Last night I was invited to attend a performance at the Eastern Bloc of various choiristic affairs . . .
I was kind of expecting some kind of monkish, quiet place, but the paint is peelin’ from the ceilin’ and they have old armchairs and actually had BEER so I adopted my “Australian” persona (I only do that when I’m alone at a party — it’s a tradition going back to the 80s when I wandered into a party involving the Grateful Dead in San Francisco and was all alone and suddenly decided to say “Yeh, tui bees, mite” to the bartender). It is always accompanied by a leather jacket, as I can’t be Australian without one, for some unknown reason.
And the perversity of the whole thing is, I persist in my accent even when they don’t seem to understand (and trust me, mate, I do a good one — they’re completely fooled).
So last night at the bar it was “Hellai, wotuv you got in the beeah tride, then, deeh?” (Can’t be transliterated—you just have to hear it).
And “Sai, luv, hai dyui aipen thees then?” when presented with a beer with the cap still on. It was highly amusing at all times and I got my share of befuddled looks (and impressed ones too: wow, a Real Australian!) so that’s the way the evening started.
But I digress.
I settled back into my armchair (really!) with my “beeh” and suddenly had to close my eyes—it was impossible not to, because twenty or thirty people were singing all around me, all around the room, in perfect harmony; quite one of the most bizarre and intense experiences I’ve ever had. Imagine the finest pair of headphones ever made and then magnify by 50,000. Had to keep the eyes closed and then the music moved around the room as the singers did. Like having taken good old Owsley’s finest, let me tell you; mesmerizing.
Not being much of a theatre- or performance-goer this was all quite extraordinary. The whole evening was amazing and eclectic . . . really something that even this old armchair-hugging-beer-chugging Australian dude can highly recommend. Go tonight (or the next time).