The “TWELVE THIRTY” Interview
Tony G. Marshall
Cosmic Dwellings questions the writer, poet & voice artist about his latest ‘mysterious’ work: a combined 30-stanza poem and short story project inspired by elements of a song, a film and a segment of his own life all tied-in to the backdrop of a Hollywood tragedy, and crafted as a psychedelic odyssey…
Cosmic Dwellings: You regard “Twelve Thirty” as your “longest piece” and your own “personal masterpiece” – why does it bear these distinctions?
Tony G. Marshall: I approached the poetry concept with the outlook of “it ends when it ends.” Therefore, there were no limitations to it’s very own rhythm and flow in conjunction with the ideas and themes I adopted for it. It most certainly is my “longest piece” within my portfolio of poems – it’s massive. It’s my very own “personal masterpiece” simply because of the scope of ideas which became the property of the main character of the concept. Furthermore, I was able to add some personal flourishes throughout his journey.
CD: Which aspects of Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood” have been the most inspiring for the crafting of “Twelve Thirty”?
TGM: To begin with, some of the music. The title is inspired by the hit song of The Mamas & The Papas, which is used to great dramatic affect in Tarantino’s film but not included on its actual album soundtrack (?!). The story which the song “Twelve Thirty (Young Girls Are Coming To The Canyon)” depicts is a compelling one and I also find it somewhat eerily dramatic to listen to. My concept was built around the story in this song. However, the inspiration from Tarantino’s movie came from its whole psychedelic trip of 1969 surrounding its main protagonists and keeping within the premise of not glorifying the reality of the tragic occurrences surrounding actress, Sharon Tate albeit on a somewhat lesser scale than the movie.
CD: Are we correct in surmising that some sinister elements are at play in your “Twelve Thirty”?
TGM: You could say you have surmised correctly! The main character appears to be embarking upon some kind of ‘trip’. However, it bears the asking of questions such as: How has he ended up on this particular ‘trip’? And, what type of existence does this character have or even pursue??
CD: What kind of realistic elements have you injected into the main character’s life?
TGM: Well, he’s a human being. He’s flesh and blood. He has real surroundings and locations. He is based in Los Angeles and we discover he had ties with New York City. However, he inhabits a world from another time – it’s 1969. A year which heralded the first manned moon landing, Elvis’ return to the live concert circuit, the first test flight of Concorde occurred in France, and it was 3 days of peace, love and music at Woodstock.
CD: What aspects of your own life are included in the main character’s journey?
TGM: All I can say is that my main character is attempting to seek some kind of truth about his existence in the world he survives along with the people he meets or has met in the past. Therefore, in a sense, I am on that same kind of journey and in turn I am attempting to seek the peace and knowledge that will sustain a more content existence. But, aren’t we all on a similar kind of journey?! Well, perhaps not all of us. It’s not that easy to achieve when there are people out there who simply don’t understand this type of ‘ambition’ and therefore go to considerable lengths to undermine it.
CD: This seeking of truth and peace appears to be a positive aspect of the main character’s journey but what are the negative aspects that creep into the proceedings?
TGM: Well, there’s a considerable amount and I can’t really say too much about those aspects of the proceedings because in a way they are somewhat disguised but gradually become a collective of real individual entities. However, it was extremely therapeutic and liberating to write about those negative ‘demons’ in this way.
CD: It’s interesting to note how the main character refers to the female characters by certain names or expressions which he appears to have specifically created for each individual one. What is the thinking behind this aspect of his character?
TGM: The Main Character has named them according to the type of role or connection they have, or once had, in his life. Whether it’s “The Noise”, “The Word User” or “The Dumb-Founder” – these names, or expressions, are the first words that come to mind whenever he reflects upon each female character. So there is a reason for this and it’s a reason which is personal to him. However, if each female were made aware of these ‘personal’ names for themselves they would know exactly why he chose such expressions for them. Furthermore, in the poem, the Main Character describes each individual female so we become aware of some of their negative values or personality traits in relation to him. Other females/names include “The Baggage Demon”, “The Masked Voice” and “The Lucifer”.
CD: You’ve confirmed that “Twelve Thirty” will be a combined poetry and short story project. How will both genres compliment each other?
TGM: I like to think that it will be a two-way street kind of thing in which one will also promote the other. However, the short story aspect of the project will be able to offer those extras which I was unable to include in the poetry – the finer detail for one thing. So, in a sense, the short story is offering us a closer observation at what has happened and is currently happening in the main character’s existence.
CD: Will any more classic rock and pop music influence the writing of the short story?
TGM: There’s every possibility this will happen during the course of crafting the story. Music is my main source of inspiration for any poetry or story project I undertake. There are already three other songs along with The Mamas & The Papas and their “Twelve Thirty” which have inspired the writing of specific elements of the poetry. These are Simon & Garfunkel’s “Mrs Robinson”, Neil Diamond’s “Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show” and Jose Feliciano’s version of “California Dreamin'” – all of which are featured in the soundtrack of “Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood.”
CD: You are scheduled to publish the poetry aspect of the project on the Cosmic Dwellings website. What are your plans for the short story?
TGM: That will possibly be published on my Wattpad platform and both will link to each other. I hope to have the short story completed by early spring. The poetry goes live on Cosmic Dwellings website this month (February, 2o2o).
To conclude this interview, here’s the song/performance that inspired the title of Tony G. Marshall’s combined poetry and short story project – it’s The Mamas & The Papas with “Twelve Thirty”:
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