JONES” was Jon’s choice of a theme for the JVG Radio Method this week, it seems to continue the recent obsession with names… that and the fact that Spencer P Jones was the guest this week.

Click to hear today’s poem…

Jon and I chatted about stadium-sized “real” country shows. I went to see the Brooks and Dunn show during the week at Rod Laver Arena. Truly an experience.

This week Ed Bates has returned for slide guitar duties in the background.


“What a terrible cruelty to inflict on a child, and the babe not yet one day old”
“He’ll carry this curse for the rest of his life”, his grandfather foretold
“It’s tantamount to child abuse” Aunt Eunice was making no bones
Fancy calling the helpless mite Steinway Liberace Von Jones”

“They’re intelligent people”, grandad retorted “what on earth got into their heads
May as well tattoo a bullseye on his forehead, kids will tear him to shreds
What in blazers is wrong with the good old names, it really beggars belief
Strong boy’s names like Ed and Dan, John, Ian and Keith”

“His mother always wanted to learn piano, but I could barely keep us all fed
Had I known this would happen I’d have sold up the house and bought her a Steinway instead
Still, be thankful it wasn’t the violin or his future would be far more precarious
Imagine turning up for your first day at school with a first name like Stradivarius”

“A name that stands out is all very well but is it really for them or for you?
Being the one to stand out from the crowd is the last thing most kids want to do”

“That’s the trouble with bloody parents these days, too many expectations
The poor little blighters have to carry the can for their parent’s bloody aspirations”
“Remember your blood pressure” Aunt Eunice begged, but grandad was madder than hell
“Imagine the crap I’m going to cop from the blokes at the RSL”

“Might as well put the boy in a dress” Aunt Valda bemoaned close to tears
Uncle Reg cleared his throat but offered no comment; he’d been cross dressing for years
But Steinway it was and nothing would change it and they had to get used to the fact
Life wasn’t easy, but Steinway muddled through and entered his teens still in tact

His parents embraced the delusion that your life can be shaped by your moniker
Would Hitler have been any less of a monster, if they’d named him not Adolph but Veronica?
If John Howard had been brought up as “Bozo”, would he have been any greater a clown?
And what if George W. had a name of his own and not his old man’s hand me down?

Predictably Steinway detested piano with a passion plumbed from his soul
Elton John’s photo pinned to his dartboard, on the toilet seat, Billy Joel
Neither the ear nor desire to play music, Steinway persevered to keep peace
After five years of lessons he could sort of play chopsticks and the first bar of Fur Elise

At sixteen he left school and moved out of home to the bohemian district of town
He discovered he had quite a talent for painting, a reputation of quite some renown
“Realist or abstract?” the critics enquired, “Landscapes, urban or rural?”
Steinway replied with a nonchalant glance, “I dabble in frescos and murals”

Such a vague description only wetted their interest, as mystery often arouses
If only they knew the extent of his work, Steinway made his living painting houses

Finally, the day he turned eighteen and could legally change his name
After eighteen years of taunts and fights, jokes and smirks and shame
At last his chance to be free of the weight and be normal like all of his friends
He walked up the steps of the government building knowing this is where the nightmare ends

He stood at the counter, pen at the ready, dripping sweat, both hands shaking
A decision affecting the rest of his life, this was history in the making
He took a deep breath and carefully printed the name from hence he’d be known
Rembrandt Michelangelo Goya Picasso Van Gough Leonardo de Jones

Steinway, I mean Rembrandt wore a satisfied smile, he’d waited years to pay his folks back
A ridiculous name, but who gave a stuff, he was well used to taking the flack

Business went crazy, he trebled his rates, what customers found most appealing
They could say in all truth Rembrandt painted their wall and Michelangelo painted their ceiling
Picasso the bedroom, hallway and den, Van Gough the kitchen and foyer
De Vinci the eaves, windows and spouting, the toilet was classical Goya

One sweep of the pen Steinway’s life was transformed, yet in so many ways stayed the same
Is it the chicken? or is it the egg?, Tell me, what’s in a name?

© Copyright 2008 Ian Bland

2 comments on “Bland On Bland – Jones

  • I thought the poem and indeed the show based on the Jones’ was fantastic and funny, but I would love to get the “Me and Mrs Jones” version that was played on that show. I think by Bobbi Brown?
    It would be greatly appreciated.

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