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Send My Conscience Home in a Taxi

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Five Hours Of Henry Rollins
What Would Henry Rollins Do?
Henry Rollins
Henry on stage in Melbourne (not taken by me).

A week or so back (Thursday 15th and Friday 16th of April in fact) I went to see Henry Rollins do his spoken word thing. Yes, two nights running... Eep.

Me and Henry go way backs (hey, all his fans are on first name terms!). I first saw him do a spoken word gig in February of 1992 in a tiny little venue in Collingwood. Damn... That's eighteen years ago! Then I saw him again in 1997, and I think there was a long gap then till I saw him do a gig in Geelong of all places in early... Must have been 2006. And he must come out here every two years because he played the Comedy Theatre in early 2008. A gig I found memorable because I was very sick with food poisoning, and was throwing up not an hour before the show started.

So that's what, four gigs over 16 years? I also saw his band play once in what must have been 1994 or so. And I have most of his (spoken word) albums.

But this was the first time I had the intestinal fortitude to sign up for two of his gigs two nights running. In fact, he did three days in a row, on the Saturday night he signed up for what must have been a small show at a theatre in Thornbury of all places. I was out of town - Sister's birthday, shesh! - so I couldn't make it to the third one...!

Henry leads an interesting life, then gets on stage and talks about it. This time around he told a cool story about introducing The Stooges (in MP3 form) to some teenagers he met in central Sri Lanka, getting work acting in a show called Sons of Anarchy (which I will have to look up), doing a stint as a judge on another TV show called "RuPaul's Drag Race", giving a graduation address at a small college in northern California, how he cried when Barack Obama was elected, and a whole pile of other stories I can barely recall now.

One of the funniest stories he told was about his guide when he was travelling recently in... I think it was Laos. This guy was called Ai, which lead him to make the existential statement "I am Ai!". He had a great turn of phrase this guy. One morning instead of "Good morning" he said "What is your life???". Later they stopped in a forest to "biologic the tree" which meant to take a piss! And told Henry that when he got back to the US they would call him "Mr Curve" because they had driven through so many mountains with windy roads... You couldn't make this shit up...

On Thursday night, he went on stage at about 9.20, and we got out of there at about midnight. Then I rode my bike home! I'm hardcore/an idiot. Friday was about the same, maybe ten minutes shorter - so in all I got about five hours of Henry Rollins in two days. The second show was about 70% the same as the first one - I have no idea how he does it - although some of the details of the stories he told differed. It was still ace to see both gigs, even if I was completely exhausted by Saturday... when I drove down to Geelong. I don't know how to slow down...

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I love Rollins. I have finally forgiven him for dumping on Helen Razor during the spoken word he did at the Enmore Theatre in the mid-1990s.

Helen Razor is an acquired taste :-)

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