Hodgman and Coulton at Elliot Bay

And the hoboes saw it coming

I was lucky enough to catch John and Jonathan at their Elliot Bay Bookstore appearance last night (10/11/06). The house was standing room only and overflowing into the adjacent café.

Coulton, the heroic troubadour, had to skip out early to play his own show at the Rendezvous. Before he left, he played his number one hit (Code Monkey) as well as a rousing rendition of “Big Rock Candy Mountain” with many extra, hilarious, bonus lyrics.

With and without Coulton, Hodgman kept the audience on tenters of mirth for the better part of two hours. He read from his masterpiece, The Areas of My Expertise*; a section entitled Hobo Matters (with accompaniment), and the Secrets of the Mall of America (without). If you have not yet done so, go reread those sections now, out loud, in a deadpan voice while occasionally mentioning how Jonathan Coulton murdered your cat. It is a simulcra, but it is the closest you can come without having personally been there.

In the finest Faulknerian tradition, Q&A was conducted via walkie talkie, here disguised as a glass of cognac. Some highlights (and please allow myself to apologize for myself in my stupidly not bringing a recording device or developing autism; paraphrasing has occurred):

H:“The most difficult part of becoming a writer is trying to convince yourself that (other people want to hear what you think). Some people don’t have to convince themselves... these people are assholes.”

Q: “Do you think the mac kid is a smug fuck?”
H: “Well, the villain is always more interesting than the hero.”

Q: As an expert on fake facts, what do you think of the current administration’s continued dissemination and reliance on fake facts?
H: …fake facts are best left to books of fake trivia, where they belong. Otherwise, you should go with truth.

H: “Since you know my hometown and you know where I went to school you think we have some sort of special connection. Is that what you’re getting at… Danielle?”

The reading went late, but I did manage to sneak up and meet the man while he was packing up his equippage and brandy. I told him my flickr name and he (at the very least) pretended to have heard of me. Which warmed the very cockles of my fuzzy secret heart.

He was really quite gracious and gentlemanly and thanked me for my part in the 700 Hoboes Project. I am glad we did not wind up in a duel, as was my original intent.

We skipped out of the signing and made for Rendezvous and whatever was left of Coulton’s set. We caught about half of it, the greatest hits (Code Monkey, Skullcrusher Mountain, RE:Your Brains) and a few bonus songs.

Coulton broke down his gear and immediately afterwards met with his fans. He treated everyone like they were old friends, and remembered the names (and the spelling of the names) of those he’d met before. I had him sign my AOME and slipped him a twenty for the songs I ripped off from his website. I think he knew I wasn’t joking.

Good times.

*Full name: An Almanac of Complete World Knowledge Compiled with Instructive Annotation and Arranged in Useful Order by Me, John Hodgman, a Professional Writer, in the Areas of My Expertise, which Include Matters Historical; Matters Literary; Matters Cryptozoological; Hobo Matters; Food, Drink, & Cheese (a Kind of Food); Squirrels & Lobsters & Eels; Haircuts; Utopia; What Will Happen in the Future; and Most Other Subjects

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