Hello. My name is Ed. Some of you may know me from a column I've written for a local, biweekly, music magazine called SLAMM. The column, which ran for more than five years, was called “Sordid Tales of a Bartender in Heat.” It was about the comedy and tragedy of the bar and nightclub scene as told by a bartender who has been slinging drinks in San Diego booze pits for 14 years.
Southland Publishing, which also owns the Pasadena Weekly and the Ventura County Reporter, has recently purchased SLAMM . Their intent is to operate a weekly newspaper called CityBeat and include SLAMM as the music section insert. Since “Sordid Tales of a Bartender in Heat” is not a music column, the editors have removed it from the SLAMM section of the paper and placed it right here in CityBeat.
The only other change we are going to make to the column is the title. We are removing the words “Bartender in Heat.” After all, SLAMM was a biweekly music magazine whose target audience was boozers, babes, bartenders, musician and artist-types, and other slackers with backfiring Pintos and multiple roomies. CityBeat is a weekly city paper. It means people with day jobs are going to be reading now: people with families and SUVs; people who attend morning meetings and say things like “quarterly earnings” and “profit projections”; people who mow their lawns and eat scrambled eggs in breakfast nooks-people who wear slacks. People who just don't spend a lot of time in bars.
Whereas Sordid Tales of a Bartender in Heat was primarily an industry column about the bar and nightclub scene, Sordid Tales will be a column about life and love and culture and politics and booze and excess and sports and entertainment and travel-as seen through the bartender's eyes.
Now, as delighted as I am that CityBeat asked me to join them on this new endeavor, I realize that it's you, the readers-both new and old-who will dictate whether or not I get to keep this job. This sorta makes you my boss. So it seems only proper to submit this job application to you:
Job application for Edwin Decker:
Position For Which you are Applying?: Sordid Tales guy.
Have You Ever Been Convicted of a Felony?: I beat the rap.
Schooling: The best schooling I ever received was getting pummeled at the bus stop by Janet Abrignani in the fifth grade. Also, I dropped out of college.
Employment History: Poured drinks in Blind Melons, 4th and B, Winston's (during the heydays), Poppy's, the Bacchanal (during the heydays), Buffalo Joe's and Winston's East (which never had a heyday, but hey, what the hey is a heyday anyway?).
Special Skills and Qualifications: Have served tequila to B.B. King, sucked face with Wendy O' Williams and saw Moby's tiny, hairy ass in the dressing room of 4th and B. I played kazoo with the Beat Farmers, floundered in the city drunk tank and have been kicked out of numerous bars (including the Bambi Club in Tijuana). I have vomited on a lady, fell off two barstools, broke up 14 fights and received one DUI. I was arrested in Mexico for possession (twice), mugged in New Orleans (once), bribed a Mexican Federali (thrice) and out-drank Country Dick Montana (once). I never short-pour, never roller blade and don't believe in good and evil. I have never worn a pair of Spock ears but love the shit out of Star Trek. I don't give a good goddam about children or marriage or religion or race or Creed-Scott Stapp makes me nauseous. I believe rock stars should not close their eyes and raise tightly-clenched fists when they sing, columnists should not place pictures of themselves at the tops of their columns and you should never hire a gardener who employs a leaf blower. And while I do believe it's OK to introduce evidence about the Van Dams' racy social life, it's not OK judge them for it.
Mission Statement/Job Description: I, Ed Decker, do hereby swear to report to you, with vino and vigor, all that is vile or absurd in this city.
I promise to twist the corkscrew of contempt into the rotted, flaking cork of social disrepair.
I promise to sear, bruise or muddle the egos of the egomaniacal-including my own.
I promise to stumble drunkenly on the imaginary line between depravity and decency.
I promise to spike the status quo with shots of 100-proof dissent.
I promise to always question authority-even if it's only to ask it where the keg is.
I promise to never shake, stir or chill my resolve; to never dilute with the ice cubes of mediocrity-not on purpose anyway.
I promise to write only the truth, except if I need to lie, and even then I promise to make the lie as true-like as possible.
Welcome to Club Sordid Tales, what's your poison?