SOS! The Titanic Is Sinking and the Band Won’t Play Any Requests

Hell yeah, the band’s back on! The past few minutes did have me worried, what with the mass panic on deck and the ship tilting at a rather inconvenient 20° angle. The vibes have been way off. A bit of live music is just the thing to put my mind at ease ’til they wrangle up more of those lifeboats.

It’s actually a good thing I’m not in one already. I mean, that whole “women and children first” rule? Fine by me. That gives the band a chance to skip all the bubblegum crap and play real music—you know, stuff for 30-year-old men with lots of opinions. Finally, our time to shine.

Say… you there, clinging to the railing for dear life: would you like to hear some facts about jazz?

Ouch! Kind of a shame he lost his grip right as I was about to get to the good stuff. He looked kind of like a poser anyway.

Yo, musicians! Wanted to let you cats know that I’m really digging your sound. Very righteous. How about you pick up the tempo a little, do something with a little more swing? The deck hasn’t been this clear all trip, and daddy is in the mood to dance. And by dance, I mean nod rhythmically while scrutinizing every note you play.

I don’t technically know anything about actual musical theory or composition, no. I also have zero experience playing any kind of instrument. But I do consider my taste to be world-class. I have a sprawling phonograph collection, and I’ve gone on hundreds of first dates to music halls and concerts. Though not too many second dates, weirdly enough. I remember this one chick I went out with who–

There you go, way to pump up the volume! I was about to tell a really funny story, but that’s okay. Gotta cut the chatter and get back to the music. I get it. I am a little tired of the Bach stuff, though. Come on, man, whip off your white gloves and take those cello strings for a stroll. Now that the ship’s alarm bell has stopped going off—help must be basically here already—don’t be afraid to jam a little bit.

Can you dig the motion of the ocean? I can, since I’m already underwater from the knees down.

Normally I’d be a little more freaked out, but since my boys are still out here making sweet music, how bad could it really be? If we were really about to die, you’d probably do me a solid and play something I actually like. I love how focused you all are right now, not even making eye contact with me. Except for that clarinet player who is absolutely sobbing over there. Lightweight, much?

I’ve been on a pretty big Scott Joplin kick lately. Mostly his early stuff, before he sold out. You buddies with him? Ever tour with the Jop’ man? Or even know any of his tunes? I brought a couple of his albums with me, but I have a strict rule against lending out my records. Also, all the stuff in my cabin is pretty much covered in iceberg at this point.

So maybe you could do me a solid and switch up the setlist? Realistically, we only have a few more minutes before the rest of us are rescued.

Dude. “Nearer, My God, to Thee?” What kind of Sunday school granny bullshit is that? I thought you guys were cool, but it turns out I’ve been spending all night talking to a bunch of mainstream phonies. I would smack you right in the face if I wasn’t busy treading water. What do you have to say to that? Do you realize how dumb you guys sound right now, just gasping for breath while your teeth chatter?

That is so typical of the music industry today, man. People would rather almost immediately drown than admit they’re wrong. Now I’m just floating alone in the ocean like a jerk, with nothing to entertain me except for my life flashing before my eyes.

Wait! Why lookee here, one final lifeboat is heading straight in my direction! There’s plenty of room too. Hey, over here! Help! Come pick me up so I can spend the next several hours ranking my top 50 barbershop quartet singles! Spoiler alert: “Danny Boy” doesn’t even crack the top 20.

What’s that? You’re each saving a seat for a friend? All good. I was actually hoping that a Coast Guard boat would pick me up instead. They’ve got a pretty sweet band—might be able to catch their set back at base. My cousin’s ex-roommate plays the gong for them.

Anyway, don’t worry about me. You think the guy who camped out overnight for Jelly Roll Morton tickets can’t swim for a few minutes? I’ll be just fine, baby. Sticking around longer than I should—that’s my entire deal.

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