Weird for art thou?

01:11, Jul 24 2014

Before the big quakes hit in February 2011, I had in my possession tickets to two upcoming concerts in Christchurch. The first, The Queens of the Stone Age were to play at the town hall on Thursday the 24th of February (they, along with NIN have since been back and played a concert earlier this year*), the other was for a Weird Al Yankovic concert scheduled for March.

To be completely honest with you, I wasn't nearly as excited about the Weird Al gig (he's no Ginger Elvis, after all). I bought the tickets mainly as a gift to the Silver Fox who is a massive Weird Al fan. In fact there are numerous songs that the SF only knows the Weird Al version of. Which can make for some very confused car singing since I'm all ready to launch into Miley Cyrus' "Party in the USA"** only to find that everyone else is singing about the dodgy practices of the CIA instead. This is a good deal more frustrating than you would imagine.

But with Al and his day-by-day release of videos from his new album, very much cruising the zeitgeist wave at the moment, I'm forced to admit that I really do like him.

For one thing, he's a massive dork. Where other recording artists are drilled by choreographers and make attempts at a combination of precision and sexiness with their dancing, Weird Al just sort of flings himself about like one of The Wiggles who has OD'ed on muscle relaxants. His "style" if you could call it that, has not changed significantly over the years. This is a man who knows who he is and doesn't care that he's not cool. He plays the accordion, for pity's sake.

The apotheosis of this commitment to dorkishness is properly realised in the video for White and Nerdy. This is my favourite of his songs because I understand every single geek "in joke" in the lyrics and video (apart from the bubblewrap thing - what the hell?) up to and including Donny Osmond's cameo (when I was seven I desperately wanted him to be my boyfriend) and references to the Star Wars Holiday Special, which I still have not watched even though it's probably available on YouTube because I imagine to do so would be like when they opened the Ark of the Covenant at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark and it would be beautiful and then my face would melt off.


And anyone who can take creepy-catchy anthem "Blurred Lines" and turn it into a grammar nazi diatribe is a man after my own heart.

For these reasons I wish very much that Weird Al might consider rescheduling his Christchurch concert when he tours this new album. For one thing, if Josh Homme can come back then why not Al? For the other, Ed Musik and the Burning Sensations were supposed to be playing support for the original Theatre Royal gig. Ed Musik's alter ego is now the Labour candidate in Gerry Brownlee's Ilam electorate. Assuming he wins it would be fairly awesome for an MP to play support at a Weird Al Yankovic concert. If he loses maybe Gerry Brownlee could do it?

Not to mention that the man also has longevity. He's been doing this schtick for 30 years and unlike the 1980s he actually has competition in the musical comedy genre now - Flight of the Conchords, Garfunkel & Oates, heck, anyone with a YouTube account and a ukulele - you can't check Facebook without falling over a song parody these days, and yet Yankovic still holds his own.

Speaking as someone who has dabbled in a bit of song parody herself (here, and here), I have nought but admiration for Mr Yankovic's skills in this area. And so, as an homage, I present to you my own feeble attempt. A plea, if you will.

Play that funny music

Once I had expensive tickets, to see a quirky guy called Weird Al
No I never had a problem,
Buying them online with PayPal
I gave one to my boyfriend, yeah
As a gift wrapped up in a bow And he was pretty happy
That I paid for him to go to the show
Yeah, there'd be gigglin' and laughin' and chortlin' from the snortin'
And we'd ask for an encore, and all the folks would jump up shoutin'
Play that funny music white boy
Play that funny music right
Play that funny music white boy
Lay down the squeezebox and play that funny music till you die
Till you die
Oh ya, ya

But then there were some earthquakes
And this gig went out of our minds
How could we think about it
when our city was in such a bind?
And so we got rebuilding
The Theatre Royal's well on its way
We said, "Weird Al, get back here"
"Cause you still have a concert to play"
Yeah there'll be laughin' and gigglin' and chortlin' from the snortin'
And I'll want "Word Crimes" for the encore, and I'll be on my feet and shouting
Play that funny music Weird Al
Play that funny music right
Play that funny music Weird Al
Lay down the squeezebox and play that funny music till you die
Till you die, ya
Till you die

Dear Mr Yankovic, could you see your way clear to coming back and playing a concert for us? Pretty please?

*That I was not able to attend, despite having a ticket because a certain baby was going through a "clingy phase". On the up side this will make great ammunition for the day he lobbies me to be allowed to go to a concert unaccompanied. "Yeah, I remember this time I wanted to go to a concert...". Perfect.

**As many issues as I may have with Miley Cyrus I refuse to deny the infectious pop perfection of "Party in the USA". It is my jam and I don't care what that says about me.

What are your feelings regarding Weird Al Yankovic? I know he's kind of dorky and grating, but that's also a large part of his appeal if you ask me.