Inductees Enter Wrong Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Hall, Part II
Yesterday’s post, Inductees Enter Wrong Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Hall, chronicled the difficulties faced by two of the inductees, the Ventures and Leonard Cohen, as they journeyed through the backstage wilderness en route to the stage where their awards, memorably described by Billy Joel (during his introduction of John Mellencamp) as a “shiny, little tchotchke,” awaited them. Time constraints precluded posting John Mellencamp’s misadventures betwixt his departure from the waiting area and his arrival on stage in the same post, but Mr. Mellencamp’s excursion proved, on review, too special to exclude altogether.
In keeping with his self-characterization as a hard core rocker, Mellencamp does not saunter to the stage. He exits the waiting area already in full stride, making excellent time.
Unfortunately, the artist formerly known as John Cougar was making excellent time headed down the wrong hallway. Like the Ventures and Leonard Cohen before him, he was taken in by the hallway that runs behind the stage.
Abruptly noting his error (it is impossible to determine from the broadcast of the event if he was alerted to his missteps by hallway loungers, as were his predecessors, or if he had a unilateral epiphany), Mellencamp executes a pivot with expertise rarely seen outside the NCAA basketball tournaments and proceeds with undiminished velocity on his corrected course.
Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette
The cigarette Mellencamp has been carrying in his right hand, utilizing the classic smoker’s grip with the cigarette graped between finger and thumb while the other fingers are protectively curled around the lit end, now comes into prominence. He takes a hearty drag in the hallway,
… and grabs a quick second hit as he ascends the short stairway onto the stage.
Once Mellencamp is on stage, the assembled crowd is treated to his graceful performance of a complex, multi-component pyrotechnic maneuver. After first taking aim, he hurls the still combusting cigarette stub to the floor in one smooth, unified motion. (The youngsters in the audience would do well to note the excellent follow-through demonstrated in the far right panel.)
After ritually gazing on the defeated cigarette, Mellencamp completes the well-practiced move, as intricate and difficult as figure skating’s One-handed Biellmann Spin or the Reverse-hecht in gymnastics, with a rapid flurry of in-place steps that both pummel the spent tobacco and simultaneously serve as a victory dance commemorating the triumph of athlete over the fiery and fearful symbol of death.
Mellencamp did forgo the expectorational flourish brandished by some practitioners, no doubt exercising such restraint in recognition of the fact that, after all, this is New York.
Very very classy.