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Tours de Farce: Paperback Writer

12:00 AM Tuesday 6/7/05 |   |

A writer contacted us the other day.

Said he was writing a book much like The DaVinci Code, a novel describing deep secrets and conspiracies within a well-known institution. However, he said his angle was going to be that all the skullduggery and intrigue was going to be based, not on the Vatican as it is in Dan Brown's best selling novel, but on the concert industry. Then he asked if we could help him out with the minor details. You know, so the book would appear authentic.

So we took a long lunch with the writer. We told him about the schedule for Destiny's Child, and the new dates for The Suicide Machines and My Chemical Romance. We talked about support acts for The Rolling Stones, multiple dates for U2 and co-headline tours like John Mellencamp / John Fogerty and Maria Taylor / Statistics. We tossed around all the industry jargon like ticket, stage and roadie. That's when he thanked us for our time, but then he said he needed something "more."

He said that the reason The DaVinci Code was such a success was because the novel's major premise claimed that there were secret codes hidden within the collected works of Leonardo DaVinci. It was the writer's opinion that, if he could come up with some type of conspiracy angle for his book about the concert industry, he would have a book that might even rival The DaVinci Code in sales. "It would sell millions," he told us.

So we banged our heads together. We talked about how certain concert schedules, like the itineraries for Shannon McNally and George Benson, might contain secret messages. We discussed how the venues listed on the Ozzfest routing could make up an anagram depicting the ultimate power struggle between good and evil. And then we suggested that a schedule for a major act, say Paul McCartney, could be portrayed as representing the End Times. That is, we told him, if he was to present the individual dates as signs of the foretold plagues and tribulations that are supposed to inflict humanity as the Final Judgement draws near.

That's when he said that all our suggestions were fine and good, but he still needed something more. He told us he needed a real X Files angle, with government conspiracies, shadow societies and secret cabals whose members wanted to conquer the world. "That's what I need," he told us. "That's what I need for a best seller. Just like The DaVinci Code."

So we brainstormed some more. And we came up with a premise where the entire world is secretly run by concert promoters, and that they're in cahoots with the government to implant nano-technological microchips in every man, woman and child by way of mixing the microchips in with the water supply. We told him that, through these secret implants the promoters could instruct people to buy tickets for every show on the road, including Ben Harper, Billy Corgan and Motley Crue. Furthermore, we suggested that every concert advertisement could have a secret message embedded deep within the message itself ordering people to forget all their worries and just concentrate on getting good seats for the next big show coming to town, like Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers or Van Morrison.

Well, as you can probably guess, the writer was quite happy with our suggestions. He told us that it would make for a great book, that the readers would eat it up. And then he told us that such a book, a book detailing the efforts by the entire concert industry to rule the world through secret microchip implants and tainted drinking water, would be a sure-fire hit, and that it would shoot right to the top of the best-selling, top-ten fiction sales chart.

And that's when we said, "Uh? What Fiction?"

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