austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Before you have your buttered toast, have a song

I didn't learn about Neil Innes appearing at the library through library-based methods. I learned from my father, who clipped a short article about the appearance out of the newspaper. My father got a set of battery-powered scissors from my sister and her husband a couple Christmases back and now his favorite pastimes, really, are listening to shouting idiots on the `News' channels, cutting up newspapers, and voting down school budgets. Still, now and then he finds something interesting and he usually tapes it to my bathroom's mirror to be sure that I've seen it. In any case he was right and this interested me, although I left the clipping taped to the mirror until the event had passed.

His performance was at the county library headquarters, and they had a ``reservations required'' even though there'd be no admission charge, which I supposed was to make sure they had the right space and seating available. Despite my best efforts to get there on time I ran a couple minutes late, which was all right as the show started about ten minutes late, and the seats were only about two-thirds full. I also noticed that besides a few kids who were clearly there at their parents' behest I was in the young quartile. (In fact, even counting the kids I might have been in the young quartile.) It kind of suggests a day that just being affiliated with Monty Python might not convey instant recognition on a person. I did try explaining to people who he was and why I might be interested in seeing his performance, although the attempt degenerated into random syllables pretty quickly (``Rutles? Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band?'') Occupational hazard, I suppose.

Innes's basic tools were a set of several guitars, a piano, some microphones, and a sense of it being kind of bizarre to be performing comic music in a library. He also brought that gentle sort of British humour where you aren't precisely sure just where the joke might lie, as for example in his welcome of, ``Hello. Good day. To name two bad magazines,'' which drew mostly bewildered looks. ``Or do you not have them over here?'' But the opening would be only a little grin even if the magazines were immediately recognized. So was the joke to be telling a joke that wouldn't be understood? Maybe. Hard to say.

Trivia: During the Great Plague of London, 1665-66, the College of Physicians recommended infectious air be purified by burning coal, along with other fragrant combustibles like cedar or spice. Source: Coal: A History, Barbara Freese.

Currently Reading: The Darkest Jungle: The True Story Of The Darien Expedition And America's Ill-Fated Race To Connect The Seas, Todd Balf.


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