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

> Reed!”

> 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

> crisps?

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