Yesterday’s travel day brought us to Allentown (where I was last in May 1992 with the String Quintet). The Cirque de Soleil were performing in the building attached to the hotel. Having never seen them, it seemed too good to refuse. The two “clowns” at the start may have overstayed their welcome, but the body of the show was, well, simply extraordinary. It is always inspirational to see what mankind (and womankind) is capable of. Such finesse, skill, beauty, poise, strength, flexibility, control of time and space.
I always have a slight downside after such events, as they also show how much most of us fail to strive to achieve even a fraction of that of which we are capable. Not that we can all be circus performers - and not that such failure applies to the eight musicians who step onto stage every night.
My mundane day has been spent wrestling with the latest stupidity thrown up by our intention to control more of the tickets at the forthcoming King Crimson shows in Europe. I noticed a large discrepancy between the approved ticket price, and the purchase price we were being asked to pay - a discrepancy which will, I assume apply to all fans. This is apparently due to the “standard Italian box office ticketing percentage” of 15%. How naïve of me to assume that the purchase price of a ticket might include, well, the ticket itself! Every time I buy a shirt I expect to pay a surcharge to receive the shirt that I have already paid for. One might feel that a total fee of 150,000 euros (if you add 15% to all the tickets) is a little excessive for doing nothing more than printing the tickets that people have already purchased (it does not include credit cards, online sales or postage). And of course, none of this extra money music lovers are forced to pay will get accounted to the artists (which is, let us be in no doubt, the reason for most of these “standard practices”).
For those familiar with the infamous “packaging deduction” which is still applied to the worst recording contracts, this would seem to be a live music equivalent. A “standard practice” designed to move money aside before the artists are given their share.
I really have no desire to stick my head into these areas – but, Hey Ho! Perhaps another story for The Vicar. Whether or not it is too late to change for the forthcoming tour I do not know – but something else to add to the list.