If you’ve been to the Weiser Books booth at Pantheacon, BEA or INATS you’re probably the proud owner of a nifty black bumper sticker that says “Ankh If You Love Weiser Books!” Maybe you stuck it on your laptop, or your notebook, or on your best friend’s bald head. I, being somewhat of a traditionalist, stuck mine on my car’s bumper. As a rule, I’m not a bumper sticker sort – but this is where I work and these are the books I read and so on it went.
And much to my delight, people noticed – strange people, smart smart, surprising people. There was the man who waited for me in the supermarket parking lot – a Weiser reader who wanted to see who owned the car and talk about Hermeticism. There was the nervous guy who was a writer, hoping (oddly and erroneously) that I was an editor to whom he could give a manuscript. But my favorite bumper sticker encounter happened just this past weekend. I was in Woodstock New York, visiting my oldest and dearest friend. We were going out to see a band that we had both once adored (The Psychedelic Furs – an amazing show and a surprisingly enthusiastic middle-aged crowd – I can honestly say that I haven’t seen people party like that since 1985) – we were joined by her friend, the rock cellist Jane Scarpantoni. For those of you who don’t know, the Woodstock area – despite it’s ancient hippie pedigree – is home to many contemporary musicians. Many. Now, rock and roll cello is a highly specialized calling, and Jane is the hands-down go-to gal for anyone who wants some scorching string in their ensemble. As a result, she knows everyone in the music business. She knew (and had played with) the guys in the band. She knew (and had played with) most of the people in the audience – who in true Woodstock fashion were almost all musicians themselves. She knew (and had played with) that woman she was hugging in the parking lot – who turned out to be Syd Straw. So in case you haven’t figured it out yet, hanging with Jane was pretty damn cool. She was also, incidentally, one of the funiest people I have ever met. So… it was a wild, entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable night that didn’t wind down until the witching hour of 3am. That’s when Lady Jane swaggered out to her car for the short drive home, and stopped mid-turnaround as her headlights swept past my bumper. She yelled out the window to our host. “What’s with the Weiser sticker? Oh my God!! I LOVE Weiser Books! I used to go to Sam Weiser’s store in New York all the friggin time!”
Moral of the story: Weiser bumper stickers are bad-ass. Tell your friends! Better yet, send me an email and you can get one of your very own. Rock on.
Here’s Jane in action with Lou Reed: