austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

As harmless as a cloud

After the performance finished someone announced that following a couple minutes' break Neil Innes would be back to autograph things and speak with fans. I was torn whether to try chatting with him: for one, I didn't have anything affiliated to him that he could sign --- there were people who were bringing out carefully plastic-bag-wrapped copies of Rutles LPs or well-worn Monty Python books, for comparison, and a lot of them, not all ageing nerdly-looking men --- and as far as small talk goes I never feel comfortable attempting it, even when it does work out well. On the other hand, I did want to buy something from the CDs and T-shirts and buttons and whatnot they had on sale, and when might I have a similar chance? If I could talk to the discoverer of pulsars about my brother's plans for graduate school couldn't I say something to a person who sings funny songs?

On the other hand, just getting to the table where things were for sale might be a mess since that's about where the mob gathering to chat with Innes was gathering. Just going from my seat to look at merchandise and buy something was impossible; it was easier to exit the library and come around the other entrance and at that had to wait to get near. I did end up buying a button and one copy of each of the two CDs, giving me something suitable for autographing and accidentally catching the last copy of one CD ahead of a person who'd particularly wanted that one. Whoops.

But with suitable merchandise in hand I unwrapped one of the CDs and milled towards the front where I grew impressed with Innes's ability to be (or at minimum act) interested in all the people talking about their own music projects, or how they'd played Rutles things when they were overnight DJ at their college radio station, or so on. I tried to keep my chat to simply thanking him for the performance and talking about my admiration for his being funny to music, which to my eye takes much more discipline than either music or comedy separately, and he asked if I did any songwriting. No, but, comedy to an appreciate audience of maybe two dozen. He most graciously spoke of comedy today as being kind of what rock-and-roll used to be, speaking about things that feel important in newly accessible ways, which is certainly a nice spirit of things, and I tried to be appropriately appreciative.

One of the other people asked for his CD to be signed ``To whoever gets one's hands on this''. Oh, that's a cleverer autograph than I'd have thought to seek.

Trivia: The Soviet reformed week of 1929 eliminated Saturday and Sunday. Source: Mapping Time: The Calendar and its History, EG Richards.

Currently Reading: Glasshouse, Charles Stross.

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