So a couple of weeks ago I get dragged along to Go Outdoors while the woman who is legally attached to my bank account in an agreement that apparently no end of lawyers can ever split asunder, wanted to buy something, of which I know not for shopping is none of my affair, when suddenly the background muzak in the store starts to play “We Can Work It Out”, its one of my favourite Beatles tracks.
I don’t know why it just is, its Christmas 1965, I’m nine years of age, life is always good when you’re nine years of age, life can hardly get better when you’re nine years of age and yet you just don’t know it at the time. We lived just one street away from the very edge of the city, walk to the end of our street and there was Green Lane and when you crossed Green Lane you were in fields in this bottom end of Wharfedale, we played all day long, all year long in fields, in woods, we climbed trees, we fell out of trees, we built tree houses in trees, we stole chickens eggs from farms, we poked around in the ashes of the incinerator at the pig farm to find little piglet bones where the runts of the litter had been necked and torched.
Nine years old, we would never pass this way again, and we were the generation who had The Beatles to provide the soundtrack.
And then nine months later along came Eleanor Rigby and we’re getting close to what I rate as an unsurpassable Beatles song, its August 1966, its the Great Yarmouth holiday, the holiday where Ralph taught us all to swim in the sea which lapped right up to his caravan door every morning, the holiday where the sun shone out of a cloudless sky for two weeks and all of the skin was flayed off my ten year old back and shoulders like so much burned pork crackling, and then one night I awoke in our caravan in the early hours of the morning in the middle of an incredibly spooky nightmare that I still recall to this day for my two best friends from school were drifting around the sea bed, drowned and lifeless to the soundtrack of Eleanor Rigby and the first thing I did when we got home after the holiday was to dash around to their houses to find…
…they were ok.
Pah ! So much for dramatic endings to a story.
And then, finally, almost as a swansong, on “Let It Be” came perfection, turn off the lights, settle back into a big soft cushion, coffee and chocolate cake to hand, close your eyes and chant-the-refrain-alonga-lennon, this is as good as it gets, someone should make a note in their diary, you have to play this at my funeral but not this version, the stripped down anthology version, you will not leave the crem without water running from your eyes I promise.
February 1969, we’re almost all growed up now, we’ve been at Grammar School for one whole term and we’ve started to grow our hair out a little, some of us have the first inkling of hair growth down the side of our ears in what will become known as “sideburns”, most of our parents now allow our hair to creep unhindered over our shirt collars and ears except for Dogdirt Davidson and Pretty Boy Johnny Johnson who will always be neatly coiffed and destined for the civil service, those two jammy bastards will be retired on golden handshakes by now – but I had the sideburns.