Thursday, September 24, 2009

Three stories

Today's been very much one of those days where I've not been completely certain what to write about. For that matter, even though it's not the nicest day in the world out, I decided I was going a bit batty inside and went for a couple of long walks with the dog. Normally a good walk kind of helps me crystallize any thoughts I have rattling around my head for a blog post.

Not so much today.

Granted, part of that is my thoughts are back home as my grandfather is being buried today. So I can be forgiven a bit for that. Still, the blog is a hungry beast and I try to feed it every day whenever I can.

And so, like a trio of archangels, three of my friends either mailed me links, or put them up on Facebook that gave me ideas. So thank you Sara, Ron and Simon for helping to save the day.

Sara contributed this fascinating story about the only woman to ever serve with the French Foreign Legion. And it is, remarkably, not even close to the most interesting thing she did in her life. Certainly worth a read.

Then Ron sent me a link to the story that I'm sure everyone is talking about in Newfoundland today - Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is spending the night in St. John's on his way back from New York. I have no earthly idea why he can't just hop on a plane from New York to Libya, but there you go. Your surreal moment of the year.

Now, the cheap joke is that Gadhafi could also meet with the Premier Danny Williams and get some tips on being a dictator. I'm willing to bet I'm not even the 1,000th person today to have even had that passing thought. And lord knows I've had my problems with the premier and the way he chooses to do things. But that's a low blow by nearly any standard. Although I did read some quips about Danny having an opening in his cabinet...

It's just deeply weird. Not as weird as when Joel Smallwood and Geoff Sterling went to Cuba to meet Castro, but still pretty odd.

And finally, this last item was on Facebook. It read like something from The Muse, but I can't find a story on their site about it. And that is MUNSU, the student union at Memorial University of Newfoundland, lost an absolutely mindblowing $100,000 on the recent Snoop Dogg concert.

I'm quoting from Christopher Bruce, who I think is a member of the council. These are the numbers on the show:
- The event cost $288,000 to put off
- We lost $106, 648 +/- 5, 000 (some money has yet to come back in)
- 50% of the tickets were sold, or, 2,560 tickets
- 1,000 comps were given out
- $10,000 was paid to get Snoop Dogg to come to the bar for "no less than 60 min"

Once upon a blue moon I served on the student council at MUN. Back then it was called the CSU - Council of the Students Union - and I spent a year as Arts Rep. I recall we lost $20,000 on a 54-40 show and I thought we were going to be all hung from the ceiling of the gym on the second floor of the TSC. I can't conceive of standing before the council or the student body, given the shaky finances of the council over the years and go "ummm, we just lost $100,000 on bring up a washed-up and dubiously talented stoned rap star who only played for an hour (so I've heard).

I would be looking to embezzle any money they have left over to book a ticket out of the country. Then again, Gadhafi is going to be in town next week. Perhaps they can hitch a ride to Libya.

Last Five
1. Sailor's rest (live) - Stan Rogers
2. Won't get fooled again - The Who
3. All at once - The Fray
4. Come together - The Beatles*
5. Please forgive me - David Grey


Hallett said...

During your day the University still forced the CSU to keep people like Gary Clarke around.

Whether you liked him or not, at least he had a clue about concert promotion.

Playing high risk promoter with the students' money s not what those people were elected to do.

Anonymous said...

Your analysis was dead on with respect to Snoop Dogg. I also think the ticket prices were way out of the market for students: 55-65 bucks a ticket I believe for the likes of him. It was interesting that the Matthew Good band sold out.

towniebastard said...

Gary Clarke was an asshole, but a very necessary one. People hated him, but I don't think many people could deny that he knew what he was doing. There was entirely too much glee from some circles when they canned him.

I can't pretend I've followed student council politics closely over the years, but you really do need office managers and people like Clarke if you don't want to be bleeding money.

Oh, and I would pay $50 to go see Matthew Good; I wouldn't pay $10 to see Snoop Dogg, but that's obviously a personal preference.

Anonymous said...

1300 tickets not sold...x$65 = $84,500.

i know they`d expect to make up the rest on concessions, but maybe some simple math would go a long way on this as well.

SRD said...

The bit I didn't was the 1000 comps given out? how big was the venue? (I guess this isn't the TSC gym anynmore??) and why would anyone pay to go in that case?

The pale observer said...

Great ramble and links! Pathetic about Snoop AND Gadafi...

towniebastard said...

Sara, the TSC doesn't exist's now the Inco Cetnre of Excellence or some such thing. The show was held at Mile One.

As for the comps, no doubt some were given to the Council and their friends, but I suspect most were given away the day of the show when they realized how bad the attendance figures were and that there was going to be no last minute surge at the box office to buy tickets.

So rather than the place looking empty, they gave away the tickets. We did the same thing with 54-50. Granted, I think we sold about 30 tickets for the show, so things were a bit more dire.