The Flying Ashtray
By john on Mar 19, 2007
In preparation for my upcoming Java One Session I was reading over some speaker guidelines and came across two hints that reminded me of an embarrassing (and potentially dangerous) incident.
Many years ago I played in a country band, "White Lightning," that toured the small towns of northern Alberta. Many of these towns' main business was cattle ranching, so frequently the entire audience was comprised of beefy cattle ranchers and their cohorts.
One such night we played a song by KD Lang, a moderately popular singer hailing from Edmonton. Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to us, she was also an animal activist and had recently released a another song, Meat Stinks, in support of the animal rights movement. The song was clearly and rather graphically opposed to the cattle industry.
We were a few bars into the song when a heavy ceramic ashtray came whizzing through the air and slammed into the wall a couple of feet from the drummer's head. Turns out someone had taken exception to us playing a song by a performer who publicly denounced their entire livelihood.
Back to my preparation for the JavaOne session: the two hints I read were "know your audience" and "know your material." We were clearly in violation of both these rules.