The Golden 5
Posted by keithosaunders on December 11, 2009
I’m thinking back on my salad days of living in New York City. It was the go-go 80s and like many of my musician brethren, I often found myself in dubious situations. I would come home from a gig all upset, so much so that I could hardly concentrate on watching the late January Knicks games on TV from the west coast.
My friend Jeff came up with a good device to cheer me up. He referred to these gigs as the Golden 5 — he even had them listed on a blackboard in his attic. This way there was a barometer as to just how bad a gig was. To crack the golden 5 it would have to be pretty bad, otherwise it would slip away into oblivion never to be remembered.
This was twenty years ago; the blackboard has long since been erased and I can’t recall all of the Golden 5, although I’m pretty sure that Princess Pamela, from my previous post, was one of them. Following, however, is a recounting of one of these 5 foibles of folly.
It was a cold winter night in the year of our lord 1989 and the call went out for a pianist to accompany a choral group in Cos Cobb Connecticut. I answered that call, put on the blue suit, and headed Northeast to a date with destiny. Jeff drove because in those days I lived in Manhattan and didn’t have a car.
We arrived to find an innocent enough looking choir setting up for some kind of church function. They instructed me when and what I was to play and everything seemed normal. That is until I took a break. We were in the pantry trying to figure out if we were going to make it home in time to see Dave Letterman’s anniversary show. I’m thinking it was his fifth anniversary but if Jeff is reading this his memory may be better. All of a sudden we heard some commotion coming from inside the tabernacle. Is tabernacle the right terminology? I’m a Jew, damnit, I don’t know from such things. Until yesterday I didn’t even know that Job was pronounced Jobe.
But I digress. We noticed a certain murmuring “Ohhhh….ohhhh…. we call on the dead…we call on Elizabeth. Speak to us Elizabeth!” These wackos were having a seance! Now they had our attention and we proceeded to watch the woman who had hired me transform into ‘Elizabeth’ and in the process shake down these good church goin’ folk for all the spare change they had.
And now the rest of the story: A month or so later they hired me to play at a church somewhere on the East side of Manhattan. Shortly after arriving I encountered the seance lady in the hall. I was in plucky kind of mood so as I passed her I smiled and said “Hi Elizabeth!” Let me tell you, she shot me a look that would have melted lead. Needless to say that was the last time I worked for them and they entered the Golden 5 with a bullet.