Do not let Mr Thomas stand around like a lemon

A friend brought this to my attention the other day and it’s so good I thought I’d put it here. It’s a set of guidelines for record store owners/managers to abide by for in-store appearances by a band called Pere Ubu. The guidelines are written by Pere Ubu themselves. The ‘Mr Thomas’ mentioned here is David Thomas, the band’s ‘project director’. Here we go.


  • IN-STORE means band members make an announced appearance at a record store.
  • MEET & GREET means band members make private appearances.

Note that Pere Ubu does not always do in-store performances as a full band.

1. Please remember that all in-store appearances must be approved in advance.

2. Mr Thomas gets nervous when the record store owner / manager offers free cds or merchandise. Should the record store want to make a gift the transaction shall be handled by a third party (the Record Company rep). The third party shall approach Mr Thomas discreetly, describing what gift is offered. Mr Thomas will then okay a formal presentation at which brief, formal speeches of presentation and acceptance are made.

3. The Record Company representative must do the following:

  • Immediately on arrival introduce Mr Thomas to as many people as possible, pointing out interesting facts & aiding the flow of conversation. Do not let Mr Thomas stand around like a lemon.
  • IN-STORE ONLY: As soon as possible Mr Thomas must be guided to a chair from which he may play his accordion & dominate the immediate space in an absolutist manner.
  • Mr Thomas should not be referred to as Dave or touched in an overly familiar way. His name is David. Shaking hands is all the physical contact that should be needed.

4. The record store MUST NOT play any Pere Ubu recordings for the duration of Mr Thomas’ visit. It is simply too embarrassing, draws undue attention to his presence & most importantly forces him to withdraw into a protective shell of weird uncommunicativeness. This is not desirable.

5. Please remember that the first 30 seconds of arrival in-store sets the tone for the entire episode. If Mr Thomas is allowed to slip into an Outcast Lemon Mode you will have an unsatisfactory experience. INTRODUCE HIM. ENCOURAGE CONVERSATION. TAKE UP ANY SLACK. If you know a fan who wants to meet him then by all means introduce them. Mr Thomas prefers civilians. He wants to be approached. He wants to talk in these circumstances since that’s what the gig is.

Mr Thomas can be the most charming & exciting personality if very simple steps are taken to avoid awkwardness. Once he gets rolling there are no problems, you can sit back, relax & observe a professional smarming his way into the hearts of all around him. The initial stages, however, are critical. Keep in mind that Mr Thomas undertakes these events as a performance.

MEET & GREETs are not a problem because of the informal nature of the event.

(With thanks to Damien Wilkins.)

by Personal Message

by Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber at Personal Message


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