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Nothing for Money



Sometimes, you get what you pay for; sometimes, you don’t, and sometimes what you pay has little to do with your experience.

Those thoughts were running through my head last week as I listened to a remake of the rock classic ‘Money for Nothing’ at a live concert in the English midlands.

The show was a tribute to Dire Straits, the group that recorded that song and several other hits including ‘Sultans of Swing’ and ‘Telegraph Road’ in the late 70s and 80s.

The original band was something special and if they were to get back together today it would probably cost around P2000 to buy a ticket to one of their shows.

Dire Streets, the band performing the tribute, did a good job of getting the basic sound right but they lacked the refinement and magic of Dire Straits.

Their tickets went for P250 apiece.

That’s still a fair bit of money so I was expecting quite a good show and I might have been disappointed if I had focused too much on the differences between the Streets and the Straits… which I did at first.

That might have been because I’ve seen other copycat bands, including T-Rextacy who became T-Rex on stage, and Whole Lotta Led who copied Led Zeppelin, who did far better jobs of imitating their subjects.

When I was at their shows it felt like the real thing.

That didn’t happen with Dire Streets, but after the first few tunes I decided to just enjoy the performance for what it was; a group of talented musicians doing a pretty good job playing Dire Straits songs.

Sometimes you get what you pay for, but in this case I hadn’t paid anything and that probably had a fair bit to do with my decision to be positive.

I realise that makes me sound rather cheap, but that’s not what I mean.

A friend had bought tickets for himself and for his sister and me to say thanks for doing some work on his flat, so there was no way I was going to spoil his evening by slagging off the band.

Dire Streets did not put on a bad show and judging from the applause they received from the near sell-out crowd, most of the people who attended loved them.

These things are a matter of taste. I’m writing about this now, though, because the band didn’t quite do it for me but I still had a great time… and that was because I decided to.

I believe my motivation for that was quite unselfish but looking back on the evening the really interesting thing is that I may have benefited more from that decision than my friends did.

Sure, they would have had to put up with a miserable git and Pete might have been disappointed, but I am the one who would have been miserable.

That seems pretty foolish now that I think back on it.

Anyway, sometimes you get what you pay for and sometimes you don’t; and sometimes you get nothing for your money.

That last situation, however, is far more likely to occur when you become overly critical and look at things with a closed mind.