Now, I'm a skinflint. Unabashedly. Yes, I splurge on gadgets and books. But I'm as cheap as combs in Kerala (#doublepunwin) when useless things like expensive alcohol and eating out are involved. My basic premise being street food tastes as good, and it's all going to end up in the same form. Next time you fork out 650 bucks for a chicken kadai, wait for the next morning and have a good look at the bowl post damage. Doesn't look the price NOW, does it? No sir. Give me my roadside idliwallah where I can stuff my face and walk away only 20 Rupees poorer.
Sadly, the 'metchul' community does not think much of idli-sambhar with rock music. Not even that sexiest of south Indian combos, appam-stew, would be touched with a 666-inch pole if you were in a black tee. No sir. To sink in the meaning of rock music, it must be burgers. Nachos. Fondue. Basically anything that's over 200. Rupees and calories.
Most people succumb to the coolness syndrome and wham! Before you know it, Them Clones are six songs down and you're out by a grand. And while many people don't mind the damage, the rest of us don't have homes at Malabar Hill. Which is why me and a fellow BPL (below party-going line) friend have mastered the art of being a cheapskate at rock concerts. Here are a few rules.
1. Entry fee is okay. Ordering food is a no-no: This may seem stupid, but think about it: You come in just when the band is about to take to stage. Pay entry fee of about 150. Go right up to the mosh pit (or whatever they call it these days) and headbang away. You're far away from tempting menus. And bills.
2. Avoiding entry fee, even better: Most places have this come-before-8-no-entry-fee thing. But bands generally start only by 10. So if you look at your shame-o-meter and see that it's been collecting cobwebs so much that spiders have died of old age inside, you can safely walk in pre-8. After the polite lady with the reservation chart asks you whether you'd like a table for 1, 2, 4 or army, you say, nah, I'll just go up front, she'll understand you're a cheap bastard and chances of getting money out of you for food are as much as getting Chris Martin to score a test double ton. And anyway, the money doesn't go to the band (true story) so it's ethically okay also. Be thankful to the rich kids subsidizing your cheapness.
3. Acting as if you know the member of a band: Nothing works better than this. First, do a MySpace/Reverbnation check for the name of a band member. Pick the most esoteric one.
Walk in confidently. Look around, and while the polite lady (of previous point fame. Damn, I have to stop doing that) asks you where you'd like to be suckered today, look aghast at the empty stage and say, "What?! They're not here yet?". Then have the following conversation with the polite lady (PL)
You: Wait, is Anish here yet?
You: (exasperated expression) Anish... Anish from the band. Black and Whyte** are playing today, right?
PL: (after consultation with someone who has the schedule) Yes sir... They are... They start at 10...
You: (with an as-if-I-don't-know tone) I know that... But I need to... Oh goddamn guitarists and their @#$ schedules I tell you
At this point, whip out your phone, dial Vodafone customer care and start yelling, "Anish! Aren't you here?!" (move out of the venue for added effect, giving time to PL to think you're some hotshot who not just knows the band but bosses them around. If you're not in formals right after you land at the venue you can even pass of as a band manager). Come back in, still on the phone, throw some big words which you stopped understanding ever since you stopped taking online guitar tutorials like:
"Digitech R90, set the reverb at 30, and a 70s blues pre-amp setting. Got that? Sound here looks okay, but you may have to ask the bassy to turn down the treble, the acoustics here are drastically different from the open air venue... What? Yeah, man got that. Yes, the drums seem to have an extra tom-tom and floor tom. Alright, I'll see you here. I'll be up front. I'll check out the other acoustical aspects right now."
(cut phone, Amit Fernandes from Vodafone customer care would be quite WTF by now anyway)
Look at PL, smile and say "Rockstars!" and mumble something about waiting up front. If offered a menu, give a how-can-I-think-of-drinking-while-I-need-to-do-reco-of-this-place look. They won't bug you again. If you have a camera, then even better. But you need atleast an ultrazoom for this. But don't take notes.
Actually, I've run out of points here. You get the general drift.
Like my co-cheapo said, "Chuck, we can't afford dignity". Well said.
** Fictional band. No resemblance to any band living or dead