Ah, friends… Allow the Gentlemen to share a little bit of Spring with you. The Councilman’s entreaty to Andy Bean to venture southward was met with a resounding “Why Surely Sir!” – my most favorite man response. To anything.
Into three different stretches of the Atlantic did we sing and pluck, from the famous Beaches of Deerfield to those of gay(happy!) Miami. Our first evening’s work, however, took place in Fort Lauderdale*, where we were made most welcome. Drunkenness was in the warm, sea air. And drank we that air. Passersby marveled at our valiant effort in battling the Atlantic’s watery roar with our American musics. This resulted in many kind people filling our hat with moist, floppy dollars.
*HISTORICAL NOTE [In the year 1987, Mayor Bob Cox reportedly told Good Morning America that college students were no longer welcome in Fort Liquordale. HA! The Gentlemen chuckle at this man ‘Cox’.]
Drunk with success, the Gentlemen took a break in one of the many drinking establishments that line the beach, in order to regain some strength to o’erpower the ocean once again. Too cocky, the Gentlemen, as the reader shall see. Adventuresome enough to request that the Gentlemen would be appropriate in-between-set music for this particular establishment in which we found ourselves, the Gentlemen provided a few songs to spice up the silence that would have inevitably followed the Blues Cover Band which graciously let us entertain in their absence. The Gentlemen shall now take a breath, along with the reader.
There are many names for disaster, but the Gentlemen know not one of them. Our efforts were rewarded with one thin dollar. The Gentlemen vow never again to play with rock drummers at full volume. Impaired judgment. Multiplied by one! And then by two. The Councilman can still see the people’s pain, especially the children – thank you to the band leader of the Blues Cover Band for cutting us short. A wise, kind wise man. But the Gentlemen are all the stronger for it, and emerged powerfully to finish the evening beachside, drowning in dollar bills.
Exhausted, the Gentlemen took the next day relaxing around the pool, and telling stories from the night before. How different can two men’s recollections of the same events be! How fully does the liquor swirl and tickle the Brain! Eveningtime quickly approached, and the Gentlemen had to carefully select their next target. Since we wanted to attempt Miami the next day, the Gentlemen saw fit to plan a relaxed, local evening. Directly eastward lay Deerfield Beach, home of old, old beach-going folk, and tourists visiting on an embarrassingly tight budget. At first, despair crept into the wriggling music fingers of the Gentlemen, as our chosen spot seemed parched for dollars. But that night, the ocean was behind us, giving us very strong inland penetration. Which we used upon all who passed, young and old, mainly old, and mainly fat. But it was dark and the dollars flowed! And the Gentlemen played. A minor success, we rewarded ourselves with meaty burgers at the beachside Flanigan’s.
The Great Hurdle now faced us. Miami. The Councilman’s birthplace. Home of everything opposite to the Gentlemen. Home of wayward values. It would be here where we would face the true test of converting the heathens.
– Inauspicious Beginnings –
The Councilman was thrown off initially by the gentle parking attendant’s mistaking two finely dressed menfolk as a gay couple about to be married. The Councilman was so close to Bass-slapping her, in misplaced fury. But of course, a Gentlemen only Bass Slaps in self-defense. Actually, the day’s first omen was a group of three young vacationers simultaneously presenting the Gentlemen with three extended middle fingers as we crossed the street. Another irksome repeating event was the public’s confusing us with the older (and fatter) (and less talented) “Blues Brothers”, which became infuriating to the Councilman as time passed. Fortunately Smilin’A Bean was there to counsel the Councilman, easing his spirits. The reader will kindly note the Gentlemen’s mastery of grammars and words.
This particular Miami day was quite hot, and the Gentlemen sweated almost completely through their dark suits. A quick walking survey of South Beach, and then on to the suspected dollar bill treasure pile of legend: Lincoln Mall, a pedestrian area a little westward of South Beach. Eight songs and eight dollars later, the bicycling Mall Patrol Guard (pressuring us into ending a song prematurely – the ultimate insult) told us to halt our musical proceedings. The Gentlemen left, but vowed to return, and headed to South Beach to peddle our musical wares.
This Beach, more desert than beach. The Gentlemen made many attempts to draw in what sparse crowds there were, but as we found out, beachgoers possess little clothing and even littler money. The Councilman was feeling cursed. Smilin’ A Bean’s smile was going crook’d. The Gentlemen sat down in the grass, looking out to the ocean, and once again asked questions of Mr. Jameson, whom they had faithfully toted along. ‘Why, Sen(enyay)or John Jameson, do the people here not seem to respond to our musics?’ And Mr. Jameson said, “Drink Me.” Though the Gentlemen tired of the same answer to all of their questions, they felt better with the advice.
A friend of the Gentlemen met us, in the deepest depths of our despairs, and was able to raise our spirits with the aid of his photographing machine. Renewed, we drew a crowd to be proud of. This kind friend then brought us to rest in a hotel lobby, where we were treated to expensive whiskey. All was not lost. After, we played a fairly barren boardwalk, then returned to the Lincoln Mall once again, right in the face of those Bicycle Patrolboys. A modest pull, the Gentlemen went home, and rested.
Though both the Councilman and Smilin’ Andy Bean had been performing quite close to the ocean the past few days, neither had been able to enjoy it properly, with requisite bathing trunks. The last day was spent in this manner, in trunks. The sea was quite rough that day, tossing the gentlemen around like kids with a kitten, like kids who are tossing a kitten back and forth between them, like a ball.
That evening, we decided to try another part of Fort Lauderdale, a little farther inland, where pedestrians stroll and become indrunkenated. But no drier place had the Gentlemen ventured, dollar-wise, and people kept knocking over our money hat. Here, in this area of Fort Lauderdale, people cannot see money hats. The Gentlemen headed eastward, toward the beach that had treated them so well a few nights earlier. The old spot was waiting, the moon’s light setting our late evening stage. Here, the glory of the Gentlemen was realized. Here, the Gentlemen and the People sang the same song. A small band of young people stayed for many hours as audience as well as promoters, sharing both their good spirits and their whiskey. The Gentlemen salute them, and are grateful.
A seven-thirty-in-the-morning flight awaited Smilin’ – not so smilin’ at 4am – Andy Bean, which both Gentlemen managed to sleep through. Another flight was scheduled, and the Gentlemen parted, as Gentlemen do, with a handshake and wellwishes.