apolla: (George and Arthur)
I just saw A Hard Day's Night in my favourite cinema. I haven't seen it in a long while.

When I was fifteen, I watched A Hard Day's Night almost every night upon returning from the misery of school. Some nights, I watched it twice. I fast-forwarded through bits I didn't dig so much - never got along with the "Can't Buy Me Love" scene because I never rated that song very highly.

I loved it, though. The humour: sometimes wry, sometimes broad, sometimes rather naughty for the times, the in-jokes. It became a new language for me to talk in - my friend Louise also knew the movie and we would pepper our conversation with "that's an in-joke you know" and the likes. I was a Lennon Person then, and I think he gets a lot of the best lines in the movie, so maybe that's why I was a Lennon person (constantly re-reading Coleman's Lennon biography helped).

I watched the damn film so many times that I could still recite most of the script along with them when I saw it earlier. And yet it felt fresh and new in some ways to see it on a big screen: I hadn't noticed that Wilfred Brambell's character is actually reading a nudie magazine at the start. I'd forgotten how much of a shock that first chord in "A Hard Day's Night" is when it opens the movie. I found new appreciation for the "Can't Buy Me Love" segment on the big screen, and through not being able to FF through it.

To this day, I still think of the supporting cast as being "...who was in A Hard Day's Night" with few exceptions. Anna Quayle will always be Mrs Monroe from Grange Hill first; and Wilfred Brambell is and ever will be Steptoe first and foremost. It doesn't matter that Norman Rossington had a lengthy and successful career, when I saw him in his Sharpe appearance, my reaction was "You're a swine!"

It even influenced how I speak: there are some lines I use in every day speech that I'd basically forgotten I'd nicked from them! Today my work colleague Phil and I will occasionally (OK, regularly) break into a quote-the-movie game if so much as a word or theme comes up in the everyday. "A drag, a well known drag." You can imagine what we were like during the fuss about Swine Flu.

As a lover of movies as much as of music, I find it a fascinating film. Shot in black and white, it captures that moment just before the 1960s became "The Sixties" both in terms of how London and her people are depicted, and in cinema terms. Hand-held cameras, quick cuts, a realistic chaos, editing in time with the songs and even some Altman-like talking over each other... these are not things one saw in movies much if at all before. Mostly though, they're already taking the piss out of Beatlemania while it's still going on! It is, I think, really quite scornful, not even gentle satire at times. It's the weary scorn George displayed in his Anthology interviews where he talked about the fans giving their screams but the Beatles giving their nervous systems. The scene with George and the marketing guy still works perfectly today because hell, that's all it is now!

I think the Beatles often get credited with doing things "first" when maybe it's not fully accurate or fair. But A Hard Day's Night was something new and fresh and game-changing. Not just because of those four, but thanks to Alun Owen's script and Richard Lester's direction. I must've seen it more than 100 times and today was like meeting an old pal one hasn't seen for a long time and discovering that they're still delightful.

So today's Awesome thing is "I'm Happy Just To Dance WIth You" because it was one of my favourite songs in the film, because although I thought then that the sun shone out of Lennon's arse, I was beginning to realise that Harrison was just as interesting a character... "bonus" Lionel Blair at the beginning, too...


Last thing: the icon accompanying this post is one I made years ago when I still cared to do such things. It's a reference to a line in A Hard Day's Night.
apolla: (OTP)
I must've heard the song 'In My Life' hundreds of times, on CD, records, my iPod, radio, TV, movies, the Anthology series... I've always loved it: John's voice is as good as it ever was: firm without being overpowering and softened by Thumbs-Up's backing. I've never loved the instrumental bit because it's a bit too baroque (and played half-speed on a piano and sped back up, rather than actually being a harpsichord, fact fans), but I like it well enough.

I'd easily put 'In My Life' in my Top 5 Songs by the Beatles, which also slides it into the very upper tier of my favourite songs by anybody ever. It's been my intention to have it as a part of my funeral since I started planning said event when I was about sixteen or seventeen (a decision only partly doubtful now having learned it was used at Cobain's). It's a song that means a massive amount to me for various reasons, one of which is that himself was murdered. It's one of those songs that makes my eyes burn with unshed tears of grief for someone. Bohemian Rhapsody is the same for Mercury, True Love Ways for Buddy, Feast of Friends for Jim, Brainwashed for George. It's the lightning rod so that I can listen to everything else that the Toppermost did without being consumed by the desolate lamentation of the Unknown Fan.

I was listening to my iPod on shuffle as I walked home yesterday. I couldn't settle on anything and none of the usual suspects was working: the Wilburys weren't making me smile, Rory wasn't distracting me and so on. I must've flicked through fifty songs with the impatient disdain I so often exhibit on days like these, until 'In My Life' came on. I can't imagine I've managed to dismiss this song very often and I couldn't yesterday. I sang along, of course, like I always do, earning scowls from people talking on their phones as they walk.

Funnily enough, only the day before that I'd listened to a clip of Johnny Cash singing it on The Man Comes Around. I dismissed it not because it was bad (it isn't) or misses the point (it doesn't, though most covers seem to, to me), but simply because it wasn't them. Him, really. There are some songs by the Beatles that - right or wrong - I associate with only one of them, and this is his, not theirs like 'Fool on the Hill' is Paul's and 'Something' is George's. Incidentally, 'In My Life' is on Rubber Soul, which I happen to think is the record on which they sound the best as a group and not just a bunch of blokes in the same room.

An aside: I haven't actually put much of the Beatles on my iPod yet. I don't even have Revolver on there yet and I don't have all of Abbey Road. Huh.

Anyway, this isn't about the minutiae of my music device, it's about 'In My Life'. It means all sorts of things to me and mostly to me it was always a song about the people and places we lose. As a fan of The Doors, Thin Lizzy and the rest, I always felt like I'd lost a bunch of people I'd never even been able to know so consequently (and breathtakingly arrogantly) I took the song and made it my own and all about me and the things and people I'd lost. That I never had them in the beginning was just part of the melancholy attitude. It was about people and places I had known, loved and then lost and for the people I was too late for.It was about the childhood I mourned most bitterly and the people and places I'd lost in the process of being forced to grow up, forced to leave people and places I didn't want to leave. It was probably for the little girl I lost and the grown up she therefore didn't become.

Listening to it yesterday, something shifted. I couldn't tell you honestly that I was happy (I wasn't) or contented (never), just that I thought about it from a slightly different angle, one that I knew was there and just hadn't really thought too much about before.

It isn't about the people and places lost, it's about the person we love enough to be willing to consign those things to the past where they probably belong. This I knew already. What I really thought about yesterday was this: there may be someone in the world who will render this song true for me. One day I might well be willing to brush aside the everlasting boys for someone and I will know it because of this song. 'In My Life' is what makes me understand that I'm not really some heartless creature unable to love but it also confirms that there really is a high standard in place. This is the litmus paper test I've created for myself and I don't think it can be dismissed. Imagine all that from one song...

For me now, 'In My Life' is about the dead and the gone. It's about a little boy who was, for awhile, the other side of the coin, it's about an old man with magic in his smile, it's about wild loves, silver foxes, the beautiful, the magnificent and the wondrous. It's about Panshanger, California, the Old Town, the street where I live and a time disappeared that I cannot retrieve.

One day, it might be something else: an absolute declaration of love so deep that it casts aside all the above. Maybe.
apolla: (OTP)
I must've heard the song 'In My Life' hundreds of times, on CD, records, my iPod, radio, TV, movies, the Anthology series... I've always loved it: John's voice is as good as it ever was: firm without being overpowering and softened by Thumbs-Up's backing. I've never loved the instrumental bit because it's a bit too baroque (and played half-speed on a piano and sped back up, rather than actually being a harpsichord, fact fans), but I like it well enough.

I'd easily put 'In My Life' in my Top 5 Songs by the Beatles, which also slides it into the very upper tier of my favourite songs by anybody ever. It's been my intention to have it as a part of my funeral since I started planning said event when I was about sixteen or seventeen (a decision only partly doubtful now having learned it was used at Cobain's). It's a song that means a massive amount to me for various reasons, one of which is that himself was murdered. It's one of those songs that makes my eyes burn with unshed tears of grief for someone. Bohemian Rhapsody is the same for Mercury, True Love Ways for Buddy, Feast of Friends for Jim, Brainwashed for George. It's the lightning rod so that I can listen to everything else that the Toppermost did without being consumed by the desolate lamentation of the Unknown Fan.

I was listening to my iPod on shuffle as I walked home yesterday. I couldn't settle on anything and none of the usual suspects was working: the Wilburys weren't making me smile, Rory wasn't distracting me and so on. I must've flicked through fifty songs with the impatient disdain I so often exhibit on days like these, until 'In My Life' came on. I can't imagine I've managed to dismiss this song very often and I couldn't yesterday. I sang along, of course, like I always do, earning scowls from people talking on their phones as they walk.

Funnily enough, only the day before that I'd listened to a clip of Johnny Cash singing it on The Man Comes Around. I dismissed it not because it was bad (it isn't) or misses the point (it doesn't, though most covers seem to, to me), but simply because it wasn't them. Him, really. There are some songs by the Beatles that - right or wrong - I associate with only one of them, and this is his, not theirs like 'Fool on the Hill' is Paul's and 'Something' is George's. Incidentally, 'In My Life' is on Rubber Soul, which I happen to think is the record on which they sound the best as a group and not just a bunch of blokes in the same room.

An aside: I haven't actually put much of the Beatles on my iPod yet. I don't even have Revolver on there yet and I don't have all of Abbey Road. Huh.

Anyway, this isn't about the minutiae of my music device, it's about 'In My Life'. It means all sorts of things to me and mostly to me it was always a song about the people and places we lose. As a fan of The Doors, Thin Lizzy and the rest, I always felt like I'd lost a bunch of people I'd never even been able to know so consequently (and breathtakingly arrogantly) I took the song and made it my own and all about me and the things and people I'd lost. That I never had them in the beginning was just part of the melancholy attitude. It was about people and places I had known, loved and then lost and for the people I was too late for.It was about the childhood I mourned most bitterly and the people and places I'd lost in the process of being forced to grow up, forced to leave people and places I didn't want to leave. It was probably for the little girl I lost and the grown up she therefore didn't become.

Listening to it yesterday, something shifted. I couldn't tell you honestly that I was happy (I wasn't) or contented (never), just that I thought about it from a slightly different angle, one that I knew was there and just hadn't really thought too much about before.

It isn't about the people and places lost, it's about the person we love enough to be willing to consign those things to the past where they probably belong. This I knew already. What I really thought about yesterday was this: there may be someone in the world who will render this song true for me. One day I might well be willing to brush aside the everlasting boys for someone and I will know it because of this song. 'In My Life' is what makes me understand that I'm not really some heartless creature unable to love but it also confirms that there really is a high standard in place. This is the litmus paper test I've created for myself and I don't think it can be dismissed. Imagine all that from one song...

For me now, 'In My Life' is about the dead and the gone. It's about a little boy who was, for awhile, the other side of the coin, it's about an old man with magic in his smile, it's about wild loves, silver foxes, the beautiful, the magnificent and the wondrous. It's about Panshanger, California, the Old Town, the street where I live and a time disappeared that I cannot retrieve.

One day, it might be something else: an absolute declaration of love so deep that it casts aside all the above. Maybe.
apolla: (Jimmy M)
I'm an hour late, I guess, but I just saw this link:

What would Jim Morrison look like if he was alive today?

Now, to me, the picture just looks like someone went crazy with the blurring button on Photoshop, but what do I know? I can't believe that actual scientists have done this and have been given, like, real money for it.

It, of course, cued up lots of JIM MORRISON WAS A DRUNKEN EGOMANIACAL BASTARD stuff over on ONTD and lots of OMG SO SEXY!!!! in return. Some of it turned into HE WAS A TALENTLESS DRUNKEN EGOMANIACAL BASTARD (this after someone invoked the other man of the day, John Lennon and it had to be amended) and some turned into 'no way, he'd look way worse' and stuff.

Someone else posted a link of some apparently psychotic Doorzoid who is so crazy it's ruined the Doors for this other person. I didn't dare click.

There was a lot of 'I'd be a supergroupie fer sure!!!" and even some stuff along the lines of "Just as well he's dead then".

I am filled with quiet and resigned bitterness. I should be asleep right now, but no, I'm not and it's 1am. I'm off to see Seasick Steve in Bethnal Green this coming evening. Seasick Steve is two years older than Jim would be and has only become a 'name' in the last few years. He's also a very sweet, kind man of the sort who will give you a hug and make you feel immediately relaxed in his company. This I know from personal experience (and was better than Shakin' Stevens telling me to smile. Sod off, Shaky).

I just really really wish that Jim had lived, not even for selfish reasons. I wish he'd lived to prove his naysayers wrong, that he wasn't a talentless wanker (really, I don't believe he was) and that he was capable of such great things as we can't even conceive of now. I wish he'd been there to fight his battles and make his arguments.

I also wish that this June just passed, I had been backstage at the Pyramid and instead of sidling a little nervously up to Steve to say "Man, you're great!" and getting a hug from him... I wish it had been Jim. I wish the Doors had some kind of fantastic gig and I'd had to knock nervously on the door, hands shaking, to do my job and then just to say "I really loved your set." If all he did was breathe in and out and completely disregard my presence, I actually think that would be OK: if he lived, that would be enough for me. Unusually, I don't think this has ever really been about me... huh.

Or of course, he would've lived to expose himself (narf narf) as a total wanker. In which case I wouldn't care anyway.

Happy birthday, you old bastard. Give Lennon a nod from me too.

apolla: (Jimmy M)
I'm an hour late, I guess, but I just saw this link:

What would Jim Morrison look like if he was alive today?

Now, to me, the picture just looks like someone went crazy with the blurring button on Photoshop, but what do I know? I can't believe that actual scientists have done this and have been given, like, real money for it.

It, of course, cued up lots of JIM MORRISON WAS A DRUNKEN EGOMANIACAL BASTARD stuff over on ONTD and lots of OMG SO SEXY!!!! in return. Some of it turned into HE WAS A TALENTLESS DRUNKEN EGOMANIACAL BASTARD (this after someone invoked the other man of the day, John Lennon and it had to be amended) and some turned into 'no way, he'd look way worse' and stuff.

Someone else posted a link of some apparently psychotic Doorzoid who is so crazy it's ruined the Doors for this other person. I didn't dare click.

There was a lot of 'I'd be a supergroupie fer sure!!!" and even some stuff along the lines of "Just as well he's dead then".

I am filled with quiet and resigned bitterness. I should be asleep right now, but no, I'm not and it's 1am. I'm off to see Seasick Steve in Bethnal Green this coming evening. Seasick Steve is two years older than Jim would be and has only become a 'name' in the last few years. He's also a very sweet, kind man of the sort who will give you a hug and make you feel immediately relaxed in his company. This I know from personal experience (and was better than Shakin' Stevens telling me to smile. Sod off, Shaky).

I just really really wish that Jim had lived, not even for selfish reasons. I wish he'd lived to prove his naysayers wrong, that he wasn't a talentless wanker (really, I don't believe he was) and that he was capable of such great things as we can't even conceive of now. I wish he'd been there to fight his battles and make his arguments.

I also wish that this June just passed, I had been backstage at the Pyramid and instead of sidling a little nervously up to Steve to say "Man, you're great!" and getting a hug from him... I wish it had been Jim. I wish the Doors had some kind of fantastic gig and I'd had to knock nervously on the door, hands shaking, to do my job and then just to say "I really loved your set." If all he did was breathe in and out and completely disregard my presence, I actually think that would be OK: if he lived, that would be enough for me. Unusually, I don't think this has ever really been about me... huh.

Or of course, he would've lived to expose himself (narf narf) as a total wanker. In which case I wouldn't care anyway.

Happy birthday, you old bastard. Give Lennon a nod from me too.

apolla: (Revolver)
I'm watching something that was on BBC Four the other day - something about the perfect pop song. Fascinating, possibly even useful programme. There's a producer guy being interviewed who I've actually met briefly through work - I think he's on the board or something. Actually, I think I've been in a taxi with him. There's also another guy who was at our annual roadshow/conference thing, who wrote Can't Get You Out Of My Head by Kylie.

Anyway, fascinating programme, but there's one thing:

Guy Chambers was just talking about Imagine. You know, that little song by that chap from Liverpool. Wonder whatever happened to him...

I don't really listen to Imagine anymore. Once upon a time, I made a mix-tape that actually had it three times - that's one song three times in 90 minutes. I can summon up the entire song in my head, and I mean every little detail - I can hear it as clearly as if it were playing.

I don't summon it up, and I don't listen to it much anymore. At some point, it seems to have become too hard to listen to. It happened more generally with Johnny Leper - for a while the terrible pain associated with his butchering got in the way of listening to him at all. I listen to him now, though not like I used to.

Thing is, I don't listen to Imagine. I still think it's one of the best songs he ever wrote. I still think he did better and I still think he was pandering to the record-buyers more than a lot of people seem to acknowledge

I couldn't tell you at what point I stopped with Imagine and I suppose it happened quite gradually. I can't tell you why

Tangent: Fuck, Robbie's a talentless arsehole, isn't he?

Tangent Two: They're talking about performers who actually don't sing well but have charisma or whatever to pull it off. Given that this is about songs, why has Dylan Of Woodstock not been mentioned yet - are his clips too expensive?

Back:

I can't tell you why I stopped listening to Imagine. I remember becoming enraged at hearing covers of it - it should be, in my opinion, against the fucking law of humanity to cover it. There aren't many songs that should be left well alone but Imagine is the greatest of these. That and the Boys Are Back In Town. Probably Bohemian Rhapsody.

I remember once seeing the video very late one night on Vh1 Classic. There was John, my hero, walking through Tittenhurst Park. "Imagine no possessions" while he's traipsing through his great estate. Then there he is with that white piano in that white room with the wife.

This particular time, I got off the sofa and sat on the floor, nearer the screen. I sat there listening, hearing that bloody voice swim through my head. That voice, which couldn't be anyone else (except maybe Neil Innes as Ron Nasty). That voice I have loved so much over the course of my life... there are better voices, there are even occasionally more honest voices, but there are few I love more.

Tangent Three: This show has been on for fucking ages now, and they're only now mentioning the Beatles. Did they have some rule about leaving them out? No Beatle clips - also too expensive I take it?

Back:

So, I was sat on the floor, it was very late in the night or knowing me early in the morning. I suppose it felt like I was the only person in the world.

It felt, I think now, like I was the only person in the world. I was the only person to hear this song, that John and I were all there was in the universe for those few minutes. Then I looked up at the screen, and all there was to see was his face, that newly short-hair, the yellow tinted glasses. He looked right at the camera, and in that moment it did feel like he was reaching right into my head.

He wasn't reaching into my head. The video was probably thirty years old by this point, the man himself twenty years dead. I'll never look into his real eyes in reality, and perhaps that's why I don't listen to the bloody thing anymore: it's the ultimate proof that the man is gone, left me singing his song.

The world made it his anthem, his signature song, and so that's it. I can't just listen to it for the sake of the song, because I hear the song and I'm there on the corner of West 72nd Street watching a nasty fat man approach my hero. I am eternally, forever unable to change what happens next, and so Imagine can never be anything but three minutes of absolute heartbreak.

That's probably why I don't listen to it anymore. It was designed to evoke emotion, but I don't think he intended me to be this fucking sad every time I hear it.

Still, better that than Yesterday.
apolla: (Revolver)
I'm watching something that was on BBC Four the other day - something about the perfect pop song. Fascinating, possibly even useful programme. There's a producer guy being interviewed who I've actually met briefly through work - I think he's on the board or something. Actually, I think I've been in a taxi with him. There's also another guy who was at our annual roadshow/conference thing, who wrote Can't Get You Out Of My Head by Kylie.

Anyway, fascinating programme, but there's one thing:

Guy Chambers was just talking about Imagine. You know, that little song by that chap from Liverpool. Wonder whatever happened to him...

I don't really listen to Imagine anymore. Once upon a time, I made a mix-tape that actually had it three times - that's one song three times in 90 minutes. I can summon up the entire song in my head, and I mean every little detail - I can hear it as clearly as if it were playing.

I don't summon it up, and I don't listen to it much anymore. At some point, it seems to have become too hard to listen to. It happened more generally with Johnny Leper - for a while the terrible pain associated with his butchering got in the way of listening to him at all. I listen to him now, though not like I used to.

Thing is, I don't listen to Imagine. I still think it's one of the best songs he ever wrote. I still think he did better and I still think he was pandering to the record-buyers more than a lot of people seem to acknowledge

I couldn't tell you at what point I stopped with Imagine and I suppose it happened quite gradually. I can't tell you why

Tangent: Fuck, Robbie's a talentless arsehole, isn't he?

Tangent Two: They're talking about performers who actually don't sing well but have charisma or whatever to pull it off. Given that this is about songs, why has Dylan Of Woodstock not been mentioned yet - are his clips too expensive?

Back:

I can't tell you why I stopped listening to Imagine. I remember becoming enraged at hearing covers of it - it should be, in my opinion, against the fucking law of humanity to cover it. There aren't many songs that should be left well alone but Imagine is the greatest of these. That and the Boys Are Back In Town. Probably Bohemian Rhapsody.

I remember once seeing the video very late one night on Vh1 Classic. There was John, my hero, walking through Tittenhurst Park. "Imagine no possessions" while he's traipsing through his great estate. Then there he is with that white piano in that white room with the wife.

This particular time, I got off the sofa and sat on the floor, nearer the screen. I sat there listening, hearing that bloody voice swim through my head. That voice, which couldn't be anyone else (except maybe Neil Innes as Ron Nasty). That voice I have loved so much over the course of my life... there are better voices, there are even occasionally more honest voices, but there are few I love more.

Tangent Three: This show has been on for fucking ages now, and they're only now mentioning the Beatles. Did they have some rule about leaving them out? No Beatle clips - also too expensive I take it?

Back:

So, I was sat on the floor, it was very late in the night or knowing me early in the morning. I suppose it felt like I was the only person in the world.

It felt, I think now, like I was the only person in the world. I was the only person to hear this song, that John and I were all there was in the universe for those few minutes. Then I looked up at the screen, and all there was to see was his face, that newly short-hair, the yellow tinted glasses. He looked right at the camera, and in that moment it did feel like he was reaching right into my head.

He wasn't reaching into my head. The video was probably thirty years old by this point, the man himself twenty years dead. I'll never look into his real eyes in reality, and perhaps that's why I don't listen to the bloody thing anymore: it's the ultimate proof that the man is gone, left me singing his song.

The world made it his anthem, his signature song, and so that's it. I can't just listen to it for the sake of the song, because I hear the song and I'm there on the corner of West 72nd Street watching a nasty fat man approach my hero. I am eternally, forever unable to change what happens next, and so Imagine can never be anything but three minutes of absolute heartbreak.

That's probably why I don't listen to it anymore. It was designed to evoke emotion, but I don't think he intended me to be this fucking sad every time I hear it.

Still, better that than Yesterday.
apolla: (Queen Maeve)
Go here. Do it now. Watch. Listen. Think.

I wish Johnny Leper was still with us. People listened when he called us on the bullshit, even when it was his own.
apolla: (Queen Maeve)
Go here. Do it now. Watch. Listen. Think.

I wish Johnny Leper was still with us. People listened when he called us on the bullshit, even when it was his own.
apolla: (Queen Maeve)
John Lennon doesn't have the answers. I don't think he ever did.

But the music can help you on the way to finding your own answers. That's the beauty of it. But you have to look for yourself.
apolla: (Queen Maeve)
John Lennon doesn't have the answers. I don't think he ever did.

But the music can help you on the way to finding your own answers. That's the beauty of it. But you have to look for yourself.

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