An Open Letter to the Audience from Last Night’s Magnetic Fields Show at Town Hall

Dear Audience from Last Night’s Magnetic Fields Show at Town Hall,

Fuck you. I hate you. With your glasses and your sweaters and your need to let everyone know that you are enjoying yourselves. Granted, I was wearing glasses and a sweater and enjoying myself. But the thing that really got me was when you would scream and applaud at the beginning of songs with this seeming surprise, as if you couldn’t believe that the Magnetic Fields were playing Magnetic Fields songs? The set list last night was great. They played “Epitaph for My Heart” and “Yeah! Oh Yeah!” and “All Dressed up in Jeans” and “The Book of Love” and “Take Ecstasy (With Me)” and cetra. But some of you were laughing a little too hard, and some of you needed the people around you to understand that you got it a little too desperately.

Last night I had the same experience I had when I saw Being John Malkovich, a movie that I hate, perhaps because of the experience of viewing it with people like you. I’m not saying people should always be quiet, although maybe that’s a good base rule and we can define exceptions from there. You don’t hear me laugh-coughing so hard that flecks of dinner got on the back of the Oxford collar of the guy in front of me. You don’t see me turning to my friends and stage-whispering “I remember this song from when I listened to it.” The effect of an audience is the same as a movie adaptation of a book. It forces an impression into your head of how you’re supposed to react, and just as much as I don’t want to picture Robin Williams as Garp, I don’t want to have to guffaw just because Shirley Simms sings “I Hate California Girls,” which is not, btw, that clever or interesting or even amusing of a song if you compare it to the gender-and-genre-bending catalog of House of Tomorrow. Impress your girlfriend some other way, please, Row M, seat 121.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I was disappointed in you, audience. You weren’t unique or exceptional in any way. You were totally a normal audience, and overwhelmingly well behaved, and still I detest you. It’s like Spinks said, “I think these are my people, but I am not sure I’m happy about that.” Put that in your ecstasy tab and take it.

Just not with me, please.
W.

P.S. Smile! No one cares how you feel.

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