So, it’s a party of five who have just come across a large, magical, locked door.
Troll: I move to kick the door.
Gargoyle, carrying a shotgun-banjo (don’t ask): Wait. I push him aside and walk up to the door.
DM (Me): Okay…
Gargoyle: I play my banjo to persuade the door to open
*rolls a nat20*
Entire party proceeds to die from laughter as I bury my head in my hands.
DM: As you play your tune *points to him*
Gargoyle: *shrieking, playing the ukulele he is currently holding* Sesame Open!
DM: …. The door swings open.
Okay okay so imagine this. If you could listen to a symphony or serenade or quartet or overture or any classical piece being performed by banjos and ONLY banjos (percussionists play spoons and washboards), what would you choose to listen to?
I WAS OBVIOUSLY THINKING ABOUT VERY IMPORTANT THINGS, LIKE WHY GENOS DOESN’T HAVE/USE FINGER GUNS HE COULD JUST SHOOT ENEMIES DISCRETELY BY POINTING. Something I of course wondered after I watched my favorite video again.
I was feeling badly about not having done anything for @fiddleford-appreciation-month, so here, have a fairly obligatory Fidds playing his banjo. Let the record show that i legitimately like banjo music! (Sorry, Ford.)
So the story behind the shirt is that I wanted to do something special and extremely 70s, so this is based exactly on my favorite of John Denver’s shirts (worn in concert and thus on several posters.) And I do not say that lightly, because while I am pretty fond of 70s fashion, and while I love John Denver unironically, I can admit that most of his wardrobe was kind of a disaster. But this shirt is awesome, fight me.
heya, i know this'll be a load of hassle for you and i completely understand if you don't want to but could you explain the whole mclennon thing a bit more for me? i know they were obviously very close but i'm kinda new to it all so i'm still a bit clueless about things.
Once upon a time, in a land called Liverpool, lived 2 young boys named John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
was a witty, funny guy, who didn’t like school and preferred to wander
the streets with his school mates and play banjo. Paul was a smart guy
who had really good grades at school and occasionally played piano with
his father at home. Since his mother’s death, Paul became obsessed with
music, exchanging the trumphet his father gave him for his birthday for a
guitar. He really knew how to play it, and sometimes he showed his
music skills to his friends at school. One of them, Ivan, saw his talent
and thought it was a good idea to make him know another friend who was
into music as well: John. They met on a hot, humid day in 1957 in a
church hall, and it was love at first sight.
John how to play the guitar, how to tune it, John thought Paul how to
skip school and write songs together in his house when Jim was at work.
For his birthday John got some money and he decided to spend it in Paris
with Paul. They stayed one week, visiting the city, frequenting art
cafés pretending to be artists, planning their future, and sleeping in
one bed in an old motel. They loved to be alone just the two of them,
and sometimes they felt reality and the pressure of their family too
suffocating. ‘Playing the guitar is all very well, John, but you’ll never make a living at it.’
said Mimi. “You have to find a steady job.” said Jim. When they wrote ‘Oh Johnny Johnny!’
, one of the very first songs of them, they expressed their hopes and
dreams to go away, cause Paul’s father and Mimi were too oppressive and
they wanted to leave Liverpool and live happily just the two of them.
fame arrived, they became closer than before. They wrote songs eyeball
to eyeball in Jane Asher’s house, and while they pretended to adress
those songs to their supposed girlfriends, they were nothing but love
letters they sent each other. If I fell, a song they recorded while holding hands or Here there and everywhere, a song Paul wrote at John’s house while waiting for him to wake up. And Nowhere man,
You’ve got to hide your love away...the list is too long to
mention them all. They were the most important person in each other’s
lives, and the songs they wrote were the proof. “John’s princess”: that’s how the people who worked at Abbey Road called Paul. Maybe they were joking, or maybe they listened to some weird kisses noiseswhile they were busy recording ’Think for Yourself’.
When the Beatles made a Shakespeare sketch on tv, Paul played Pyramus
while John played Thisbe. After that, they both bought 2 cats naming
them Pyramus and Thisbe: John gave Thisbe to Paul, and Paul gave Pyramus
While the Beatlesmania hit the world and the
Beatles too, John’s main problem was try to find someone who could keep
his feet on the ground (Help!): a crying need for help only Paul could solve. They even had a secret code they used in public to talk to each other, the ‘spider hand thing’. In
Florida they ended up crying together one night confessing how much
they loved each other. Cause they knew it, but they never had the
courage to say it, and in that moment, in which the whole world seemed
to love and want the Beatles more than anything else, what they really
needed were just each other. When the ‘bigger than jesus’ issue
emerged, John was on the verge of quitting. Before the interviews he
cried, he couldn’t stand one more question about it without feeing
guilty. And it was always Paul who helped him, talking for him,
reassuring him, telling him it would pass.
The fame was too much
and they decided to quit touring and spend some time alone. The Sgt.
Pepper era arrived: John and Paul lived a couple of miles away from each
other, they all bought new houses, had an indepent life, but they
always spent time together and not just to write songs. In that period
they were more closer than ever. One night they were in the studio and
John took too much LSD and he went to the roof, scaring the rest of the
band. Paul took him home, and for the first time he took LSD too, cause
he wanted to be with John, always. In misery and in fear. And they had
this incredible, fantastic trip together, looking in each other eyes for
hours, and Paul helping John to not get hurt.
Their relationship was at its peak. When Brian died, everyone was
shocked. The first thing John did after he heard the news was looking
for Paul, when they met they hugged tightly. They felt lost, but they
still had each other. They went to India, thanks to George who
introduced them to the Maharishi, a ‘guru’ John saw as someone who
could give him the right answers. But it didn’t happen, it turned out
that the Maharishi took advantage of the girls in India, and John and
Paul, who went there to try find the meaning of life, ended up
discussing about each other and their relationship. Friends? No, we’re
more. Boyfriends? Absolutely not. How dare you, we are the Beatles! We
are in the 60s, a homophobic society who would bury us alive if we’d
admit we feel something for each other. Suddenly, the person who
mattered the most for John took a step back, cause John exposed him.
Because they never really talked about what they were for each other,
and for a long time it was convenient for Paul, who could play and joke
with it as much as he wanted. But John never took it as a joke, as
something futile. It was important for him, and he suddenly felt
When they went to New York for the Apple press
conference, in the car that took them to the airport Paul brought a
woman he had met: Linda Eastman. John felt annoyed and bothered enough
to step in Abbey Road a week later with a new fiancé: Yoko Ono, the
woman who soon started to replace John, talking for him, taking
decisions for him, and keeping her eveywhere, even when Paul asked to
write songs together. Paul couldn’t talk to John anymore. John always
needed to be reassured, he constantly needed someone by his side who
could stay with him 100%, and this time the partner wasn’t Paul anymore.
And he literally started using her against Paul. “I don’t want to hold your hand anymore” he
told Paul right after a session at Abbey Road. Paul was devasted, he
left Abbey road crying while Mal brought him home. He wrote Oh!Darling,Let it be, The long and winding road, the whole album was filled with tragic love songs. But why? He was engaged with Linda! He loved her. Who he really wastalking about? During a Let it be session, they confessed each other that all those tragic love songs made them look like they were lovers.
They married their partners both in May, first Paul, then a week later John. They split up, you would say, this is the end. Well it’s not, they never really quitted. Because they spent 5 years, from 1970 to 1975 writing songs to each other: ‘How do you sleep’ ‘Dear Friend’ ‘Too many people’,’Jealous guy’,in which John admitted that he got mad at Paul in the late 60s cause he was jealous.
separated from Yoko in 1975. He met May Pang, and from that moment he
started calling Paul again, dreaming to meet him again. He asked
everyone if it was a good move to do. He asked May Pang, who said “Yes! of course! do it!” he asked to Paul Simon who replied “Come back to Paul!”. They
met in Los Angeles on a weekend. John was playing when Paul
unexpectedly stopped by. When they met the room hushed. They looked at
each other and started off tentatively, with a handshake and an inside
joke: “Valiant Paul McCartney, I presume?” Lennon said, referencing the Shakespeare sketch they did. McCartney immediately responded: “Sir Jasper
Lennon, I presume?”.
They played together and it was like
coming back to the old times. John felt an excitement he hadn’t felt
for years. He was ready, he wanted to come back to him, to England, to
Julian. But Yoko came back, and all the hopes and dreams suddenly fell
away. In 1976 Paul was in New York and they saw each other again, he
didn’t know that was the last time he ever saw John. In 1980 John felt
depressed, cause Yoko was leaving him for another man, and he didn’t
feel creative enough to write songs anymore. He wrote a desperate ‘Just like starting over’
on the tune of the old 50s song he played with Paul, asking him to come
back together. Paul was ready, John too. Destiny maybe not. John died,
and left Paul full of regrets and words never said to him that he
transformed into songs: ‘Here today’, ‘The lovers that never were’ ‘My brave face‘, just to mention some of them.
is dead, Mclennon is over? Nope. Cause Paul will not just keep writing
songs about John and their beautifully tragic love story, but he even
got a song from John, from the afterlife. I’m not kidding. In 1981, Paul
worked on his tribute album to John Lennon
called Tug of War. One song in this album is Get It, to which he invited
Carl Perkins. Carl loved the experience and the following morning he
wrote My Old Friend for Paul in appreciation. In fact, he recounted to
Paul that usually when he writes he needs a pen and a sheet of paper to
record his thoughts on, but this time the words just stuck with him. He
then played the song to Paul. And Paul, upon hearing the song, went out
of the room crying. Linda who was left with Carl explained that Carl’s
words hit Paul hard because John’s last words to Paul when they last met
before he was shot down were, “”Think about me every now and then, old
friend”, words, which Carl unknowingly put into this song. In an interview Carl Perkins said: “Paul
was crying, tears were rolling down his pretty cheeks, and Linda said,
‘Carl, thank you so much.’ I said, ‘Linda, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to
make you cry.’ She said, ‘But he’s crying, and he needed to. He hasn’t
been able to really break down since that happened to John.’ And she put
her arm around me and said, ‘But how did you know?’ I said, ‘Know
what?’ She said, ‘There’s two people in the world that know what John
Lennon said to Paul, the last thing he said to him. But now there’s
three, and one of them’s you, you know it.’ I said, ‘Girl, you’re
freaking me out! I don’t know what you’re talking about!’ She said that
the last words that John Lennon said to Paul in the hallway of the
Dakota building were, he patted him on the shoulder and said, ‘Think
about me every now and then, old friend.’‘McCartney really feels that
Lennon sent me that song, he really does.’”
to Paul revealed that he talks about John in the present tense, and
sometimes he admits that when he is writing a song but can’t finish it,
he asks John for help, feeling him by his side and always being able to
correct it and finish it.
This is the story of two men who loved each other so deeply that they wrote the greatest songs of music history about it.
So back when I was doing this piece, I was trying to decide on which John Denver shirt to draw banjo-playing Fidds wearing. It was a close thing. So here, a version of the shirt that I almost did instead, from the cover of the Spirit album (1976; but clearly a reference to the earlier song “Sunshine on My Shoulders”).
So like, I know that a lot of people draw post-finale older Fidds in cute sweater-vests and bow ties and stuff, or Mabel sweaters, and don’t get me wrong, he looks adorable like that. But what if he just goes right back to his hippie roots? I thought. He could pull it off.
It’s always hot, it’s always humid, and it’s always summer. You find yourself asking whether seasons exist. After all, without darkness there can be no light; without winter, can there truly be summer? The answer is yes, and summer will never end.
You drive between rural towns, hoping that you never have to stop until you reach your destination. You pass a sign that welcomes you to Hastings, where Jesus loves you and where GOD is still GOD and SIN is still SIN. You think you can hear banjos playing in the distance.
You’re on I-4. You’ve always been on I-4, and you’re pretty sure you’ll never reach an exit. You’ve passed theme parks about mice, whales, and 1st Century Jerusalem; you can’t help but wonder what it would be like to live somewhere in 21st Century America, but you know that’s impossible.
You’re driving north, but you’re heading further into the South; compasses are useless here. Maps only lead you deeper into the swamp, where only gators get out alive. You wish your friends would stop repeating that phrase. What do they know about the swamp that you don’t?
You’ve never met anybody who thinks people should move to Florida, and you’ve always warned people not to, but you’re always meeting someone who’s just moved there. Do they not know? Do they not care? You’re incapable of comprehension, and honestly you prefer it that way. Insanity should not be understandable.
You’re dreaming of a white Christmas, and you’re granted one. It’s too hot for snow, and instead you have rednecks. It’s the holidays, and you’re forced to spend time with too many white people who think reverse racism is real. White Christmas is a nightmare, but you can’t wake up; the rednecks were here before you, and they’ll be here after you’re gone.
You’re going to the beach today. You went to the beach yesterday. You’re going to the beach tomorrow. Every day, you come home to find sand where you’re sure it couldn’t be… but it is. The sand travels everywhere. It’s only a matter of time until it spreads to the rest of the country, but for now, you hope it’s content here.
It’s Saturday and everyone is at the football game. Everyone. The streets are deserted. Has time stopped? You can’t tell.
The Baptists refuse to recognize anything. They do not recognize the government; it’s too big. They do not recognize other religions; they are evil. They do not recognize each other in the liquor store, but that’s just a matter of courtesy. Not recognizing things is how you survive here. Do not recognize things.
SHEFF: Paul had more musical training than you did, right?
JOHN: Yeah, his father was a jazz musician. When I met him he could play guitar, trumpet, and piano. Doesn’t mean to say he has a greater talent, but his musical education was better. I could only play the mouth organ and two chords on a guitar when we met. I tuned the guitar like a banjo. I’d learned guitar from my mother, who only knew how to play banjo, so my guitar only had five strings on it. Paul taught me how to play the guitar proper—but I had to learn the chords left-handed, because Paul is left-handed. So I learned them upside down and I’d go home and reverse them. I can still play upside down, with the high strings on top. That’s what I was doing the day we met—playing on stage with a group, playing a five-string guitar like a banjo, when he was brought around from the audience to meet me. In the Hunter Davies biography of the Beatles, there’s a photo of the day we met. (Pause) You see, I told you I have a good memory.
SHEFF: But you didn’t compose your stuff separately, as other accounts have said?
JOHN: No, no, no. I said that, but I was lying. [Laughs.] By the time I said that, we were so sick of this idea of writing and singing together, especially me, that I started this thing about, “We never wrote together, we were never in the same room.” Which wasn’t true. We wrote a lot of stuff together, one-on-one, eyeball to eyeball. Like in “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, I remember when we got the chord that made the song. We were in Jane Asher’s house, downstairs in the cellar playing on the piano at the same time. And we had, “Oh you-u-u… got that something…” And Paul hits this chord and I turn to him and say, “That’s it!” I said, “Do that again!” In those days, we really used to absolutely write like that—both playing into each other’s nose. We spent hours and hours and hours… We wrote in the back of vans together. We wrote “She Loves You” in a van on the way to Newcastle. And “From Me To You”.
John Lennon, interview w/ David Sheff for Playboy. (September, 1980)