The Guy Who Coughs

from by Unusual Squirrel

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Like The Quartet (see above), this one was also inspired by chamber music performed at Zankel Hall. Totally different quartet, though: the Ligeti Quartet. I think they were awesome, but all I remember now was the guy who coughed so fucking much. I mean, Jesus fucking fuck.


Lyrics: I'd hate to be the one who coughs during a recital. It's bad enough to be in the audience when the one who coughs coughs, and somehow it's worse when there's just one one who coughs as opposed to many ones.

Like that time when I saw the Philharmonic at what was then known as Avery Fisher Hall, at the beginning of Bolero, the very beginning, when it's very quiet, and beautifully slow, less than 30 seconds into it, and the guy let out this huge hacking cough that just took a shit on the whole thing, and the conductor, while continuing to conduct, turned his head back over his shoulder and looked back in the direction of the guy who coughed and just raised an eyebrow as if to say, do that again motherfucker, and I will fuck you up.

And then there was that time, at Zankel Hall, when the Ligeti Quartet was playing The Ecstasy, from Terry Riley's Salome Dances For Peace, and it was so beautiful and clearly very difficult to play, and the guy who coughed just coughed and coughed, many, many times, like an endless stream of piss just pissing all over the whole thing, to the point where several people in the audience made little noises to signal their annoyance, and I was quite annoyed too, but mostly I was thinking how I would hate to be that guy, the guy who coughs.

And the thing is, I know that if I keep going to recitals, one day, I'm going to be not feeling well, but I'll have tickets to something that I really, really, really don't want to miss, so I'll go, and yes, I'll grab a shitload of complimentary ricolas and I'll keep popping them into my mouth but still, inevitably, I will be unable to control myself and I will be the guy who coughs and it will be mortifying and I will hate myself and it will be awful and that will suck.

c. 2016 John S. Hall


from Fuck Sandwich, released January 19, 2017
John S. Hall - vocals and coughing



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Unusual Squirrel New York, New York

Unusual Squirrel is:

John S. Hall - vocals
Susan Hwang - janggu, accordion, backing vocals
Ray Brown - guitar, piano, percussion
Preston Spurlock - keyboards, percussion

with special guest Violet S. Hall - violin on "The Quartet," "Monsters," and "Everlasting."

Produced by Charlie Nieland
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