June 6th, 2005

The Charlatans USA

I was up at 5:30 A.M. and couldn't sleep. As soon as it was light enough to read, since the power was out, I started in on Cat's Cradle. I got stuck, as I often do, on a single word that sent me spinning into a dreadful tangent. (A dreadful tangent that has absolutely nothing to do with Cat's Cradle.) This time, the word was "charlatan."

There are apparently two bands named charlatans, although I only know of The Charlatans UK. But they aren't really charlatans, are they? You could argue otherwise, depending on how much you hate Madchester and how grouchy you feel at the moment, but they are musicians and performers.

So I propose that we form a group called The Charlatans USA. We bill ourselves as a Charlatans UK cover-band, we book a gig where we stand on stage with instruments, and then we press play on a CD player and just stand there.

The single most important detail to remember, if you are a charlatan, is that you escape the people you have bilked of their cash before they discover that you are, in fact, not the real thing. The van should be running. Perhaps the stage instruments should be made of painted foam and disposable.

There will probably be plenty of time to escape, as the handful of people in attendance, dim-witted people who thought "Over Rising" was a hit song, will probably be impressed enough to hear The Charlatans UK through a professional PA system that they won't care that you aren't actually playing live music—that you aren't actually doing anything at all.

And, having had the idea, using my mark-to-market scheme accounting, I consider the deed already done.