COLUMN SEVENTY-FIVE, SEPTEMBER 1, 2002
(Copyright © 2002 Al Aronowitz
HONORING GEORGE HARRISON AT THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL
(Photo by Linda McCartney from her book, SIXTIES: PORTRAIT OF AN ERA)
Subject: Life of George
Date: Wed, 10 Jul 2002 16:42:17 EDT
HONORING GEORGE HARRISON AT THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL
by Eric Idle
Eric Idle was at the Hollywood Bowl last Friday, 28 June, 2002, 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...
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.
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.
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?
going to need a whole new shelf up there.
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.
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 post-humorously because he loved comedians---poor sick sad
he asked the nurses
to put fish and chips in his IV
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.
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.
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."
said Dahni, "humor."
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.
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.
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.'"
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.
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.
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.
was on an island somewhere when a man came up to him and said "George
montage is shown of George Harrison's life, from youthful Beatle to mature solo
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.
Preston and a chorus of vocalists sing Harrison's "My Sweet Lord").
you Billy Preston.
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. ##
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