Many, many years ago I went to a new club where Iggy Pop was supposed to perform. Brand new club. Not much in there but a make-shift bar with cold brews, a bandstand, and many square feet of space where you could stand and wait for Iggy. An opening act came out--some shitty two-chord punk band out of Atlanta Gee Ay. They sucked ass.
As the club began to fill with cigarette smoke I stood and waited for Iggy. That was why I'd paid the cover charge to get into the goddamned place. The shitty fucking two-chord punk band from Atlanta went through their lousy three or four numbers. They finally stopped (thank the rock gods). The club continued to fill with smoke. As I have never smoked (tobacco), the smoke began to get to me. But I waited.
The shitty punk band from Atlanta stumbled back onto the makeshift bandstand and took up their instruments. Oh, the gods. Please. No.
But, yes, they began to play again. I asked around. Iggy was "delayed". I bought a beer. I drank it. The smoke was now so thick that to see you had to cut a space in it with your hand. My eyes were watering. My lungs hurt.
Finally, I went outside.
The air in the darkened parking lot of the new-ish shopping center was cool and mercifully clear of tobacco smoke. I drank it in and tossed the empty beer can into a trash receptacle. Someone else came out of the club and I asked the guy if he knew what the holdup was all about. Where was Iggy?
"Apparently," the guy told me, "Iggy Pop is in the alley behind the club. He won't come on until the club owner pays him his fee, in full, in cash. If he doesn't get the money, he's not going to play."
"Fuck," I said.
After a while, I went back into the club. By this time, the cigarette smoke was so dense the place looked as if it were on fire. I tried to breathe and could not draw a decent breath into my lungs. "To Hell with this," I said to no one in particular and retreated once more to the parking lot.
Four hours had passed since I'd entered the club. It was midnight. I was finished waiting for Iggy Pop. Not that I blamed him in any way for the delay. I wouldn't work for free, either.
The club owner, however, I'd like to have beaten severely. Instead, though, I strolled to my car, enjoying the cool, smoke-free air. I drove home, got into the shower and scrubbed the hideous stench of the cigarette smoke from my hair and my skin.
The next day, I spoke to someone who knew the club owner and asked him if Iggy had ever entered the building. Apparently, the guy had phoned his rich dad who somehow showed up with the cash in hand and gave it to Iggy Pop, who then went into the club and did his show. It started around 2:00 am or so.
The club never opened again. I never saw the guy who'd instigated the whole mess, and that's all for the best, I reckon.
Would have been nice to have seen Iggy Pop perform, though.