Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Only Living Boy In New York

I would buy you some Art, a Picasso or Garfunkel." This is one of the suggestions made by Barenaked Ladies in their hit "If I Had A Million Dollars." That would be a good deal, since that would be a way to get Mister Garfunkel paid and maybe tamp down some of the bitterness and vitriol he feels lo these many years down the road for his partner Paul Simon. Former partner. Somewhat infrequent collaborator. Trusted friend. Or perhaps, to borrow from the current lingo: Frenemy.
For history's sake, it should be pointed out that it has been forty-four years since the sweet-singing folk duo, formerly known as Tom and Jerry, broke up. This was after a personal and professional relationship of more than eighteen years, having met as kids in Queens.
In the intervening decades, both men have stayed busy. Art has had a career in film that has spanned a great chunk of that time, as well as a solo recording career that has carried him through, including the opportunity to recently induct Cat Stevens into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Art is no stranger to the Hall, having been inducted himself back in 1990. Along with his partner, Paul Simon has been busy too. He was at that same celebration back in 1990, with his buddy Art. And he was back again eleven years later to be enshrined all by his lonesome. Paul has done some recording on his own as well. Not many more than Art, but let's just say that they were "more well-received" than those crafted by the guy who didn't play guitar. If this was your former business partner, wouldn't you feel a little jealous?

In a new interview, Artie calls his chum "an idiot" for breaking up the group at the height of its popularity. It makes a pretty tawdry Hollywood story. To hear Mister Garfunkel tell it: “I’d just got married and moved to Connecticut, and there was a nearby preparatory school and so I taught math there. It was a weird stage of my life, to leave Simon & Garfunkel at the height of our success and become a math teacher. I would talk them through a math problem and ask if anyone had any questions and they would say: 'What were the Beatles like?'” 
Broken up, Art. Just like you. Along the way, he has been thrown the occasional bone, like a concert in Central Park or maybe a cameo on one of the many Paul Simon-hosted Saturday Night Lives. For a guy who stands just five feet three inches tall, he has cast quite a shadow. Bitter? Angry? Frustrated? All of the above. But when asked about another Simon and Garfunkel reunion tour?  “Will I do another tour with Paul? Well, that’s quite do-able. When we get together with his guitar, it's a delight to both of our ears. A little bubble comes over us and it seems effortless. We blend. So as far as this half is concerned, I would say, 'Why not, while we're still alive?'" And now, for the rest of the day, I give you this challenge: Try not to think about Art Garfunkel sitting in his living room, staring at the phone, waiting for it to ring. 

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