the gig was in Greenwich Village, New York, and we arrived early for
> soundcheck. There was a great house band there to back all the acts
> on the bill that night, and when we entered the building we heard
> them already rehearsing. We looked out onto the stage area to see
> the band looking rather frightened. The reason for their terror, was
> that what was standing in front of them, was an angry looking Lou
> Reed, holding a bag of crisps the size of a television set. In one
> arm he held the crisp bag like an oversized baby, whilst the other
> arm rested inside the crisp packet, emerging every so often to
> either produce a handful of crisps, or a bony finger to point at
> certain members of the band any time they played something bad, or
> something good. It was hard to tell which was which.
> The reason Lou was there directing the band was because his partner,
> Laurie Anderson was one of the artists on the bill. She was on stage
> rehearsing with the band while Lou paced around in front of them
> like an angry school teacher, never letting go of this weirdly
> massive bag of crisps. Every so often he would stop the band
> completely and start to shout.
> “No no no NO! This is completely UNINTELLIGIBLE!” He would get the
> band to start again, but not before giving orders to each band
> member, whilst pointing his finger at each of them individually.
> “Piano man. Free it up a little. Drummer man. Give it oomph! Bass
> guy. Make it flow. Guitar man. What the hell was that?! Banjo guy.
> Keep doing what your doing!”
> The band would start again, this time it sounded like a complete
> mess, totally unhinged. This was when Lou finally looked pleased and
> gave a big thumbs up to the band and started back into his crisps.
> We sat and watched this for a good half hour, then did our
> soundcheck and split to get food. When we came back, the show had
> already started. We sat in the green room with all the other
> performers and awaited our turn to go on. All the acts that night
> were musicians, writers, and actors. There were about 20 of us and
> the room was tiny. In one half of the room was all of us, huddled in
> a corner. In the other half of the room was Lou Reed. He sat
> silently in his shades and leather jacket, like a dark vampire,
> surrounded by an invisible force field that screamed “Stay Back!”
> So we all mingled among ourselves and let Lou be. I stood chatting
> with Gabriel Byrne and Roddy Doyle, none of us wanting to mention
> the massive un-ignorable elephant in the room; that Lou Reed was
> sitting right there in this tiny room with us.
> We played our set and watched the rest of the show. Lou didn’t move
> from his seat until Laurie played her set, then he intensely, but
> proudly, watched her from the side of the stage, while we all stood
> behind him, watching him watching her. Every so often two people
> would look at each other and silently mouth the words “Lou F***ing
> After Laurie’s set, she and Lou vanished, like two shadows in the
> night. That was the last we seen of Lou. I often think back to that
> night and wonder.. Where the hell did he get that massive bag of