Thursday, February 09, 2006

2006 Birthday Bender Pt 1

Last Thursday marked the start of the three-day birthday bender. I am somewhat hesitant to write this up at the moment because I am receiving some heavy traffic in relation to last year’s SxSW five-day bender. The birthday bender pales in comparison to the SxSW one, and to anyone who found my writing by way of googling “SxSW booze alcohol free party shit-on-foot”, there may appear to be an inordinate number of benders represented, digitally, here.

But, fuck it. I said I’d write it out, and so it shall be done.

So, Thursday it all began. The first Thursday of each month here in Austin is odd cause for celebration on South Congress. Makes no difference who started the thing. It has become an institution here.

The thing about “First Thursday” for me, is that five years back it was more rag-tag. And I prefer it that way. The stores would have kegs of beer, or bottles of wine, and if you wandered in, they’d just hand you a glass. Bands would play in the street or in a back-patio of some fucked-up little curio shop. It was hokey. It was a bit confused.

It had free beer.

Nowadays, it has become another festival-type thing where the blatant focus is on selling people shit. All festivals are designed to make money. On the inside, everyone realizes that currency is the point of the thing. If they run the red, they disappear because no one is willing to pay for the good time of strangers. That’s how the evil wheels of capitalism roll. But no one likes it to be written all on the OUTSIDE of the event. At least make an effort to give the thing a haze of altruism.

If our current presidency can pull this trick off, so can a clutch of merchants. I mean, fuck.

First Thursday is no different. In the beginning the businesses on Congress were hungry, and willing to make sacrifices for the sake of community approval and the promise of better foot traffic in years to come. So they busted out the free booze, called up their friends in bands, set up some basic sound systems, passed out fliers, kissed stranger’s babies, and kapow. A few years later, they get a regular festival going on the first of every month to drum up some community business.

Too bad those pioneers did such a good job. So good that after they worked so hard to clean up South Congress’s reputation, they got shoo’d off by less community-interested businesses. Businesses that took advantage of all the groundwork lain down by those they replaced, but didn’t feel the need to bother continuing the spirit. Why try? All those asshole consumers are going to show up anyway, right? Right. Fuck it.

There’s no more free beer, and other than the music in the patio outside of Guero’s, there’s very little going on that’s free. Some side shows here and there, some makeshift “galleries”, and perhaps that same no-tooth dude from 7th and Congress has wandered down with his guitar to sing some shit I can never understand. But they’re all there for money, because culture, even if half-assed, ain’t free.

Regardless, Brother Nick and I made sure to start things off right with some beer and tequila shots.

I have no idea why tequila rang true as a good idea, because it never is, unless you’re requesting it from a firing squad. Nothing good ever comes of tequila. Just headaches, lost teeth, auto insurance claims, and unwanted pregnancies. That’s all tequila has to offer anyone. Life disruption and horrific discomfort.

So we had to have some…


Anonymous said...

what do "a clutch of merchants" and "a flock of Seagulls" have in common??

though they both may reside in the periphery of your druken concious, never look at them directly, uless you like poop in your hair.

Truecraig said...

Amen brother. A-fuckin'-men.