Real Estate Novelist

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Lilmarie, Jun 15, 2006.

  1. Lilmarie Junior Member

    San Jose, Costa Rica
    Español Costa Rica
    Hi, I´m teaching english in my country and I want my students to listent to "The Piano Man", by Billy Joel, but I don´t know what the expression Real estate novelist means, is this person a writer for a real estate magazine?
    thanks for your help,
    Lil
     
  2. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London
    English - England
    I haven't seen the film, but if you google 'real estate novelist' you find several web sites suggesting the following explanation: 'The line "Paul is a real estate novelist" is about a real estate broker who was a regular at the bar who always claimed to be working on a book. Joel figured Paul would never finish because he was always in the bar.'.
     
  3. aragorn Banned

    australian - australia
    I am very familiar with the song from my youth and I have always considered that the description was more direct.

    I consider that the 'real estate novelist' is actually a direct reference to one of the most boring jobs imaginable to a young talented artist.

    I think Billy Joel was referring to a person stuck in a deadend job writing short, dry lies for little reward.

    aragorn
     
  4. Joelline

    Joelline Senior Member

    USA (W. Pennsylvania)
    American English
    Lilmarie,

    You're in luck! People have been asking Billy Joel this question since the song became popular and he has answered it! You can find the transcript of the whole interview with him HERE.

    "It’s an invented phrase. When I was working in a piano bar in L.A., around ’72, everybody came and dumped their day on you. Paul was a real-estate broker, and he would say, “I’m working on this book.” But he was there every night, crocked out of his skull, and I would think, “How’s this guy getting any writing done, unless he’s doing the F. Scott Fitzgerald bit: knock out a couple of things when he first gets up, after the coffee buzz, and then start drinkin’....”

    This means that Paul is like John the bartender in the song who is sure he could be a movie star in Hollywood if he could just get out of the town, but you know he will never leave! And Paul will continue to think that some day he'll write the "Great American Novel," while he continues to work in real-estate by day and drink by night!

    I'm glad you asked your question. Reading the lyrics over reminded me how much I like this song and its sad theme of untapped potential!

    I hope this is helpful to you.
    Joelline
     
  5. rodrigito Junior Member

    Spanish, USA
    I had the same question as Lil.
    Thanks for the detailed explanation
    Rod..
     
  6. casey288 New Member

    english
    Here is the link from above but updated to the proper location
    thanks Joelline and everyone. I've always wanted to know what the heck this was, now i know!

    blender.com/guide/66688/dear-superstar-billy-joel.html


    Ever since I first heard “Piano Man,” I’ve wondered: What is a “real-estate novelist”?
    JOULES, BROOKLINE, MASSACHUSETTS
    It’s an invented phrase. When I was working in a piano bar in L.A., around ’72, everybody came and dumped their day on you. Paul was a real-estate broker, and he would say, “I’m working on this book.” But he was there every night, crocked out of his skull, and I would think, “How’s this guy getting any writing done, unless he’s doing the F. Scott Fitzgerald bit: knock out a couple of things when he first gets up, after the coffee buzz, and then start drinkin’. ” Maybe he was like the guy in The Shining, and he just kept writing the same sentence over and over.
     

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