Forever Young & Never Crap; Death Protects The Icon

9 12 2011

I shout all my obscenities from steeples,
But please don’t label me a madman
I’m off to see the Bootleg Beatles
As the bootleg Mark Chapman

Taken from ‘When The Evening Sun Goes Down’ by Half Man Half Biscuit

Thirty-one years ago on December 8,  John Lennon died in New York.

This was very sad and although I have never been a big fan of The Beatles, I appreciate that they were partly responsible for dragging English music away from  copy-cat product of the 1950’s and being at the forefront of the British Invasion that was welcomed by American audiences. John and his mates produced  radio-friendly-unit-shifters that appealed to a broad base of fans and have lasted for longer than two members of the band.

In death, John Lennon has achieved a lasting fame and a legacy that (for many) is hard to criticize. But what would have happened if Chapman hadn’t gunned down the Scouse legend outside his apartment all those years ago?

Lennon would have been 71 this year. Read the rest of this entry »

And Was Jerusalem Builded Here….

23 04 2011

And did those feet in ancient time.
Walk upon England’s mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On England’s pleasant pastures seen!

First verse of ‘Jerusalem’ by William Blake

Today is St. George’s Day, the patron saint of England whose death is remembered on this day every year. Unlike some American memorial days the date never changes and every year on April 23rd, the English celebrate the life of a Turkish soldier who killed a dragon in Libya (pre-Ghaddafi) by huge parties and parades.

Well, that is what most English people would like to happen but it is only very recently that the English have begun to adopt any sense of national identity. Being part of the UK has always meant that most English – despite having the largest chunk of the island and the biggest population – have preferred to keep their English-ness in the cupboard like a secret identity that shouldn’t really be talked about. When it comes to celebrating patron saints, we have always lagged behind Global Guinness Day and National Eating-Haggis-Is-Fun Day whilst even the Welsh day of  male choral harmonies/devouring leeks is considered worthy of mention.

Too many people think that England is nothing more than warm beer, crap food, The Beatles and football hooligans. To be fair, most English people probably think that as well. Read the rest of this entry »

With The Beatles…A Royal Announcement

16 11 2010

Today was the moment that the world had been waiting for. For years the silence coming from one of the most famous institutions in the UK had been deafening.

We all wanted to know when it would happen, what was the delay and why it seemed to be taking so long. Millions of fans across the globe have been on tenterhooks, chewing their nails in frenzied appreciation.

This morning, the wait was finally over.

And then there were two...

The Beatles songs’ were available on iTunes. For those that didn’t want to  buy the re-released and repackaged catalog on the archaic format known as CD, they could now just download 200 songs in the comfort of their own home. The Fab Four have gone digital. Apple merged with Apple and the magical mystery tour was over.

Rock royalty, available (again) to the masses. Read the rest of this entry »

Love Me Don’t – Not every British Institution is Fab.

4 12 2009

An American friend of mine recently cornered me and asked me my views on various UK institutions.

Parliamentary procedures and legends, the role of the Monarchy, the obsession with queueing (although after my experience at The Magic Kingdom, I think that the Brits are way behind), the rules of cricket and my favorite Beatles song.

 I have to make an admission. I don’t like The Beatles.

And I am English.

Sorry. Just not my cup of tea.

I am now expecting a deluge of abuse, but I will remain firm in my apathy to The Beatles.

This may come as a surprise to many people who see the Fab Four as the epitome of British music, but I have never been overly keen on the music produced by these mop-topped individuals either as part of the group or even as solo artists.

There are a hundred bands on my Ipod that I would listen to before them. Although I don’t mind Sgt Pepper as an LP.

I know that they are hugely influential, and that every 10 seconds on radio there is a Lennon/McCartney composition played somewhere in the world. I also know that there are thousands of musicians who picked up a guitar because of John, Paul or George. 

Although I have never met a drummer who picked up his sticks because of Ringo.

But when we consider British music, are The Beatles the first act to come to mind? Read the rest of this entry »