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December 6, 2007

Famous People

I just got back from the Mike Doughty show at Trilogy, a very small venue here in Boulder. I met up with Larry, Mark, and Seth at the RedFish, right next door, for dinner at 6:30. But the show wasn't until 9:30, as it turned out, not 8:30 as Seth and I thought, so we had some time to kill. We drew out our meal and then had a drink in Trilogy waiting for the doors to open to the back, where the show was, and then when we could we headed back and listened to the opener and then, eventually, Mike and Scrap came on. I think all the waiting may have killed some energy for me, or maybe I should have indulged in more drinks, and then Mike just didn't seem into it. He looked tired when he came out, and grumpy with the crowd almost straight off because people were talking rather than giving him full attention. And, he seemed to be going through the motions rather than really being there—and it was a very interactive venue with an interactive set-up, since they have a jar on stage in which audience members have stuffed questions on scraps of paper and between songs Scrap and Mike read and answer them. Thus the name of their tour: “The Question Jar Tour.” Yup. A brilliant idea, and a show I really, really didn't want to miss. But there seemed to be some kind of curtain between them and us, despite the intimacy of the venue—he didn't seem to see us, didn't seem to be looking. Us and them. Really, just them. I guess that's what happens when you're on the road playing all the time, and when you've been doing this for years and years, and when you're famous and so used to attention.

Also, the crowd was a bit annoying. If I ever get famous, I hope my fans aren't like that—drunk and loud. If I ever talk about drugs and get raucous cheers from the audience for the mere mention of a hallucinogen, I think I've gone wrong. Remind me of that.

So. Larry and Mark and Seth and I made up a cluster of tallness right about in the center of the room (Larry 6'5”, Mark 6'4", Seth 6'2”, and me a mere 5'10”) and bobbed our heads to the music and I actually was kind of intimidated by the small venue—by the fact that Mike could see and judge me since I was only about 15 feet from him. I've have no problem with this in many other shows—but usually when I'm dancing and really getting into the music. It was hard to just stand. I felt like I needed to look pleasant and into it, but then not dancing, and feeling scrutinized besides and thus self-conscious... even though there was that imaginary curtain between us. Silly.

After the show, I proved how much of a dork I can be and walked down the alley beside the venue to see if Mike and Scrap were out chatting with layfolk like me, and they were. And I walked by. Because what was I going to say? So I stopped on the far side of the building and thought of something and walked back around and stood and waited while a group of three women who had come in in the meantime chatted and then two young guys walked up and I felt a bit pressured and a little more nervous and yeah. When I'm a little out of sorts like that, I don't gush like an idiot, I just go monotone. Very convenient. A startling display of a lack of personality. That's me. Anything to be memorable. Or not.

All that said, Mike's voice is still amazing and he's still oozing with talent. Seeping out of his pores. Dripping onto his guitar.

Posted by beth at December 6, 2007 11:42 PM

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sorry that your night was awkward rather than magical. that's the way art is sometimes. however, it's good that you can still appriciate mike's talent.

Posted by: wilma - mother of beth at December 7, 2007 3:51 AM

Golly, Beth: A "mere" 5'10"? How can you bear it?

As a guy guaranteed to be the shortest adult male in the room no matter where I go (people have told me "Try Japan!" or "Move to Munchkinland!"), herewith a list of times when it is okay to be a short man in the USA:

1. On airplanes. Leg room is rarely problematic.

2. In hotel rooms. I have never had to scrunch down to get under a shower head.

3. Number 3, you say? Um, let me think on this one. . . .

That said, I guess the flip side of the coin is that some tall women are uncomfortable with their height (which I gather you ain't), and that pains me. I'd like to try having that predicament.

Posted by: Tom Horn at December 21, 2007 11:01 PM

As someone who has been there: Are there actually any Antarctic stations as remote (and cut off) as the one in "The Thing"?

That's one of my favorite horror movies. The 1982 John Carpenter re-make, that is. In a good sci-fi flick, you're supposed to accept one facet on faith (suspension of disbelief), and in the case of that film, it has to be that the titular Thing might exist.

But do we really have any bases where they can't even make radio contact with the outside world?

Posted by: Tom Horn at December 21, 2007 11:42 PM

Hello Beth,
finally tracked you down and you still are still full of surprises. Me dropping in, is not that relevant to the thread but just thought I would say hello. Drop me a line and I will you in on life. Merry Christmas.

Posted by: Gareth at December 23, 2007 3:39 PM

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