June 17th @ Free Times Café

Has this ever happened to you? You’re with a group of people discussing some issue of greater or lesser importance. You are doing the talking, not dominating the conversation, not going on too long, making a point, getting a few wry chuckles, coming to the conclusion of a well-developed point of view, when one of the other folks cuts in and says, “I don’t mean to interrupt but…” and then takes over the conversation.

Or perhaps a similar but slightly different scenario, you are holding forth, but not in a bad way, about to sum up, when someone sticks their head in the room and says those words “I don’t mean to interrupt but…”

Jonathan Rudin sings “I Wanna” at the June, 2018 show.

I’m sure it’s not just me; it happens over and over again. And it’s not the interrupting part that bothers me. I get that people interrupt – we’re not great listeners; we’re not very patient; and we are generally convinced that we have a lot of important things to say, so I get that interruptions happen. What bugs me is the fake politeness, or if you prefer French (because things sound so much better in French), the faux politesse, that accompanies the “I don’t mean to interrupt”

You see, if I’m talking, and you know I’m talking and nevertheless you decide to start talking then there is no other way to say this, you do mean to interrupt – so do us all a favour and don’t pretend you don’t mean to do it because you most certainly do.

And if you have to run into a room because the building is on fire and you want to let everyone know that they have to get out or they will die then don’t start by saying “I don’t mean to interrupt” because of course you mean to interrupt and that’s OK. It would be pretty foolish in that situation to open the door and wait for a suitable break in the conversation to say something like “I know this isn’t directly on point, but I thought you might want to know that it appears that the building may be, what’s the word, alight, and you might want to think about leaving soon.” Don’t do that. You should have no concerns at all about interrupting because what you have to say is so much more important than whatever anyone else is saying and that’s true even if I’m the person you are interrupting. You are saving lives, I’m just blabbing. And if the building is on fire don’t waste a lot of time with faux politesse just get to the point as fast as you can; bust open the door and yell “The building is on fire, get out!” and then go and save other people and don’t ever apologize for doing it.

On a related point (at least I think it’s related), playing music is like a conversation and that’s why you can learn a lot by listening to a group like Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room (to pick a group at random). When we play we listen to each other, we complement each other and we make space for each other. A nod of the head here, subtle hand gesture there, and the conversation goes in a different direction. And if the room is on fire (and I mean literally on fire not like “the band was on fire on that tune”) then whoever notices it first puts down his or her instrument and yells “The room is on fire and I don’t mean that metaphorically, although the band was really cooking on that last tune, I mean the room is on fire we all have to get out!” No apologies necessary.

To watch this musical conversation take place you can come by the Free Times Café (on College just west of Spadina), on Sunday, June 17. The show starts at 8 pm and if you don’t interrupt when the server takes your order for food and/or drink there is no cover.

Hope to see you there.

P.S. And in case you were wondering, you never need to apologize if you manage to stop the bagpipes from playing – although that is something that is much easier said than done, they are awfully loud and bagpipe players are awfully stubborn. Trust me, I know.

June 17th Set List:
Set #1: Set #2:
Calypso Piper
I Wish I Was Your Mother
Five Days In May
Changes In Lattitudes
Cry If You Want To
Someday Soon
Now And Then…
I Only Want To Be With You
Save A Moment
Barrett’s Privateers
Ghost Riders
Saskatchewan Sky
Have I The Right
Happy Together
Lost On The Bayou
Bad Hand
Bad Mamma Blues
Sisters Of Mercy
Gumboot Clogeroo
Down Where The Drunkards Roll
Cold Water
Golden Ring
Man Of Constant Sorrow
Stronger Beer
Lay Down Sally
Patio Lanters
I Wanna