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I meant to make a laudatory post last week to the effect that, where other than The New Yorker might you find a smart, funny, informative article on a literary figure as obscure as Alfred Lord Dunsany

I took that test when we applied to adopt! Picture was from the 30's: any idiot could tell that you were supposed to translate the stallion and the shirtless man in the picture into something sexual.

Mitchell is right on this precise point, though: as a classical music fan, I find its use in classical venues to be an outrage.

About the third month of freshman year, I wrote in the school newspaper what I thought of as a fair review (but everyone else thought of as an unfair slam) of a rapturously received Billy Joel concert in the college gymnasium.


I immediately became notorious.


After that, I was offered an editorial position on the school newspaper, and got a coveted DJ slot on the radio station (as well as running the station's public access program). As a result of my capture of the school media, I maintained my status as perhaps the most famous person on campus until graduation. It was bizarre. During summers (when we were all back in New York), I could walk down random streets downtown, and people I didn't know would call out my name. Professors and TAs knew who I was when I took their courses. A college rock band that had a member who went on to become an icon of international alternative music wanted to ask me to be their lead singer -- but, because of my formidable reputation, were afraid I'd only make fun of them, and so didn't.


I will never experience that type of fame again.


In later life, I turned out to be a textbook example of the ill effects of peaking in your early 20s.

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I would never think of listening to Billy Joel. But it's a terrific article. The helicopters. The cigarillos. Cat fights with Elton John.


Those fights with Elton have been going on for a while, I believe.


Sneak is right, and I think it was pointed out well in the article - self-pity and self-importance are/were pretty high on his list.


The thing that disturbed me most in the article? Well, two things.


1. He had never heard of fucking Townes Van Zandt?


2. The part where he dated Elle McPherson before Christie Brinkley...ack ack ack!

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I would never think of listening to Billy Joel. But it's a terrific article. The helicopters. The cigarillos. Cat fights with Elton John.


yeah, but i thought joel didn't come off badly.



No, indeed. I thought Paumgarten really...embedded himself. :D

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He didn't know who fucking Townes Van Zandt was????????????????????


i doubt that. it's in a bit where the author mentions various singer-songwriters and contemporary groups to joel. though the language makes it easy to draw the more damning conclusion i think it's the case that joel doesn't know the work of the contemporary groups mentioned (radiohead, i think).

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don't you wish more people would come to this conclusion:


“I’m not crazy about going into a recording studio and doing that kind of life again,” he told me one day. “Or taking on another project where there’s other people involved—arrangers and orchestrators and conductors and producers. I don’t want to deal with it. It’s a megillah. You have to have a certain amount of ambition to want to do all that. And I look back at the guy who was the recording artist, this Billy Joel guy, and I think, Who the fuck was that guy? He was very ambitious, very driven, and I don’t feel like that anymore.”


Joel maintains that there’s discipline in it. “Over the years, Elton would say, ‘Why don’t you make more albums?’ And I’d say, ‘Why don’t you make less?’ ”

He went on, “Some people think it’s because I’m lazy or I’m just being contrary. But, no, I think it’s just—I’ve had my say. If I put out an album now, it would probably sell pretty well, because of who I am, but that’s no reason to do it. I’d want it to be good. And I’ve seen artists on that treadmill, putting out albums year after year, and the albums get worse and worse, less and less interesting, and it’s, like, maybe you should stop.”

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