Snow On The TV
I was thinking about Hugh Laurie today. He was Dr. House, MD, but before that, he was funny and British. He starred with Rowan Atkinson on Black Adder (the best television comedy ever made, bar none, pencils down); he always played a variation on an English stock comic character, the Posh Dimwit.
They used to play BBC shows on PBS, because anything said in a British accent is good for you and classy, and Black Adder was one of them. I loved the show and taped all the episodes, checking and double-checking the TV Guide for the airtimes.
Because if you missed it, you missed it.
These half-hours, though, had come to me completely de-contextualized. I know Rowan Atkinson from Mr. Bean, but was only mostly sure about the other actors’ names. One of them was named Hugh, and the other one was named Tony; even as a young idiot, I knew enough about British pomposity to guess that the tall blond was Hugh and the short one who looked like a Tony was named Tony, but that was it.
What else had he been in? Who was this person? Why do the British think six shows is a full season?
These were all unanswerable questions. You might, by chance, meet someone else who liked the same weird, obscure, foreign comedy program as you, but they would have no more information than you would.
England used to be far away.
Which brings me to my point: the blizzard.
Stay with me, here.
The storm is buffeting the East Coast now, and will be a lethal one, but there have always been storms in the Northeast. Hell, one specific type of storm is named after the Northeast. (That would be a cyclone.) Winter’s a shit, but she’s not a liar: you knew it was going to be cold.
So, life goes on and rock shows do, too.
In ’93, Brian May was touring his solo album and stopped for a night at the Beacon Theater in NYC; unfortunately, it was the same night as the Blizzard of ’93, but the show must do something or other.
It took my friend Seth and I three hours to get from Livingston, NJ, to the Beacon that night–most of it on the uncovered PATH train into the city–and we entertained fantasies of being the only fans to show up, and being invited to jam with Brian out of gratitude.
The place was packed because for all of the bad qualities people of the New York Area possess, pussitude isn’t one of them.
And thinking about the blizzard, and the show in the snow, and the unknowable Hugh Laurie, I Googled “Brian May Beacon theater”
The whole show’s on YouTube. The setlist is up in numerous locations.
Nothing changes, but everything lasts nowadays.
(Skip to 2:00 in.)