Normal History Vol. 205: The Art Of David Lester

Every Saturday, we’ll be posting a new illustration by David Lester. The Mecca Normal guitarist is visually documenting people, places and events from his band’s 29-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

“When I met him, he was working as a dishwasher, making a few bucks more an hour than I was, running out of money every month, borrowing from his friends to make the rent. He had this weird sort of indignant attitude that his friends should all chip in and pay his expenses so he could paint.”

“Entitlement,” Lee says, passing me the bread basket.

“He also told me that he liked getting presents, but that he himself didn’t give anyone anything. At Christmas he seemed extremely pleased with himself for getting me the perfect gift—some kind of brainstorm he’d had. He could hardly wait for me to open it.”

“What was it?”

“A coffee tamp from the hardware store.”

“What the hell is a coffee tamp?” Lee asks.

“A chunk of metal you use to compress coffee grounds for an espresso pot.”

“How much can that be worth?”

“$12,” I say.

“Tell me you’re kidding.”

Slowly, being out at a nice restaurant with Lee, I begin to feel like I may be worth more than $12.

“Museum Of Open Windows,” from Flood Plain (K, 1993) (download):