the acoustic song, "Brother." I never liked the tune, but that moment was pretty cool, especially since everyone on the under 21 side actually sat down (no spilled beer over there). The only person who remained standing (on the under 21 side) was the security guard in front of the stage. Even Edward Sharpe was sitting, and the security guard was standing right in front of him, angled toward the under 21 side. I'm sure the people on the drinking side could see Edward fine, but that security guard blocked the view of at least 64% of the people on the non-drinking side. Was he afraid a bunch of people sitting down were going to attack him, when the other half of the venue was filled with belligerent drunks? Couldn't he crouch, or do something to get the fuck out of the way? Asshole.
10. Craigslist Cake Ticket Seller
I mentioned earlier I tend to have extra tickets for sold out shows. Cake tickets were already really expensive, $41 before the rape charges, so I didn't buy extras. I underestimated Cake's draw. They sold out quickly. A last minute change of plans left me entertaining an out-of-town guest that night, so I needed an extra ticket. I posted a Craigslist add, with the phrase "Karma" in the title. In the body, I included a couple links to this blog where I was selling tickets for face or under, asking if anyone was willing to return the favor (shameless, I know, but fuck it, I wasn't actually expecting a response).
I got a reply really quick, offering me a ticket for face value, which was actually $9 over face, but whatever. I replied with my contact information, inquiring when we could exchange the goods. She then replied, "Sorry, the ticket is sold." The entire exchange took place in less than two hours after I posted the add.
I'm guessing she also posted a "for sale," add, which is why she agreed to sell the tickets to someone else. Why the fuck would you reply to a "Looking For Some Ticket Karma," add when your intention is to sell to the first reply? Oh well, I was only pissed off for about three seconds, it's a Craigslist fucker, almost everyone on Craigslist is an asshole until you meet them. She wouldn't have made the cut for "Asshole of the Year," had she not sent me another email the next day, "Ticket is sold."
Hey asshole, I got your first email reply, I chose to ignore it. Thanks for rubbing it in. Guess what? Scalpers comb Craigslist all day looking for people like you nice enough to sell a ticket at a reasonable price, then they re-sell the ticket for twice that rate. You had a guaranteed legit buyer, and you sold to a scalper instead, because they were first to respond. If you post a "Nanny Wanted," add, and the first three replies are people who were just released from prison, do you tell the retired kindergarten teacher, "Sorry, Butch was the first to reply, good luck." I probably bought your ticket from the same scalper, but for an extra $25. Fuck you.
Ahhhh, I feel much better. Now I won't have to kick animals, trip old people, or flick cigarettes at baby strollers to relieve my tension. Of the above nominees, who is the biggest asshole (vote for me)?