The musician liked the food. The musician liked the beer. The musician didn’t like the hotel where they’d put him and the rest of the orchestra up, some youth-hostel-like place at the Western end of town. In the sticks. The saxophone player had been so enraged that he blurted out to the organizer, yaknow, I only play this gig because I have this contract with the orchestra, and FOR NO OTHER REASON!
The musician didn’t much like the orchestra. A big-band orchestra. Excellent musicians, the musician said, but they don’t like their job. Like civil servant musicians. Starting to rehearse at ten, throwing away everything at noon sharp, for lunch. Some of them even leave the stage when the audience is still clapping and would perhaps like an encore. Can you imagine?
It seemed to be reflected in the arrangements, I thought: strong and impressive solo-parts with just drums, saxophone, and violin, but there was always some annoying decorative element, like the harp playing a few completely unnecessary bits here, the flute letting off a few sounds there, and the brass section … oh, well. As if union contracts had ordered that if orchestra musicians are to play on stage, there must be a minimum quota of sounds for each of them to play. A sonic quota system. The thought of an orchestra as a collective gone bureaucratic. The bureaucratization of music.
The other musicians didn’t like him, the musician said. He hadn’t spoken a single word to most of them, and they’d played together now for about seven weeks. He felt they didn’t like soloists to begin with. Always waited for him to make a mistake so that they could cheer, it seemed. Strange people. A money job, the musician said. The musician took a taxi, to the weird hotel in the middle of nowhere.