Geriatric Rock: Sabbathon

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From Issue 153, September 2001

As SLUG prepares to celebrate Sabbathon, there are a few rules to remember. I’m sure some individuals are already asking themselves, “Come on you geriatric old fucker. What does this have to do with esoteric music for niche markets?” Well, SLUG is a niche market and so is local music. The list of Sabbathon bands is pretty esoteric and local. Some of those bands have members nearly as old as I am. Christ! Wormdrive, The Unlucky Boys, Erosion, Jesus Rides a Riksha, Endless Struggle, Thunderfist—give them another decade of life and they’re geriatric like me.

Sabbathon appears for the first time at the Gallivan Center, a public facility. The Gallivan Center is a beautiful place and an excellent choice for Sabbathon. However, there are rules. No skateboarding. Do not even think about riding the numerous rails, platforms, ramps, stairs and planters on a skateboard. Yes, the Gallivan Center would make a lovely skateboard park, actually the Gallivan Center is the perfect location for a nationally sponsored skateboard competition—a street competition. Sabbathon is the perfect opportunity for a “localized” competition or even a demonstration, but it ain’t going to happen. Skateboards aren’t allowed and for that matter bicycles aren’t either. Don’t be taking that BMX to Sabbathon with thoughts of riding a rail. The security guards would have a fit.

Speaking of riding the rails, lucky residents of the southern portion of the Salt Lake Valley can ride TRAX to Sabbathon. There is a “Gallivan Center” stop. Go ahead, ride the bicycle or skateboard to the nearest TRAX stop and ride the rails to Sabbathon. Anyone planning to do so needs to be aware of the rules and perhaps some problems. Have I emphasized rules enough yet?

Don’t get on TRAX wearing your favorite punk rock outfit. Ripped clothing, weird hair, T-shirts bearing profane or political slogans—you are just asking for trouble from the TRAX “Brown Shirt” security guards, or thugs. The very sight of a bicycle or a skateboard seems to enrage these highly trained and professional individuals. When “freaky” looking individuals utilizing non-gasoline powered transportation attempt to board TRAX, harassment often occurs. My advice is to wear a Mr. Mac suit or a summer outfit purchased at Nordstrom. Since autumn is fast approaching, a fall outfit will also work. Wearing respectable clothing will pay off at the Gallivan Center. Gallivan Center security don’t like “freaky” appearance any more than the TRAX “Brown Shirts.”

Say you arrived at Sabbathon and have successfully entered the Gallivan Center. If you have a bicycle, whether you rode TRAX or pedaled the thing all the way, be prepared for more harassment. Locking the bicycle up (all bicycles must be locked up) can present a problem. There aren’t many bicycle racks available at the Gallivan Center. As a few individuals learned recently, the white plastic fence surrounding the Gallivan Center is off-limits to bicycle locking. Too many of you fuckers damaged the white plastic fence. Just use the young tree saplings on the sidewalk outside the Gallivan Center. Saplings aren’t as susceptible to damage as plastic fences. Also, that Mr. Mac suit or Nordstrom outfit will gain you respect. It’s all about appearance.

Since I’m on appearance, beer is allowed at the Gallivan Center. This has to be one of the most bizarre aspects of the Gallivan Center. Beer isn’t allowed at any other public plaza in the entire city, at least not one I’m aware of. Why the Gallivan Center? Who knows? It’s a good thing, like Marta Stewart. But again, appearance is everything. If you are wearing your Mr. Mac suit, or even better in this case, your Nordstrom outfit, and if you are carrying  a wooden picnic basket—feel free to bring glass bottles.

Supposedly glass bottles are banned from the Gallivan Center, unless they are concealed in wicker picnic baskets carried by individuals wearing outfits purchased at Nordstrom. It’s all about the logo and everyone knows such individuals won’t become rowdy or disruptive because they are too busy cutting expensive cheeses, munching on fresh fruits and sipping expensive wine from glass goblets. Most such individuals probably won’t be interested in Sabbathon anyway, but you can pretend, can’t you? Stuff a couple of six packs of Rolling Rock inside a wicker picnic basket made of wood, not plastic, with a couple of 7-Eleven hoagies, wear over-priced clothes and enjoy!

There are only a few more rules to remember. Keep off the fucking red carpet! Jesus Christ! Idiots! The last time I visited the Gallivan Center, the red carpet was butting up against the concrete planters. Everyone knows the concrete planters are there to provide beauty. They also make excellent seats. So do a couple of the Gallivan Center light posts. However, if the red carpet is butting up against the planters and you sit on a planter—your feet are on the red carpet! Jesus Christ! Keep off the fucking red carpet. And another thing. Do not stand on the planters or the light posts attempting to get a better view of the band on stage! Sometimes this behavior is acceptable, other times it is not and a lot of the acceptability depends on appearance. Remember the Mr. Mac suit and the Nordstrom outfit. Appearance is the key at the Gallivan Center, and also when riding TRAX. If you look like a respectable citizen you will be treated like a respectable citizen. If you look like a punk rocker, hippie, homeless person or any other sort of disreputable character, or if you have any “color” whatsoever—you will be treated as such.

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