Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Howlin' With Hobbit

Serendipity: • noun -- the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

— ORIGIN from Serendip (a former name for Sri Lanka): coined by the English politican and writer Horace Walpole (1717-97), after The Three Princes of Serendip, a fairy tale in which the heroes were always making fortunate discoveries.

Fortunate discoveries. I like that. It's part of what makes this such a small world, sometimes.

I first met the Howlin' Hobbit mumblety-mumble years ago -- back when "computer" meant a Univac machine, and "Internet" was a place for the fish to go -- if the fisherman was lucky.

We had friends and interests in common, and met regularly at science fiction conventions around the Pacific Northwest. And it was pretty much always party time. I was part of the hospitality-and-room-party scene, always with a room full of entertainment and refreshments. Hobbit was a magician, and he'd entertain at the drop of a top hat. We were young, and we had a blast -- the two of us, our respective partners, and about three hundred of our closest friends.

Tempus has a habit of fugiting, though, and we got a little older, took on "responsibilities," grew apart, lost the ability to party for sixty hours straight without sleep, and lost touch.

Then came blogging. Another of our mutual friends had kept more-or-less in touch over the years, and one day told me that Hobbit had his own website. Naturally, I looked it up. He's a little older, he's shaved his head, and possibly has a little more avoirdupois than he'd like (and don't we all?). He also has a blog , but it was the other changes that really blew me away -- Hobbit is a singer/songwriter!

He was recently interviewed by Scott Andrews, who does music blogging, on life as a professional busker:

"One night, some years ago, I was playing in a little alcove formed by the doorway of what was then a jewelry store at the corner of 45th and University in the U District here in Seattle. Nothing but gutbucket blues, understand. This wino sits himself on a parked car and listens for a while. I can’t for the life of me remember which tune did him in, but all of a sudden I look up and he’s crying, tears just streaming down his face. I’d touched him somewhere with the tune. He had one of the lids to a styrofoam hamburger package he’d been panhandling with and he came over and dumped all his pennies and nickels into my case, slurred out “thank you” and staggered off down the street."

He can still tell a story. And I'll tell you what else he can do -- he can sing! These songs on his website are a sample of his talent, and there's something for everybody. "Teddy Bears' Picnic" is the only un-original song here, and if you've got either kids or a sense of nostalgia, this will strike a chord -- and the pun stays where it is, thank you.

Give them all a listen. Wander around the website, especially if you love music of all kinds. And if you like the music samples, you can buy one of his CDs from the site.

And the next time you're in Seattle, visit Pike Place Market. Look for a medium-short(ish) guy with a shaved head a ukulele, and a mulled-mead voice. Enjoy the show, and don't forget to show your appreciation.

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