Being the continuation and conclusion of the discussion about whether Robyn should keep his mouth shut when onstage.
Wet Toast Tweezers <
Subject: Re: Blabblab
On Sun, 25 May 1997, Bayard wrote:
> you'll never know unless you go...m IMHO a robyn show with a silent robyn
of course if robyn did a month of shows (straight, that is) in SF i would not be sad. but, yes tom ( petty )does have his share of problems; so, i will take the short talkative bit any day. i think the problem with talking is that many of the stories are heard on this list before they are heard in concert by most people. so, we are still in the show and going "yeah, that is the same one that person X in area Y wrote up." in a sense, your not actually going to a robyn show, but a fegmaniax live! show, dig?
Subject: Re: Minneapolis show / instore
>>I first went to the instore appearance at Let It Be Records inSee? See? ;P
"Tentacles" indeed. Sheesh.
Blabbwhatever: Just thought I'd say that I like Robyn's chatter, and I've only heard himself repeat occasionally - more or less repetitive concepts, really. Some is obviously spontaneous, some is standard. Sure, we'd all love if her were truly some sort of godlike artist who could never repeat himself and was always witty and "on," but he's just a man - albeit a genius - and I get so much more out of hearing and seeing him than anyone else, I can foprgive his "off" nights and the occasional overuse of tentacled prawns and so on. Even Joyce had his less creative moments. Just my thoughts. I also like Billy Bragg's chatter better than his songs (which I do love) even though I don't always agree with him; and Queen Elvis is one of my favorite Robyn CDs, so I guess it takes all kinds . . .
Thanks, and I love this list, from Eb's cranky provocations to Susan's omnipresent charm. This is the only list I have ever really felt at home on. <sniff.> I love you guys. . . .
The Quail, who promises not to use any fourth person sigs, but only because he hasn't figured out how to yet
and on the rambling bits -- i liked them a lot better when they seemed less rehearsed too. and i do think they were less rehearsed -- in fact one of my most prized moments of rh-concert attendance was at one of the old 9.30 club gigs when robyn stopped in mid monologue with words to the effect of "don't clap when it's not any good. if i get unconditional approval i could turn into clapton or springsteen or something." when the set list and the patter are the same in every damn city, rock'n'roll starts to turn into one of those horrid tour buses in which everyone has the same prefabricated experienceless experience, learning the exact same historical minutia in the exact same order. one of the most weirdly sad things i ever read, in this wise, was an interview with, like, the lead guitarist of journey, a dozen years ago or so at their apex of commercial success (or possibly just after) in which he lamented that they only played 'very good shows' -- whereas in the past they had played some lame shows, some good shows, and a few great ones. i took him to mean that the potential for greatness was only there when the potential for falling flat on yr ass was too -- with which view i tend to agree. anyway, i think robyn's a long way away from prepackaged sterile verygoodalwaysness -- but i would rather no monologue than carefully-crafted repeat ones. i thought the madlib tales of suspense bit, despite its obvious artificiality, was a not-bad-at-all compromise.
(incidentally, it's weird how the instant world-wide reportage of every freakin' concert by anybody anywhere shatters the myths of spontaneity in many touring rawk shows, ain't it?)
Robyn the comedian, and other stuff
Date: Tue, 27 May 1997
About this "Robyn blabbing too much" debate...
In Minneapolis, I was thinking about that, and although I too sometimes get a little tired of his "spontaneous" stories, I was sitting there thinking of him as a comedian on stage. (It even seemed that Tim was his mostly-silent "straight man" to play off of) So what do you think of comedians? They certainly rehearse their material and we don't fault them for it! If Robyn crafts his little stories, so what? They are *still* funny (mostly) and as someone else said, it's not like we all follow him around for every show so that we actually do have to hear the same ones repeated all the time. So heck, enjoy 'em! (or go see someone else perform)
Subject: Re: Robyn the comedian
>So what do you think ofWell, but there's a difference: In the case of a comedian, a story leads up to a concrete payoff/ punchline/ conclusion. In Robyn's case, there isn't much point, really -- it's just to watch his mind free-associate and HOPEFULLY end up somewhere interesting. I suppose it's just a more esoteric form of that classic sitcom "babbling" joke (see Chrissy Snow on 3's Company, Gracie Allen, Edith Bunker, Ellen Degeneres...), where the wacky character just rambles on for so long that it's nervously funny. <shrug>
Date: Tue, 27 May 1997
O.K., I've been a lurker for some months now (I can't remember ever posting here), but I just had to say a few things.
> Its not an act, his mind actually works like that and you can tell justThis is true. When a bunch of us fans were talking to Robyn after the Cat's Cradle show in March, we got onto a really weird tangent about eating on stage. Some of the objects suggested as suitable for eating were a bicycle and a wheelchair. Of course, maybe we fans were just as 'eccentric' because we were discussing this subject with complete seriousness.;)
Mark \"the rubber chicken of love\" Gloster" >
Subject: babble babble boils and gerbils...
I think Robyn is one of the few last bards remaining. The anglo tradition, it may be nordic actually, of people who roamed and entertained with stories and song is one I thoroughly enjoy. Sometimes they would change the endings to make the stories interesting to themselves, and they challenged themselves to keep things fresh and fun. Sometimes they would report news of the next town, the shire, or the greater world as they knew it. Other times they would just try to make people laugh.
I've seen Adrian Legg and Robyn Williamson, when they talked for most of their shows- I had a great time when these "wags" would wander about, mentally spinning yarns about nothing and everything.
I have the opportunity to see Martin Simpson rather frequently since he gave up the old country for Santa Cruz. He's a great story teller, but he doesn't bother to do it much. He keeps a high music/babble ratio as does Robyn.
It is hard for an entertainer to always be "on." With the soundperson garnishing the monitors with unplanned feedback enhancements (tm), the front row personages vomiting their MD and Mickeys bigmouths into my rack, the crack, and I do mean crack, lightperson shining laser bazookas through my glasses, burning a perfect 8 through the back of my head- I hope my audience understands when I start to repeat myself, or begin slobbering uncontrollably and put pencils in my ears and underpants on my head and just say "wubble," for that matter (apologies to Mr. Adder).
That said, I can see how hearing the same story over and over to a feg can get old.
the woj of noise
Subject: more yakking
regarding robyn's between-song banter...i guess i've recognized that it's the main attraction (or a main attraction anyways) to many fegs and non-feg fans alike. i've never really thought the stories were as funny as others and never really enjoyed them...nor disliked them. i appreciate the really good ones when they happen (e.g., the tale of the finnish grin and the toothpaste artist which surfaced at one of march's knitting factory gigs) and let my mind wander during the less intriguing ones. personally, i find the recent trend towards relatively samey setlists more troublesome than his prediliction to let the mouth wander.
Anyway, to pick up on the repetititve Robyn stories/songs thread, as someone else has suggested, I think this is a phenomenon created through Fegmaniax-- if I wasn't on this list, I'd've been amazed and surprised by Robyn's shows this year.
As for the stories becoming tiresome -- well, you're watching a different show than me. I'm always entertained by the stories, and consider them an integral part of the show. I'm beginning to think again that Fegmaniax is alist for people who don't like Robyn Hitchcock...
also sprach eb:
>People say I was flamebaiting when I complained about Robin's contrivedwhether or not robyn's storybabble is any good isn't a new topic, by any means. it's come up in fegmaniax's six years occasionally -- in fact, i seem to remember that it was one of the earliest things discussed on the list (feg was founded not long after the eye tour, which was when a lot of people -- including yours truly -- received their first exposure to robyn's solo shows). regardless, discussions in the past do not invalidate discussions in the present or future.
you'll excuse me for being skeptical of your comment about "robyngodthink". yes, there are fegs who think he can do no wrong, but there have always been other fegs who have, without fear, hoisted robyn by his petard when they feel he warrants it. go read the archives sometime.
Subject: re:bait with proof of purchase
Date: Sat, 31 May 1997 00:06:52
I can't imagine that there were actually people cowering in fear of the Mighty Robyn-Banter Lovers until you came around and liberated them.
Anything is possible, of course. It seems more likely that they didn't see the point of posting "Hi everyone, I don't like Robyn's stories." So your trailblazing anti-banter post may have greased that particularchute. Good thing? Bad thing? Don't ask me, I'm really a lurker.
>So yay for Eb, for daring to think the unthinkable.
That's the impression that I get.
A fruity belch from Robyn is worth more than the entire recorded output of both Yes and The Sex Pistols. Bah. I'm going back to lurking.
blabblab: i come down on the side that LOVES the stories. and i think they do hold up very well with repeated listenings. i could listen to LIVE DEATH or THOTH BOYS or the o'donoghue interview about twenny times a day i think. further, i would just LOVE to see every album spectrefied. the most disenchanting thing to me, Eb, is that you don't consider robyn to be an infallible being. seriously. i thought there were no casual robyn fans, just those that hadn't heard him and those that are SUPERFANATIC. also, even if you don't like the stories, you really should go see him to hear the songs, man. when he was here in november, i was blown away. his playing, and especially his voice, have never been better. it certainly didn't seem to me then that he was getting sick of it. finally, listening to stories, but more often interviews, it's really fun to hear him say something so outrageous or interesting or whatever that he even amazes himself. he really is a conduit, and as someone else said, it would be horrible to try to rein him in. would probably destroy him
Subject: Re: there's only yourself
>the most disenchanting thing to me, Eb, is that you don'tAdd the recent sneer that "one fruity belch from Robyn is worth more than the entire Yes/Sex Pistols catalog," and I think it's safe to say that RobynGodthink is alive and well. ;)
>i thought thereNo, believe it or not, some folks hear Robyn and just aren't into it. Or there's other folks who just kinda like "that song about the balloons."I wouldn't say I'm a casual fan. After all, I do own 19 Hitchcock/Soft Boys albums. But of those, I guess I'd say (let's see...) that I'd grade two of them "A," four of them "A-," two of them "B" and the rest "B+." So I guess that means I think he's a B+ artist on the whole. <shrug> General sameyness -- both lyrically and musically -- would be my chief complaint. And perhaps an inability to truly "rock."
>also, even if you don't like the stories, youWell, first, I didn't say he was "getting sick of it." That was someone else. I don't agree with that, actually. I just said *I* was getting sick of it. Second, I think I've seen RH about five times, starting around 1987. So I've certainly tasted the fruits of RH's live performances. I guess I enjoy the band gigs more -- I think my favorite RH show I've seen was on the Respect tour. Can't really say why -- that one just really made my toes tingle at the time. And just in case you think I'm always Mr. Negative, it's my impression that I like Respect more than just about anyone else on this list.
. the most disenchanting thing to me, Eb, is that you don't
> consider robyn to be an infallible being. seriously. i thought there
> were no casual robyn fans, just those that hadn't heard him and those
> that are SUPERFANATIC.
One can be superfanatic and also notice clay feet showing now and again. It's been known to have happened :). The difference is whether or not this provokes an affectionate response or a more objective one, I think.
Love on ya,
Here endeth this mighty long thread ( for now ....)