Monday, October 17, 2005

Zydeco Sid

Just to dispel any rumors regarding my trip to New Orleans that are still floating around out there, I wasn’t eaten by the alligator that got eaten by the python. I wasn’t even eaten by the old lady that swallowed the fly. She’s dead, of course, after swallowing the horse. I think I saw a clip of it on the internet. But I digress.

There was only one day that I had to venture outside of the nurturing bosom of the Commercial Business District and the Quarter, and I found myself behind the wheel of a large automobile driving through a particularly devastated area, finding myself grateful for my shotgun shack in another part of the world.

As soon as my business was done, I returned to my home base for the week – the Le Pavillon Hotel. Not only is it one of those cool, old historic hotels, but I was pretty pumped knowing that it was featured on one of my favorite shows on the Travel Channel – Great Hotels hosted by the even greater Samantha Brown. There was even a one in 226 chance that I might even stay in the same room that Samantha did. For those not familiar with Samantha or not having cable TV, you can check out her work here. When Mrs. F’er tires of me, I might have to give Sam a call. Then we can return to Le Pavillon and share in the nightly tradition of PBJ’s and milk in the lobby. Then I'll go back to the room and puke since I'm allergic to peanuts.

I don’t watch the Travel Channel much, but Great Hotels is on Sunday mornings and a pleasant alternative to Meet the Press. Samantha is way cooler than the egotistical windbag guests that inevitably give me heartburn and ruin Mrs. F’er’s killer French toast (inspired by the Cottonwood Inn in Taos, NM).

Back to the hotel. The hotel normally caters to a high end clientele, but one guest showed up in the hotel bar one day wearing cowboy boots, black dress slacks, a gray tank top, a cheap white mesh baseball cap, and a Bluetooth headset, as if he couldn't get time off of work to spend a day at the beach and go line dancing but tried to fit it all in anyway. Fortunately, New Orleans is currently operating under what’s being termed “Katrina Casual” and this week he sat mostly unnoticed amidst the generic white businessmen.

The house pianist was there in style and plying her craft for any guest that wandered into her bar that week. And wander I did. I didn’t sit down but just milled about smartly, watching the action from the marble ledge that separated the bar from the lobby. We had flirted all week – me with a nod that said, “I know that most of these clowns sitting in the bar aren’t listening to you and you might as well pipe in some elevator music, but I’m digging what you’re laying down.” And her acknowledging smile in return that said, “Glad you’re enjoying it, because you’re right… these bloated business fucks wouldn’t recognize talent unless you stuffed it in an Abita bottle and hit them over the head with it.” It’s always nice to find people with similar non-verbal communication skills. By Wednesday our relationship evolved and she would greet me with a, “Have a seat, Dallas.” No, I wasn’t wearing a ten-gallon hat and spurs, but she asked earlier in the week where I was from and that became my name. Or maybe it was the ass-less chaps... I don’t know.

I didn’t take a seat until Thursday when one of her tunes captured my attention more than usual. It was as if Shania Twain had shown up at a cheap beer joint to buy me a beer and hand me some jukebox money. The piece was inspirational, and not in the usual way where I end up in a holding cell in my underwear apologizing for something. I asked her who it was and after telling me, we had a very brief discussion about songwriting and she played some old pieces from the late 19th and early 20th century that inspired her. She didn’t get to play those often, but her playlist was temporarily limited since the Discovery Channel was on-site taping a documentary and requested that she didn’t play anything they would have to pay royalties on. And once Eminem is off the table, what else is there?

When I went back to my room, I did a little research on the tune and found Richard Clayderman’s website and immediately thought I might be gay. He appears to be some sort of Yanni/John Tesh new age, bad haircut wearin’ artist. I didn’t want to believe that I went from Led Zeppelin to Blue Oyster Cult to Concrete Blonde to Beth Hart to Richard freakin’ Clayderman. I might as well just start calling bingo games down at the Sunshine Home Assisted Living Community. But I was alone in my hotel room so I decided to explore this new side of myself and downloaded the song (Ballade pour Adeline). And it sucked. It was nothing like what I had just heard downstairs. I started to feel better as my self-esteem and masculinity slowly returned, and I took a hot shower to remove any Clayderman remnants still clinging to my violated soul.

I returned to the scene of the crime (iTunes) and decided to try another one that my muse recommended. Even if this song sucked, I was intrigued with the stories she told me about New Orleans native Louis Moreau Gottschalk. Great stories about a forbidden affair, a ticket on the disoriented express, and a mysterious death on foreign soil. I reluctantly hit “play” after downloading “The Dying Poet” but this time there wasn’t any of that new age crap, just a cool piano composition like I heard earlier that day. The kind that would have made Lucy fall in love with Schroeder if they had been hanging around New Orleans in 1864. Not my favorite version, but download it here.

Or if you're into masochism or comas, download Clayderman here.

Leper Pop hits the road again and El Sid will be signing blogs at the Marquis Reforma Hotel in Mexico City through the end of this week. Stop by and buy me a shot of tequila. I hear it's like beer.

16 comments:

AMAI said...

The piece was inspirational, and not in the usual way where I end up in a holding cell in my underwear apologizing for something.

Maybe while you're slurping back tequila you'll tap out THOSE stories for us!

Thanks for the links. I have a cold right now, can't sleep but I will click & listen soon.

:)

Mack the Fork said...

"Ballade pour Adeline"? I thought for sure it was going to be "Lick My Love Pump". In D minor, of course, the saddest of all keys.

keysunset said...

Interesting trip, there, El Sid.

You wrote: nightly tradition of PBJ’s and milk in the lobby. Then I'll go back to the room and puke since I'm allergic to peanuts.

I'm surprised in this day and time of heightened awareness of the health risk to upstanding citizens of our country, like you Sid, who are allergic to peanuts that they can still carry on this tradition. I wonder if they have to carry special insurance to protect them from lawsuits.

Anyhoo, I like hearing about quirky traditions - a couple I have even visited is the site of the New Year's Eve pickle drop at the Mt. Olive pickle company in, where else, Mt. Olive, NC, and the world's largest Frying Pan in Rose Hill, NC, where each year "Rose Hill hosts the NC Poultry Jubilee at which the local men use pitchforks to fry thousands of whole chickens over several days using the World's Largest Frying Pan which is permanently located in the Town Square." I've only seen the pan itself, not been there for the Jubilee. :-(

BTW, what do you think, El Sid? How about a Leprosy reunion tour that includes a stop in North Carolina? You could sign blogs before or after the show. I'll buy a ticket. I'll even throw down an air mattress in the family room for you to sleep on. :-D You guys will probably get here before Marty and the INXS crew do ...

Frewbudette said...

I was drunk and lonely one night and I ordered Richard Clayderman's cd from a tv commercial. It's not bad. It soothes me after a rough night of giving nefarious back rubs.

Bibi said...

Dear Sid ... Why are such a sucker for a dame and a piano? It's not the first time, is it, that you have taken us down this long and winding road.

Good for you that you went to New Orleans ... (Self-control being exerted on this end -- can you feel it?)

I was concerned for the fate of Pat O'Brian's Bar ... Does it still exist?

Where IS Captain Break-It? Do you know? He was accused of abduction last week but now I for one want some more of that breakage.

I wish you'd talk about apache dancing more but am afraid of the fallout.

Have fun in Mexico, I think.

L A Ray said...

More piano music....Raymond Hayden
http://www.weed-files.com/artists.asp?func=1&id=1670

Village Idiot said...

I always have a favorite line (or lines) from each blog. This blog's line was "I didn't sit down, but just milled about smartly, watching the action from the marble ledge that separated the bar from the lobby."

And the whole paragraph that also includes the non-verbal communication skills.

There's something about those knowing nods that can speak volumes without word. Then again, the volumes spoken could be totally wrong.

Ya just gotta wonder in that situation, just how many guys she's nodded with. It's her job to make people feel welcome. To lure them into the bar. To sell them drinks. To make them drunk. Then to steal their wallet.

It's her equivalent of the "come hither" Playboy-look from Captain Break-it's blog, except she's not sitting there in only lacy undergarments.

That would be one way to increase the traffic in the bar and to get people to sit down. They already tried that back in the, what, late 80's? The "lingerie show" at the bar. Which was right up there with the chick wrestling. It was NOT ladies night.

Maybe the piano is the right classy touch to remove the cheese for the swanky hotel bars. Making it cool to have a lingerie piano player.

That's only if it's a gal. It loses the ritz when it's a guy in Mr. Licky Joe Boxer boxers.

Although a guy in the assless chaps might be a powerful attraction. At the piano.

In your case, the nod in your direction might be a signal to security, to have you removed for milling about smartly in assless chaps.

I wasn't sure what you meant by thinking you were gay when you viewed Richard's picture/website. I don't think it's "bad hair" but that baby-fine hair that, well, babies have. Baby girls get the cutesy bow.

I'm still not sure how it's attached to that fine hair. I think they must hot-glue-gun the bow directly to the baby's head. Or there's some kind of Ronco tool for doing it.

Baby boys don't get any neat bows, they get a hat. Say, a line of assless chaps for babies might be good. Easy to change the diaper.

And any Three Amigos reference is a good thing. I plugged in the poster myself in Moist's RockStar/Sept 18th blog. As soon as he mentioned "three amigos" I had the giggles and had all three finalists in the appropriate Three Amigos wear.

That would have spruced up the finale. Maybe it's not too late to suggest that for the Rockstar:Van Halen show. More assless chaps. More Three Amigos wear.

Andree

keysunset said...

Hey Andree! Love your comments.

You wrote about bows in baby girls' hair (I'm sorry I dont' know how to make this thing do italics for a quote.) -
I'm still not sure how it's attached to that fine hair.

Toothpaste. A little dab of toothpaste at the bow and once it dries, it's not going anywhere without a lot of effort or water.

Have a great day y'all.

AMAI said...

KeySunset, to do the italics you type an i between <>, which are located on the shift above the comma and the period.

It's like this, only no spaces:

< i >tappity tap or copy/paste < /i >

The one at the front turns on the italics; the one at the end with the back slash turns italics off. Same deal works for bolding with a b. Not sure what "a" is supposed to do.

Hope this helps.

Piano music in a bar. Reminds me of that great movie Lost In Translation, which I love because there's something about being a foreigner in Japan that speaks to all of us when we're feeling alienated, surrounded by smiling strangers who mean well but basically are just doing their jobs.

Sid F'er said...

Maybe while you're slurping back tequila you'll tap out THOSE stories for us!
Some of those holding cell stories were documented in a series called "Call Me Kitty" that I did for another publication a few years back. Maybe I'll pull some out next time it gets slow around here.
How about a Leprosy reunion tour that includes a stop in North Carolina?
Leprosy Reunion tour - only if Marty agrees to open for us. It would be a nice warm-up before that INXS thing. NC sounds good, but our contract rider includes an assortment of Lil' Debbie snack cakes in addition to an air mattress.
I was drunk and lonely one night and I ordered Richard Clayderman's cd from a tv commercial.
Me and Captain Break-It were drunk and lonely one night and ordered a couple of them laser beam watches to help us pick up chicks. He broke his the first day and probably broke mine on day two just out of spite.
Why are such a sucker for a dame and a piano?
Maybe because I'm a failed musician and I dig piano music. And MiG isn't my type. I'm no psych major, but Moist Rub might have you believe it's an Oedipus Complex thing since my mom used to play.
I was concerned for the fate of Pat O'Brian's Bar ... Does it still exist?
Yes, scheduled to reopen Nov 1 according to the sign on the door. Plenty of other establishments ready to accept your business in the meantime, including the chain of Hustler clubs, you nutty bi-sexual pretender.
Where IS Captain Break-It?
Breaking shit somewhere. Usually in the vicinity of a McDonald's. Maybe he'll stop by again and tell us about it.
More piano music....Raymond Hayden
More new age crap - I just like the piano alone. No synth or strings, just a bad ass piano player.
Ya just gotta wonder in that situation, just how many guys she's nodded with. It's her job to make people feel welcome.
C'mon, this isn't a titty bar I'm talking about. Those joints have taught me the difference between a smile meant to empty your wallet and a smile from an underappreciated performer that says thanks for listening.
when we're feeling alienated, surrounded by smiling strangers who mean well but basically are just doing their jobs.
True, but every once in a while you find someone that really seems genuine. If they aren't and have you fooled, then they should be in sales rather than hospitality.
Not sure what "a" is supposed to do.
That's the one used to link to another page. Like this.

Village Idiot said...

I write and write and write for you kids and that's the thanks I get?

Sid, if the music and the woman got you in the bar, then she's done her job. That she may have been genuinely smiling and was truly appreciating being appreciated in an unappreciating environment is a bonus.

People need an excuse to go into a bar, sometimes. The music is one. Meeting friends, having a hang out, watching sports, or seeing people dancing around, those are other reasons.

Drinking by itself? I don't think that is most folk's reason...unless they're really young and stupid. Like "I'm going out to get really drunk tonight". There's a winner, ladies. No fighting over the puking guy, okay?

Contrast the piano playing lady with her evil twin that has Tourette's (as seen on soap operas). "Have a seat, Dallas, you %()@( %$**#^ %($$# %I#(*" No matter how genuine the smile, the outburst of language would not be welcoming. And people would flee from the bar.

Sid, you've found your audience. Some of us, here. You need to find more of us. You should be wealthy and traveling for pleasure with the lovely Ms. F'er at your side, as a renowned humorist. And out of the way of most hurricanes. Too risky.

Andree

Sid F'er said...

Not only would I go into the bar, but I would pay to see a female piano player with Tourette's.

keysunset said...

I think we can work out the Little Debbie snack cakes. Don't know about the Marty thing, although that would be really cool.

What if I throw in some RC cola and peach Nehi?

dalebud said...

If memory serves me right, Sid was a big fan of little-known Faygo Frosh...and don't forget the pizza rolls

Sid F'er said...

Don't forget the marshmallow fluff and the Sara Lee banana cakes if you're re-writing the contract rider, dalebud.

L A Ray said...

Easy on the Carbs boys!