Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The True Eccentric = Cornet (Tiny Trumpet)

The true eccentric. The man in the big band, full of big men, holding the tiniest of trumpets. I know, the item in the photograph hovering above this paragraph is actually the very respectable cornet, an instrument of impressive sound quality if played correctly. We must admit however, there is something of the eccentric about it. After all, I still see a tiny trumpet when I glance at it. It takes a man or woman with a fair amount of self confidence to place their lips on this little trumpet and blow. The tuba is such an all encompassing status quo of an instrument. And let’s be honest, tuba players are the Porsche drivers of the jazz world, and let’s face it; they all have extremely inadequate genitalia. Sorry Germany.

Some find eccentricity in excess. The Hindus for instance, or Donald Trump, or Devendra Banheart- they are all hedonistic eccentrics. I would also put the hilariously enthusiastic chef Mario Bitali in the camp with the hedonistic eccentrics. In fact, I would like nothing more than to see Devendra Banheart and Mario Bitali being heroically, hedonistic and eccentric together. If it were a TV show, and free, and both characters were in various stages of undress, I would watch it with bliss painted across my face. An excessively hedonistic, eccentric, adjective filled bliss. Both of these entertainers, one an indie-rock folk singer and the other a world traveling chef, seem to exhibit their eccentricity through every aspect of their lifestyles. Even their beards and haircuts flaunt convention.

In Catholic school I would wear the same pale blue polo shirt and faded black chords every single day. It was my grade school uniform and eliminated eccentricity. I was cajoled into conforming to both imposed theocracy and traditional education. I found out later that eccentricity was in fact resting dormant inside of being, and would soon creep its way out in the form of neon skull adorned pedal-pushers and a series of unfortunately rebellious mullets. I was 12, it was 1990, Milli Vanilli had just been exposed for being horrid frauds, and George Bush's father was leading the nation in a sterile techno-war with Iraq. In the midst of all of this action, my eccentricity furrowed its way out, covered in awkward acne patterns and arm-pit hair. In Catholic school eccentricity is something to be buried under a Family Circle cartoon book, a game of red rover, or a clergyman’s robe. It is in Catholic grade school where I learned that eccentricity, at least of the Devandra Banheart haircut and beard variety, will get you relegated to long lonely bus rides, and bouts of Greco Roman wrestling.

Sometimes it’s better to refrain from the cool haircuts, but then again, sometimes a cool haircut can lead to an unfortunate sexual experience. If there is anything that has the potential to define a potentially eccentric man or woman, it’s a backlog of unfortunate sexual experiences. There is something very eccentric about mounting another human being at 3am with a bottle of rum coursing through your system, and trying, without hesitation to muster some default satisfaction . Maybe that is what keeps the Devendra Banhearts eccentric. Maybe eccentricity is the result of multiple failures, turned brilliantly into success.

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