To begin, I defaulted on my rent to get that sweet penalty fee. I did this to recreate the experience of paying ticket service charges and not because I have no job and no money.
I should also point out that my roommate, Jonathan, played a critical role in bringing this fantasy to life. Once, someone squeezed my butt and stole my wallet while I crowd surfed at an Idles gig. In this apartment, Jonathan likes to eat my food or borrow money without asking, making me feel similarly violated. Thanks bud!
Up next was replicating the ambiance. I successfully convinced my olfactory system that this shared studio apartment is actually an indie DIY basement simply by making a few lifestyle adjustments. To begin, I joined roommate Jonathan in his habit of peeing directly on the floor, giving it the sticky coating and glossy sheen I’m used to seeing at venues.
I also poured beer into my diffuser — a prank Jonathan once pulled to piss me off, but I now appreciate after realizing the diffuser does a great job making our apartment smell like a shitty beer you paid $12 for, an aroma that indie venues secrete like pheromones.
Then, I constructed a stage by gluing together a dozen Amazon Prime boxes (Amazon, I know, but hey there’s no ethical consumption under capitalism, or whatever). Finally, I set up a full-service bar in our half bathroom, which was also a smoking lounge, which was also a bathroom.
Sticky floors and sour air aside, a distinguished feature of indie venues is their propensity to act as a safe haven for the hipsters, crusty punks, and hippies who exist on the fringes of society and comment boards of Pitchfork. To recreate this, I hold a sad poetry reading and DSA ice cream social every Wednesday night. Ever since, my apartment has been populated by these individuals, because most of them are homeless and refuse to leave.
Recruiting bands, however, was difficult. And violent.
I decided to invite some recurring characters from the alley behind my apartment to perform as opening acts. Tonight’s openers include: a raccoon rummaging through our trash, Jonathan fighting with his girlfriend, and Jonathan fighting with the raccoon rummaging through our trash. Like indie gigs of the olden days, most openers are terrible, but one will become your new favorite band—and I gotta say, that raccoon has the lyrical poeticism of Elliot Smith.
After exhausting our deep pool of local talent, I booked a main band in-house: Jonathan, our literal artist-in-residency. This worked out really well. Jonathan and his girlfriend’s cacophonous, call-and-response arguing actually makes for a pretty good alternative rock show. I’d describe their style as something like the duo Matt and Kim, if Matt hated Kim, and Kim was far more attracted to Matt’s roommate. At some point during their set, after she smashed a plate over Jonathan’s head (so hardcore!), my old instincts took over and I started shoving them around to open up a mosh pit. They completely stopped fighting to beat my ass, together. Even the raccoon joined in. I ended up going to the emergency room, but I think Jonathan and the raccoon formed a two-piece band.
Was my recreation a success? I think so. Andy Warhol once said, “Romance is finding your fantasy in people who don’t have it.” Though Warhol was talking about love, he could’ve also been talking about how my poorly ventilated, 400 square foot studio apartment in Bushwick is a permissible replacement for the indie concert venues that have guided me throughout my young adult life and are now withering under global economic fallout. If we can replace them, we don’t have to save them! Plus, unlike my apartment, an indie venue will never have a Jonathan.
UPDATE: Jonathan and the raccoon just signed a seven-figure record deal, so he’s moving out. However, gigs will continue at my apartment every Wednesday night after the sad poetry reading, and they will keep happening (because punk never dies!) until the eviction moratorium is lifted.