Chapter 21- Mr. Jones Unmasked in Saint Augustine

Mr. Jones grew up in a small town so far north that he was almost a Canadian. There wasn’t much going on in his town so he listened to the radio all the time and pretended that he had been all the places that he heard about in the songs.  When he finally did leave home it was just to attend state college, where he found it easier to spread stories about himself than he had in the small town where everybody knew he was just a nerdy egghead who idolized Bobby Vee.  He quit school and ran away to New York City, where he made a little money playing the harmonica behind some of the blues and beatnik singers. Pretty soon he became a blues and beatnik singer himself, and was the first of his crowd to get a contract with a major recording label. His first record bombed, but a famous country western singer convinced the label to give him another chance. The second record was the greatest record every made by a folk singer and some of the songs on it, which he wrote himself, are still being sung around campfires today.  When he made his third record, he never imagined in his wildest dreams that when he was 71 years old, he would be singing its title song to the president of the United States. By the time his fourth record came out, he was dating the Queen of folk music and was therefore the King of folk music, just as Elvis was the King of rock and roll, but some of the fans of his first records didn’t like the fourth one as much because there were a lot of stupid love songs on it that sounded like the crap you heard on AM radio, except there was no backing band.  He was facing some of the same flak that Dr. Zhivago got when he wrote that book of love poems about Lara instead of topical tales to edify the common folk. But this kid was only concerned about expressing his own feelings, not singing newsy stories at political rallies. On his fifth record, he had a side one of flimsy songs with a band and a second side with the four greatest songs anyone had ever written. He went to England and filled the auditoriums with hero-worshipping eggheads like himself and they loved the shows although they had no idea what an asshole egotist he had become and how badly he was treating the Queen of folk music.  Lots of celebrities hung around him, including Alan Price, who quit playing organ for The Animals just to follow him around.  Although lots of big time folk singers had been  doing tons of his songs, he got really excited when the rock bands out in Los Angeles started recording them and getting into the top ten. He did a big concert and was introduced by big time deejay Murray the K, who got booed.  Then he went onstage and he got booed too, Not because of what he played but because he let himself be introduced by that greaseball Murray the K. His audience had become stupid and they laughed at almost every line in Desolation Row, thinking it was a comedy song like Motorpsycho Nightmare or Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream. A little later, he played the Newport Folk Festival, which is where his coronation had taken place in a previous year, a million miles away from where he was today. The crowd booed when he and his band left the stage after three songs, but loved him again when he came back to play two more by himself. Most of the people who joined his entourage were kooks and freaks and he was right in the middle of it all and everyone expected him to be the King Freak but he was just a scared little Jewish kid from a cold little town way up North by Canada and he knew something was happening but didn’t know what the hell it was.  So he went around hiding behind dark glasses and a sarcastic wit so that nobody would see who he really was, and when the excitement died down and he got a little time to himself, he would go through all of F Scott Fitzgerald’s books and jot down bits such as “‘Can’t repeat the past?’ he cried incredulously. ‘Why of course you can!'” 

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