I read Matt Ruff’s fantasy classic “Fool on the Hill” at a rather strange time in my life. I was living on the beach in South Africa, bartending sporadically, and generally enjoying the end of my twenties without much of a thought to the future. Shortly after finishing the book, I went to a trance party at a secluded fishing camp north of Durban. While I was about as geographically far away from upstate New York as it’s possible to be – and the warm beach was quite divorced from the icy gorges of Ithaca – I felt like I had stepped into a scene from the book. I always felt that the good-natured debauchery of the Bohemians would blend well with rave culture, and the three pills of MDMA that I took at the trance party somehow led my brain back into the story for a while while my body took care of itself. Much like the protagonist in the novel, I eventually found myself making out with a woman whose face I hadn’t even seen before our lips met. No rides on a silver horse, but it still ended up being a very interesting night.
This edition of Popdose Conceptual Theater is a bit different than our other ones because the song selection is limited to a single artist. Given the title of the book, I thought it fitting to look for the connections between the scenes in the story and the music of the Beatles. Given how many connections I found, it ended up being a lot longer than usual – it’s been broken into two parts. Enjoy!
— PART 1 —
“Fool on the Hill”
An introduction to Steven Titus George and his source of inspiration.
Zephyr and Puck take a tour of Cornell from above.
Malcolm entrusts Blackjack with a mission.
“Think for Yourself”
Walter Smith contemplates a more stimulating future for his daughter Aurora.
Calliope leaves a lover behind.
“Leave My Kitten Alone”
Blackjack rescues Luther and wreaks havoc amongst the Purebreds.
“Magical Mystery Tour”
The Bohemians return to Ithaca.
“Everybody’s Got Something to Hide (except for Me and My Monkey)”
Mr. Sunshine and his typewriter monkeys continue composing their story.
The pieces begin to assemble in Ithaca.
“Got to Get You Into My Life”
The storyteller encounters Calliope for the first time.
“She Came in Through the Bathroom Window”
Calliope pays the storyteller a visit in his home, wearing naught but a silver whistle.
“It’s All Too Much”
The entire town of Ithaca is suffused with love.
“The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill”
An introduction the brothers of Rho Alpha Tau.
Ragnarok’s troubled past.
“Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds”
Calliope exposes the storyteller to an adventure.
“Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite”
The denizens of Tolkien House throw a party.
“I Saw Her Standing There”
George encounters Aurora in the mist.
George uses his powers over the wind to save the day.
“For No One”
“Christmas Time is Here Again”
Semester break, and a corresponding break in the action.
— PART 2 —
Hobart survives an aerial assault from the Messenger.
“Strawberry Fields Forever”
Aurora and George in Wisconsin.
Rasferret the Grub emerges, and a parliament of vermin is convened.
“Devil in Her Heart”
The Rubbermaid comes to life.
“In My Life”
A farewell to Preacher.
“You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away”
Ragnarok continues to struggle with his emotions.
“Drive My Car”
Ragnarok and Jinsei are chased by a driverless truck.
“I’m Only Sleeping”
Aurora takes a bite of the poisoned apple.
“Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”
An unhinged Jack Baron uses a sledgehammer to initiate a showdown.
“Happiness is a Warm Gun”
George finds a weapon for his upcoming battle against the dragon.
“Run For Your Life”
The purebred wolfhound returns, Blackjack takes a leap of faith.
Open warfare erupts between the sprites and the rats.
“Mean Mr. Mustard/Polythene Pam”
Luther confronts the wolfhound, the Ithacop confronts the Rubbermaid.
“Tomorrow Never Knows”
George’s magic defeats Rasferret’s dragon.
“Golden Slumbers”/”Carry That Weight”/”The End”