In England many years ago I sat in on accordion with a ska band and hit it off immediately. They invited me to play with them later the same night at a squatted vicarage and felt like I joined the Specials. I hope one day to try my hand at piano interpretations of the Specials. Later at a huge housing complex, one of the musicians, showed me his right hand’s tattoo of D,Y,L,A,N – one letter each finger. He was once a big fan but no more and it pissed him off that he got this when he was young, especially because Dylan went Christian in ’79. The guy next to me in line tonight at FreshCo had an image on one forearm of a man I do not know. I imagined it was his father or some powerful important man from his past. On the other arm he had the Rolling Stones logo. It was large and in colour but considerably faded. Not Fade Away didn’t go through my mind until this moment.

I have three tattoos but they’re hidden. Three root canals, each crown a different image. One is a guitar, one is a piano and the third is the Warner Bros. logo backwards. It started innocently, they were choosing the tone of the enamel, not the dentist but the hygienist and two secretaries, all crowded around my mouth showing off their colour authority when I made a joke, I’ll take one in plaid, to which they said a waitress once asked for a martini glass to which I said could you put a guitar on it? They said Ralph would love that. Two weeks later when I returned for the crown they was pointing and whispering “that’s the guy”.

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