austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

My head is filled with things to say

Neil Innes's performance was, mostly, songs, with a handful of connecting anecdotes and miscellaneous jokes, some of them references to Monty Python or Spinal Tap or Bonzo material. For the tone of the thing consider that it started with a song aptly named ``All alone'', sung as a group event, which he noted was reflective of the human condition. And from there it was on to loosely connected pieces he dubbed ``A People's Guide To World Domination'', which never quite got around to the world-domination part, which is again reflective of the human condition, isn't it?

One of the sweetest bits, I think, was his talking about recording a resurrected music hall piece from the late 20s, ``My Brother Makes The Noises For The Talkies'', which the Bonzos were recording at the Abbey Road studios. Innes had gone out to the bathroom, noticed a rather prominent band in another studio recording, and his listening in on the electrifying recordings of ``I Want To Tell You'' (I think it was; I realize now I'm not positive) and, then, having to drift back to his own studio to get back to recording this silly little forgotten novelty music-hall piece about making the noises for the talkies.

He encouraged several bits of singing along, which took a little while for the audience to warm up to doing. The attempt at doing what he dubbed a ``Mexican wave'' --- I'd just think of it as The Wave, and that we had kind of stopped doing The Wave in 1986 --- he called ``pathetic, but so is this [song]''. He also noted that when he pressed the loud pedal on his piano the piano ``wants none of it'', which he attributed to it being in the library. Some techie-type person with a comical DEA shirt (Innes noted he ``forgot the I''; the shirt was not a Drug Enforcement Administration shirt) plunged forward and did whatever it is technie-type people do with amplification systems that don't like the loud pedals on the piano.

Other bits of the performance included the part with the chicken puppet (``bought in Istanbul'') on one hand; the part where he puts on a comical moustache and beret to perform as ``Jean-Paul Satire'', and swearing in the audience as Ego-Warriors professing to not sheepishly repeat the dictates of some person who claims to lead them just by virtue of having a microphone and a platform to exhort them to do something; and hte part with a rubber duck hat. Closing songs featured ``We are the slaves of freedom'' and ``How sweet it is to be an idiot''. It made for the sort of genial, pleasant, rambling event that's harder to summarize than it is to live.

Trivia: The San Francisco Board of Education estimated tat 31 schools were destroyed by the earthquake and fire of 1906. Source: A Crack in The Edge Of The World, Simon Winchester.

Currently Reading: The Telegraph: A History Of Morse's Invention And Its Predecessors In The United States, Lewis Coe. Which subtitle explains why it starts off with the Scottish Parliament in 1455 establishing a bonfire signal code. ([ The signal code was therefore quite simple, composed of three messages. one bale meant ``The English are coming''. Two bales meant ``They are already here''. Four bales was the signal of real emergency; it meant ``There are here, and there are an awful lot of them!'' ] )


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