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Monday, 30 June
Chompin' At The Savoy

Last night, I spent a bit of the evening with the inlaws and new brother-in-law; it was the first time we'd hung out since we'd returned from Belgium, and they were itchy to see pictures and all that. It was also ostensibly to post-celebrate the brother-in-law's recent graduation and my birthday, but that was slightly dimmed by the forgetting of several crucial parcels back home. Oh well; the in-laws are actually lovely people and really like me a lot or do a really brilliant job of feigning affection.

I'm not entirely clear on whose choice it was to go to a jazz club, however; I hate jazz. I know, I know: I'm a philistine, but listen: I don't hate every single jazz song out there--just almost all of them. Think what you may, it's cool, I've heard every possible variant on the it's-impossible-to-hate-jazz theme, and probably the only thing I can say in my defense is that I also hate reggae, which generally makes people give up on talking to me altogether. He probably steals from cripples, too!

With that said, I did have a reasonably good time; not for the music, which was, I was informed, swing-based jazz, but mainly for the musicians. There's something refreshing about the way they watch each other and grin and shout out things like "Damn!" or "Here we go!" or simply make gestures to indicate that that other guy over there is totally blowing my mind right now! I've been weaned on so much rock music, which seems to have brutally conditioned its every star not to dare to enjoy their own music, except in a vaguely glacial way, that to see people actively encouraging each other was really a treat.

Unfortunately, that sort of looseness was largely absent whenever the music stopped. There was a lot of sententious bunkum about how we--the audience--was doing something special with our time, by coming out and supporting this very important music, all with the rather gooey undertone that somewhere, a lot of people not quite as cool as us were unfortunately enjoying baser stuff, like TV or sports. It sounded like something I'd hear on a public television pledge drive: a little desperate, like maybe everyone was thinking, "Is our art form in danger or what?" Being involved in live theater, I've heard this tone of voice before.

Then there was the food. Having earlier spoiled my appetite with a Polish dog before watching Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, a fucking catastrophe of a movie that really destroyed my appetite*, I wasn't in the mood for anything heavy, so I ordered the Caesar's salad. It arrived--suspiciously--almost immediately, and it looked like something recently punched viciously in the face. It lay on the plate, oozing dressing wanly, and seemed to be composed mainly of Romaine spines denuded of actual leaf material. I stabbed it to put it out of its misery and absently shoved it into my mouth while the band softly did something weird to a Stevie Wonder tune. The piano player was making some entertaining taking-a-dump faces into his keyboard, but occasionally he'd cast a look out over the audience that was rather hunted. He looked like he suspected angry bill collectors were massing behind the bar, preparing to rush him at any time. "That would be so cool," I thought. I scooped up another forkful of the salad corpse.

A Claymore mine exploded in my mouth, cracking my teeth and rending my palate into tatters. "AAAAAHHH!" I howled like beaten geek. The waitress came rushing over. "Ssssh! Ssssh!" she hissed. "I bid indo a croudon!" She didn't care. "You'll have to be quiet! This is jazz!" I whimpered while blood pooled in my lap. "By boud willy huts," I whispered to the table, but they were engrossed in a really ripping trumpet solo that sounded like a car horn caught under a freight train.

But soon the set ended and I tortured my weeping tissues with a nice scotch--fuck you, mouth. Pictures were viewed, and all were happy, and as we made our way out, I saw a really cool thing: the musicians were hanging out near the bar talking to the fans. Chatting nicely, graciously accepting compliments, actually talking about music AND they had another set in half an hour . . . well, shit. I'd go back again just for that sometime.

*Seriously. This movie is astoundingly terrible. Don't be stupid. Stay away.


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Comments

I have not seen Full Throttle, but "astoundingly terrible"? Did you see the first one? How does it differ? While campy, and inexcusably ridiculous, I found the first one kinda entertaining - in an embarassing sort of way. Although I wish I had rented it rather than a trip to the multiplex, it was certainly more entertaining than the last Bond movie.

Comment number: 003203   Posted by: Mojomark on June 30, 2003 09:10 PM from IP: 209.162.200.94

ahh, sounds suspiciously like being at Dmitrous' Jazz Alley, a haven of Jazz, but lousy with the other details...

Comment number: 003204   Posted by: beigy on June 30, 2003 11:19 PM from IP: 12.228.174.175

Howf the boud? You pooh you.

Comment number: 003205   Posted by: Anna on July 1, 2003 01:43 AM from IP: 212.136.78.25

I used to hate jazz, then, because of exactly the things you noticed about the performances, I gradually started to... maybe not like it so much as appreciate it enough to listen periodically.

And you just cracked me up all over the place. "while the band softly did something weird to a Stevie Wonder tune." That's the best thing I've read in a month and a couple of days.

Comment number: 003206   Posted by: i on July 1, 2003 06:39 AM from IP: 64.8.202.186

MMMMMMMM....Scotch.....

Comment number: 003207   Posted by: KOTWF on July 1, 2003 07:15 AM from IP: 65.194.128.244

Did you see the first one? How does it differ?

I did see the first one, and I LOVED it; I wasn't even embarrassed about it. That's what made the sequel so painful. The girls are now basically superheroes rather than extraordinarily talented women; Crispin Glover is wasted in what amounts to an afterthought walk-on; Bernie Mac turns in a role only a few degrees above Stepin Fetchit; and the dialogue is unspeakable: one sequence has them trading ass jokes for around three minutes. It's an appalling debacle all the way around. As my friend K. said, "How can a movie with so much going on be so boring?"

Comment number: 003208   Posted by: Skot on July 1, 2003 07:44 AM from IP: 140.107.120.123

I hate Jazz and Reggae too! I haven't even finshed your post, but I had to say something. (OK, now I've read it)

I was raised on jazz by my father. I never liked it, but it was jammed down my throat at every opportunity. He wanted to hammer it into me that jazz was the only music and even worse: That if any music started to get good, in his opinion, it became jazz. I remember listening to a Doobie Brothers song with him (which I liked OK - China Grove is not my favorite) and when they were really going for it, my dad, the all jazz person exclaims, "now THAT's jazz!"

This would happen whenever a rock song got good in his opinion. To him Rock music was trash, but if he liked the song it became jazz. My inner rock fan would always scream, NO IT'S ROCK! ADMIT IT, YOU LIKE A ROCK SONG!

Reggae: I went to two "Reggae Sunsplash" festivals at the Greek theater in Berkeley, CA (2 years in a row) with a huge group of friends in my early 20's. Maybe it was the girls we were with, or the thrill of sneaking our booze in a cooler - who knows, but I guess I was going along with the crowd - I'm not proud of it. Halfway through the second festival I had an epiphany that enough was enough (hot women or no) I thought to myself, why the hell am I here in this heat? I hate reggae - it's all the same. I haven't pretended to like reggae ever since.

Thanks for reading and sorry for writing a novel on your site. You just struck a couple chords...

-Jason

Comment number: 003209   Posted by: Jason on July 1, 2003 09:38 AM from IP: 206.16.5.38

You know, the bill collectors descending upon the performing jazz musician, that's GREAT. That's a scene that needs to be written.

I can understand why people don't like jazz. I like it OK, but I rather be doing those baser things like watching TV.

Comment number: 003210   Posted by: Bet on July 1, 2003 10:05 AM from IP: 12.34.246.5

About every five or six months, I rather enjoy reggae for about fifteen minutes.
Thanks for the tip on Full Throttle, it sounds like the most shitty Tomb Raider, the reason for all those pathetic nights sobbing uncontrollably in the bathroom, gasping ... God... why? Well, almost.

Comment number: 003211   Posted by: soup on July 1, 2003 10:30 AM from IP: 209.53.103.26

I'd pay big money for a "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" poster that bore this blurb:

"A FUCKING CATASTROPHE OF A MOVIE THAT REALLY DESTROYED MY APPETITE ...
SERIOUSLY! THIS MOVIE IS ASTOUNDINGLY TERRIBLE! DON'T BE STUPID! STAY AWAY! "

-- Skot Kurruk, IzzlePfaff.com

(And while we're on the subject, please God ... no more aint-it-cool-news.com blurbs on movie posters or trailers.)

Comment number: 003212   Posted by: Chuck on July 1, 2003 01:26 PM from IP: 64.236.249.8

Comment number: 003213   Posted by: Dave Adams on July 1, 2003 06:49 PM from IP: 66.139.99.153

Fun with Photoshop. thanks Dave !

Comment number: 003214   Posted by: Mojomark on July 1, 2003 07:47 PM from IP: 209.162.200.94

Dave, you rule!

Comment number: 003215   Posted by: Chuck on July 3, 2003 11:07 AM from IP: 64.236.249.8

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