Re: Gimme Some Truth<BR>

Re: Gimme Some Truth

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References: <1993Jul26.204433.21664@uvmark.uucp>

In article <1993Jul26.204433.21664@uvmark.uucp> pvezina@uvmark.uucp (Philippe Vezina) writes:

>In article 15345, garyp@tull.Eng.Sun.COM (Gary Parker) writes:
>
>>Some time ago I read the book by Peter Brown called "All You Need is Love".
>>As you may (or may not) know, the book focused on the so-called "dark" side
>>so I was able to take much of what he wrote with a grain of salt.

> I too read this book and found it somewhat 'revealing' but you should
> remember that Peter Brown is NOT another Albert Goldman (or whatever his
> name was). Peter was one of Brian Epstein's right-hand men up until his
> untimely death and I for one consider the tales he spun in his book quite
> possible and certainly plausible. These guys weren't always the lovable
> mop-tops that the world perceived. It's unfortunate but true.

We just went through this the other week, I believe.

Brown was indeed a friend of the Fabs and Epstein, but his book borrows heavily from other sources (Philip Norman's "Shout!" and Cynthia Lennon's "A Twist of Lennon", among others), and introduces a passel of errors found in those sources, in addition to incorporating entirely new mistakes indigenous to Brown and his cowriter Stephen Gaines (the most curious of which is his contention that John and Cynthia's wedding date had been falsified to hide her pregnancy, claiming to give the correct date for the first time---but he gives 23 August 1962, which is the same as is attested in all other sources, and was also calculably after her delicate condition had been discovered).

Brown misrepresented the subject matter of his "research" to the Beatles, thus gaining their favor, but the book turned out to be the "kiss and tell" style which adds no substantive scholarship to Beatles history. No one maintains the Boys were always lovable moptops, least of all the Fabs, but a book based on innuendo and rumor is no help to understanding their personalities and creativity. If you enjoy the style and have no compunction about what is "possible and certainly plausible" without there being facts to back it up, that's fine with me, however.

>Just read some of Lennon's interviews about early Beatle days (not even
>the late years when they began to really get out of control. He continuously
>states that their life back then was more in the line of Felini's Satyricon.

He stated it once, at a point where he was attempting to exorcise Beatles demons from his psyche (1970-71), and *this* should frankly be taken with a grain of salt. :-) Looking at the available record (you should pardon the pun), there was little time in the Beatles' busy lives for the type of excesses portrayed in Fellini's revealing film (which itself is hardly an accurate portrayal of Roman life, it's worth considering). Certainly there were girls in the back room; there were also grueling tours, concert dates, public appearances, charity functions, intense recording sessions, film and video productions, and occasional moments to spend with family and friends. Constant debauchery is so pleasant, but one can never get anything done! :-) John should have known we'd catch him on that one.

Another good example where you can't trust John: he once mentioned in an interview that he disliked the film "A Hard Day's Night" because that wasn't what their life was like at all. Yet when you see footage of their tours, like the Maysles Brothers' wonderful verite work (originally released as "What's Happening! The Beatles in the USA" and now recut as "The Beatles First U.S. Visit"), you're struck at how many elements of synchronicity there are with a fictional account of the Fabs on tour---more amazing because this example was shot before "AHDN" went into production (though Alun Owen, their highly esteemed screenwriter, who tagged along on various concert dates and tours during late 1963, was already completing the script at this point). True, the commercial film doesn't show the groupies, the heavy drinking, the swearing (which was never the intent...this isn't "Cocksucker Blues", for heaven's sake). But the rest of it (including clowning on the train---compare the train sequence in "AHDN" with a similar one on the trip from New York to Washington DC in February 1964) is breathtakingly analogous to real life as captured on documentary film, even down to Ringo's charming dialogue with several young children.

Of course Paul has memories of Fabs history which have become selective over the years, as does George, as does Ringo---partly due to fading recall, partly self-editing. Nevertheless, I find each pronouncement the Fabs have made about their own experience of living in the eye of Beatlemania's hurricane to be revealing. It's true, on one level, that none of us can really ever know what it was like for them, and what their perceptions were. Yet they too missed so much of "reality" during the years they were captured in the storm of their fame---the life which documentation can help to reveal.

And when sources fail, the Boys themselves can fill in what's missing. Paul's recollection, in "The Real Buddy Holly Story", of the Quarry Men making their first shellac, and the way he and John learned to compose, is striking in its unassuming narrative style---so purely are the two young men captivated by the songs they hear, so intensely is a new fusion of rock-and-roll style engendered. We ought to never discount the value of such impressionistic accounts. John's "Satyricon" statement illuminates more about his focus during those blurred days of the sixties than it does about the business of being musical artists. But the latter is an equally important part of the puzzle.

The balancing act is *our* job. If we do it well, we may be better able to see the closest thing to truth---and I presume that's still an indisputably worthy goal. :-)

--
"This is pure madness," said one middle-aged woman. "There is nothing spectacular about the Beatles anyway. I am worried for my daughter, who might go crazy about them."______________________________________ saki (dmac@math.ucla.edu) Click here to return to the rmb home page.

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