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GUEST,Rossey Pretentious sleeve notes (31) RE: Pretentious sleeve notes 25 Dec 17


The sleeve notes to the Paul Simon songbook are utterly pretentious and bombastic in their tone, with Paul Simon writing his own notes in the form of   a surreal conversation with himself and at times another character The album does contain a couple of solo versions of great songs like 'Sound of Silence' and 'I am a rock; but god the notes are self indulgent twaddle!   

"The notes that follow are the original liner notes from The Paul Simon Songbook. They were written by Paul Simon himself in 1965.

I start with the knowledge that everything I write will turn and laugh at me. Still, you never get used to mocking laughter. I am forever withdrawn and shuffling before my own words. I do have some feeble phrases that I put forward to excuse myself: ďBut thatís the way I felt at the time.Ē But I can barely hear them for the ringing of laughter in my ears. You see, I know that in one yearís time (did I say a year?) Iíll reread these scribbled notes and ďOh no, did I write this junk?"

(Scene: A small room. One bed, unmade. The chairs and tables are papered with fluorescent sheets upon which are printed many art anti-beliefs (now out of date) and several abortive attempts at short stories. From a gramophone near the wall the muted sounds of laughter can be heard.)

PAUL: (Reading notes of L.P.) Who wrote this junk?

PAUL: You know very well who did.

PAUL: (In mock astonishment) Donít tell me it was you.

PAUL: Once again your sardonic and piercing shafts of wit have touched me to the quick. I bare my neck to the sword.

PAUL: How many times have I told you never to write anything down?

PAUL: Oh god, not this again.

PAUL: Yes, Iím sorry, but you know the rules. Put on the L.P.

(Derisive laughter for twenty minutes.)

PAUL: Oh no, I canít.

PAUL: Here, just let me set the needle for youÖ

(Scene fades as the laughter is amplified to migraine intensity. Paul crouches in corner with hands over his ears.)

Me, Iím a phony. I guess Iíve been a phony all my life. When I say phony, I donít mean it in the sense that to think that Iím something Iím not. Not at all. The fact is that I donít care that much what you think. Oh, I care, but not that much. What I mean is, I think that Iím something I am not. In fact, I just want me to think that Iím something.

On the rare occasions that I have glanced at my reflection I have repeatedly, and quite deliberately, turned my back on the reality of the picture and wandered off, warm and sleepy, into a valley of illusion.

(Scene: A golden Walt Disney poppy speckled field, inhabited by cartoon field mice (didnít I see you in ĎBambií) and the little old wine maker who tends the poppies. A friendly dirt roads skips over the horizon where an enormous egg cream rises majestically through the pink puffy clouds.)

THE MAN WHO TENDS THE POPPIES: Hello there! And where are you bound for lad? Is it to London where the streets are paved with gold?

PAUL: (To himself) This guy thinks Iím Freddy Bartholomew. (Out loud to the POPPY TENDER) Will you come off the David Copperfield bit, Iím on my way to the Magic City, there to become a poet. Can you show me the way?

POPPY TENDER: Iíd be glad to. There have been so many like you of late all going to the Magic City to become poets. Letís see now (He places his finger alongside of his red button nose in a pose of contemplationÖ or maybe he places his finger in his red nose in contemplation. It depends whoís directing)Ö Go down the happy road three peach trees and one apple orchard and turn left at the great big picture of Dylan ThomasÖ Itís only a short way (but very far).

PAUL: (To himself) I wonder what significance should be attached to that remark. Could he be deep? (Out loud to the POPPY TENDER) Thank you sir, Iím much obliged.

POPPY TENDER: Here, take these poppies with you in your basket (what basket?) for itís a long way (but very near) to the Magic City and you will be hungry.

PAUL: (Already staring up the road) No thanks. I havenít the time to stop now. I want to get to Magic City before the night falls. (He walks a few paces then pauses)Ö Well, maybe Iíll just take a few poppiesÖ

The POPPY TENDER laughs and his eyes twinkle and Paul realizes that the POPPY TENDER is none other than Bert Lahr and that Paul himself really is Freddy Bartholomew.

This LP contains twelve of the songs that I have written over the past two years. There are some here that I would not write today. I donít believe in them as I once did. I have included them because they played an important role in transition. It is discomforting, almost painful, to look back over something someone else created and realize that someone else was you. Iím not ashamed of where Iíve been and what Iíve thought. Itís just not me anymore. It is perfectly clear to me that the songs I write today will not be mine tomorrow. I donít regret the loss.

I am finishing these notes. They have prodded and driven me where I didnít want to go and reflected what I didnít want to see. One thing I know: I wonít reread them. "


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