During the many hours of hanging...before sets, in between sets, after sets, at other people's gigs...among the usual types there (musos, non-musos, bar staff, managers et al), another breed sometimes emerges, the hangers on.
These guys love the scene and they're keen to hang, but what sets these guys apart is that they kind of want to be musos as well, they want to play a part that's a little more involved than just being mates.
Marc Antony was one notable example. The Latin scene's short statured stalwart, on the regulars he'd rock up every night - trademark waistcoat, shaded glasses, goatee and slicked back hair, always darting about talking to the next guy, always whingeing to me about how W the bandleader (who'd be constantly taking the piss out of him) never got him in for free on the door or bought him drinks (much more about W later). He professed to being a promoter, showed me his card, talked about plans, always plans....
Nice enough guy, but I kind of feel a little sorry for him...it never happened on the Latin scene of course, but I know well enough there would be Jazz guys who wouldn't want to give him the time of day. Never being one too cool for school myself, I always seem to end up talking to these people when no-one else will.
Sometimes, because these guys are so keen, they'll do stuff for you at a gig (these people are always handy for absent-minded musicians such as myself, as long as you don't abuse the privilege). I rocked up to a duo gig in a hotel basement bar recently...it was the first time I'd lugged my gear in a while and the one thing I forgot this time (there's always something) was the power plug for the amp. A simple enough D-plug, like the one in the back of your kettle, I expected a major central London hotel to probably have a load just lying around. Come gig time, and it became quickly apparent that this was somehow not the case.
Scratching my head on stage, I look over at Marc Antony, who is sitting there at the bar with the reluctant-looking singer, telling her how he just got back from Budapest from meetings with the girl group he's allegedly promoting.
The singer on the gig and I didn't know what else to do, so I beckoned him over and asked him to run off and get us one. Sure enough, halfway through a jerry-rigged solo set, Marc Antony came bounding back from out in the driving rain with something he'd dug out of a pub about three blocks away.
But you know the really odd thing about this guy? And why the ancient Roman reference? Because Marc Antony isn't one person, but two. I knew a guy called 'Marco' at the Latin gigs back in Melbourne who fit the description, and strangely enough, in some bizarre quasi-doppelganger echo, 'Antony' is a guy who I've met and known on Jazz gigs here! Same person - short, glasses, quasi-promoter, always hanging around. Freaky...