Beer and Pavement

Decisions, Decisions

Posted in Challenge, Life, Live, Pavement by SM on June 30, 2010

So, this is happening1.

Basically every band I listened to in college (and many since) are getting together for one special weekend in Vegas. Matador, one of my all-time favorite labels, is throwing their 21st birthday bash in Sin City featuring – among others – Pavement, Guided By Voices, Sonic Youth, Belle and Sebastian, Spoon, Yo La Tengo, Cat Power, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, The New Pornographers, Superchunk, Chavez, and many more yet-to-be-announced acts. I’m sure those still to be confirmed could include a reunited Helium, Liz Phair doing Exile in Guyville in its entirety, and maybe even a Sleater-Kinney2 or a Lou Reed3. Whoever fills the final bill, it will surely be one of the most amazing weekends ever for those perpetually stuck in ’90’s indie rock nostalgia4.

Now comes the decision part. Seems easy, right? Find a way to go, never regret it. Well, not so fast.

I already booked my trip to Pitchfork in Chicago in a couple of weeks5. That’s a three-day pass, train ride, and hotel stay over a long weekend that might not afford me another getaway this year. Besides the cost, there are things called “familial responsibilities” and a “job” to consider. Can I really leave my family for yet another long weekend for rock ‘n roll indulgence? Is it fair to my partner or child? Am I slacking on my work responsibilities?6

So much childcare already falls on my partner. Is it cool that I just take off for a weekend of rock shows while she’s stuck at home, alone with a two-year-old? What message does that send to my daughter that Daddy takes off for weekends at a time whenever he wishes? What about a family vacation, something we have yet to do7?

My job is another issue. I work with schools. This trip would easily require me to take two days off at maybe the busiest time of year. Am I doing a disservice to my employer and my clients by taking off at such an important time?

And back to the cost. Doing some estimates with my cousin, it’s looking like a $500-$700 trip before the tickets. After Pitchfork and all the beer and records I’ve purchased (or have committed to purchasing), my bank account is starting to dry up. I’m just ahead of my credit card, but that could shift if I fall behind at any point, easy to do with a trip coming up.

I figure I’ll have to make a few sacrifices to make this trip happen. First, there will have to be a promise that our family will travel. I’m proposing a trip to wine country over the winter holiday. My partner has always wanted to go back to that part of California and it would be a legitimate chance to get away. It may cost me more money in the long run, but it might be worth it for the sake of the familial unit8.

Work? Well, I have the days. It will be fine.

Money is a bigger issue, but I have that figured out as well. With my cellar filling up as I type this, I won’t really be in that much need of beer. I could still have a beer here and there, but the mid-week beer with dinner would stop. I would cease to buy beers just because they’re in the stores and not in my cellar. The craft beer aspect of this blog would suffer9 , but it would be in the name of the ultimate concert experience. I would surely make it up with an epic tale of indie rock excellence like no one has seen before10 .

That leads me to the payoff. I would actually put my money toward one tangible thing and not spend it willy-nilly11. My liver would surely recover as I could imagine my beer consumption to drop incredibly12. The number of records delivered to my front door would also drop, but this would allow me to appreciate the new music I am able to consume and let some of the faddish stuff pass on by13.

There really is only one choice. I just have to make it work. A slip up in finances or an inability to make a cohesive argument to my partner14 could cripple the plan before it’s hatched. It will take careful planning and persistence, but I think I’m up to the task.

Stay tuned. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Update: I have the green light. Right now, I’m just trying to figure out the details. Tickets, rooms, etc. If I write more about it, it will mean I was lucky enough to land some tickets.

1Which I basically knew once this article hit my Google Alert.
2They’re on Matador’s Euro label and have hinted at a reunion themselves.
3Reed has one release with the label.
4Which describes me perfectly. The funny thing is that I’ve seen almost all the bands mentioned so far. So, you’d think that seeing them in their primes would be enough. Apparently not.
5I’m still very excited about this festival as there are plenty of bands I already love playing as well as a few I’m interested in seeing for the first time. Plus, there is the whole Pavement and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion reunions.
6These are sad ironies for the mid-thirties indie rock geek. I can now afford to go to such events, but I don’t really have the time to do so.
7Yes, we have traveled, but other family was involved. Sure, seeing family is nice, but it’s not a vacation. Sorry, I love you all, but it’s no getaway.
8That and there are some pretty amazing breweries in wine country. So, I would not go without a luxury of my own. Russian River, here I come.
9 Of course, most of you could care less about the beer posts and I only post one to two times a week. how much suffering is that really?
10 In other words, the post for that weekend should be as epic as anything I’ll post here. The pictures alone should bring a tear to my readers’ eyes.
11 Meaning that I will not buy cups of coffee on the road or bottled water. There won’t be that lunch at Subway because I forgot to pack a meal. I’ll simply plan better or go without. It also means that I won’t buy records and beers just because I can. It will be good for my spending problems.
12My liver and my waste would benefit greatly. I’ve needed to cut back for a while now. This might be what puts me over the top.
13There are some releases by bands I know and love that will still be pre-ordered in the coming weeks no matter what I decide.
14This is harder than it sounds as she is a rhetorician by trade. She studies arguments. That’s not any easy debate to win.

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10 Responses

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  1. Jeff said, on June 30, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    As long as your partner is able to have getaways of her own I don’t see a huge problem.

    Finances are always about tradeoffs, you’ll just be doing some shifting of priorities for this.

    You’re still young and have the resources, wherewithal, gumption, and desire.

    Ask yourself this, what would you regret more when you’re 102 and on your death bed: going or not going?

    • builderofcoalitions said, on July 1, 2010 at 10:01 am

      Honestly, if I can make a good case to R and land some tickets, I’ll figure out the rest. I’ll only regret it if I decided not to even try.

  2. Zb said, on June 30, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    Dear Zac,
    1. Follow your dreams, R knows it is a huge thing for you to see those bands.
    2. I don’t make enough to go to any of this shit and I am jealous. If you decide to sell off your P4k tickets, I am your man.
    3. At first I enjoyed your footnote style, but until I can mouseover them to see what those numbers say without scrolling down and losing my place, I wish you’d do the wrong thing for my sake and get parenthetical with that shit instead.

    • Jeff said, on June 30, 2010 at 11:53 pm

      Ditto on the footnotes. They are cute but annoying.

    • builderofcoalitions said, on July 1, 2010 at 10:04 am

      1. We’ll see. There will need to be a trade-off. I think I have a good plan.
      2. I’d sell you the tickets if I still didn’t want to go so badly. Plus, there’s the hotel and train tickets. They’re paid for and ready. I’m locked into this one.
      3. The footnotes will live on as long as I have things to add. Parentheses would be just as annoying. You could always read through it and check the footnotes afterward. That’s what I do when I read it before publishing.

  3. doublewordscore said, on July 1, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    I’m pretty sure I’m going. It’s an 8 hour drive from here. If there are group discounts…

  4. doublewordscore said, on July 1, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Sorry, I’m thinking Branson.

  5. Steve said, on July 2, 2010 at 4:07 am

    Wow. That’s a pretty amazing line-up. It must be hard to resist.

    It’s funny how with all these lucrative reunions and the like, we’ll probably see more and more of these dream line-ups. So, if you end up missing out, perhaps something similar will crop up before too long…or maybe I’m just saying that to make myself feel better for missing this, what with it being a billion miles away and everything.

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