Bumbershoot 97 

& the Two Bells gig.

Robyn played sat the festival proper andthen did an impromtu show at a local bar. 

The Hooded one wrote:

Anyway, the next day we hit the 'shoot. I found Karen and Carole right away. I think I just reached out and grabbed Carole's arm as she passed. I certainly hope she wasn't purposely not noticing me. I hope she wasn't avoiding me and my grabbing her foiled her plan to not run into me that day. Sheesh. Scary thought. Anyway, found them and somehow lost Ian and Sayer. Found Ian and Sayer and finally we headed around to the PROPER entrance. We got in line and I decided I'd scan the frontal regions of the line for fegfolks. I said "I won't recognize anyone, though." Karen said "Eddie is bald and wears glasses and claims you can't miss him." That's good enough for me. I ran up the line.

About thirty folks from the front of the line stood a bald fellow with glasses wearing a floor length purple vest (yeah, there's probably a better name for it) and holding a large pink sign depicting Thoth.

"You must be Eddie."
Hands shake.

"Yeah. Are you a Feg?" He's very excited.

"Um, I guess so."

"Oh... oh... from the list?"

"Yes." I fear I'm unclear and speak a bit more carefully.

"What's your name?"

"Um... Jeme."

"You're a lurker?" Now I feel insignificant.

"No. No no."

"What's your last name?" He's lost now.

"Um... Brelin. I never write my first name. Usually just J."

"Hmmm..." then he's struck. He becomes animated. He smiles and his head snaps upright as if he were one of those plastic animals connected with string and someone just let go of the spring loaded base. He stiffens.

"KaPOOchin!" He emphatically mispronounces. "You're the MAN!" He shakes my hand again.

"Um. Yeah." I nod and it's my turn to look lost. "I guess I'm the man."

I explained that there were folks back in line and went back to get them. I ran back and the bunch of us joined the few of them. We chatted for a bit. Eddie took some pictures that are now said to be dark. The next time I bothered to turn around, J. Barrington J. (AKA Lobsterman) was standing behind me. There was a quick "Hey, John." and a round of introductions. Cynthia and Bayard and Daniel were there in Viva SeaTac, Viva SeaTac II and Jasper, this one's EVIL! shirts respectively. More chatting. Sayer looked down upon all of us (with the possible exception of John because few can look down on one so tall). Ian felt like a pork chop at a kosher wedding. Eventually we were let in.

More line waiting. Ian and Sayer made me hold their places in line while they went off together. I played with my yo-yo and, I think, hit Karen like six times. It was a new string. The quarters were close. I've never hit anyone on accident. I didn't say that out loud. Folks discussed recording equipment. I wasn't really in on that. We were let into this enormous room leading into the Opera House. We were only allowed to stand around the edge. Something funny happened, but I don't remember what it was. Ian and Sayer came back. Eddie decided to hunt for fegs. He pulled out his sign and ran around screaming something or other.I guess he was just guaranteeing that 'you can't miss me' thing. Eventually we were let in. We got good seats. Second row center for me, Ian, Sayer, Daniel and Cynthia. The others sat just stage left.

( Details of other act which I have deleted)

Anyways, we waited awhile and soon enough (OK, not soon enough. Never soon enough.) Robyn was on. Then it got fun.

You see, all of the Robynhype in the Bumberpress seemed to focus on storytelling. In fact, very rarely was he simply Singer/Songwriter Robyn Hitchcock. He was "Storyteller and Singer/Songwriter..." in most every publication. Storyteller FIRST, even. I thought that was odd. In fact, it was something of an injustice. Then I noticed that The Stranger actually said "Australian Storyteller and Singer/Songwriter Robyn Hitchcock". That was just plain offensive. I think Robyn read this. I think he felt the same way.

Robyn openned with something like "I can't see a thing. It sure is dark out there. As far as I know, there's nobody here at all." The crowd roared in attempt to affirm its own existence, I suspect more to itself than to Robyn. "As far as I know, there are no people out there at all... just an enormous aphid with many tendrils." People laughed, but not with much strength. "Anyway, that's the sort of thing I'm expected to say, so I said it." Brilliant.

Good songs that everyone could put a handle on and take home. Tunes you can carry around that damned fairground all day without having to shift the burden from shoulder to shoulder or put down when you got a three dollar lemonade. Music for fegs. Music for Tuatara fans. Music for people that neither wanted to see Built to Spill nor to stand in the hot sun. Music for people expection an Australian storyteller. Stories that have no meaning but still require meditation. A nearly endless stream of words, thoughts, and notes from the stage, the crowd and your head.

I had a good time. And who's to say the Egyptians didn't live in two dimensions? And if they did, surely it was to save space and it makes perfect sense that on a bad day one might roll up like a broken windowshade. I'm fine with that. And St. Nicodemus was last seen getting off a bus in the neighborhood where a single house sat with a real estate agent's sign out front for 200 years and a mummified burglar in an upstairs bedroom. That world is perfectly acceptible to me and at least as likely and easy to believe as a world where an embalmed cowboy can hang a man in an amusement park house of horrors and nine million people can be exterminated yet thousands of people truly believe it didn't happen. And

I leave it to you to decide which is more pleasant. After all is said and done, that's what you're going to toll up on your deathbed.

I walked out of the auditorium happy. You can't ask for more than that.

We went to the Crocodile Cafe and found no show. We went to the Two Bells and were told there would be no "Artist" (because they "don't have Musicians.. they have Artists." We talked for a couple of hours. Just as we were settling the bill, as has been said many times, Robyn came in. Cynthia kind of flipped in her own very reserved way. But she was the one that got up and dragged the poor man to our table to ask about playing tonight.

"So... are you going to play?"

"Um... yeah, but they don't know it yet." Robyn went to the bar and briefly exchanged words with someone behind the counter.

"So, how did you people know I was going to be here?"

We all tried to answer simultaneously. It somehow was conveyed that the words "Two Bells" were mentioned somewhere at the Bumbershoot gig. This also happened to be the place Robyn played in a few nights before Viva SeaTac II with Scott and Peter... the show nobody attended but me, eight people that had no idea what was going on, and about twenty close personal friends of Robyn, Scott and/or Peter. OK, it didn't just 'happen' to be the same place. I'm pretty sure the events were related.

"Oh really? Hmm. So, were you here the last time, then?"

"Um, yeah... I was." "No, he was." That sort of thing.

"Yeah, well... um... so, it'll be us, I mean, if you know who that is..."he then mumbled some names... one was Peter and one was Scott... but I'd swear he said something like "Syd" which kind of got Bayard and me jumpy.

"The same old people. We'll be back at about ten o'clock... if we don't

get too drunk first."

And that was about that. Yeah, white jeans and a firefly.com T and a belt and shoes and hair and two eyes and stuff. We went back to Cynthia's Rover and grabbed Bayard's recording equipment as well as identification. There was a ridiculous amount of debate as to whether the car should be moved close to the venue. It was. We went back to the Two Bells. I called Ian and Sayer. They showed up a while later, but left a bit into the gig.

So Robyn did eventually show. They shoved some tables out of the way and pulled unamplified acoustic guitars from cases. It was just Robyn at first playing Cheese Alarm and Gene Hackman and some others that I don't readily recall. Scott joined him and they played some very strange tunes indeed as well as Viva SeaTac, Queen of Eyes, Chinese Bones and some other good old songs.

here were a good number of people there that, I think, had no idea what kind of special thing they were witnessing. They thought, I suspect, that he was just some britboy with a guitar that pops into small bars and plays novelty tunes and cover songs. Some people just ate and talked through the whole thing. Others looked actively annoyed by the proceedings. I'm sure there were a dozen folks there that would have been very surprised to find that this fellow performing before them was a Warner Brothers recording artist, let alone one with a few dozen albums to his credit and a mailing list filled with obsessive fankids. That bothered me. But other than that, I was just happy to be there.

And that was the end of Bumbershoot Feg adventures. There was much more Bumber-shooting, but no more that had anything at all to do with Robyn or my fine feggy friends.

I'm with Capuchin's verdict on the set at the 'shoot: great, but too short. Watching the curtain come down with a sudden "THUD" and the lights come on as if to say "No encores! That's it! Go home!" all I could do was stand and look around as if something was terribly, terribly wrong. The Viva SeaTac boys came out for but three songs, as though to tease us, then depart, not to return for who knows how long.

But the Two Bells surprise gig made up for it. I don't think anybody tried to come up with a full setlist for that; here's my best guess:

I Something You

Cheese Alarm

<search for Scott, give up on Scott, enter Scott, "Nope, Scott, you're

too late," exit Scott>

Gene Hackman

<enter Scott and that tambourinist>

Chinese Bones

All Shook Up (with full Elvis impersonation and dancing)

Odds&Ends (?)

<that song which ended while the clothes on the clothesline were still


Viva SeaTac


What did I miss in there?


A bizarre sight as the crowd was swaying, clapping, and singing along to Viva SeaTac -- all but Bayard, who was sitting stock-still, directly facing the band, trying to get the best recording possible. A small island in a rolling sea of humanity. That's really a great song, and perfect for that venue. You couldn't help but want to sing along, and by the end the chorus was indelibly written into the memory of everybody there, even those who didn't know just who this odd Englishman was. The table next to us went nuts when he hit the "All of the groovers come from Vancouver" line (well, not the table, the people around it); unfortunate that the groover from Vancouver Island had left that morning.

- --Chris


Subject: fegfix

mmmm, nothing like a little feg in the veins.... (what's a smoe?)
Just wanted to check in... i have been travelling by plane and train and automobile meeting fegs. and I have to agree with Glen, they definitely make the best h... er, that is, thay are just the nicest folks around. Thanks Cynthia and Mark for letting me sleep on your floors. Please thank your cats for keeping me entertained, hope they didn't mind playing with a lower life form.

The feg-fun began when Cynthia, Daniel and I met up with a whole bunch of list fegs waiting to get into Bumbershoot. I recognized Lobstie (about 6' 3" from his head to his tail). Someone, I think Eddie, encouraged us to join them in line. "Hey, we're fegs," he said nonchalantly. Soon we were loping briskly into the plush opera house.

The RH set was too short... we agreed he/they must have been denied an encore due to time limitations. I like solo RH but wish the boys had joined him for more than three songs. I mean, they were available, for goshsakes. As others have said, it was sort of an RH showcase for the uninitiated.. RH alluded to this after the first or second song. The set, including the seatac boys, was an hour. RH didn't even bother to introduce Scott, Peter, and Kurt (Kurt, right?). "you know these guys, right?" For me, the best part was when the sea-tac boys came out. John Lobsterman and I grinned when this happened. The saddest part was when the curtain slammed down and "we'll leave you with this" actually came true-- i thought he only said this before encores? but no, I think he did this at the secret gig too.

Which brings me to the next day.
Bumbershoot again. We'd had tons of Bumbershoot fun the day before and were also wondering if there would be another small gig with the sea-tac boys. Robyn had promised a Sea-Tac 2.5 but the Croc was closed (we walked by and I nearly jumped the chair propping the door open to accost the janitor and find out the real deal.) Cynthia had heard someone mutter something about the Two Bells Tavern so we went there and were told "No. We don't have musicians. We have *artists*." We ended up eating and drinking there anyway. As we were settling the bill and about to leave, Robyn walked in, wearing [of all things] a www.firefly.com t-shirt. A t-shirt. with an internet site on it. is that weird or what?

Cynthia asked him if he'd be playing anywhere that night, and explained we'd been waiting for him. He replied "Yes, I'm playing here, only they don't know it yet." He seemed a bit surprised that we'd known where to find him. We really do know what he's going to do before he does it. He told us who would be coming along to play with him, but spoke quietly and Jeme and I thought he said "Barrett". {Later that evening a woman handed RH a videotape that had "Opel" written on it, but I think it was footage of a new band, not long-lost Barrett stock.}

I didn't catch much more of what he said... he quickly excused himself and said he'd be back at ten. Around eleven the place began to fill up with friends of RH and the Sea-Tac boys, then RH and the boys arrived. RH started out solo, playing his acoustic without amplification. He dubbed the gig the princess Di memorial gig, and said he was British too, but would shortly be joined by a couple of real americans. "This is an English song," he said, and launched into "I Something You". Aside from"Gene Hackman", the rest of the selections were off the beaten track and similar to those from Robyn at Sea... All Shook Up, Cheese Alarm (not to be confused with direct me to the cheese), etc. Sort of the opposite from the Bumbershoot greatest hits showcase. There was one song that seemed to be either a Dylan song he and Scott couldn't remember, or something they were working on and hadn't finished. RH seemed happy and comfortable. He/they played a little under 40 minutes. It was great.

We didn't talk to RH afterwards.. he seemed occupied with this and that...but I did feel he was looking at us funny. Perhaps wondering, "Who are these fiends? And how do they always know where to find me?"

Great to have the list back online!


Here endeth the Bumbershoot thread

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