etiquette

coctails

how to be a good houseguest when you are on tour by liz clayton

without a doubt, touring is an unnatural way of life. it’s taxing, tiring, and makes you smell bad. most days are spent playing “hurry up and wait.” for bands that can afford buses or hotels, some small solace can be found at the end of the day in places where you’re only accountable to yourselves. but for the rest of you, finding a space on someone’s floor might be the best you can hope for. what follows are some tips on how to make the free crash-pad experience pleasant for your host/hostess as well as for you and your bandmates. some of these ideas are common sense, but for some reason, many of them do not occur to people. (this originally ran in chickfactor 15, 2002, as part of our chickfactor etiquette special section)

  1. if you arrange for a place to crash, and later get a better offer, do not make your host/hostess wait around at the club until 3am with you to tell them this.
  2. when bringing in your rare guitars, sleeping bags, pillows, duffels, and amplifiers, please be mindful of the host/hostess’ neighbours, sleeping roommates, pets that might not be supposed to get out the door you’re holding open, or stuff you might be about to knock over.
  3. if the person with whom you are staying says they need to leave at a certain time in the morning, offer to get up and be out of there at or before that time. if the host/hostess insists it’s okay for you to be there after he or she leaves, it’s nice for them to come home to a goodbye note of thanks. remember to lock up properly.
  4. wash your dishes and beer bottles out, throw away your trash, and clean up after yourself in general.
  5. though it’s sweet, you don’t have to fold up any sheets you used. they’re just going to get washed anyway.
  6. don’t use the host/hostess’ bathroom products, razors, etc. without asking. a house is not a motel.
  7. when the host or hostess seems like he or she is trying to wake you up and get you moving, that’s probably what’s happening. get your band in order, especially the stragglers, and politely let the host/hostess get on with their lives. while it’s possible they do want to sit around the living room with you all day or take you thrift shopping, you should not assume this.
  8. if you go out to breakfast with your host or hostess in the morning, it is superfriendly to buy their meal, though no polite host/hostess would actually expect you to. if they cook for you, however, I would hope you’d at least leave them a t-shirt.
  9. if your host or hostess lives with other people, especially their parents, be extra grateful to them when you run into them. they may have been talked into letting a band crash there, and your manners will make a good impression.

following these guidelines should make your band highly desirable as potential houseguests. while some people may be starstruck enough that they’re simply delighted just to have had you cross their threshold, most people over the age of 23 have learned that a little tidying-up and gratitude goes a long way in making them feel good about loaning you their floor space. happy trails, and thanks for smoking on the porch and not throwing the butts into my garden.

who was liz clayton’s best houseguest? “I have to say the coctails or archer prewitt band have been the best—they wash all the dishes, they fold up the futon, they leave presents and thank-you notes, they take me for sushi. and they’ve been treating me this nicely from the first visit in 1994,” she told us in 2002.