Friday, January 17, 2014


            There have been far stranger bedfellows in the world other than the relationship between bars and music. Both are wed to each other as necessary components for a good time. Have you ever walked into a bar/café where the music is low? It’s like walking into a strange wax museum, except all the eyes turn to look at you when you open the door. Yikes.
            Here at The Bartender Knows, we are dedicated to the sanctity of drinking to the point of exhilaration/intoxication to the beat of whatever music that may suit folks to their taste and conscience. As a bartender for over 10 years, I can’t think of a time I wasn’t concerned about the music that gets played at my bar while I tend it. Horrible music, meaning music that doesn’t make people want to smile/dance/fuck, is thoroughly unacceptable at the bar. Yes, your selection of 8 Meatloaf songs in a row is prohibited. If you want to jerk-off, do it at home.  
If there’s booze pouring, there must be good music. Half of you were conceived because your parents met through a song they both liked at a bar (and the rest smashed to Jimmy Hendrix records drunk in a duplex in Santa Ana, California in ‘77).
            Going back to my point. Music is the ingredient. Always. But guess what the geniuses over at the House and Human Needs Committee decided to push here in the music cathedral that is New Orleans, Louisiana? As of late, there have been several bills send down the pipeline regarding noise ordinances for The Quarter, American’s far most musical headquarters and destination point for all of the world. And because some nouveau riche cocksuckers moved a block from Bourbon Street are complaining about the noise! In New Orleans? In the Quarter? Off Bourbon Street? The absurdity is frightening. But even more frightening is that its gaining ground. And from whom, do you ask? What people in their right minds would try to proverbially ‘turn down’ the volume in the French Quarter?
            None other than the same fucking culprits that always ruin everything:
            Rich. Bourgeois. Pigs.
            This argument has been going on for a million years. Now if anyone finds my rhetoric to be a little aggressive that fine. Let’s have a small vocab/history lesson real quick from someone smart.  

“Karl Marx said that the culture of a society is dominated by the mores of the ruling class, wherein their superimpose value-system is abided by each social class (the upper, the middle, the lower) regardless of the socio-economic results it yields to them. In that sense, contemporary societies are bourgeois to the degree that they practice the mores of the small-business “shop culture” of early modern France.” (--someone smart).

            That’s a fancy way a saying: dumb, rich, tasteless fucks. It happened to my fine neighborhood as well, the mecca of neo-bourgeois hipster zombie fascists in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Hell, you couldn't even get a cab to take you out of Manhattan over the Williamsburg Bridge. Now you can barely get anyone to smile and converse without a look of sheer terror crossing their socially retarded face. 
            It’s hard to hide my class hatred. Now, I’m not anti-money (we’ll discuss the penny incident in the future, not yet…). I love money. Especially crazy rich people. The kind that fund theater groups, produce short films, open dive bars, work for the Red Cross in their spare time; these are my kind of people. My people are not the people trying to turn down the music in America’s cultural church. No. A hater in New York recently told me: “You don’t even live there. Why do you care?”
            “No, I don’t, but I am a citizen of this country, and I’ll be damned to see the most interesting anomaly of a city in America lose its shining jewel: LIVE MUSIC. And by the way, go fuck yourself.”
            Do we want New Orleans just to become a mini-mall-ridden nightmare? Orange County already exists.
            Well, I’m happy to inform the readers of The Bartender Knows that the people of New Orleans fought back today. In the ‘11th’ hour, the City Council withdrew its sound ordinance bill this morning, just before an army of protestors and musicians stormed city hall, trumpets and clarinets in hand, playing classic tunes as “Down By The River Side”, “Liza Jane”, and “When The Saint’s Go Marchin’ In”. They were given speech privileges and plenty of press to grieve this gross manipulation by the rich, condo buying, pedestrian newcomers who obviously ‘don’t know what it is’ to live in New Orleans. 
             You don’t like music, move to Tucson, Arizona. You don’t like parades, go live in Irvine, California.
            Please people, can we just leave New Orleans alone to be what is.
            And if you don’t know what it is…I ain’t gonna tell you.

            PS. If you wanna link to what’s up (READ HERE).






Tuesday, January 14, 2014


             It’s not everyday you are allowed to be a lovable vagrant. But thanks to the kindness and endless patience of some wondrous friends, I am allowed now to exist in the subtle and sweet sun drenched recesses of New Orleans, Louisiana for the next two weeks. I will devote my life to singing praises to this town. I have in previous blogs ( READ IT NOW ), and in other forms of art and such, knelt down to inhale its oddly jasmine scent, unconcerned by my strange behavior in public.
And for one reason and one reason only: No one gives a fuck. They don’t. The people of New Orleans care a great deal about a great deal of things, but hell, odd behavior is just another feather in the hat. Preventing sad unnecessary violence, yes they care about that. Having a fine meal and drinking all too much with friends, check. Pissed about Drew Brees not pulling out a passing game in the first three quarters against Seattle? Yes, add all that on the list. The new sound ordinances up for legislature trying to cripple the music scene in the Quarter (yeah, I got wind of it!):
Definitely a bad idea.
But in reference to the bartending topic of the week, I’ll have to go with “Not Bartending”. After working this particular profession for over 10 years, it's odd that in any given moment I’m not asking someone how they are, pushing a Vodka Tonic across the bar, or cleaning up some indescribable nasty off the lip of a toilet. No one is asking me for drinks, my opinion, my advice, nor am I handling money at any given time (going back to my theory that bartenders/service industry/preschool teachers are probably the healthiest humans because of the insurmountable amount of bacteria we come across on a daily basis).
Not that I would trade it for the world. Even if someone handed me a million dollars right now I would still need to bartend one shift somewhere in the world and work. It’s kind of like how Bill Murray randomly shows up to bartend in Bushwick, Brooklyn, forcing everyone to only drink Tequila shots no matter what they order.
I have got to be near people. I love it. I do love listening to people troubles, being a part of the celebrations, and simply existing around life in the dive bar universe. There’s an honesty I don’t think I could ever find in the sober, square world. That’s just me.
That’s why the Gods bestowed upon me to be able to stay down here in New Orleans, Louisiana with some lovely friends. Friends who happen to be teetotaling at the moment.
What drunk would be happier, upon walking into a lovely home, seeing a couple bottles of untouched Ketel One and Hornitos, hearing:
“Have at it, Matthew. We chilling these days. All yours.”
Some days I play part psychologist. Some days I play part businessman. Some days part doorman.
Today, friends, I’m playing the part of the lovable homeless vagrant working on a novel in a house full of booze and teetotalers (in the nicest sense) in the city of New Orleans.
Porch Life! 4LYFE!

PS: Speaking of bad decisions, I did eat a penny the other day. Not on a dare, no, nothing like that. I’m not going to go into why, but I can say it was for a damn good reason. I suppose everyone can say the mistakes they make is for a damn good reason. But I’m not going to tell any of you why, not until a couple blogs from now. But I will tell you this. Money makes you sick. Bad.

            PSS: Look up teetotaling. It’s actually not a ‘slur’. Let Wikipedia tell it: (READ IT NOW)




Wednesday, January 8, 2014


             As most of you know, I answer here in this blog the grand mysteries of all of life. I’ve addressed love, sex, death, existential angst (yes, last week’s haymaker) and dating in the modern world. I’ve talked about Paris, I’ve argued against gender roles, and explicitly detailed way too many personal events of my life and personality. But something I learned many years ago: Honesty Is Invincibility. As long as you are as open and honest as possible with everything in your life, no one can fuck with you. They may call you an asshole, or too direct, but they will never get any dirt on you because you freely toss that dirt out into the public street for all to see.
            But out in the bars last night, a couple questions have been challenged by the drinking populace that must be addressed, both incredibly important and life changing topics. This week, dear readers, is a double duty.
            Women with lipstick and men with cats. That’s right. Allow me paint the picture for y’all.
            Question one. When woman wear lipstick, do they want to have sex that evening? Is the usage of lipstick a signal for immediate sex, or is it a symbol of ‘find me attractive, but do not touch.’ Let me be plain. I’m a heterosexual man. I love women. Every man in my position knows that lipstick tastes like shit. A strange, waxy, thick nasty on the lips of a beautiful woman. It’s sort of like making out with shrink-wrapped food. So when I see a woman with dramatic red lipstick on, I’m turned off. It tells me, psychologically, that she is uninterested in any kind of kissing, heavy petting, etcetera.
            Now, of course, I’m probably not right. I’m just curious. I began to ask many women this same question. The responses were interesting, all ranging from, “Matthew, you are totally right” to “Are you a fucking retard? You just wipe it off, stupid.” Men were also split on this issue. As one of my favorite friends explain: “I don’t even think it matters, dude.” And he’s probably right.
            But I’m going to stick with my theory here. If a woman uses lipstick, it’s sort of like the guy who drives a Ferrari. It doesn’t mean the guy is essentially a bad person, it’s just a prop. A prop that helps ‘propagate’ sexual behavior. These are tools human beings use to receive attention. Some people got the short skirt, some people got the slim cut Ben Sherman suits. Everybody has got something (hopefully). But I am going to take a stand on this issue and say that when a woman puts on lipstick (dramatic especially) or uses any make up she wants the ‘attention’ but not the ‘delivery’ of that attention, to speak vaguely.
            Onto the second question. Men With Cats.
            Here’s a scene from the bar last night. Lady explains to me that if she finds out a man has a cat she will not fuck him. Straight up. Hands down. I said: “I have a cat named Lysander and she’s lovely.”
            Dead look, right into my eyes. “I will never have sex with you.”
            But I have noticed that there is some kind of odd stigma against fellas with cats. What is this ladies? Why would you hate on a guy who prefers the feline style of things? For some reason, a couple of woman types think men who like cats are somehow ‘weak’. Funny. When was the last time your domesticated dog killed something? Not happening. My cat kills things on a daily basis with no remorse, with a strange joy they participate in murder. And they clean up their own shit. How many dogs do that?
            I love dogs. I love cats. I love all animals. I mostly love all things, so I can’t say that I am one thing or another. But I have noticed a slight judgment against fellas that like cats and I had no choice but to address it.     
            Till next time.
            Oh, follow me on Twitter (@ADrinkPleaseBK). I occasionally say things that are slightly funny. Also, if anyone wants to contribute to The Bartender Knows, please pitch me your idea and we’ll call it even.





Wednesday, January 1, 2014

NEW YEAR, NEW RULES (and a little existential angst)

            Hey everybody. It’s your bartender here, wishing you a happy New Year! 
It’s rock and roll, 2014 style, and I just wanted to cover some basics as we glide hung over into the New Year.
            As a good friend of mine and bar customer once said: “New Years Eve is the only shot at redemption for the Atheist”. This is a good point. We all know deep down New Year’s doesn’t mean a goddamn thing. It’s some arbitrary Gregorian Calendar thing that started years ago to separate financial quarters, no doubt. We tell ourselves: “Yes, we will change”, but in reality, the only things that change in the new year is either making a little more money, or making a little less money. Either there’s a great love on the horizon, or that dream of the great love has been crushed under the brutal sun light of reality. Nothing much changes. We live. We die. We watch cable.   
In the Eastern style of thinking, there is no ‘end’ and no ‘beginning’, for life is a continuous, inexhaustible circle that we experience until we fall down dead. Age is meaningless, dates are meaningless, time is meaningless. I happen to like this philosophy. Or maybe I’m just a lazy, drunk cynic, whose philosophy also prescribes that age is meaningless, dates are meaningless, and time is meaningless (and pour me a shot, motherfucker). 
            Last night was remarkably tame. Sadly, no kisses at midnight, no slow dancing, no sex—not even a goddamn decent fight with anyone. No, friends, your bartender, just after the screams and clamor of the midnight bells, snuck out, away from the warmth of his friends to have a beer alone at Lucky Dog and contemplate the mysteries of the universe.
I figured out nothing. I believe Albert Camus had called it ‘existential revolt’ (or maybe the professors called it that, he would have no doubt had some other wonderfully brilliant way of explaining it). The whole premise of ‘existential revolt’ is that we, as humans, if enlightened, know and feel the emptiness of all of the universe. That we as people are merely spinning on a strange rock of water and lava, spiraling in the universe around some giant ball of fire.
We have named these things Earth and Sun, to maintain some vain control in a chaotic universe that cannot be fathomed by our big monkey brains, no matter how many space shuttles and satellites we fling into the void, no information we will ever receive will give the answers to these questions: What are we doing here? What are we supposed to be doing here? Why should we keep going? What the fuck is going on, man?
            Least to say the bubbles gathered atop my pint of beer there in the darkness of Lucky Dog bar revealed nothing. I couldn’t believe how seriously people take utterly minor concerns in relation to this odd, wild ride called ‘life’. They worry about bills, bullshit relationships, what people think about them, or some sport team they have never played on. I think only death should concern us, and the wellness and health of those we love. That matters. Diet food for your dog does not.
            But to return to Mr. Camus for a brief moment. The art of ‘existential revolt’ states that yes, the universe is an empty, quiet place that mankind since the Neanderthal days have been trying to suppress for the matter of our beings survival. It is empty. There is no God, no credo, no religion that is true. They are stories created to assuage our sadness and incalculable terror at not knowing what the hell is going on here. As some other smart person said: “If God does not exist, then we must invent Him.”
            And this is the ‘revolt’ part of Mr. Camus’s philosophy. If there is nothing, truly, then we must infuse meaning into everything we do. That great love becomes the great love you want it to be. That job you always wanted, you must will it into existence. I mean, I can’t will Eva Green into my life, but I probably could become an investment banker, make a shit load of cash, and try to attend the same dinner parties in Paris or wherever and charm her pink slip right off of her. The ‘revolt’ is that yes, the world is a silent partner in our lives, and if it shall remain quiet, not divulging it’s secrets, then we as people must ‘revolt’ against the silence and create our own meanings for things.
We live in an odd universe. Humans are strange creatures. As I pointed out before, Google ‘God’, then Google ‘Sex’. 'God' clocks in at 409,000,000 sites. 'Sex' beats 'God' at 735,000,000 sites. However ‘Love’ wins at 1,690,000,000.
What does that tell you about us weird, chatty creatures?
            This is what my lone beer taught me at 12:39 a.m. January 1st, 2014. To the new year, whatever the hell you want it to be.