Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Stephen Sondheim on listing to starboard

with one comment

It would be nice to claim that the clinky xylophone-like accompaniment of “Little Things” is meant to reflect the brittle hollowness of Joanne and her fellow sophisticates, but in fact it’s the result of where I wrote it: on the Queen Mary during my one transatlantic boat trip. I was en route to deliver the first few songs to Hal Prince, who was shooting a movie in Bavaria, and since ocean liners, like the plays and musicals I had grown up with, were on the way out, I decided to travel in the old glamorous fashion. The purser arranged for me to have a small salon room, complete with piano, so that I could work while I traveled, assuaging my guilt over such luxurious time-wasting. But the ship kept listing to starboard and I unwittingly kept sliding toward it on the piano bench, resulting in a preponderance of treble plinks. Thus is insightful art produced.

Stephen Sondheim, Finishing the Hat

Written by nevalalee

May 28, 2011 at 8:36 am

One Response

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  1. luxurious time-wasting

    Yes, sometime in the future people will refer back to reading way back in time as an odd habit and “imagine how slow those people were”…


    May 28, 2011 at 9:46 am

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