Monday, September 14, 2009
SHE LOVES YOU, YEAH, YEAH, YEAH!
ROBERTA: The New York Times this week has been full of the Beatles--news of their freshly-released video game and the new boxed set of juiced-up albums from the fab four. My husband and I have enjoyed the press--we both grew up loving the Beatles. He was a ninth grader and remembers well their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. I was in grade school and sent off to bed before it aired. Naturally, I watched it from the top of the stairs. My man was definitely Paul--no contest. (Though I never did send him a package of homemade birthday hats and decorations, as I did Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees several years later.) I don't even play video games and yet I'm tempted to buy this one. In my mind, they were a prodigious talent--and it was fascinating to watch their evolving personal and musical styles as times changed. I believe my favorite album of all time was Rubber Soul.
But obviously not everyone feels this way. Here's a quote from Ian Bogost that could put any nostalgic Baby Boomer in her place: "So I ask: must we appreciate The Beatles? Must we reminisce with the newly aged about their privileged lives as naive youthful radicals, and then later as greedy yuppie centrists, and then finally as truculent conservative majority?"
Ouch. Now off to you, JR. Beatle mania or aging boomer madness?
RHYS: As another huge Beatles fan, my devotion to them is simple. Their music was tuneful, intelligent and made me feel good. None of the stuff written today does anything for me, and I don't think it's because I'm approaching my mature years.
JAN: I think we baby boomers are an easy target for nostalgia marketing, and let's face it that's what any of this reminiscence stuff is really about: MARKETING.
But hey, who DIDN'T love the Beatles? I had a crush on George Harrison. Believe it or not, Paul never even appealed to me. And who could argue the Beatles weren't a dynamic influence on the culture? What I loved best about them though -- and this is from learning their tunes on guitar -- is how much they evolved and grew musically as a band. And what is also little known about them is how hard working they were -- which is a fascinating anecdote in Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers.
HALLIE: Confession: the Beatles never really did that much for me. Though I loved the movie Yellow Submarine so much I even bought the calendar. Note: the calendar, not the album. I still have it somewhere. Music's never been a big thing for me...nor is any kind of celebrity. Talk art or food and I can get passionate.
RO: I don't have the Beatles chip either. It's not that I don't like the music - it just doesn't have any magical, mysterious hold on me. I'm sure we own the last Beatles tome that was released a few years back and it's still in its shrinkwrap. Now..Eric Clapton, that's another story.
HANK: Oh, dear. Mania. I'm with you, Roberta. I watched the Ed Sullivan show, glued to the couch, sobbing. Sobbing! Age, what, 13? I was vice-president of the Midwest Chapter of the National Beatles Fan Club. I saw them, in concert, twice, at the Indianapolis State Fairgrounds. I mean, I kind of saw them, because I was screaming and crying too much. You name a Beatle song, I can sing it.
Plus, if Mom hadn't thrown away all my Beatles memorabilia, I'd be rich. I'm totally a Beatles fan. It was John, for me. My favorite album--oh, Abbey Road. Or maybe Sgt. Pepper. No, the White Album. You get the picture.
ROBERTA: Of course you were the prez of the Midwest Chapter of the Beatle fan club Hank! Priceless! JR readers, Paul, George, and John seem to be taken, but that leaves Ringo for some lucky fan...
And PS, come back often this week--we have three fantastic guests lined up. Tomorrow, the incomparable Kristan Higgins on writing romantic comedy, Wednesday, medieval mystery writer Jeri Westerson, and on Friday, Dr. Charles Atkins, psychiatrist and thriller writer.