Monday, 3 September 2007

A Saucerful of Secrets

I've had a few queries about this and that (no, really, I have. Honestly, I'm not just making this up as an easy lead-in to the rest of the entry), so by way of replying, I thought I'd lay bare a small miscellany of little-known personal facts, together with pitiful attempts to explain away my actions/prejudices/occasionally seriously smelly feet. (The last one's genetic by the way - my maternal grandfather was a martyr to truly rancid foot odour - he tried every soap, scrub, oil, linament, and ointment on the market - even prolonged bathing in vinegar, with no success whatsoever. I'm just glad that in the intervening generation the problem's become somewhat diluted, and only intermittent. If I ever turn down an invitation to dine at a traditional Japanese restaurant, well...know everyone knows the awful truth.)

Right then - first up, there have been a couple of questions about the "fish bass" photo. Sad to say, I can be pathetically anal about the most trivial things, and when my mate Neil came up with the idea of a pic of me playing a six-string 'Bass' (the fish), we chortled heartily at the terrible visual pun and its inevitable sequel, the upright Double-Bass - (ie a man playing TWO fish - stop grumbling. Did I, at any juncture, claim that this was funny?), but I wouldn't let it rest at that. I swiftly googled for exactly the right image, since the entire gag relies on people correctly identifying the fish. Otherwise, it's only, well, a generic fish, and that wouldn't be in any way hilarious, now would it? Can't be having that!

So now I can *exclusively* reveal that the fish in the photo (doctored with a free giveaway version of Ulead PhotoImpact rather than anything fancy), is an Ambloplites rupestris, commonly known as the "Rock Bass". Doesn't that just make the whole thing so much more humorous, eh? Yeah, me neither.

Next, I don't actually drink beer. I can't stand the taste of the stuff, be it lager, ale, stout, whatever. Over the last 25 years I have given beer a try on many occasions, but every time the gag reflex, (aka barely-suppressible urge to vomit all over myself - and anyone else in the immediate vicinity - in an unforgiveably anti-social manner), gets the better of me. This must have been, in the long-term, highly beneficial for my waistline, lowered risk of coronary heart disease, etc, but with the unfortunate side-effect of turning me into a whisky snob. (Whisky is a truly mysterious substance - simply add the letter "e" to its name and it instantaneously turns into distilled toilet rim-block). I, you understand, had no control over this process at any time. It was an unavoidable consequence of my body's aversion to beer. Alas, whisky-snobbery can be a frighteningly expensive business, so I have to practice strict mind-body-hand-wallet control techniques when passing certain specialist whisky emporia. (Having no money helps a great deal, too).

Finally (for this instalment), I have appeared on stage naked - just the once, luckily for global aesthetics averages, and I did have the protection of a Korean-made Gibson ES-175 clone, so there are some mitigating circumstances. A long, long time ago, I can still remember (unfortunately), when my aforementioned chum Neil & I were involved in some hideous "tights, ruffs and swords" Mary Queen of Scots-themed amateur (very) dramatics (not really) at Diverse Attractions during the Edinburgh Festival in A time-slot was going spare, and the two of us took up the challenge of writing, rehearsing (hah!), & promoting a 50-minute sketch show, "Go Blind With Mother", to be performed less than a week later (yes, we were young, and most definitely foolish).

We thought it might be amusing if the show started with someone (i.e. me) on stage, playing some light jazz before the audience came in, only for the lights to go up revealing they were (shock! horror!) naked, and apparently blissfully unaware of the fact. Cue sudden-realisation-of-predicament embarrassment gag (did I mention we were young? and foolish? ok, good, just checking), and exit guitarist stage right. Originally I was meant to be wearing some suitably miniscule briefs behind the guitar - I had no intention of letting any of it hang out, let alone all - but just before I was due to go on, Neil hit upon the brilliant idea of daring me to do it fully nude. Which, (young, foolish), I did.

It was only when I was perched on the stool, mid-stage, that I realised that objects previously thought to be completely solid can somehow shrink without any prior warning. My guitar was barely doing its covering job, and seemed to be getting smaller by the second. Then the lights went on, and things got a whole worse. Our energetic promotional techniques (which included piteous begging, shoving flyers through the windows of cars stuck in the Royal Mile traffic, and following people for ridiculously long distances until they agreed to come and see our show) had worked rather better than we could have foreseen, because the place was absolutely packed, and there were people sitting rather further round to both sides than I was entirely comfortable with...the poor souls. Still, I just about got off stage without permanently scarring too many Italian tourists' psyches.

As for the rest of the show, we did fine for about 25 minutes (after I had retrieved my clothing), then we realised we'd packed all the best bits into that time, and somewhat ran out of steam, just about limping through to the end intact.

The next day we were informed that the rest of the planned week-long run was cancelled because we had been banned by the venue (the only show to get banned in the Fringe that year). Not, surprisingly, because we were crap, or that we'd been outrageously offensive, but due to a complaint that we had "thrown eggs at members of the audience" - which we found puzzling, since that hadn't happened. (Eggs were involved in the performance at one point, but it was such a long time ago their exact purpose escapes me. Chucking them at paying punters was, however, definitely not it. Tends not to go down so well, I find.)

Never mind, we made enough of a profit (now there's a rarity for the Edinburgh Festival) for a small round of drinks for our mates, and I satisfied any/all latent urges I may have ever had for acts of public nudity. So far, anyway...


Martin Lennon said...

It hadn't actually occured to me to ask ANY of those questions, but it does occur to me to be grateful for and to smile at the answers. Except possibly the nudity one.

I was, since the question was asked (if not by me), expecting the fish to be Schindleria Praematurus, but then, that's just me, no?

Andy Gilmour said...

Regarding the nudity, just be glad you weren't there!


Care said...

Anti-per spirant foot spray is an effective protection against foot odour. It is a powder-like spray which has a dry effect but keeps the feet moisturized and fragrant. Spray after washing and drying the feet. You can also spray inside the shoe before wearing it. Both these sprays are ideal for our climate, especially during the long spell of hot weather.

Andy Gilmour said...


thanks for the thoughtful advice.

To be honest, my feet aren't *that* bad, except on extremely rare occasions - a little exaggeration (or 'lying a bit', as some folk might say) for comic effect. Apologies for the misdirection.

But if they are bad, then just like my Grandad (was entirely truthful about him), nothing that is available - short of irradiation, or possibly ozone-cleaning - makes any difference. :-)

But I'm genuinely grateful for your taking the time and effort to read the post, and leave a helpful comment.