‘SUMMERTIME AND THE LIVING IS…reasonably good were it not for those infernal wasps’ as DUBOSE HEYWARD SUFFERS FROM LYRICISTS BLOCK!

summertime
December 1933; 1019 North Roxbury Drive, Los Angeles: George Gershwin is at home piecing together songs for his forthcoming opera Porgy and Bess. Things have gone blindingly well particularly so with most of the melodies done and dusted. In his company is his mate, novelist and poet DuBose Heyward who is trying to write a lyric for George for the song ‘Summertime’ – a song that, in the fullness of time will become a worldwide classic…not that either George or DuBose know that just yet! You see DuBose is completely bolloxed as to how to conclude the crucial first line to the very first verse cursed as he is with lyricists block!

“I say Georgie boy I realize that for this number…you know the one you have entitled ‘Summertime’ where you are attempting to create your own spiritual in the style of the African American folk music is a key element of the show and already I find myself enthused with your sublime melody yet have to admit that, try as I may, I just can’t get the first line finished off. It is thus that I’m feeling a tad snookered!”

“Basically Duberry old horse you’re saying you are up shit creek without a paddle on the words front?”
“That’s about the strength of it.”

“Maybe I can help then…I can turn my hand to anything me! What have you got so far?”

“Well you may as well try this out for size…I have, ‘Summertime and the living is….’ Is what? Bastard what? I simply can’t think what!”

“Best I put my deliberation titfer on then…um…ah…no…um…right try this one out. ‘Summertime and the living is…a pain if the ants take it upon themselves to run amok over the lemon drizzle cake when out picnicking’. There that should do it…I mean the African Americans like nothing better than a bit of cake for tiffin out in the open air.”

“George, George, Georgie boy I’m afraid you really are no lyric writer! That is way too long and what have ‘ants’ got to do with the price of eggs.”

“Suit your bloody self then.”

“No don’t get me wrong I’m just getting frustrated that’s all.”

“Right then one more stab…um…I’m beginning to get your drift for this is not as easy as I thought it would be…got it…‘Summertime and the living is…reasonably good were it not for those infernal wasps’. Nice one don’t you think?”

“Ants and now wasps! I honestly don’t think the insect theme sits comfortably with the scene we are trying to reflect with this piece. What a to-do…I believe it’s back to the drawing board…bollocks.”

“Duberry for a man of your undoubted talent this should be easy…so easy, so very, very easy that you could easily and with easiness finish this lyric with ease.”

“Look Georgie boy I’m trying to knock one out here…”

“Pardon me!”

“You don’t get my drift…I’m trying to knock out a lyric here and all this talk of ‘easy’ is doing my head in…best I lock myself in the basement and knock one out there.”

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36 thoughts on “‘SUMMERTIME AND THE LIVING IS…reasonably good were it not for those infernal wasps’ as DUBOSE HEYWARD SUFFERS FROM LYRICISTS BLOCK!

      • It does the opposite for me. Makes me sleepy. So, two a week only for me. And only ones made by hubby. Rest of the days are tea – caffeine free.

      • How can caffeine keep you awake? I was allergic to it for years, especially so when the diabetes kicked in 12 years ago – so bad it kept me going to the loo 20-25 times a day for the best part of 12 months. Now I can enjoy, albeit in small doses France always beckons. I must admit I avoid like the plague those awful Starbucks type place where the smallest cup is a bucket size and the coffee bean is tasteless!

      • Never been a fan of Starbucks. I don’t need caffeine to keep me awake. Hubbs says that I’m like a spring in the morning! I told him my hair’s like springs in the morning!!!

      • Only drink it black as it happens. The bladder can be a bit odd when the diabetes kicks in and it was the caffeine that was my problem. When the quack said give it up I was back to normal in 48 hours!

  1. Rumor has it that cheap rent, watered down gin, acid reflux and a nasty spat with Kay Swift tilted the last line toward, “and the living is sleazy” but Kay, interpreting this as a personal affront, penned in her nickname “easy”.

    • Cheers – however I must remember not to run with this template too much longer…a thing I’m prone to do such was the demise of my favourite Jonny Catapult who sadly I worked to death!

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