Steve Chatterton
Will Write for Food
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To the Guy Who Won’t Shut Up

February 12th, 2014 by Steve


I can’t believe you won’t shut up. Did you happen to notice you’re at a live music venue? Everyone in this room paid for this privilege, but I’m certain the reason they shelled out their money was to see and hear the musician with his name on the marquee. That, my friend, is not you. (Nor are you actually my friend, come to think of it.)

Thank you for regaling everyone in the room with your tales of just how important you are at your job, how everyone else is so bloody incompetent, and how nothing would ever get accomplished if it weren’t for your divine guidance and inspiration. It’s been truly enlightening, and I now have a deeper appreciation of just how insensitive and solipsistic you are.

However, in all fairness, I think you should have exhausted your only topic of conversation by now. Let’s see, I first noticed you right before the opening band took the stage, and you talked right through their set, and then you kept on talking over the break. That’s at least a solid hour of you being a pompous windbag celebrating your own self-aggrandized awesomeness. But now the headliner has taken the stage, and it’s Jeremy Messersmith. I can tell you have not even a passing interest in his music, however there are many people in this room, myself included, who feel otherwise.

Time magazine recently said Messersmith was one of fourteen emerging artists to keep an eye on in 2014, and I whole-heartedly suggest you take their advice, shut your gob, and listen to at least one of his expertly crafted pop songs. They’re delightful, insightful, and moving.

My wife and I have been fans of his for a couple of years now, ever since we discovered his brilliant song “A Girl, a Boy, and a Graveyard.” Oh look, he’s playing that song now, and you’re missing it.

For your sake, I hope the girl you’re trying so desperately to impress is buying into this. I get the sense that time is precious in the you-centric universe that only you inhabit, and it would seem a shame if she were not buying into all of your self-serving propaganda. Then again, for her sake, if you ever stop long enough for her to get a word in edgewise, I hope that word is “Bye,” hopefully accompanied by a Road Runner-esque dust trail as she runs away screaming.

Speaking of pausing for breath, is that something you do? I had always thought it impossible to truly circular breath and speak at the same time, but you’ve given me yet another mystery to ponder.

Did I mention this was a pretty big deal for the rest of us? In case you missed it, Messersmith mentioned in between songs that this is the first time he’s ever been to Toronto. Why can’t you be like the rest of us and just stand there, arms folded across your chest, looking bored. That’s the T.O. way of showing a touring recording artist how much you appreciate their music – get with the program.

You should know that this a pretty big deal for my wife and I. We hired a babysitter and drove in from the burbs for this. We don’t make efforts like this for just anyone, especially on a Tuesday night. I’d also like to tell you that tonight is our “One Night Stand,” but that’s a reference to another one of his songs you haven’t been listening to, so my words will be lost on you.

As good fortune would have it, one of the last songs of the night is “Beautiful Children.” It’s a deep cut from his first release, one of my wife’s favourite songs in the history of recorded music, and now, thanks to you, this delicate ballad for acoustic guitar and single voice now includes another rambling commentary about all the useless fools you work with that wouldn’t know their elbows from their asses if it not for your all-seeing wisdom.

It’s sad that some people think the spotlight is always on them. It’s even sadder that they still think this while in a room that literally has spotlights trained elsewhere. When you find yourself in similar situations in the future, I hope you realize that real world spotlights – the kind that everyone else can actually see – focus on people who deserve our attention, and that quite often they’ve worked very hard to earn it. Do yourself, and all of us, a big favour next time – shut up.

Yours truly, the rest of the world.

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