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January 4th, 2006 12:00 am MARK BAUMGARTEN | Riff City

Barfly On The Wall

Real Portlanders talking about real things at real clubs.


Cartmanesque (unrelenting)

Woman (uninterested)

The Brit (unfazed)


The patio of the Doug Fir Lounge, Dec. 28, 2005, at 10:30 pm. A man in his late 20s, who speaks like an older and perhaps slightly drunk Eric Cartman of South Park fame, is sitting on a patio chair and smoking a cigarette. The music of the Binary Dolls pulses through the concrete below his feet. A woman in the seat next to him lights a cigarette.

Cartmanesque: Isn't this the coolest place in Portland?

Woman: Well, I don't know about the coolest, but it's definitely cool.

Cartmanesque: Yeah, I guess nothing can be the coolest, but this place definitely has the look.

Woman: Mmm hmm.

Five minutes of silence pass. The woman finishes her cigarette and leaves. A man in his early 30s approaches and sits in the empty seat. He lights a cigarette. The man speaks with a British accent.

Cartmanesque: There's someone sitting there.

The Brit: Oh, I'm sorry.

Cartmanesque: Nah. I'm just kiddin'.

The Brit: Oh.

Cartmanesque: You here for the music downstairs?

The Brit: No. Are you?

Cartmanesque: No, but I sure can hear it. Do you play music?

The Brit: Yeah.

Cartmanesque: Me too. I'm a singer.

The Brit: Oh?

Cartmanesque: Yeah ... Doesn't it seem like there are a lot of metal bands in this town?

The Brit: Ah, yeah. Well, there are a lot of great guitar players here.

Cartmanesque: No—not just the guitarists. I mean, there are a lot of metal bands in this town. A lot of guys who are just going up there and screaming their heads off.

The Brit: Well, there aren't many good singers in this town.

Cartmanesque: You think?

The Brit: A good singer makes the band. Take Bob Dylan. I just can't listen to him with that voice.

Cartmanesque: Oh, I know.

The Brit: But Jeff Buckley. He had a voice.

Cartmanesque: Definitely. Are you a singer?

The Brit: No. I'm more of a writer.

Cartmanesque: Cool, cool. A writer. Yeah....

The Brit: But there aren't many good singers in the world.

Cartmanesque: Well, what if there are, but they just don't have the balls to get up there in front of people and do it?

The Brit: That doesn't mean that will add up to anything. A great band requires five things: youth, charisma, exhibitionism, talent and flair. Some bands have a couple of those things, but only a few have them all. So, where does your band play?

Cartmanesque: Well, we don't really play out right now. We're recording a demo before we start playing out. But, man, am I sick of rehearsing. I just want to record and sing in front of a crowd of people.

The Brit: Yeah?

Cartmanesque: Yeah. But you gotta put your time in, right?

The Brit: Right.

Cartmanesque: You gotta treat it like work. Like it's a job, 'cause it is.

The Brit: Well, I don't know about that. You're supposed to be having fun too.

Cartmanesque: Fun—is that what it's supposed to be about? I guess, if you're working with people you like.

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