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April 2015

April 2015
Mr. P.C. BY

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Dear Mr. P.C.:

I just played a long solo gig at a fancy mansion. The hosts offered me appetizers, but since I was playing it was hard to eat without getting food on my hands and the piano. I just wound up eating three tiny morsels. Then dinner time came, but it was only for the guests seated at the table. As I played, I heard the chef describe each amazing course before he served it. It was killing me, and after a few hours I was starving.

My question is: Would it have been okay to ask the hosts for more food? I didn't want to embarrass them in front of their guests.

—Hung Up Non-Guest's Eating Rebuked
 

Dear HUNGER:

There's an important distinction to be made here. Yes, it would have been okay to ask them for "more food," but only if you didn't refer specifically to the food being served to the guests. That's out of your league.

Fortunately, many wealthy people serve human food to their pets, and if you're ever in this situation again it's entirely appropriate to ask for some scraps. Just remember that the silverware is for guests only, so you'll need to find a suitable bowl or trough.

Dear Mr. P.C.:

Are drums a musical instrument?

—Flailing Like A Madman
 

Dear FLAM:

Is tripe food? Is Pabst a beverage? Are cockroaches part of the animal kingdom?

The point is that every category has outliers both above and below. Though the lowest forms may be repugnant to most people, by establishing a bottom they help define the category itself.

With that in mind, yes, drums are a musical instrument.

Dear Mr. P.C.:

How am I supposed to tap my foot while I play? Some musicians tap the floor on two and four, some on one and three, some on all four beats (or five, or seven...) and some don't tap their feet at all. Also, some stomp hard while others just barely wiggle their toes. It's all so confusing to me.

—Pat
 

Dear Pat:

There's no single answer; it's really just a matter of what you feel. So if you feel like you look stupid tapping your foot on one and three, tap it on two and four. If you feel you might look uncool stomping your heel, just curl your toes.

In other words—and this answers most questions about stage protocol: Do whatever feels like it looks best.


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