Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel
Providence, RI
19 November 1999

Hi gang!

I attended a large bridge (yes, cards) tournament in Boston last week, and since my partner is a Brit (owns a bistro on Mallorca...not a bad gig, eh?) and had never heard of OH, I thought that a live introduction to Mr. T was right in order. I got tix for Lupo's, and she, being the adventuresome sort, was really up for the experience. When we arrived at Lupo's, I spotted the poster in the glass door right away, and of course wanted it desperately. The fellow in the lobby said that of course I could have it, and I told him I was sure he said that to all the girls. He laughed and told me that he did, in fact, tell everyone this, but that if we came back around 9:30, he'd give it to the first taker.

9:30 rolled around, and of course I was lost in the show, having forgotten all about the poster (the snowflake's chance in hell was also in my thinking), when suddenly Nicole tapped me on the arm with....yes, the rolled up RT poster. I can't tell you how psyched I was!

I have to say that I thought Lupo's was the best of the 4 RT shows I've seen this year. The sound was great; OH did a fabulous solo on HOM. Nicole loved him, and loved the venue, which reminded her of some of her fave spots in London. We chatted with RT after the show, and would you know? She grew up about 2 miles from his old neighborhood. I got my poster signed, and told him I'd see him in Annapolis. Was a terrific evening for me at many levels. Plus I got to meet our Pam!

Still glowing,



Craft and Inspiration

There is a great Sufi story that perfectly illustrates the difference between "craft" and "inspiration".....

There was a great and revered Sufi master visiting a rather primitive and backward area. During his visit he happened by a beautiful lake and heard someone chanting on an island. "That", he told his companions, "is the worst chanting I have ever heard, surely the chanter is an ignorant man who doesn't grasp the ideas and principles of the Sufi way". Without further ado, the great Sufi master borrowed a boat and rowed himself to the island, where he harshly chastised the chanter. The master then explained the proper way to do the chant and demonstrated for the lowly island chanter. Feeling that he had accomplished a great deal, the Sufi mater began to row back to the shore, after a couple of moments he heard a strange splashing sound and looked back toward the island, where to his amazement to ignorant chanter was running across the surface of the water, toward him. "Wait, please great master" called the chanter, "I wish to hear the chant done properly one more time".

Ellis Vener 

Malcolm and Nigel Get Their Tubes Tied

Setting: A lonely stretch of highway outside of Providence, Rhode Island. The tour Windstar van is parked next to a chilly roadside Wiener schnitzel stand where our lads, Nigel and Malcolm, are getting a late-night snack before the Lupo's gig.

Malcolm: (chomping on a schnitzel) You bloody oaf! How many times have I told you that The Squire wants his peanut noodles warmed up in the microwave before serving? Last night he threw his combat boots against Mike's drum kit in a tizzy-fit. And guess who had to scrape the filthy mess off with a Leatherman!

Nigel: Sorry, Mal. There's so much running amuck before the gig that I get flummoxed at times. Boil the Formosa Oolong, change the Elixers, write up the blasted set-list neatly, lay out the dead Italian designer fluffly shirts, check the Windstar van oil, scrub up the microphone stands until they shine, call Jack for soccer scores, find the missing "b" Scrabble piece, rent the Japanese samurai flick for later, put the LOwden in DADGAD, find clean socks for Teddy, unpack Victoria, cue up the 'Yellow Submarine' soundtrack, duct tape Pete Zorn's clainet reed...the mind boggles at the scope and breadth of a roadie's pathetic existence. Why we're one notch below the carpenter ant come the afterlife.

Malcolm: Cheer up, mate! We do sweat and toil for the Pharaoh, but think of the good bits: roughing up those Dee-shirted ninnies after shows, blasting the van through the plains of Nebraska, tuckering in a pint or two at The Turnip and Eel in Hampstead, and watching Our Lad giving us sly grins while he's cranking out a solo during "Hard on Me"... he's on the BlissLand Express. Just seeing Simon wiping his eyes into his hankie, the Thommohawks swaying with their zippo lighters held high and mighty, and the t-shirt seller-guys gobsmacked with riff-envy makes being RT roadies all worthwhile. Sure beats that bogus tour with T. Rex back in 1969, right? No pimping for us this time around, eh?

Nigel: And Bob's your uncle! I almost forget that being a roadie is an "art form". When paradise calls the angels will be carrying great mugs of brown and foamy ale for the two of us. Not every laddie can carry a Fender amplifier on his back and chase off randy groupies.

Malcolm: Just remember to warm up those peanut it?

Nigel: Committed to memory, Mal.

Voice from inside the van: Where's that blasted "b" piece? Malcolm? Nigel?

Nigel: I'll check under the driver's seat. You pay the Weiner man.

Mal: What's the damage, Weinermeister?

Weiner guy: That'll be $17.87 with a 12% Rhode Island sales tax thrown in for good measure. What part of Wales are you foreigners from?

Mal: Whaaat? Meat rolls back in Swindon are cheaper by half!! You scourge scoundrel! Bite this! (He stuffs a capo into the mouth of the Weiner guy and runs into the van, and starts her up)

Mal: Another bloomin' adventure, lads! Buckle up while I gun the engine out of Warwick! We're stiffing the hot dog vendor just like those bloody librarians back in Tuscaloosa. No book fines for us! Now brace yourselves!

Van occupants: Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Nigel: Bloody 'ell! The Weiner dude just got into his weinermobile and is hot on our tail! Crank her up, Mal!!!!!

Mal: I'm doing 85 mph! The Windstar is gonna blow!!!

Malcolm: Get rolling!! I can see the snarly gleam of the Weiner man...his schnitzels are boiling! He's out for blood! Faster, faster pussycat! Kill! Kill!

Mal: Lordy, there's a fat mattress truck in front of us. I'm going to smack into his bedsprings! Whoa nellie! Curtains for all of us! Hello, Zeus! I see a great white light hovering over me head!!!!!!!

(Loud "fluffy puff" as the Windstar and Weinermobile both barrel into the mattress truck at top speed. All three vehicles go tumbling off of I-95 and into a thicket of pachysandra. No one is hurt as they stumble out of their roadsters)

Weiner Man: I told you! We drive on the "right side" of the road over here. Now fork over the schnitzel money or I'll call the cops! You crazy Welsh peoples!

Mattress Truck Driver: Oh, just look at those Sealy's all covered with peanut noodles! Someone will pay dearly for this outrage!

Teddy: I found the "b" piece!


Our Lad: (shaking the pachysandra out of his beret) Cor, what's up with the Borstal Boys tonight? We've got 15 minutes to get to Lupo's and I can't find my Elixer guitar strings.

Malcolm and Nigel: OHHHHHH! The pain!

Danny: Victoria saved! Lucky she fell into a queen!

Malcolm: Yeowwwwww! Seems the Elixers have been found. Wrapped around our willy's! Our tubes are tied for good! No more sportin' for me!

Nigel: Pete...get the Leatherman! We've got to snap these wires before we lose our manhoods. Yeoweee! Worse than Slim Whitman yodels! Yeow!!

Malcolm: Owwww, careful with those pliers, Peter! One wrong move and I'll be singing back-up with ya.

Pete: Steady on....steady! (Snip snip). That's done! Exhale boys!

Malcolm and Nigel: Whew, our Jimmy Shands seem to be intact. God bless Gore-tex coated strings!

Our Lad: 12 minutes and counting! Lead on, MacDuff! Back in the Windstar! Mike...what's a five lettered word for Lamaze?

Weiner Guy: Hey, what about me? Youse owe me some clams!

Malcolm: Take this 'Cat" Mock Tudor t-shirt and be off wit ya.

Weiner Guy: You Welsh are all alike! No more Schnitzel for youse!

Malcolm: Stand back while I fire up the Windstar! Off to Lupo's and glory!

Teddy: I found the missing "b" and a clean pair of socks!

Malcolm and Teddy: Good on ya! Now strap yourselves in everyone, we got a date with destiny!!!!

(The Windstar lumbers off into the good night heading toward a memorable gig at Lupo's, the Weiner man dusts off his merchandise for tomorrow's clients, and the mattress fellow finds a suitable king-size and cuddles down for a quick snooze. All is right once again: promises kept, hope restored, and glory just over the horizon.)

Malcolm: That was a close shave, matey!

Nigel: To think we'd be Boy Georged and all. Thank ye, Pete, for snipping us to safety! We owe you a Double Diamond next time we're in the Turnip and Eel!

Pete: Don't mention it. Now did I leave my French horn back at the crash site? (scratches moustache stubble).

To be continued...