Yesterday, I went to see Eight Days a Week, with a Beatlemaniac friend and his woman. The documentary was ok, well made, but less thought provoking than some other documentaries or books on the Beatles I have under my belt. But it nevertheless sparked the usual mess of mixed emotions.
You see, I deeply respect the Beatles. Their work is , still today, some of the best pop music out there. Good melodies, good arrangements, good workmanship, good presentation, good attitude, good everything. Actually, not just “good”. Come on, think of a Beatles song cover that rearranged and sounds better than the original. What the heck, even on par with the original. Personally, I can only think of a couple. People saying that the Beatles didn’t do much for them is like hearing English majors saying that Shakespeare is “meh”. There’s no exaggerating: if you are in popular music today, you got something by the Beatles, either first hand in some roundabout way.
On the other hand, THE BEATLES are often a symbol that has nothing to do with the actual “four lads from Liverpool”, and, as such, is a symbol of the baby boomers, of how they got it easier than the generation before and after them (and, possibly, the ones before and after that), how nobody made a carreer out of going to them to say that whatever they could do had already been accomplished (and way better than they could ever dream) by someone older, how they completely fucked the world with that same attitude of “here I come!” displayed by the Beatles, and how they are incapable of recognizing their shortcomings without blaming someone else.
It’s a powerful symbol and, like any other symbol, one that at the same time hits the bullseye and misses the point if you take it too seriously. It’s a symbol that causes a lot of discomfort to me, because I utterly despise my parent’s generation, but I love my mum. Exactly the same here: I love the Beatles, but I detest THE BEATLES.
So bear with me if you meet me in the next couple of weeks and I see detatched and discomforted. I’m probably wondering how my life would have been if I could get a stable job out of university, like my father or mother, or if I could perform 8 hours a day and support myself in my formative years, instead of playing once every blue moon for peanuts.
Call it living in the past, if you want, but I just can’t help it. Believe me, I tied. It goes away eventually. Usually when I say to myself that THE BEATLES didn’t do much for me, so screw them and their happy days. Perhaps that’s what people mean, and it’s been me who has been slow all of this time!