Hilton Head Monthly — Like most writers, I guess, I have a file on my computer called “Story Ideas.” It’s basically a to-do list of things I will probably never do. It’s full of ideas that are pushed aside for work, or parenting, or sleep, tiny flashes of inspiration that arrive during a drive or a lunch and are addressed sporadically in the creative spaces between dishes and running and making sure your magazine gets out somewhere near deadline. My list, for years, has had “Elgie Stover” on it.
Elgie — who passed away last month, didn’t know me and wouldn’t have had the remotest clue why I’m writing about him — was one of those sharply drawn characters that we Midwestern expats encounter here in the Lowcountry and have trouble believing are not fictional. How else could you explain a guy who would show up at perfectly irregular intervals, produce some of planet Earth’s finest barbecue and spin tales about how he came to appear on one of the most loved and acclaimed albums in music history?
As my memory has it — and I warn you that most of the following is clouded by time and beer, mostly beer — I first encountered Elgie very late at night. At the time, more than 12 years ago, I was part of a small crew of lively and extremely broke journalists who would generally end our drinking nights at the inexplicably still-shuttered building that housed the old Blue Nite Cafe, where we knew some guys in the band.
The band usually closed down about 2 a.m., and Elgie would materialize at about 2:04. He’d roll up in this monstrous white truck, which in my memory was about two stories tall, and he’d be towing a monstrous and very elderly-looking black smoker, which in my memory was approximately as long as a football field. We’d gather on the porch outside the bar like children. And he’d open the grill and this giant white puff would burst out and he’d come walking through the smoke and we’d feast and feast and feast. OK, it probably didn’t go like that at all, but I’m sticking with my image, because I like it.
Pictured: Insane Clown Posse. Sometimes people get confused about exactly who this is a picture of.
Island Packet — Before anyone goes all crazy about the Insane Clown Posse performing on Hilton Head in October, a quick story: There was a time in probably 1972 when everyone was afraid of Alice Cooper, and his torrnents of blood, and his big dumb rock show, and his disembowelment and corpse makeup and all that, and the last time I encountered Alice he was, I believe, engaged in a round of televised golf on VH-1 with Hootie and the Blowfish.
Actually, that’s not true — the last time I encountered Alice was in 2005, when I interviewed him in advance of a vintage Alice, ridiculous, over-the-top splattery concert in Florida, so of course we spent the entire time talking about my son.
In preparation for Alice’s call I had deposited my then 2-year-old before what was probably the day’s 20th screening of “Elmo’s World,” a small dosage of cognitive dissonance I pointed out to Alice by way of introducing myself, and he replied with, and I am so not making this up: “Oh, I love that you’re a daddy!” and then spilled forthwith into a half hour of thoughtful, often genius parenting advice that I find myself referring to even now (“Think, Jeff,” I’ll whisper to myself when I catch Jake erupting into a small fit because his Lucky Charms have arrived in the incorrect bowl, “How would Alice react?” You’d be surprised the clarity this usually brings, along with the chorus of “School’s Out,” which is totally a bonus.) See? And you thought Alice couldn’t shock anymore.
This brings me back to the wicked clowns (well, these particular wicked clowns anyway — I still don’t trust that “Bozo”).
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Photo: Sarah Welliver
Island Packet — The good news about Snoop Dogg’s sold-out show at the Shoreline Ballroom on Sunday night is that everyone appears to have emerged largely undamaged, that the island survived a music concert without plunging into sub-apocalyptic anarchy, like how things are in the new “Terminator” movie, or in Texas. Unless I was in the wrong parking lot, this concert did not result in flash-mobs in the streets, a terrorist attack, swine flu, or the return of Frankenstein (although it did mean bad things for the pinheads who banked on cops not noticing them smoking weed outside a Snoop Dogg concert — kids, if margaritas were illegal, do you think police might be on alert at Jimmy Buffett shows?).
The bad news: I was pulling for “Pump Pump,” but that’s from his debut record. I’m kind of old.
Island Packet – Generally speaking, if you are sent out to cover the nightlife during Verizon Heritage weekend and you begin your assignment at Harbour Town by looking for interesting-looking people to talk to, it’s a good idea to begin with gentlemen in inflatable Viking helmets. (They don’t really cover Viking helmet-seeking in journalism school; it’s just one of those senses you develop.)
These would be Mike Arseneau of Hilton Head and Alan Walliem from Bloomington, Minn., two avid golf fans who reported their headgear was designed to, and I’m quoting here, “support Lumpy.”
I’m not remotely knowledgeable about golf, so at this point I’m reasonably sure that I’ve stepped into a parallel galaxy that’s run by blow-up Vikings, but Walliem assured me that “Lumpy” is the affectionate nickname for Minneapolis native Tim Herron, a golferthe two have been following throughout their many repeat trips to the Heritage. “This is a phenomenal tournament,” Walliem says.