Monday, June 20, 2005

The Rain in Spain

Richard Thompson is not only the World's Greatest Living Guitarist,* but damn he's amusing.

As circumstance would have it, his youngest son attends the same school as Arnold Schwarzenegger's and, being English and all, Thompson was tapped to coach the boys' soccer team. The assistant coach is The Governator Himself. The most attention-worthy items to emerge:
  1. Young Wolfgang Schwarzenegger is a bit of a ball-hog; and
  2. Richard's giving Arnold elocution lessons.
He writes about the experience at his web site: try first here and then here, -- and in fact throughout his online diary, which is here.
We then had a scrimmage – first team against the reserves, parents, and coaches – and I put Arnold as sweeper, and one of his security men in goal. I will long treasure the sight of the CIA operative, earpiece still in place, dark jacket removed and carefully hung on the goalpost, but gun still firmly in shoulder holster, making a commendable diving save at the feet of young Gabe Silver, our star left-winger. Arnie himself was less impressive; apparently a good player in his youth, his physique was now such that it threatened to topple him every time he kicked the ball or changed direction. I suppose it was sheer bulk and top-heaviness; soccer demands a lot of twisting and turning, and a ballet-like agility, not to mention the fitness to run for ninety minutes; being able to stroll through a barn door carrying three injured platoon-mates doesn’t really cut it.
*The World's Greatest Dead Guitarist was until recently Eldritch "Snuffy" Grimes, who held forth at the Thanatos Club in Kansas City. However, in an unfortunate turn of events, Mr. Grimes has been rendered unable to perform owing to the loss of both arms in a decomposition-related incident. The mantle now falls to Patches "El Muertito" Rodriguez of Caracas, who has developed quite a loyal audience despite the overwhelming stench of putrescent flesh that attends even his most informal performances.


Bobby Lightfoot said...

Ha ha ha ha ha! "Decomposition related incident!" "El Muertito". AAAH HA HA HA!

Linkmeister said...

Expect a lot of comments like this: "Harrumph! The Greatest Living Guitarist is ________"

I have no opinion; I've been out of the loop too long, and my own two guitars are safely (I hope) ensconced in their cases.

Thompson has an amazing ability to make every style his own.

Kevin Wolf said...

I can only marvel at the chain of events leading to the crossing of these particular paths.

God, what a world!

Thanks for the head's up on RT's diary, which I'd basically lost track of...

BTW, he is the greatest living guitarist.

corndog said...

Because of his outstanding facility on both electric and acoustic, I'm inclined to agree with you. And in tribute, I've decided I'm going to do my watered-down version of "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" at open mic tonight at the Baja Bean in Charlottesville. Wish me luck.

Bob Dwire said...

Catching up on your postings Neddie, and two things come together. London, '63; I was there. My friend Paul and I snuck out of our houses one night when we heard the Beatles were recording and cycled down to Abbey Road. We waited all night, it seemed. Nobody showed. We did this every night for, I think, a week. I can remember barely being able to manage my paper round, let alone be awake in school. But eventually we got Ringo and John to sign autograph books.

And at school was one R. Thompson, who used to annoy us all by noodling away on his guitar during lunch and generally being a tit. A talented tit, but a tit nevertheless. I think it was '64 that saw the Yardbirds open for the Beatles at the Beatles Hammersmith Odeon Christmas Show (I was there, but I don't remember the year). And of course Richard was neither Eric nor John. But he was good.

Unhalfbricking came out when I was in the sixth form, and I think it remains one of my favourite albums. Evenings listening to Alex Campbell at the Enterprise in Chalk Farm. Etc. Etc.

Who cares whether Thompson is the World's Greatest Living Guitarist? He's one of the World's Greatest Living Song-writers, that's for darn sure.