On finally digesting the transforming word “gig” over the din of the pub noise, the friends sailed above the deflating grumbles of wives and bosses into a sunny future. Only on considering task number 7, did they detect the sound of a their hot air balloon hissing. Before that expectations were high…
“We’ve got a gig,” Trevor had crowed, rushing through the crowd to his pals in the corner booth. When his friends, crunched into their regular table didn’t cheer at the good news, Trevor waved a wad of paper and roared, “A gig. Here’s the contract.”
“A gig?” said Bert.
“An event, an engagement, our chance to shine,” screeched Trevor.
“I know what a gig is but are we ready?”
“If you wait until you’re ready you’ll never sail,” said Elmer.
“When’s the gig?” Mark said, checking his day timer to see the event didn’t conflict with his dental appointment.
“Two weeks from today. The other group—Dickson’s Dreadnots’s—drummer dropped out when the drummer’s wife left. So we’re in.”
“Two weeks? Our suits might not be adjusted by then,” warmed Elmer, the designated outfitter.
Bert, ever cautious, held up a hand. “Whoa Bessie, let’s get the details.”
“It’s for the Easy Eat celebration at the mess hall. We play from 8 to 1 a.m.”
“That’s late. “ said Elmer. By the time we put our gear away and get home, it’ll be close to 2. ”
“That’s show business,” Mark noted wisely.
“Which is what we’re in now,” Trevor cried, “Show biz.”
Although, they all felt pumped, they were determined to show what Bert called “due restraint.”
Now, they were heading for the big time, they had to proceed carefully. They’d often discussed the risk of groups having one big hit and fading because of lack of planning.
For years, the girls—or women as Mark’s wife insisted they be called—had met twice a month for a book club meeting. They touted it as a chance to get together and talk about more than sports.
The men also met bi-monthly. “To drink, ” as Bert’s wife said. “We talk too,” he’d argued. “About sports and things.”
Four months earlier, the guys, after a number of beers, decided they would do something to impress the ladies. Not only their ladies but birds in general, and they came up with the idea of forming a band.
“Ladies love musicians,” Trevor had assured them.
They decided not to tell their wives until they had their first gig knowing the women would douse their plans with negative comments such as: “So now you’re great musicians.” or “You guys never follow through.”
True, in the past, the friends had lost steam the morning after pub night but they vowed that this time their wives would be proven wrong. Much time had been spent discussing the look on the ladies’ faces when they were taken to the first gig. And that moment was near.
“Another round on me,” Mark offered heading for the bar. “It’s time to celebrate.”
“Yeah but we need to get organized,” said worrywart Bert rummaging through his brief case. He pulled out the To Do list written in marker on a large sheet of foolscap. Although graced with beer-can rings and faded ketchup marks, the list was still legible.
“We have almost everything in place,” said Trevor.
“Yes,” noted Elmer adjusting his glasses to admire the check marks. “We got the gig, which was 2nd last on the list.”
“Okay but we have to be sure our ducks are lined up,” said Bert.
To date the group’s biggest challenge had been picking a name. There were only four of them, all over 50 and none too svelte so the first suggestion—The Boys in the Band—was vetoed.
“It’s not really a band,” Bert had said, more of a group. “Boys in the Group.”
“And we’re not exactly boys,” noted Mark. “Some of the hot shots today are in their teens.”
Armed with another pint of the cheapest if not the best, the men started from the top and read down the list from 1 to 7. Getting the gig had been challenging so it had been put near the bottom with the most difficult task relegated to number 7.
It had been Mark who had advised the ordering, noting, “The motivational guy said to start with small, achievable items.”
“So from the top,” Trevor called out, his marker in hand to add a tick to the check mark.
1. Commit to the Concept. (Another idea from Mark’s workshop.) Tick.
2. Choose a name. Three months in the process they’d finally decided on: “The Dudes in the Dell.” (The Dell outside town was really just a small lurch in the land, but who was to know.) Tick.
3. Decide on the type of music. (They’d agreed to follow demand and go with the flow. “More jobs that way,” said Bert. “Whatever: popular, jazz.”) Tick.
4. Identify places and events to play at. (Lots of ideas for this one.“ Celebrations.” “Wherever we’re wanted that pays.” “Churches, arenas.” “We can even do weddings or divorces.”) Tick.
5. Get Dramatic Stage Outfits. (Success on-line, inexpensive, red velvety two pieces suits, sure to catch the eye. “They can be adjusted to fit,” Elmer assured them. “Yeah and sequins look great with stage lighting.”) Tick.
6. Get gigs. (Not as hard as they’d expected.) Tick.
“We only got two weeks,” said forever wary Bert. “We’d better get to number 7.”
7. Choose and learn to play instruments.