GEAR TALKIN’™️: #8: Birthday Suit
Captain Jeff is taking most of the week off (from Substack anyway), to celebrate his birthday, which is today. Happy birthday, Jeff! This afternoon he went on a hike, this evening he will play a show, and at some point we hope he finds himself in front of a sugar-free treat.
Anyway, he gave us the green light to hijack his newsletter. Us being myself, Crystal (HI!), and Mark, you know Mark. We considered sharing some embarrassing photos or a video of Jeff rapping. But we like it around here, so instead you get a GEAR TALKIN’™️, ahem, GORILLA TALKIN’™️. Jeff will be back soon, and my guess is he will be lurking in the comments below, so share your birthday wishes and check back soon for more. Mark, take it away! —Crystal
We have a vintage Birthday Gorilla at the Loft. What’s that? You don’t know what a Birthday Gorilla is? Seriously?!
A Birthday Gorilla is a semi-robotic (stay tuned for exactly how semi) life-sized standing figure dressed in a classic gorilla suit, sporting both a bowler hat and a t-shirt that clearly indicates the new age of the birthday boy or girl on their happy occasion. I believe it’s an old tradition that goes back hundreds and hundreds of years, maybe even back to pre-biblical times. Something like that.
Our Birthday Gorilla has a robotic arm (as tradition would dictate) meaning that when you plug in the two-foot gray power cable, the motor within the gorilla’s chest starts to crank and the right gorilla arm slowly moves up and down about four or five inches, as if asking for spare change… slowly. I tell you, it doesn’t take much for an inanimate object to magically become an inanimate object with a slightly moving arm. It’s spellbinding!
This Birthday Gorilla was purchased from a resale shop a little over five years ago as a surprise gift for Jeff on his 50th birthday. While wheeling it out of the shop, we noticed the power cable draped in the back and asked the store owners what the gorilla does when it gets plugged in. After an uncomfortable silence, they admitted they didn’t know it had a power cable. Thank goodness! Imagine what the price might have been if they fully knew that when plugged in, the right arm would slowly move up and down four or five inches?!!?
This specific Birthday Gorilla may have started its life as a Birthday Clown. When the full-head gorilla mask is removed, what’s revealed is the stuff of childhood nightmares; a hard shiny plastic clown head with black spray paint added where the mouth and nose holes are, making it look like an insane, dead-eyed, paint-huffing junkie clown. Yes. An insane, dead-eyed, paint-huffing junkie clown.
Each year on August 25th, we add a new t-shirt over the old ones with Jeff’s new age, both as a way to celebrate Jeff’s special day and also as a 365-day-reminder of how old, exactly, Jeff is. You’d be amazed how often that information is in question.
When the Birthday Gorilla first arrived at the Loft, it would freak out everyone when they turned a corner and unexpectedly caught it in their peripheral vision. HAIRY BURGLAR! I would often get to the Loft early in the morning, just to move the Birthday Gorilla to a new unsuspecting position and scare the pee out of Jeff and Tom when they got in. It worked. Thanks Birthday Gorilla!
This Week In Wilco, Etc.
2008 / August 23: Wilco plays the Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend, OR with Fleet Foxes opening. Fleet Foxes joins Wilco on the encores for “Hoodoo Voodoo” (Fleet Foxes on percussion) and for a cover of Bob Dylan's “I Shall Be Released”. The latter was released on the rarities set Alpha Mike Foxtrot.
1967 / August 25: Happy Birthday Jeff!
2022 / August 26: Jeff and Nels join Phil Lesh & Friends at the Sacred Rose Festival/Seatgeek Stadium Campus in Bridgeview, IL.
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All very well and good but when you promise to share how semi robotic it is, some of us expected a video demo.
Happy Birthday, Captain!
I think all Loft social media accounts should be renamed STUFFINMYLOFT