Such beautiful harmony; such a deep connection; such a long friendship. And such rampant, bitter bitchiness. Even Columbia Record’s very first official bio — January, 1966 — detailed the history of Simon and Garfunkel’s feuds. Fifty years later they’re back to not speaking to one another. Wha ‘appen?
Woke up in Greenville, SC yesterday and went out for a walk down the long and pretty Swamp Rabbit Trail, a riverside path they’ve made from an old railway. The weird part didn’t happen til I was nearly back to the hotel.
Greenville is an old but thriving mid-sized city full of cool old-style stuff (BBQ like you wouldn’t believe, pillared white buildings etc) and so it bustles and twangs like the new south of your dreams; the modern Peace Arts Center right alongside a re-purposed factory that looks over the Reedy river, and you can follow the river for quite some time on the path and this is what I was doing, just a little sweatily, of a sunny, early autumn morning, alongside the joggers and walkers, the cyclists and stroller-pushers. A fine moment to be alive. For most of us.
Near the stairs back up to the street this sandy-haired fellow, desert camo jacket, torn jeans, inky finger tattoos and a crooked grin on his face caught my eye. Hey man, he said. Could you do me a favor? I gave him that ‘….ohhh-kaaay….keep talking” look.
“Man, if I jump in the river could you hold me down?”
Did I hear him right? I’ve subjected myself to a lot of high-volume music over the decades and so a certain percentage of conversation goes over my smiling and nodding head. But this seemed like something I wanted to make sure I’d heard correctly. So excuse me, what?
“I was wonderin if I like jump into the river here–” he waved a hand. “–if I did that, could you just come in and hold me down under the water.”
Have you read Flannery O’Connor? I have, along with Faulkner, Peter Taylor, Tennessee Williams and half a hundred other gothic southern writers. I love that shit.
But I still wasn’t going to jump into the river to drown this man, no matter how sweetly he asked. I had, I told him as kindly as I could, somewhere I needed to be. He absorbed that for a second then laughed.
“Aww, I was just fuckin’ with ya!”
Job done, I guess. We shared an awkward smile and kept moving in opposite directions; one of us into the light, the other to somewhere a few shades darker. I’ll leave it to the angels to decide who’s going where.
Little known fact: Paul Simon played a significant role in the 1975 founding of Saturday Night Live. He’s been best friends with Lorne Michaels ever since and the musician’s sense of humor is part of the forty-two year-old show’s DNA. Who knew? This trailer for Homeward Bound, that’s who!
For a guy who barely ever writes explicitly about America, Paul Simon’s music says a lot about who we are, where we came from and where we’re going. Check out the latest Homeward Bound trailer!
More than you think, probably. And so check this out: another in a series of video trailers for “Outward Bound: The Life of Paul Simon.” Shot, directed and edited by Mikel Chase, these film-lets are chock full-o fun and little known info from the book!