Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Won't Get Fooled Again


As a truculent teeny I cast around the world of popular music for a bard to express my angst.

If I'd had access to the John Peel Show everything would have been fine and I'd have worshipped at the shrine of Ian Curtis like the rest of the country, but early bedtimes and the local cult of heavy metal formed a Separation Barrier of snores and drum solos between me and the flat-vowelled introspection that I craved.

Cruellest of all was the mocking spectre of Baron Paul von und zu Bloody McCartney. Like most of Britain's bilious youth I considered him a waste of ears, but then came the Winter of 1977.

I'd had my weekly bath and was sitting in the kitchen while my mother administered the sort of haircut that ensured my only friends were the Play-Doh Twins and a kid with a pen-top wedged up his sinuses. Then the Radio 1 Top Forty presenter announced to a bell-bottomed nation that Sir Paul had gone straight in at Number One.

I slumped at the strummed acoustic guitar opening, thereby losing another half-inch off the temples, and thought "He's not putting out 'Yesterday' again, is he?" Then came the fragile opening line:

"Bollocking Time..."

At last! Macca had shown he was still able to tackle the Zeitgeist and drag it half way down the field with this subtly striking adaptation of the Punk sensibility.

I headed for school the next day with a raffish undone collar, confident that under the leadership of Sir Paul of the Bleedin' McCartneys the kids could never be defeated, Dennis Healey would have to stop putting up sweet prices twice a year, Wales would be independent with Geraint Jarman as president, and everything would be alright.

Disillusion came before the mid-morning break in the form of a tart précis of the actual lyrics of Mull of Kintyre by Huw Fat, followed by an appointment with the ear, nose and throat specialist Dr Barraclough.

Still, it stopped me from ever buying a Wings record, something that I ought to have pointed out in my defence during the Genesis trial by ordeal.

Some years later, when I woke up to the news that John Lennon had been shot, I couldn't help but wonder whether he too had misheard the song coming through the short-wave World Service whine in his New York apartment.

"Arh fokh," he said to Yoko as she paused from stencilling the Baader Meinhof logo on his arse, "Paul's gone an nikhed me werkin' class cred again! I'll have to so summut really radikhal, or else the kids'll think I juss write falsetto crap about you all the time, love."

Now I'm not saying anything ghoulish like Lennon arranged his own death to preserve his reputation as the Huey Long of millionaire socialist songwriters or something, as it seems that was the Jews again. But what if it were true?

As they say in Liverpool, think on.

8 comments:

GadjoDilo said...

"We all killed John Lennon", as somebody said at the time, or should have done. In Imagine he had given us a litany of the things we should eliminate in order to rid the world of disharmony and hypocrisy, and the last thing (left coyly unmentioned) was of course himself. RIP, though, and thanks for the other songs.

The greater tragedy is that we didn't instead enforce Maca's request "always to be here (on Mull of Kyntyre - where, presumably, there are not many recording studios)"!

Gorilla Bananas said...

It's amazing the number of different ways in which the first three words of that song were misheard. I thought it was "Wollocks in Town". John Lennon (alias Spiggy Topes) was the least working class of The Beatles, as you must know. And Yoko was the great granddaughter of a Samurai warlord.

No Good Boyo said...

Gadjo, I've a grim feeling that Macca not only has a recording studio on the Mull of Kintyre, but has co-opted the entire local population of kelpers into staffing his music videos in whatever gaudy costumes he deems amusing. The sort of thing I'd like to do with a troupe of performing owls, if I were an artiste.

As for John Lennon, I recall the words of Sir Elvis Costello: "Was it a millionaire who said 'imagine no possessions?'" George Harrison was my favourite: he lived nearby and funded Withnail & I, a film that guided my life and morals for decades.

GB, I've always had some mysterious respect for Yoko, and that would explain why. Always a sucker for antiquated tyrants, me. I misheard New Order's "Do you believe in a land of love?" as "Do you believe in the Lamb of God?", which struck me as a bit Popish for a bunch of Mancunians.

GadjoDilo said...

Eek! Maybe that opening line was "Help! I, Yoko Ono, have temporarily become disembodied and trapped inside the mind of (Sir) Paul McCartney MBE; liberate us both and you liberate both art and the whole of southwestern Scotland!", when played backwards.

Yeah, George Harrison was the nicest, and could play George Formby songs (to which he owned the rights, I believe) on a ukelele. Respect.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Yep. That lennonmurdertruth guy is one funny bugger. I have also discovered his place recently, and my apologies, but I have to say ROTFLMAO.

Stephen King, besides, must be a closet Joo - look at the glasses and funny teeth...

M C Ward said...

I thought Macca'd gone all Phoenician on us - "Mother's in Tyre". The Frog Chorus is the most convincing he's been since "Say, Say, Say" with Jacko. Selecta!

No Good Boyo said...

mc, I can believe you've overlooked the seminal "The Girl is Mine". Word.

Snoopy, King has the glasses and teeth, but that nose is going nowhere fast. He seems fond of Dybbuks, though, and The Shining would make a good musical. Mandy Patinkin as Johnny, I'm thinking.

Mary Witzl said...

I never bought Wings either! Never mind that it was only because I was skint at the time; I'm still proud.