Our trusty Macintosh iBook was stolen from T2F on Sunday 3rd August 2008, during a music performance. This is the Mac that used to sit in the niche amongst all the books and was used by scores of people to check mail, update Facebook, and find guitar tabs. Now she’s gone 🙁
The laptop was a 12″ white iBook with a G4 processor, 2 hard disk partitions – one of which was called “The Song Spinner”, and a slightly messed up video display. Please keep your eyes and ears open and alert us if you come across it.
I am hideously finicky about my music. A snob even. I cringe when people say they like all kinds of music and will listen to “any and everything”. UGH. I despise country music and Michael Bolton. Well, apart from that one song on my iPod. How else would the term “guilty pleasure” mean anything if all I had on my iPod was Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd and Eric Clapton and The Gutter Brothers and the HAIR soundtrack, and Blood, Sweat and Tears, and The Beatles and Liza Minelli and Dizzy Gillespie and …
So, ever since T2F opened its doors to the people, on May 15th 2007, we’ve had over 110 events. All of them, apart from the music gigs, have been carefully orchestrated by PeaceNiche board members and if any of them were boring, tedious, or not so well done … we take full responsibility. The music events, however, are an altogether different story. We’ve arranged a couple, or maybe 4, and they kicked ass. The rest have been mediocre at best and utterly dreadful at worst. No, I am not naming names!
After every crappy performance, one PeaceNiche board member or another challenges my decision to allow bands to perform without first checking them out.
Here are my reasons:
1. Music is subjective. Not everyone likes what we like.
2. T2F is a platform for creative expression. “Kids wanna rock” and they need places to jam. T2F is an ideal venue for them to do so and who are we to get in the way?
3. Some of the world’s finest musicians were discovered at cafés. I live in eternal hope.
A few Fridays ago, I got a phone call from some fellow who said he wanted to do a performance at T2F on a Sunday evening. 5 bands. The warning signs were there but I was pre-occupied … shifting house, planning the next set of events at T2F, accounts, fund-raising, design projects, etc.
I thought to myself, T2F is a community space that was set up for the people. We’ve done so many events, surely one can happen without my explicit involvement. I can’t micro-manage forever. The kid sounds enthusiastic. They need places to play. Blah, blah, blah. Terms and conditions were discussed and the show was scheduled. Not as a T2F event, but a music gig that took place at T2F.
I didn’t go – because I couldn’t – for a number of logistical reasons.
Sunday Night – 10:00 pm: I was informed by a staff member that a fight had broken out amongst the bands, that they were way over schedule, and had not been able to muster up the requisite funds to pay for the space.
Sunday night – 11:30 pm: I was informed by a volunteer that our Mac laptop had been stolen whilst our staff was trying to get the abusive, bratty, quarreling kids from Lyceum out of T2F.
Losing the Mac has been a bitter experience. That computer sat in its little niche for over a year, serving up Facebook, e-mail, Google searches, and countless websites to many a customer. Now there’s nothing there and it makes me mad when I look at that shelf.
2. Be selective
3. Interview and audition
The actions of a few idiots will not ruin T2F’s vibe, culture, and philosophy. We will just be more careful.
While “screening” will take place from now on as far as bands are concerned, the issue of “quality” still remains. If I, or other board members, have to “like” everything, no one will get through and there will be hardly any music performances at T2F. Because, quite honestly, most bands suck. All they sing are covers of Vital Signs and Junoon and doofus newbie gora bands. Their original compositions are even scarier.
One line of thinking, like I mentioned above, is that we have to let emerging bands perform in public. An alternative view, and one that I am leaning towards, especially after having been pushed against a wall, is that if we don’t demand that the bar be raised, it never will be.
We don’t want to be remembered for having inflicted baysura, mundane rubbish on unsuspecting listeners. Anyway, like most other stuff, this is a process. It’ll get figured out. For now, I think we’ll steer clear of music performances for a while until we arrive at some reasonable conclusions.
Part 2 of this post, i.e. Lament, was also posted on Facebook. A young man named Ali Waqar commented “Let’s all contribute and buy a new Mac”. Yahya Hussain, a T2F volunteer, immediately took responsibility and started a fund. We have now raised Rs. 17,300. A few more thousands and we’ll reach our target. A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who has contributed. You guys rock.
A couple of people have come with an interesting idea for future jam sessions at T2F. Hopefully, they will follow up and make it real!