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:
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.