Friday, December 12, 2008

The Moth

Laughing, giggling, chuckling for no apparent reason in public may brand you by those observing your actions as cause for concern. Drunk? Insane? Contagious? Stand back folks, nothing to see here, yes, I mean you buddy... You are after all, walking or sitting alone, seemingly normal, a few shopping bags in hand, and looking a wee bit weary during the manic Christmas season. If they are observant, they may look for a sign that you are speaking to someone via earpiece; hmm, not from this distance, but wait, it does look like you're listening to something. Must be funny, wish I could share in the joy, where did I leave my umbrella....

You are listening to something and it is funny, it's from the Moth podcast, and Joe Jackson, musician, New Age savant, has been sharing how rock and roll saved his life. Sounds serious enough, but Mr. Jackson is full of silliness tonight. He's been keeping you smiling for at least 10 minutes describing his first gig, playing the piano with a couple of friends at the Drake, a pub/piano bar/marine hangout in Portsmouth (UK). He tells tales of Marty, Frankenstein of the music world, who could piece together bits and pieces of any wind instrument and then some. Or of the skinheads at the Irish Center who threw fag ends and coins at them for playing acoustic jazz. But the real piece de resistance was the toilet humor. At the Drake's ladies toilet, the owners had hung up a large picture of Adam (of A. and Eve fame), with a noticeable flap where the fig leaves normally hang. Lift the flap and find yourself reading a sign that says "A bell just rang in the bar".

The Moth podcasts are a great mix of serious, sublime, ridiculous, awe inspiring. It's story telling at its best. Recorded on stage at the Moth's New York and Los Angeles centers, you never know who is going to be sharing a wee bit of themselves when you get your weekly download. Most of the speakers aren't big name hotshots. These are the people behind the scenes, the non-celebrities, but they have a story to tell and a lot of it is hilarious. For ten to fifteen minutes, stand in someone else's shoes, feel their pain, their glory, their laughter. Just don't lift Adam's flap.

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