A Blast of Arctic Hair
Attending a show at the Paradise Rock Club in Brighton, I’m amazed to find the sidewalk out front entirely ungoverned by the malevolent plotting of ticket scalpers. How is this even possible? Don’t these partially-evolved sharks still possess remnant prehistoric scent-blobs hidden in their armpit hair that enable them to sniff out shows for which demand is extremely high? Plenty of juicy, vulnerable young people milling about would be only too happy to overpay for a ticket to see the Arctic Monkeys and Alex Turner’s newly-designed head of greased-back hair. The ticketless fans on the street quickly learn what scalpers have known since the show was first announced: entrance would be managed via will-call, and none of us queued up would be coming to the rescue with a fistful of tickets to resell at a 400% markup.
As the line to enter the club inches along, an older guy (which is to say my age) emerges from inside and asks a woman who had gotten in the line behind me, “Did that guy in there charge you more than $50 for a ticket?” Busted! The man assures her she isn’t in trouble, so she admits that, yes, she gave some dude $100. She is then brought into the venue and given her $50 back. The man who did this for her, I am told by someone standing next to me in line, “is the owner” of the Paradise. (I wouldn’t give that too much credence, frankly. People in lines are always telling me things that later prove to be entirely false.)
The perfect ending to this story has the lone scalper – probably not a “professional” per se, but just a regular Joe trying to cover his own cost – getting summarily tossed from the joint, bouncing down the sidewalk on his arse the way they illustrate expulsions in cartoons. Alas, no such luck. Still, there’s plenty to celebrate when ticket scalpers and their buy-low/sell high schemes are effectively neutralized.