Last night after Chad tagged in to Pip duty and I grabbed a bite to eat, I wandered out to the gazebo in the back of the Readercon hotel because I saw a sign that the Viable Paradise folks would be out there with instruments, and I thought it likely that there would be music.
There was indeed music. red_mike_yog sang all the verses of "The Man on the Flying Trapeze", which is long but I approve of the ending (we all agreed that it was for the best). ellen_kushner and deliasherman sang "From Galway to Graceland", which prompted me to ask Delia if they knew John Hiatt's "Tennessee Plates", another song about dodgy visits to Graceland. Someone whose name I never got did a country-ish version of "Mysterious Ways" on a ukulele (though somehow we never got to "lift my days, light up my nights"), among several other contemporary songs ("Mr. Jones" has a lot more words than I remembered).
Another Richard Thompson song that Ellen played and we all sang, "1952 Vincent Black Lightning," was probably my favorite moment, because it's lovely, it was brave and generous of Ellen to play it, and it was a good example of how performers can cheerfully wing some things. I may never hear the verse
Says James, "In my opinion, there's nothing in this world
Beats a 52 Vincent and a red headed girl.
Now Nortons and Indians and Greeves won't do,
They don't have a soul like a Vincent 52"
without hearing Ellen sing "now fancy-motorcycle and fancy-motorcycle and Greeves won't do," because it made me smile in solidarity—that bit I actually knew, but most of the time I am not nearly so clever at half-remembered lyrics and just mumble.
Also, the last time I found myself in an impromptu music session at Readercon was several years ago, before the ubiquity of smartphones, and the ability to access lyrics sites immediately changes things a lot; it was the only way people got through "Stairway to Heaven," for instance.
Good times, and only one mosquito bite from it, amazingly; other people must've smelled better for a change.comment(s) (how-to) | link