I have been thinking about The Beatles. Small wonder, since I have been listening to them pretty much on a loop during my entire trip last week. I seem to listen to music only when I am out on the street. Going back and forth from work, wandering around, shopping – that type of stuff. At home, for some weird reason, I forget to do so. So, I am not sure how much of a music connoisseur I really am. Hardly at all, I would say. And quite recently, I admitted that my love of The Beatles might in fact be in dubious taste in that they are somewhat “cute”. But, since I said that I have been wondering – are they really so cute after all? First off, I am not too terribly into cute as far as my other musical favorites are concerned. My big, all time, number one fave are The Who, on whom I already wrote about quite a while ago. Now, them, I really do have on a 7/24 loop whenever I go out on the street! Right next down the line (as a very close follow up in fact) would be Queen. And what comes after them is anybody’s guess really and The Beatles are somewhere in there very close to the top.
It is only 3 of their albums that grab me, those being The White Album, Sgt. Peppers and Abbey Road. The earlier stuff, yes yes, very nice and all that but ultimately – yawn!!! And that is of course the time-line wherein the cutsey-putsey stuff, which is usually associated with the Beatles, resides. The later stuff, especially the things which they did when they all went solo? Again, sorry, I do not like any of that either: If anything, double-yawn!!! But these three albums… Yesss!
Not every song on every album, mind you. Things like “While my guitar gently weeps” and “She’s leaving home” and “Something” I fast forward so fast you have absolutely no idea. In fact, I have compiled a playlist on my MP3 player where none of these more romantic ballady type things are even to be found – notable exceptions being “blackbird” and “Martha my dear”. And to give myself credit, I never cared for the romantic tunes even when I was 16. The ones I adore are the ones in which, over the course of the three albums, there unfolds the whackiest pantheon which I would dare to suggest has ever been imagined at any point in the 20th century:
Polythene Pam and Mean Mr. Mustard! The Sun King! Lovely Rita and Maxwell with his silver hammer! Rocky Raccoon and his fickle lady love whose “name was Magil, and she called herself Lil, but everyone knew her as Nancy”. Not to mention Gideon’s Bible and the gin reeking doctor who proceeds to lie on the table in the same song. Closely followed by the Piggies, big and small…
And of course Henry the Horse dances the waltz! That strange negotiation which goes on on the flip side of Abbey Road:
You never give me your money You only give me your funny paper and in the middle of negotiations you break down I never give you my number I only give you my situation and in the middle of investigation I break down Out of college, money spent See no future, pay no rent All the money’s gone, nowhere to go Any jobber got the sack Monday morning, turning back Yellow lorry slow, nowhere to go But oh, that magic feeling, nowhere to go
So familiar… Especially when a few songs later we come to that flashback-refrain:
I never give you my pillow I only send you my invitation And in the middle of the celebrations I break down… It seems like this has been said to me so many times. In so many different ways. When I was given invitations but was not asked to share a pillow and during the celebrations of which my host broke down… Oh dear…
And then of course, the trip songs: I have done my share and I know exactly what Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds or a Day in the Life are all about. And I love them! How could I not?
I read the news today oh, boy Four thousand holes in blackburn, lancashire And though the holes were rather small They had to count them all Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the albert hall …
My father is the one who laid the groundwork of my private pantheon. I recently found a story book which he wrote and illustrated for me. It had been lost for many years and when it showed up on one of the upper shelves of my mother’s library I cried like a dog. In this story a bear marries a rabbit and they live happily ever after. The book actually starts with the happily ever after and my father takes me in meticulous detail through the everyday activities of the couple, how they go on vacation together, how when the bear gets sick at one point the rabbit nurses him back to health. How the bear has to take all the potted plants in their apartment to his office since his rabbit wife cannot resist eating them. I should probably scan it and post it here so that maybe people can understand why I seem to talk about my father so much.
I was torn out of that world, in which bears and rabbits live together happily ever after, the day when I entered the “grown-up” world, aka. grade school! I loathed it! And it is no exaggeration when I say that starting from age 7, I went through decades of solid loathing, indeed being revolted by “grown-up” life at every turn of the path. In all of its manifestations! A world devoid of people like my father, people that had the sort of imagination that makes magic happen. And I did not – and to this day do not believe that this horrifying “grown-up” world is ultimate, unassailable, irrefutable “reality”. The Beatles are one of the few solid rays of hope that I was/am correct in this assessment. The loopy world which they sang about. If there were people like them out there surely I would eventually meet them? And I did. A handful maybe, strewn over decades.
I got me a Second Life folks… 😉