Letterpress List No. 19: Broad Strokes

They say certain colors can make a room’s occupants more serene (green) or alert and happy (yellow) or might — if not carefully balanced — really stir the blood (duh … red).

Well, Duke was provoked anyway.

He didn’t like the color. Nope. Uh-uh. No way. After eyeballing his handiwork, Duke Bozman, a local painter, just about begged Mary to let him fix it. He said — in a mesmerizing drawl that’s about equal parts Eastern Shore of Maryland, old Baltimore and Appalachia, making “Mary” sound like “Murrah” (all right, I’m told my people in Rhode Island have, ahem, accent issues as well) — that he’d paint over the awful mess for free. Mary calmly and happily declined. The paint maker calls it Beacon Hill Damask, a mix of green and yellow that Mary simply calls heaven.

“But Mary,” Duke pleaded again. Finally he shrugged, turned up Rush Limbaugh on his boom box, harrumphed and started on the trim. (White Dove, FYI.)

Now, Shop Boy knows the picture that’s probably forming in your head. It certainly was the picture that Mary got when she “met” Duke by telephone. He came very highly recommended. So, one day, expecting a gnarled, crotchety old dude in paint-splattered overalls carrying a spit cup, she opened the door to …

Mick Jagger.

Swear to god.

A Rolling Stone was here to paint Mary’s home office.

Really.

On second look, Duke’s more Ron Wood than Mick Jagger. Let’s paint the picture: Dark hair past his shoulders. Handsome, weathered face. Sweatshirt with the sleeves torn off and the front ripped nearly to the navel. (Over a T-shirt in the same condition. What are the odds?) Indian chief in full headdress tattooed on his perpetually bared upper arm. Washington Redskins cap. Backwards, natch. Tight, tight jeans. Mary was impressed, anyway. Except for that one day when he showed up in the work boots and Daisy Dukes and … OK, paintbrushes down. This is a family blog.

And Rush aside, Duke’s a right thoughtful guy. His discussion with Shop Boy one day about the media, once we got past our initial positions — “Why’re y’all so liberal?” vs. Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot — was a lesson in detente.

He’s even survived Mary’s, um, disappointment when she returned one day to find Duke removing primer — he’d accidentally applied the wrong type — with gasoline! The whole house could have blown up. That is so old school rock-and-roll.

In fact, by now, Duke’s painted half our home and half our printshop.

Still, it wasn’t a big surprise that we decided not to hire Duke for our latest paint job. Mary had chosen to revisit Beacon Hill Damask for the part of Typecast Press’ studio with the big presses. We’ll need a little calm attentiveness in a room full of these monsters and a hydraulic — gulp — guillotine paper cutter. Our new favorite Rolling Stone still wouldn’t like the color.

Not a lick.

***

Letterpress List No. 19

Has it been a week already? Shop Boy’s getting lazy. Let’s get this blog back on the road already. You know how it goes. Here’s about an hour’s worth of music to paint by. Sleeves optional, but turn off that Limbaugh! Most songs should be available in the usual places.

Mellow Yellow Donovan (Quite rightly.)
LimelightRush (It’s hard on a rock star.)
Every Picture Tells a Storythe Faces (Ron Wood’s former group. The lead singer would also become kinda famous.)
Paint It Blackthe Rolling Stones (She’s gone. Him, too.)
Sir DukeStevie Wonder (“A language we all understand.” With Japanese subtitles. And in karaoke!)
Red Red RedFiona Apple (“I don’t understand. I’ll never understand. But I’ll try to understand.” Fair’s fair.)
White RoomCream (Left at the station.)
Cult of PersonalityLiving Colour (“The smiling face on your TV.” Hmm.)
Mr. Blue SkyELO (Fluff. But Shop Boy’s always liked fluff.)
Purple HazeJimi Hendrix (Non-fluff, for real. A question, though. Was Jimi’s drummer old enough to take LSD? Shoulda checked his ID.)
Sister Golden HairAmerica (Thinking of you, even though I don’t call or write.)
She’s a Rainbowthe Rolling Stones (No lady fairer.)
Theme from The Dukes of HazzardWaylon Jennings (Lightning in a bottle and a pair of short-shorts.)
Bound and GaggedTed Nugent (Gunboat diplomacy.)
American IdiotGreen Day (Dissenting viewpoint.)
Indian ReservationPaul Revere and the Raiders (Just goofing on the tat and the hat, sorry.)

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