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Written for the late Paul "Hoopshank" Turrell 1969-2017


In 1998, Frank Sinatra died,
I wrote a song about it, I won’t lie,
In part, to have something to sing
When Katharine Hepburn, and others bit the dust,
I started to write what I thought I must
That obituary song became another one of my things

In the almost 20 years since that day
Wrote so many songs about people who passed away
Last year Bowie and Prince got me working overtime
a song about my grandma who died at 92
It was sad but she was old, what can you do
But what about the people who pass well before their prime

That leads me to Paul, nicknamed Hoopshank
Sometimes he sailed thru life, sometimes he almost sank
But he was always a friend, true and deep
He had more talent than the rest of us all combined
A firm grasp of every signature of time
You want a song in 13/4, he could play it in his sleep

We met in person in London in 2009
He even played guitar on a gig of mine
We started to skype and those talks were so freewheelin’
Some weeks we talked so very much
Some weeks we were sadly out of touch
But always back and picked up with that same feeling

He loved Laurel and Hardy, and Buster Keaton
early Genesis, he could really sink his teeth in
The things he loved he’d make you love them too
Got me to watch Breaking Bad, listen to Bill Evans
The Sopranos, and Godfather, to him were heaven
So many things I appreciate hoops, because of you

A sense of humor that was all his own
Could it be that Hoops’ Rosetta stone
Was that he never lost his childlike wonder
He could relay a dream like it was all too real
An outtake of Fellini with a Bergman feel
A mind movie that shook you just like thunder

And sometimes those dreams became musical
And with a whimsy quite Dr Seussical
They’d become songs unlike any you ever heard
Here at Fawm we looked forward to
Another Hoops creation, another song new
Looking for that avatar of the crazy patchwork bird

And now that bird no longer sings
No sound of drums, or keys, or strings
I keep thinking he’ll return sooner or later
That skype light stays yellow, does not turn green
I’m starting to realize just what that means
And tho hoops and I did not believe in any supreme being, and he felt particularly sure about this one, and could quote you Richard Dawson (EDIT- I meant Dawkins! oops!) quotes till the cows, or maybe I should say ducks, came home, if there was a God at the mixing boards, I know there isn’t but if there was some sort of supreme being, and indulge me here, (and remembering the last line to rhyme with was ‘later’) maybe it’s the end of the song and he just turned down the master faders…

Goodbye Hoops you crazy spirit
so many of us shed a tear it
feels so strange that you're gone
feels so strange that you're gone

(c) 2017 M. Skliar


from This is what democracy sounds like! (revised), released March 12, 2017



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