Monday, February 26, 2007

your mouth is full of steel wool

Normally I don't stress out too much about how much time has passed since I accessed some forgotten skill, but I have to play at my friend's wedding in about an hour. The groom, who i met yesterday in a sir arthur conan doyle reading circle (we focus on his forgotten mathematical work, as opposed to his "Holmes and Watson" rubbish. I move almost exclusively in circles with a pathological bent towards the hatred of detective fiction). I put down my pipe to comment on an unclear passage in doyle's "Circles and Stuff: Figure That out, bitch" when I noticed the chap to my left. He noticed me noticing him and asked me to play at his wedding.

"Play what?" I asked.

"Well, the piano, of course." He looked around as though he was missing the joke. Ever the good sport, I decided to play along.

"What song then, on this piano? " He laughed and pointed to the piece of furniture in front of me.

"What You're playing now, sir."

It turns out that rather than rummaging around in an antique humidor for a specific blend of gentleman's tobacco, I had been playing a dead on cover of Iron butterfly's Inna godda da vida for almost an hour. Anyone else would be forced to conclude that, in spite of the fact that it occurred during a brief blackout, I had evidently learned the song somewhere and could play it again if I wished. I knew better though. I live my life with a single rule in mind: Assume nothing. Especially if pscychotropic orchestral pieces are somehow involved. I told him I wasn't sure about the situation.

"I haven't played piano, or any keyed instrument, since I was 12 years old."

He refused to be put off. You mimic the gravelly vocal stylings of Doug Ingle, slurring like your mouth is full of steel wool,

Oh won'tcha come with me,
and take my hand?

once at a reading group and people evidently want to take your hand. They drop their frayed and tattered copies of Sherlock Holmes and the Antibiotic Resisant Strain of Tuberculosis and reach for you, knocking over 60 year old cognacs without noticing. They are not shy about sneaking these blatant works of detective fiction into the meeting. Shame has become a theoretical construct in the in the face of my playing. They stumble toward me like they've been tranquilized, beginning to mirror the lyrics which I don't even realize I'm growling at them. They are slurring, partly in response to the my impersonation of the already lovecraftian vocalist Doug Ingle. However, the bulk of their state has to be blamed on the inexorable weight of my organ on their poor brains. Bar after bar of unforgiving of hammond driven solo keywork have finally taken their toll on the reading group. Their eyes are rolling like loose marbles on a muddy playground. In addition to my unconcious keyboard playing, I have been kicking the floor in time with a phantom bass drum and using the song's lengthy lyric-free expanses to bellow the low-end accompaniment. It's just too damn much for them, I guess. There's no way I'm getting out of this wedding. Not even the reception, but a musical escort to the service itself. They are timing the liturgy to fall in time with the drum solo and have written their own vows.

Oh won'tcha come with me,
and walk this land?

I will.

In-a-gadda-da-vida honey,
don'tcha know that I love you?

I do.

In-a-gadda-da-vida baby,
don'tcha know that I'll always be true?

I do.