Monday, June 9, 2014

June 9, 2014

June 9, 2014

Whenever I put a pencil onto a piece of paper, or type something in my computer, the one person that I always think of, almost on an everyday basis, is Cole Porter.   Ever since I was a teenager, I was enthralled with the idea of Cole, including his name, which I thought at the time (and still do) a superb sounding of two words put together.  Cole.  Porter.   Cole Porter.

It was around that time I decided to try my hand at writing lyrics, because basically, I couldn’t do anything else.   Luckily I met a friend at High School, who wrote songs - both lyrics and melody.  I offered him my services as his lyricist, and he took me up on it.   Once he said yes, I kept a school notebook and started either writing ideas for songs or actual lyrics.  Within three months, I gave him my notebook and told him to do what he must do.  Sadly I didn’t have the talent to sit around his piano and sing the lyrics to him.  It was very academic and literary to me.  Nevertheless he did make demos, and I thought that they were masterpieces.  Not only that, but that it was music that broke the boundaries that were set by my favorite bands and songwriters at the time.  Which were The Kinks (Ray), Syd Barrett, and dare I say it, even Robert Wyatt!  I was confident that we were better than those songwriters and artists, and it would be only a matter of time when the world will know about us, and eventually wealth will follow after the crushing fame.  Even then, although I secretly desired fame, I was ready to denounce it - it seemed fame was much cooler if you declared your hatred for it at the same time.  Dear reader, as you can gather by now, the fame and fortune didn’t happen.

First of all the notebook of my lyrics were stolen and held for ransom due that I wrote a put-down of a girl lyric, that is actually about a girl I know, and brilliantly (in honor of Bryan Ferry who did the same) I wrote her phone number as part of the sing-along chorus.  For obvious reasons, she hated that, and therefore took the notebook right out of Gary’s hands.  It took me about a year to get it back.  So typical of our relationship, in that it was barely a relationship.  It was more of a sinking ship with no loose lips.  And yes, that meant I never kissed her.

The doomed romantic that I was (or am). One can see or hear it through my lyrics at the time.  Basically all the songs were about being in love, then losing the girl, and then dying.   I wrote something like 100 lyrics and not once, did I change the theme or format - they were works that were full of word-play (like my idol Cole) and were intended to work on many different conscious levels.  My understanding that there are at least seven levels of consciousness, and surely my lyrics works on at the very least four or maybe five levels.  Actually on a good day, six.

On the other hand, like life, things didn’t go as planned.  The map was not the destination. It wasn’t even a pit-stop if you get my drift.  Countless years have passed, and eventually I went from doing nothing to doing nothing on a couch in my single apartment.  But then I thought, why not use the material I have on hand, and write a musical.  I was thinking of basing my musical on the great French chanson singer Barbara, but then realized that I couldn’t speak or pronounced one word in French, except for non.  Then I thought of a great idea of basing the idea of the musical on the Walt Disney “Silly Symphonies” cartoon “The Wise Little Hen.” The cartoon stars Donald Duck (his first appearance ever) and Peter Pig.  The plot of the story is that our two heroes avoid work by faking stomach aches (something I did in my youth - a lot) until Mrs. Hen teaches them the value of hard work.  Obviously I thought of the pig and Donald as me and Gary - but that as far as it goes.  I never thought of him as a pig or a duck, but alas, as an updated musical I couldn’t see how this would miss.

I sought to keep the characteristics of Donald Duck, but also added the seductive charm of Robert Cummings, who had a TV series called “Love That Bob.” Who interestingly enough was one of the first advocates of natural foods and a healthy diet, but also unknown to the public at the time was a methamphetamine addict as well. The combination of Donald and Bob made a delightful character.  So I wrote the book, the lyrics, and even the music, by humming melodies while taking a shower.  The thing is I couldn’t find a financial backer.  And worst of all, Walt Disney refused to give me permission to use either the cartoon or Donald Duck as a source for my musical. Nevertheless I gave up that dream and now focused on the world of finance by playing the stock market.  I lose big, but I retain a love for the songs I wrote with Gary, and the idea for the musical.  As long as I have my memories, I can’t really complain.
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