We Were The Washington Monument

There was one guy in the room, standing in front of the stage, as a Zombies record played and showtime drew nearer.

“It is what it is,” I said to Eric backstage, repeating a phrase I’d often heard in the short time I lived in Cleveland and never completely understood. “Stuart’s here, out in the bar, and my older brother John. Alan said he’d be coming, and maybe Graeme too. My old friend Sarah…and with the guy in front of the stage, that makes – an audience?”

“We’ll play and it’ll be fine,” Eric said.

“Should I wear this dress?” I asked him, looking at myself in the mirror. Remembering that stupid drunk guy in Brighton, worried I’d look like I had expectations.

“Of course,” he said. “You look great.”

“Let’s go then,” I said and we laughed and did that little show folk thing that Fred Willard and Catherine O’Hara do in “Waiting For Guffman” – click click, sad face happy face, pull my finger.

There were seven in front of the stage now. We started playing the opening song and like magic the room was filling up. Familiar faces and sort of familiar faces and guys in suits and ties youngish people and ones with white hair and glasses. People in black rock and roll t-shirts and work clothes.

It was Washington DC on a Wednesday night and the room was suddenly full of people who’d come to see us play. There was laughing and shouting, pogoing and clapping. Croatians, Russians, people from England and the beltway. It was the last show of a winter US tour I’d looked forward to and then been too sick and out of it on cold medicine to fully appreciate. I didn’t want it to end.

8 thoughts on “We Were The Washington Monument

  1. the sandwich life

    Oh, did Eric leave his glasses somewhere? Is a family thing? LOL…. I'm so glad it was a good night and I can't wait to tell Ernie that you do the little Waiting for Guffman thing—it will make him very happy!

  2. Grahame

    What a cracking show that was! It's great to see the audience getting bigger every time you and Eric come to town. And hopefully that means you'll come back soon…

  3. David

    Wonderful story, wonderful end-note for the tour. I too have always questioned what the hell the "It is what it is" line means, although I find myself using it more and more myself these days. I think I must find some comfort in its ambiguity.Have a lovely little list of lovely little complements and joyful exclamations for you from many of the gang who saw you perform here a week or two ago (is it that long ago already?). Will forward it to you in the next few days.Thanks again!David & Kim, and the Stumpjack gang of misfits.

  4. amy

    Thanks for everything Alison, we'll figure out where we'll be (maybe England?) Just sad we forgot to take some muffins!I should've known you two were Guffman fans Cynthia. And yes, we leave a trail all over the world – glasses, phone chargers, shampoo, cardigans…They did like the dress Fly! Hope everything's going well in your (new) world.It was nice to see you for a second Grahame (and sorry I got the spelling of your name wrong), see you hopefully for longer next time, maybe we'll even get to see you play again.You understand – that's it exactly David. "comfort in its ambiguity", the phrase does almost become a mantra. We had a great time in WI, felt like we became part of the extended family.We thought it might be too soon to go back but the people do turn out for us in DC (and when they don't there's always the visitors from all over the world ) Sorry to miss you this time!

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