My SXSW

Music fest diary

My SXSW

It's now getting toward sundown on Friday, and I'm looking out from the ninth floor of the Radisson over the bridge toward the Hyatt. Groovers dotted here and there on the bridge cast ant-sized shadows. My wife, Michele, and I are looking for some food by sitting down and staring into space, discussing Led Zeppelin with our friends. Talk drifts to latex bands; the mind drifts to the stomach.

Munching on a crisp organic apple, I remember seeing an epic set from Robert Plant last night, and an epic set from Elvis Costello the night before. We had supper with both of them on Wednesday after Michele was poured out of American Airlines' 10-hour run from London, and before my Emo's show. Elvis, Robert, and I immediately launched into an intense gabfest about the Incredible String Band, whose mentor Bruce Findlay I'd run into that morning. This legendary Scotsman is now managing Aberfeldy, who Krugman says is fantastic. Like the Incredible String Band were.

Krugman is the best friend and mentor of a local writer, whose wedding I officiated Monday, where he wed a local exotic dancer. I've never conducted a wedding before, but apparently it worked: It's legal, and they're still together. And I'm now a minister of the Church of the Universal Mind in Fisk, Ariz. If you would like me to marry you to the person of your choice, just choose someone (after checking first that they are fine with being chosen) and contact me at www.robynhitchcock.com – the very Reverend Hitchcock.

I've had two shows so far, not counting the wedding and reception party, and I have two more upcoming this evening. It's always a thrill being at SXSW – a chance to meet everyone you know in the music business in three days and decide whether you want to see them again next year. Playing music is the icing on the schmoozefest, and this year SXSW has given me four icings. Plus, this time I got to design the gift bag.

Costello and Plant were the only shows I actually saw this time. It was great to see two men still so in love with what they do, sharing it with the welcoming crowd. I'm still enjoying playing live, too – more than ever, strangely. As Ian McLagan observed to me yesterday – a retired musician is a dead one. Now I've got to guzzle my ye olde fish and chips and prepare for my next one.

Thanks for having me,

Robyn Hitchcock

p.s.: Karl Rove is terrified of emperor penguins. Donny Rumsfeld's nemesis is bread. And W. thinks he's being stalked by Neil Diamond, or possibly Barry Manilow.

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