This past weekend I went to Dallas with my boyfriend Ben to see Tim Minchin perform. Tim is an extremely talented comedian/song writer/piano player with a flare for hilarious (and some may say offensive) songs and stand up.
As an atheist and liberal living in Arkansas, sometimes it’s easy to forget that there’s a rapidly growing number of like-minded people out there. I’m fortunate to be a member of the Secular Student Alliance at my school and to have a great group of freethinking friends and acquaintances, but to be in a theater full of strangers all cheering and singing along to songs about how the Pope is a motherfucker? That was another experience altogether. A wonderfully enjoyable and uplifting experience.
What really draws me to Tim Minchin is that, yes, he uses a lot of strong language and controversial topics but in an intelligent way. It’s not crude for crude-ness sake, but to make a much needed point. For example, from the aforementioned Pope song:
And if you don’t like this swearing that this motherfucker forced from me
And reckon it shows moral or intellectual paucity
Then fuck you motherfucker, this is language one employs
When one is fucking cross about fuckers fucking boys
You could get upset about the foul language, or you could focus on the real issue of rape and abuse of children by those in a position of power. Your choice.
As an encore, Tim performed his song White Wine In The Sun which is possibly my favorite Christmas song. The first time I heard it I nearly cried; it’s passionate and moving and perfectly sums up my feeling about Christmas- I’m not interested in the “true meaning” of Christmas, but I still like the holiday.
For a second encore, he performed a cover of Hallelujah similar to the Rufus Wainwright version and invited the audience to sing along on the chorus of “hallelujah”s. The obvious jokes were made about a room full of (likely) atheists singing an ancient Hebrew word of praise to Yahweh, but it was still absolutely beautiful.
I don’t go to church much- only when I happen to be visiting my parents on a Sunday since it’s easier to just go than have the conversation about my atheism (I know, it’s cowardly of me to still have one foot in the atheist closet, but that’s another topic for another day). I tend to tune out during the sermons, but I have to admit I do like the music. “Some of the hymns that they sing have nice chords, but the lyrics are dodgy” as Tim would say. That, and I like some of the people at my parent’s church. As long as we gloss over the misguided theology and conservative values, they’re nice folks.
And that’s what made White Wine In The Sun, Hallelujah, and indeed the whole night such a great experience. Tim is a talented musician -the man can seriously throw down some piano- and it was exciting to be there in “fellowship” so to speak with others who were enjoying the show and who also share my religious/political views. I am by no means spiritual, but I’ll be damned if I can’t think of a better word than “spiritual” to describe the Hallelujah moment.