When it comes to concerts, I’m an old man. I like having a seat available so when I am tired of rocking out or the band plays a song that I don’t know or don’t like, I can sit and relax. Gone are the days where I’m willing to stand in a sweaty sea of people just to get close enough to see the band. I’m not really there to see them, just experience them live.

My girlfriend and I went to The Beacham Theatre this past Saturday to see Jeff Mangum live. Jeff Mangum, for those who are unaware, was the lead singer of Neutral Milk Hotel, who has largely kept out of the public eye. The best way I can describe him is that he’s an indie rock unicorn: you can see him but you can’t startle him. He finally decided to tour for the first time in a long time and we had to see him.

We got to the venue at 7 pm and there was a line wrapped around the building. We did what grown ups do in situations like this: head over to the nearest bar and have a drink.

I fell in love with The Courtesy a few months ago when I had a whiskey sour where the whiskey was Palm Ridge Reserve, the finest micro distilled whiskey I have ever tasted. They were sadly out of the whiskey, but ethical enough to change the name of the cocktail to reflect its New York roots. With our buzz on, we went back in line and didn’t wait long to get inside.

The Beacham makes the balcony a slight VIP experience. Security at the base of each staircase ensures that unless you have your hand stamped with “VIP”, you are not allowed up in the balcony. I’ve never been someone who tries to get a better seat at a show. I paid for what I paid for and I’m content with that. At The Cure show in 2011, people would try hard to get closer to see the show, even though they bought tickets that had them much further back. I appreciated the security at The Beacon Theatre being the perfect assholes in sending them back to their seats (I was pretty close on my own).

My girlfriend is an excellent concert partner. Her awareness of available seating is impeccable as we got a booth where we could cuddle and see Jeff Mangum perfectly. This is one of many reasons why she is a keeper.

Jeff Mangum is amazing live. By himself. He played the entire In the Aeroplane Over the Sea album with an acoustic guitar, bantering (unintelligibly from where we sat) with the audience. The crowd below sang along, filling in the instrumentals. I normally bitch about short shows based on the money paid and this was the first time ever I was content with the length because of his voice, how stripped down the show was, how amazing he was.

The next day, I bought a bicycle. I figured with my move to Casselberry and the close proximity to my new work location, I would take up cycling, as it would cut my commute down tremendously and allow me to work out. Before I bought it, I test drove/rode my bike around the block and there is a marked difference between a good road bike and a department bike. I rode it to and from work today and it was pretty awesome.

I’m also working on conquering my fear/loathing of driving. I took the driving test once when I was 19 and the parking aspect has me psyched out, where I failed due to my inability to pull into a parking space. This year, I’ve decided to conquer that fear/loathing, and my girlfriend is kind enough to help me do that. My goal is in six months, I become one of you car owning people.

The move goes well. Saturday is the big day. I’m looking forward to it.

***

Metazen published one of my Porn for the Blind poems. You can read it here.

Dressing Room Poetry Journal published the poem I wrote after my girlfriend and I’s second date, which you can read here.

The Flash Future Review published one of my Jesus Christ, Boy Detective stories, which you can read here.

Also, next Thursday, February 7, I am doing a Spreecast where I will read a part of Bodies Made of Smoke, and give you other surprises. You can check that out here.

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About J. Bradley

J. Bradley's is a Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominated writer whose work has appeared in numerous literary journals including decomP, Hobart, and Prairie Schooner. He was the Interviews Editor of PANK, the Flash Fiction Editor of NAP, and the Web Editor of Monkeybicycle. He is the author of the poetry collection Dodging Traffic (Ampersand Books, 2009), the novella Bodies Made of Smoke (HOUSEFIRE, 2012), and the graphic poetry collection The Bones of Us (YesYes Books, 2014), illustrated by Adam Scott Mazer. He is the curator of the Central Florida reading series There Will Be Words and lives at iheartfailure.net.

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flash fiction, performance calendar, performances, poetry, publication news, self assessment

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