It's been several months since I wrote the essays which make up this book, and I now realize that I have left several things unsaid — most of them personal in nature — and that I should provide you with some additional information, however painful it may be for me to do so, in order that the story be complete. I also have a few routine author's confessions to make. For example, that some of the characters in this book aren't real, but a product of my imagination instead. First things, first, however.
Nancy and Bennie are sweethearts. They eat good food, get lots of fresh air, and don't talk much about rock 'n' roll at all. They live with my children in a teepee in Truro, Massachusetts. I'm told that Abby and David can each tell you whenever a record by the Rolling Stones comes on the radio, which is pretty often, these days. You can imagine that this is a source of great joy for me.
There. With that revelation out of the way, let me confess further, as I must. that Bennie is a real person, and not just a "literary fiction," as I've claimed from time to time.
Obviously, I can't first claim that I thought Bennie up, and now complain that he just ran off with my best girl.
He's real all right. Ever since he heard I was writing a book, he's been all over me like flypaper. "Do you really mean to say this, Gil? Are you sure this is the best way to remember things, Gil? Are you really positive Mick said that, Gil?" Stuff like that all day long. Adding insult to injury, and confusing me so at times that I can't remember what did happen, and what didn't. It's those eyes of his. When Bennie looks at you, straight in the eye, he's right. Like Charles Manson, if you know what I mean. I worry about my kids. About Nancy, too, for that matter.
I suppose I should go back and re-write the Introduction, where I say that Bennie's not real, and set things straight for the reader, from the start. I know I won't though. There have been times during the last few months when I wished strongly that Bennie weren't real. And, as an author, I have come to positively enjoy depicting him as fictitious. So, I'll indulge myself, and not change anything — either in the Introduction or anywhere else, for that matter. Bennie's as real as you want him to be.
O.K. That's enough soap opera for one book. Let's now pass on to several additional confessions, some of these less stunning, perhaps, but still of interest to those of you who like to keep straight on what's fact, and what's fiction.
Here they come.
Not all of the characters in this book are real people. I'm not talking just about Bennie, either. Some of the other characters aren't real. So let me try to tell you which are which. This is for all you archivists out there, notably Bill Wyman. First of all, and most importantly, all the members of the band are real people. You're real, Bill; don't worry. So are the members of their entourage, their girlfriends, their business acquaintances, and so forth.
I am a real person, and so are all the other staff members at Long View Farm.
After that, it gets a bit fuzzy. For a start, I figured it would simply be a lot easier on us all if I changed a few names, which I've done in many places. Wait, and I'll tell you where.
Also, I've compressed several people into one a few times — slapping phony names on the resulting amalgams. I call these imaginary characters "angels." My angels are not real people — please understand that — although they're made out of the same stuff real people are made of — easily identifiable personality traits, I mean. I suppose that's why I don't feel at all guilty about passing off my angels as real people. They carry information to you, the reader, in an efficient and entertaining manner. Just as the angels in the Bible do. So, here's who they are — the people with changed names, and my angels. The only thing I won't always do is tell you which are which. Let me rephrase that. What I really mean to say is that Ican't always tell you which are which. It's been a while that I've been writing this book, and some of my "angels" now seem more "real" to me than the people whose names I've changed. Also, Bennie's got me all mixed up.
Let's start with him. Bennie Strange. He's my alter-ego — an amalgam of those of my friends who have had the courage and the good sense to be critical of me. No one's perfect. As such, Bennie is an "angel." Incidentally, he was the "person in the black jacket" the police descended on that night, outside of Sir Morgan's Cove.
Next, (and now you're going to have to decide for yourselves whether it's a real person with a changed name or an "angel,") you have Rory McPherson, my fair-weather friend in New York City; Mike's cousin Marty, who leaked the news to the politicos in Boston; Stan Freeberg, who had all the "free" recording equipment for me; Carolyn, the groupie from Area Code 313: my friend Mark, the reporter who suddenly wanted to do a "profile" of me for the weekend edition of the paper, and his somewhat skeptical editor, Larry O'Neil; most of the people behind the Rock Wall, but not the fat kid, who was depressingly real; my long-lost fraternity brother, Todd Richards, and his compromising, cuckolding wife, Rachele; Tony Rio, the Mafia club owner, and his quisling sidekick, Ron; Rick Present, the ambitious young club owner from Bangor, and Laurie, my old girlfriend; Abe Brenner and Mark, Keith's two friends; O'Rourke and O'Leary, the Worcester cops; Goldie, the one club owner who had no use for the Rolling Stones; and finally, Dan Silverman, the persistent reporter from the Boston Globe who thought that the Rolling Stones were gods. Everybody else is real, appearing under their real names.
"And what about the events and occurrences described in this book?" you might ask. Are they real, or are we dealing with "amalgam" events, too, in addition to amalgam people, or angels? Good question, and the answer to it is "Yes, the latter." I have from time to time taken mild liberties with the sequence of events, with the question of who was where, when, and so forth. None of these "editorial changes" is consequential, however, and you may safely forget I ever told you about them.
Also, my "angels" all animate events and occurrences which are quintessentially plausible in the light of what I saw, and was given to know about things, but which are not real events and occurrences, since my "angels" are fictitious.
Don't worry. I did a good job. If an event described in this book didn't actually happen, something very much like it did happen, or could have happened.
I've always found that particular distinction — between plausible events and real events — to be a bore anyway.
And so I generally show it no great respect..
All original material copyright © Gilbert Scott Markle. All rights reserved.