The Way to a Fan's Heart
By Bernadette Noll
SEPTEMBER 8, 1997: In Austin, Texas, the Live Music Capital of the World, it's tough to throw a stick without hitting a musician. Some of these musicians go through their daily routines relatively unscathed by the surrounding populace. Some are recognized every now and again by an admiring fan. Some, whose bands have hit the big time, can barely walk a block without having their lives interrupted by a dedicated follower. Such is the price of fame. When pinned to a wall, almost all musicians I've asked say this small sacrifice of privacy is well worth it. An interruption is not such an interference when it is for the reason of an enthusiast offering praise. More fans means more gigs, and more gigs means more fans, and more fans plus more gigs might equal an actual living wage.
I was walking through my neighborhood not too long ago with a friend whose band had recently had some success. As we walked, we spotted a woman, about a block away, who appeared to be making a beeline for us. As she neared, my musician friend started to get uncomfortable.
"Oh no," he grumbled. "Here comes some fan who's going to tell me that she saw our show and she just loves us and when are we playing next and blah, blah, blah. Fans are great, but I get so weary of the inane chit-chat."
I could see it in his eyes. He would never believe that I, a graveyard-shift waitress, could possibly understand where he was coming from or what he was going through.
"That's what you get when you're rich and famous," I jeered.
"Oh my god. It's you! Every time I go out, I go to see you. I'm ecstatic to finally see you out amongst the masses. To see that you go out like a regular person!"
My friend started to speak but, before he could utter a word, the woman went on.
"Do you remember me?" she asked. "You wait on me every weekend. I've even started asking for your section. It's good to see that you don't have to work all the time!"
With that she walked away.
"So long," she called back. "Have fun! See you at the cafe!"
I glanced towards my famous musician friend, who was finding it difficult to walk with that tail crammed between his legs, and smirked, "Well, you know what they say," as he turned to catch the lilt in my voice. "The quickest way to a fan's heart is through her stomach!"n Bernadette Noll is a local freelance writer who still slings food professionally on occasion.
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