Angela Natividad's Live & Uncensored!

09 July 2015

Inklust #19: Gives and Tells

There were a few stipulations she had written into his standard contract that Mark had balked at: lemon rounds, not wedges; hypoallergenic makeup; fair-trade green tea. These, she explained, were gives—items that he was not to insist upon, which lack of insistence would make him seem like a much more reasonable person than his contract made him out to be.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, David Shafer

Here's a neat story: Van Halen was renowned for having a stringent, vaguely insane and crazy-detailed contract, one of whose stipulations included the demand that the band be provided with a bowl of M&Ms with the brown ones picked out. If a single brown M&M was found, Van Halen could cancel the concert at the full expense of the promoter—right then and there.

This is usually told as an anecdote to illustrate how debauched and ridiculous rock-stardom had become. But there was actually a really good reason the clause existed.

Van Halen's concerts included some of the most complex and advanced pyrotechnics of any show at that time. A successful show required a number of safety precautions and precise technical measures.

If the band found brown M&Ms in the bowl, chances were high that the contract hadn't been read. It significantly increased the likelihood of an onstage accident or technical failure.

The brown M&Ms weren't a give; they were a tell.


What is "Inklust"? Boy am I glad you asked. Here's the manifesto: part I and part II.

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