BRUCE SPRINGSTZINE 1: WEEKEND IN THE VOID takes place in Toronto, on Canzine weekend last October. I flew in from Vancouver, and had exactly 36 hours from touchdown to takeoff again. What follows is a detailed report on that day and a half of sleep deprivation, self-abuse and small pressery. Sometimes vague and deranged, sometimes lucidly hung over, this is an honest report, complete with hand written field notes, of what happens when a writer (Joey Comeau) and a publisher (myself) attempt to stay up for 36 hours, fueled mainly on energy drinks, little orange pills, and pharmaceutical grade tequila.
EXCERPT : 2PM
People are starting to show up so we sit back down behind our makeshift table and start to work our magic. “Look at this lot,” Joey whispers, maybe not to me, “These people are goons. You think I want this goon money?”
Jesus Christ you’re off your rocker,” I say. “Here, I didn’t want to have to pull these out so soon, I was saving them for the plane ride home, but here, you take two now, to ease out. We’re going to pull you right out of this.” I fold two shiny orange pills into his palm, real discrete like, and give him solid eye contact and a head nod.
“What are these things, barbiturates?”
“Downers, calmers. Serious Easers. I’d be surprised if you weren’t giving these ghoulish bastards all back rubs in half an hour’s time.” Joey eats the pills, which are obviously orange Tic Tacs, and washes them down with a big gulp of whole milk, which he’s been buying by the pint at the bar.
“Good. GOOD. Lots of milk, man. Don’t need to be tasting those nasty little bastards.” He finishes gulping and smiles and gives me a thumbs up. “Now we’re in business,” I smile, “Now we’re in fucking business.”
* * *
As dumb as that wigged out bastard is he’s right about one thing. The people pouring in here are seriously off. Goons, yeah. Trolls. Dogmen. Librarians. It looks like a deck of Magic cards came to life in the basement of the Gladstone Hotel and have come upstairs for air.
There is now a healthy number of people milling around, and they’re all stuck in this awful pattern, pay at front, walk into ballroom, look disdainfully at the shit dicks to your left who reek of alcohol, then push into the one way rat maze of tables, up-over-down-over-up-over-down til you’re over by the banana women. God help you if you want to go back a few tables to pick up something you missed or if you’re a speedy peruser. Every once in a while you see one of these poor souls fighting backward through the throngs and your heart can’t help but go out to the bastard, it’s like standing on shore watching a ship bashing against the rocks.
The best part about the whole thing though, is that at the end of every up-over-down every one of these fuckers hits our table again, our half-assed, two side tables mashed together, everything’s-poorly-labeled-and- has-pin-glass-rings-on-it, sketchbag table where they must endure us, even if they don’t look or make eye contact. Our pitch goes mostly like this: “See all these books, don’t buy em. You can read them all online for free. This one, all of it. This one, half. This one two thirds. I’ll tell you how this one ends right now, if you want. The dog dies, like in Marly and Me. It’s like Marley and Me with more gay sex. What? Yeah, all of em. They’re all full of gay sex.” About 20% of the time this would result in the sale of a book, and if it didn’t Joey moved on. “No no, that’s ok, books? Fuck em. I don’t read em either. What I CAN do for you, lady, is I can set you up on a real hot date, that’s right, a swanky night out on the town with uh, a genuine published author.” “a real freak of nature!” I’d add, “a god damned watermelon-headed geek. Take him to KFC and he’ll go to work biting off chicken heads.”
After that exchange they usually moved on, toward the banana women and the bar. If they looked trustworthy I’d usually give them a fiver out of our cash box and tell them to get me a pint of beer.
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