Bill Wyman -- a valued member of Phoenix's blogging community held in high esteem by all those who know him -- has successfully perpetrated a humorous ruse upon the news media.
Mr. Wyman, you see, shares his name with the former bassist of The Rolling Stones, one of the world's most beloved rock 'n' roll bands. As a music journalist, our Wyman has been involved in confusion on a few occasions, which is understandable because Mr. Wyman of Lewisham, the prominent bassist, also does a bit of music writing from time to time. The British Wyman even threatened to sue the American version to prohibit him from using his name several years back.
Our own Mr. Wyman finds great humor in the situation, and recently wrote a book review for Slate, a well-respected online publication. In what can only be described as a brilliant bit of subversive humor, he wrote the piece in the voice of Mick Jagger, the band's well-known singer. The man who is possibly Phoenix's most cherished and respected blogger wrote an editor's note at the top of the piece saying that the piece was pulled from a note delivered to him as a "UPS package containing a typed manuscript."
The introductory paragraph continues:
"On reading it, he saw that it seemed to be the thoughts, at some length, of singer Mick Jagger on the recently published autobiography of his longtime songwriting partner in the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards. A handwritten note on an old piece of Munro Sounds stationery read: "Bill: For the vault. M."
A Fox station in Philadelphia was fooled, running an article that has since been pulled re-reporting the "news."
"Jagger Response To Richards Leaked Online," the headline reads.
"Mick Jagger's long response to Keith Richards' new book, which slams Jagger, has been put online by Slate.com after a mail mixup. Jagger and Richards have feuded in public for years even as the Rolling Stones rake in the cash after six decades in the music business. But the band's plans to tour in 2011 -- in what could be their final appearances on the road -- could be in jeopardy after the public row between Richards and Jagger."
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Prefix magazine and Jambands.com were also fooled, earlier today. Dead links from publications as respected as The Washington Post suggest the spoof may have duped even seasoned media vets.
I must admit I was also fooled. A quick scan of the Tweetosphere reveals a pretty even split between people who get the "joke" and people who don't.
While some of Wyman's admirers, like local blogger-type Nick Martin, fawned over the piece ("Yes, yes, the Mick Jagger piece I linked earlier was well-crafted parody by Phoenix journalist Bill Wyman," he tweeted) our precious Wyman has also been blasted by an Examiner.com blogger, who says:
"I won't quote the rest of the article, nor will I post a link to it, because it's silly nonsense that reeks of a juvenile prank. But the letter in the article is a long, rambling criticism of Richards' memoir, Life. Anyone who has seen and read enough interviews with Jagger knows that the letter (which is filled with grammatical errors) doesn't sound like him at all. In fact, the letter reads like it was written as a satire by an American who doesn't know Jagger but constructed these sentences based on how he or she thinks a British rock star like Jagger would write a letter."