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Old Aug 11, 2005, 09:53 PM   #1
Scouser
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Default Eric Idle's Induction of George Harrison....

Into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame.

I found this over at the Daily Llama
http://www.dailyllama.com/news/2002/llama157.html
and I thought it was both touching and hilarious.

ERIC IDLE HONORS GEORGE HARRISON AT HOLLYWOOD BOWL
by Eric Idle
Wednesday, 3 July 2002

Eric Idle was at the Hollywood Bowl last Friday, 28 June, to induct George Harrison into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame. This was an honor the Pythons received last year and Eric Idle agreed to come back to deliver the honors on behalf of his good friend George Harrison, who died last November at age 58. Harrison posthumously joined opera star Kathleen Battle, singer/actress Bernadette Peters, and Randy Newman as inductees at the third annual gala. Here is the text to Eric's speech...

ERIC IDLE: When they told me they were going to induct my friend George Harrison into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame posthumously: my first thought was - I bet he won't show up.

Because, unlike some others one might mention - but won't - he really wasn't in to honors.

He was one of those odd people who believe that life is somehow more important than show business.

Which I know is a heresy here in Hollywood, and I'm sorry to bring it up here in the very Bowel of Hollywood but I can hear his voice saying "oh very nice, very useful, a posthumous award - where am I supposed to put it? What's next for me then? A posthumous Grammy? An ex-Knighthood? An After-Lifetime Achievement Award?

He's going to need a whole new shelf up there.

So: posthumously inducted - sounds rather unpleasant: sounds like some kind of after-life enema.

But Induct - in case you are wondering - comes from the word induce - meaning to bring on labor by the use of drugs.

And Posthumous is actually from the Latin post meaning after and hummus meaning Greek food.

So I like to think that George is still out there somewhere - pregnant and breaking plates at a Greek restaurant.

I think he would prefer to be inducted posthumorously because he loved comedians - poor sick sad deranged lovable puppies that we are - because they - like him - had the ability to say the wrong thing at the right time - which is what we call humor.

He put Monty Python on here at The Hollywood Bowl, and he paid for the movie The Life of Brian, because he wanted to see it.

Still the most anybody has ever paid for a Cinema ticket.

His life was filled with laughter and even his death was filled with laughter… In the hospital he asked the nurses to put fish and chips in his IV.

The doctor - thinking he was delusional - said to his son "don't worry, we have a medical name for this condition."

Yes said Dahni "humor."

And I'm particularly sorry Dahni isn't here tonight - because I wanted to introduce him by saying "Here comes the son" - but sadly that opportunity for a truly bad joke has gone, as has Dahni's Christmas present from me.

George once said to me "if we'd known we were going to be The Beatles we'd have tried harder."

What made George special - apart from his being the best guitarist in the Beatles - was what he did with his life after they achieved everything.

He realized that this fame business was - and I'll use the technical philosophical term here - complete bullshit.

And he turned to find beauty and truth and meaning in life - and more extraordinarily - found it.

This is from his book I Me Mine:

"The things that most people are struggling for is fame or fortune or wealth or position - and really none of that is important because in the end death will take it all away. So you spend your life struggling for something, which is in effect a waste of time… I mean I don't want to be lying there as I'm dying thinking 'oh shit I forgot to put the cat out.'"

And he wasn't. He passed away - here in LA - with beauty and dignity surrounded by people he loved.

Because he had an extraordinary capacity for friendship.

People loved him all over the planet.

George was in fact a moral philosopher: his life was all about a search for truth, and preparing himself for death.

Which is a bit weird for someone in rock and roll. They're not supposed to be that smart. They're supposed to be out there looking for Sharon. Not the meaning of life.

Michael Palin said George's passing was really sad but it does make the afterlife seem much more attractive.

He was a gardener - he grew beauty in everything he did - in his life, in his music, in his marriage and as a father.

I was on an island somewhere when a man came up to him and said "George Harrison, oh my god, what are you doing here?" - and he said "Well everyone's got to be somewhere."

Well alas he isn't here. But we are. And that's the point. This isn't for him. This is for us, because we want to honor him. We want to remember him, we want to say Thanks George for being. And we really miss you. So lets take a look at some of the places he got to in his life.

Video montage is shown of George Harrison's life, from youthful Beatle to mature solo artist.

Well he's still not here. But we do have someone very special who was very dear to him - who is here. The first man to perform with the Beatles. The one and only Billy Preston.

Billy Preston and a chorus of vocalists sing Harrison's "My Sweet Lord."

Thank you Billy Preston.

So this is the big drag about posthumous awards: there's no one to give 'em to.

So I'm gonna keep this and put it next to the one I got last year. No, I'm going to give it to the love of his life, his dark sweet lady, dear wonderful Olivia Harrison, who is with us here tonight. Liv, you truly know what it is to be without him.

Thank you Hollywood Bowl you do good to honor him. Goodnight.
~~~~~~~

~Layla
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Old Aug 15, 2005, 12:22 AM   #2
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Wonderful read! Thanks for posting that! Just love Eric's sense of humor, and love the bond that he and George shared. Such a wonderful tribute! George would have liked that. Thanks for sharing it!
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Old Aug 15, 2005, 07:58 AM   #3
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That is one of the most brilliant things I have read what a wonderful tribute and hillarious to boot.
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Old Aug 18, 2005, 09:07 PM   #4
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Haha I love Eric Idle he truly is a comic genious! And what he said about George was so true!! Has anyone seen/ heard the Monty Python clip that George was on? I only heard it as an audio file. Eric Idle introduced him and said " And now ladies and Gentlemen the moment you've all been waiting for Mr. George Harrison sings...." and then you hear the first chords of my sweet lord, then all of a sudden George sings " Oh I'd like to be a pirate a pirates life for me!" and does a whole song about pirates.... it was quite funny!!
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Old Aug 18, 2005, 11:39 PM   #5
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Heres the clip you mentioned, George Harrison as "Priate Bob" on Rutland Weekend television

http://s39.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=3...K1OP45J9NIF73T

~Layla
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Old Aug 19, 2005, 10:04 AM   #6
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:Teeht1: Thanls a bunch scouser! Can't wait to see it!
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Old Aug 19, 2005, 05:15 PM   #7
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That was a brilliant speech. Eric Idle truly is a comical genious!
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Old Aug 20, 2005, 06:54 AM   #8
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No doubt George would have enjoyed it. Small wonder he was such an avid Monty Python fan!
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Old Sep 07, 2005, 04:51 AM   #9
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That was great! Hilarious ... and also very touching :)
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Old Oct 12, 2005, 04:22 AM   #10
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I was in a bookshop the other day and saw Eric Idle's memoirs ... 'Greedy Bastard Diaries' or something like that, so I flicked through it. He tells some funny stories about George in there ... I can't remember details right now, but I might have another look and see if I can remember them next time I go to the shop.
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Old Oct 12, 2005, 08:58 AM   #11
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Brilliant! It is true what our George said - that they Pythons are just an extension of the fabs.
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Old Oct 12, 2005, 10:02 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jocelyn
I was in a bookshop the other day and saw Eric Idle's memoirs ... 'Greedy Bastard Diaries' or something like that, so I flicked through it. He tells some funny stories about George in there ... I can't remember details right now, but I might have another look and see if I can remember them next time I go to the shop.

I read that whole thing while sitting in the cafe of Barnes and Noble (I know, bad me) and there's a whole probably four or five pages on the....I think it's the two-year anniversary of George's death, and he talks ath, funeral, and Concert for George, and I literally crying like a little girl. Several people asked me if I was alright. It was so unbelieveably sad and touching.

~Layla
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Old Oct 16, 2005, 04:10 AM   #13
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Yes, that part was so sad the way he talks about it ... I was sitting there reading that part and saying to myself 'don't cry, don't cry' ...

Didn't work :p

Also was getting a bit choky reading where he talks about the stabbing attack on George and Olivia, so vividly written, it really made it clear how terrible it was ... had to laugh at the 'Well, I don't think he was auditioning for the Travelling Wilburys' remark though
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Old Nov 28, 2005, 03:20 PM   #14
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Since it's the 29th today, I thought I'd post this - it's the bit from the book that Scouser and I mentioned, where Eric talks about George's death, on the two-year anniversary. Be warned - if you're anything like me, Kleenex may be necessary! :P


29/11/03
Today was a bad day for me. The anniversary of George’s death two years ago is on my mind all day. I know I will have to write something about him, and that is a painful thing even to think about. That man, so alive with those amazing eyes, lying so still as I scattered rose petals on him, my shoulders shaking, weeping. Sitting with him. Seeing him so thin, hearing that terrible merciless cough – no, it’s too damn painful.

Even when we first met I felt like I’d known him forever. Not the Beatle George, he never seemed like that to me, nor the bearded garden gnome George, but the man, the real man with the deep dark eyes and the crooked grin and the loud laugh. I felt I knew him already. I felt I’d met him as a child. In fact, I was convinced we’d met in Wallasey when I was about seven, in New Brighton playing in the sand hills at the Red Noses. There’s no way to prove this, of course, but it was a very strong feeling I have, and still have. I would meet kids and play, as kids do, and have no idea who they were. So who knows, sometime in the summer of 1950, might we really have met on the other side of the Mersey?

I never knew a man like him. It was as if we fell in love. His attention, his concern, his loving friendship was so strong and powerful that it encompassed your entire life. You felt comfortable and secure. We would stay up all night and talk for hours about our lives, about the hurts and pains, about the groups we had been in and the trying emotional strains and problems that being in such groups entails. He was always full of spiritual comfort, counsel, and advice. He saw everything from the cosmic point of view. Our deaths were natural and unavoidable, and he viewed everything from that perspective, even then in the midseventies. He had come off a tour of America, where things had been unpleasant for him. The ‘Dark Hoarse Tour,’ he called it. His pseudonym – for hotels, security (and guitar picks) – had been Jack Lumber. (He was always a raving certified Python fanatic, as, of course, I was always a raving certified Beatle fan.) Drugs and brandy had ruined his voice on that tour, and I think he had set out to challenge the expectations of his North American audiences, presenting Ravi Shankar and the Indian music and then doing jokey versions of various of his songs. The good news was that he met Olivia, the love of his life, and retired to Friar Park, where he felt safe and from where he would only rarely emerge. Here he would discover the other great love of his life, gardening, which became a living example of his concern to create beauty on the planet wherever he could.

His enthusiasm was contagious. He played the jukebox to inform and instruct. He revelled in sharing his delight n all kinds of music. He would go through periods of furious passions, often lasting for months or even years at a time, when he would insist you shared his joy of Smokey Robinson or the songs of Hoagy Carmichael or the Hawaiian music of Gaby Pahinui or even the ukulele nonsenses of George Formby. During this latter stage everyone had to learn the uke, even Liv he taught to strum away. His taste was, like him, catholic. He embraced all forms of life. It was to be savoured and enjoyed. But music was at the heart of it. It could speak more truly to the soul. And the soul was what George was about. The clear-eyed gurus gazed down in the hall from their photographs, looking straight at us. As we talked and grew to know each other I opened my heart to him as I have to no other man before or since. Indeed, only my wife and my shrink have heard me speak so nearly (and at such length) of my existence and experiences. It was, and I can only say this simply, like the beginning of a love affair, and I suppose in a way it was exactly that, because he won my heart and I fell in love with him and am filled with that love to this day. When he died, I could not believe it. I knelt at his feet and put my hand on him, and my whole body was wracked and shaken with sorrow. They had given us rose petals and finally my shoulders could stop shaking long enough for me to sprinkle them on him, and I could back away to the sympathetic embraces of the living. He lay now deathly still in his saffron and purple robes, his face painted white with the red dot on his forehead. We sat shivah, a small group of his friends and family in the room, now weeping, now laughing. Some reminiscence would start, something inappropriate he would want to share and then the realisation that he would not be sharing it, that he was indeed gone, and sorrow would flood over us.

“Come on, everybody, Dad wouldn’t want this”, Dahni would remind us, and we would play music, the chants he loved, recoded in Friar Park, or a few of the last tracks that would constitute the basis of his final album. And, oh, the pangs as I remember our last phone conversation, me in France, he in Switzerland, sometime in August. His voice seemed weak as we chatted for about twenty minutes.
“What are you working on?” I asked him.
“I’m doing the sleeve notes for my album. If I can ever finish them in time. And if not, then you will”
My heart felt like it was stabbed as he told me clearly he was dying. Even then I refused to believe it. Not him. Not George. George couldn’t die. I needed him too much. He was my cornerstone. A Friar Park visit always an option. George didn’t die. It wasn’t possible.

On this day last year I was in the Roy al Albert Hall at the amazing memorial concert for George organised by Liv and Dahni and Eric Clapton, one minute laughing with Mike Palin and the Terrys and the next losing it as Joe Brown played “Here Comes The Sun” and having to hide in the bathroom backstage, sobbing. I wasn’t the only one with red eyes that night. Was ever a man so loved? So many friends. So many strong men in tears. I almost lost it again onstage at the end when Joe played the ukulele so beautifully and sang “I’ll See You In My Dreams” as thousands of rose petals fell from the ceiling. Everyone left the stage quietly, avoiding one another’s eyes, here a friendly arm, there a hand on a shoulder. Too sad for words.
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Old Nov 28, 2005, 07:36 PM   #15
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The more I read it, the more emotional I get from reading it, especially in this day.
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Old Nov 28, 2005, 07:37 PM   #16
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Good thing I have the box of Kleenex ready. I see I'm not alone in needing it.
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Old Dec 03, 2005, 02:41 PM   #17
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Nope, definitely not alone in reading it. Those couple of pages of my book are in pretty bad condition, actually ... firstly from sputtering the juice I was drinking all over it when I read "Jack Lumber" and started giggling ... then from tears later on I'm such an idiot!
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Old Dec 05, 2005, 01:05 AM   #18
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What an amazing piece that is, I am glad there is no one around to see my eyes now...

It is fantastic to have a friend, how Eric describes, where you can share all those things with, and I can only try to understand the emptyness which enters your mind when such a friend is no longer there to talk to.
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