Randall Stockton doesn’t recall exactly when, but two or three South By Southwests ago the co-owner of the Beerland punk club on Red River Street took to Facebook to start chronicling the absurd and amusing happenings that come with tens of thousands of music fans packing into a couple of square miles of downtown Austin.
Stockton’s location in the heart of the Red River Cultural District and across the street from Austin Resource Center for the Homeless gives him a front-row seat to plenty of antics and “WTF?” moments. His status as a born-and-raised Austinite, and being one of the more agreeable and good-natured folks in town, imbues his posts with the distant dry wit that has made them must-read material every spring. They’re equal parts Simpsons “Old Man Yells At Cloud” and that one uncle everyone has who’s amused and confused by crazy kids these days.
We’ve collected some of the best of Stockton’s SXSW 2017 musings, and talked to him about life during SXSW, and his role as the Studs Terkel of Red River.
Austin360: These would spread like crazy if you did them on Twitter. Are you not on Twitter?
Stockton: I think I am, but it’s more tied to Beerland’s account and I’m not set up to do that on my phone. I’m kind of a Luddite. I’m one of those old farts who only use Facebook because it’s not cool for the younger people.
A360: What made you say, “I’m going to share my thoughts as I watch the South By world go by”?
RS: It started a few years ago when I had enough other people working here that I wasn’t specifically running or needed to be doing one thing. So in between taking care of the random stuff that comes up I’d get these moments to sit down and watch everything going on out there. Then I’d see stuff where I was like “OK, that’s (expletive) funny. That’s a weird thing. People are crazy right now.”
A360: What’s your overall attitude of life during South By?
RS: I dunno. It’s important to hug your friends when you see them. Until later in the week when everyone starts to smell. Then you just shake hands with them.