I first met Bruce Haack while I was loudly complaining in Nero’s to a member of staff about the lack of ice in the Peach Gold Frappe I’d just stolen off a table outside Ben Hwar’s Menagerie(purveyors of fine cigars and crepes) that some schmuck had left unattended while they chased a pigeon for gossip on where to find the freshest Guada in West Yorkshire.
Bruce was next in the queue and asked politely if he could just quickly order a babyccino and get on his way.
Sure, I said. Why not? I knew I was going to be there for at least 45 minutes, which is the amount of time Nero’s staff legally have to wait before calling the police on an unruly customer. I let him slip past me and as he did a small synthesiser lodged in his pocket knocked at the rim of my knee. Of course, being an electronic music enthusiast, I asked him about it.
He said, Let me just order this babyccino.
Sure, I said. I’m a patient man.
He ordered, paid, and then said, Well? What do you want to know?
Where’d you get it? I asked.
Made it myself, was his reply.
Look, just give me more ice and I’ll be out of here, I said to the member of staff behind the counter.
We don’t sell that here, she said.
That must have taken a while to make, I said to Bruce.
About half an hour, he said. Want me to play you my latest composition?
Of course, I said. I’m always eager to hear new music in the midst of a fruitless search for ice on a hot Summer afternoon. Just a second though, I said as Bruce lit up his pocket-sized machine. Just put some ice in a cup and I’ll add it myself, I said.
I can do that, said the woman behind the counter. She passed me a disposable cup full of ice. I added the ice to my pilfered Peach Gold Frappe. Bruce played National Anthem to the Moon from his album Electric Lucifer(1970). By the time he finished a small crowd had gathered and broke out in rapturous applause.
That was amazing, I said.
I’m Bruce, he said, holding out his hand, and we’ve been friends ever since.