Friday, January 18, 2008

Things the Grandchildren Should Know

Thursday night I witnessed a janitor saying “motherfucker” in a packed church without so much as a gasp from the crowd.

Ok, that's a little misleading: the janitor was in fact Mark Oliver Everett, the genius behind The Eels, who was launching his first book “Things the Grandchildren Should Know”, with a solo performance at St James Church in London, and it was the heartbreakingly beautiful “It's a Motherfucker” that he was singing (he even added “Sorry Lord” at the end of the song).

I headed from college at 4pm to the train station and, foolishly decided against taking an umbrella.

Finally arriving at the St James church just after 5.30pm, i was drenched, but passed the time chatting to someone in the line in front of me (who had seen the Eels perform a number of times before, and told me to expect anything!)

Luckily, I was one of the first 200 in the queue, so received a wristband allowing me to get my book signed: sweet.

With the lights dimmed, candles lit, and to thunderous applause, Mr. E took the stage, armed with guitar.

Four songs in, and he takes the podium. Insisting that it would be entirely pretentious to read extracts from his book, he invites a member of the audience to do so.

After this short interruption, he returns to the piano to play “A Magic World”.

Towards the end of the set, (and after an attempt at an extract by someone who had 4 beers) he invited a guy called Pete to the stage to read the final extract about the song “Souljacker”.

Yep, that Pete was none other than Pete Townshend of the Who!

Closing with “Girl From the north country”, E bid thanks and farewell to the crowd after what was a truly moving set.

Half an hour later, he emerged to sign copies for the 200 lucky people who had wristbands. I shook his hand and thanked him, saying it was the first time i'd seen him perform, to which he responded “you know what they say, you never forget your first”

And I don't think i will

(Partly due to my attempt at bootlegging it on my mp3 player!)

(and for the celebrity obsessed, Alex James of Blur was also in attendence)

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