Saturday, January 31, 2015

Coaxing the Kochs

Few realize that the Koch brothers, Charles and David, used to have a sister, Vera, who was killed in a tragic hostile takeover mishap in 1968, and with whom they actually funded The Beatles’ first visit to America, in February 1964. (For what Ed Sullivan was paying them, they’d have hardly been able to afford trainfare from Liverpool to London, let alone airfare to New York.) Paul McCartney, the group’s bass player and most gifted harmony singer, slyly saluted the siblings three years later, assigning the names by which The Fab Four knew them to the grandchildren on your knee in “When I’m 64.” Don’t believe me? Well, consider that when I was writing my own song “Ban theTourists[lyrics below] for Mistress Chloe in 2001, and asked her to suggest a quintessentially American name, one by which no self-respecting British male would ever allow himself to be called, she immediately exclaimed, “Chuck!”

Even fewer, probably, realize that the oft-denigrated brothers are actually very down-to-earth, and generous to a fault. Last week, as you probably know, they were trying to decide whether to allow the very photogenic Mitt Romney to aspire to the Republicans’ nomination for president in 2016. After failing to get from their in-house advisors an adequate sense of what the American electorate is thinking and feeling, they invited me and other lapsed music critics this past Tuesday evening to their unpretentious, down-earth offices in Wichita. As usual, they spared no expense, sending one of their private jets, piloted by no less than Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and the late Chuck Yeager. “Nothing’s too good for you, John,” Dave told me when I phoned him shortly after takeoff to tell him how touched I was.

But it got even better. None other than Pamela Anderson was my personal flight attendant, and Food Network star Guy Fieri was in the galley — though, having dined at his unspeakable Johnny Garlic in Santa Rosa, California, I was disinclined to allow him to cook for me. He was quite content to spend the flight trying to “hit” on Pam, who, as you might have imagined, is no longer a “10” at her age, and consequently no longer married to anyone as dashing and glamorous as Tommy Lee or Kid Rock.  Her most recent spouse, in fact, was the poker player and slimeball Rick Salomon (of 7 Nights in Paris sex-tape fame), of whom she would have spent half the flight showing me photos on her iPhone if, somewhere over Utah, I hadn’t said, “Pam, enough already! He’s cute. He’s adorable, even. But the Kochs are going to expect me to know my stuff, and I have a ton of Wikipedia entries to read!”

To make a long story short, I urged the brothers to put their incomparable wealth and influence behind Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin, explaining that the latter’s being second-billed would please evangelicals who, in accordance with Ephesians 5:22, believe that gals naturally subservient to menfolk. I pointed out that, by virtue of his Cuban ancestry and bold new ideas for America, Sen. Cruz would appeal to the Hispanics, who now constitute 81 percent of American voters. 

The late Lester Bangs surprised me by urging the brothers to back Gov. Rick Perry. “He’s much funnier,” he apparently pointed out through a Koch Industries staff medium. It was always Lester’s way to “push the envelope” in that way, even before his beatification.


He and I were bivouacked for the night in the Presidential Suite and Papal Suite, respectfully, at the Days Inn on East Kellogg Drive. (I told you that the Kochs go first class all the way!) We sipped cough syrup and chatted almost until dawn, and bewailed the current state of popular music.  

Ban the Tourists

Chuck and Mindy from Ohio seek Leicester Square. Dare I hope that once arrived they’re drenched my pigeons there? Let’s ban the tourists. Let’s slam our doors. Yes, let’s evict the Yank buggers from our shores. Let’s ban the tourists and then be free. Let’s put magnesium chloride in their tea.

“Now let me ask you something, pal. How much is that in real money?” they think it’s cute to ask. Haven’t they got Florida in which they’d sooner bask? Let’s ban the tourists. Let’s slam our doors and evict the Yank buggers from our shores. Let’s ban the tourists. Let’s seal their rooms and secretly pipe in noxious fumes.

They think our cuisine is woeful, not like that of France. “If you don’t like it, mate, then starve,” I think should be our stance. Let’s ban the tourists. Let’s slam our doors. Yes, let’s evict the Yank buggers from our shores. Let’s ban the tourists. Let’s starve ‘em out. Let’s flog ‘em sarnies at seven quid a shout.

Yanks on all the trains and buses! Yanks in every queue being so bloody warm and friendly. What can locals do? Let’s ban the tourists. Let’s slam our doors. Yes, let’s evict the Yank buggers from our shores. Let’s ban the tourists. Let’s slit their throats and ship their corpses en masse to John o’ Groats.

Sod them and their greasy dollars. Sod their naff delight at the changing of the bloody Guard. They’re such a blight. Let’s ban the tourists. Let’s slam our doors. Yes, let’s evict the Yank buggers from our shores. Let’s ban the tourists. Let’s mow them down outside St. Paul’s, in the Mall, and Camden Town.


(“Mindy, run! They’re armed!”)

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