I Can’t Remember If We Said Goodbye

Friday 29th June

I know you’ll be surprised, shocked even, to receive this letter Jane, but though it was only two days ago, I really can’t remember if we said goodbye.  I left in a terrible mood.  I’d just had the usual row with those two imposters who call themselves our parents.  Though, as you must know Jane, it was always just us; the two of us, Jane and Harriet.  The two of us against the World.  Our parents were so useless; or wrapped up in their own lives that they gave us maybe too much space, too much freedom.

But Jane, we always had each other, didn’t we?  We were always there for each other Jane.  And we will be again soon.  I promise.

I know that we have grown slightly apart since I went to University, shit-hole that it is, but I have always cared about you.  Remember what I used to say when we were little girls. “Jane, I am your guardian angel.  You cannot always see me, but I am there, hovering in the sky and looking down on you, protecting you, watching out for you wherever you go.”  And I meant it then and I mean it even more now.  I will always be there for you.

I am writing this on the train back to London, and by the time you read it I will be starting my new life.  But not in University.  I am packing all that crap in.  I have had enough.  Oh, don’t worry – I have some money.  That was why I came back today when none of you expected me.  I sneaked back into the house while you were all out, picked up a few clothes and my Post-Office savings book – you know the one with all the stamps of Prince Charles in.  Well, it is over £500 actually.  I used to often count it up when Dad was out of the house and secretly plan how I would spend it.  I am packing up this stupid course at Uni.  I mean, History….durgh!!!  Why on earth did I choose, or allow my teachers to choose, History for me?  I simply have to start living, little Sis.  I can’t do this crap any more.  I am in the centre of swinging London, it is 1968 after all. And yet I have seen nothing. These stupid rules in the Halls of Residence.  There are all-nighters at this club in Soho called the Enchanted Garden, where bands play till dawn.  I’ve never been, of course, but I’ve heard.  And, by the way, they have the best dope there too, not like the rubbish we had in Suffolk.  Jane, I am nineteen and I haven’t lived yet.  I’m going to get a job and start living.

Sitting on this train looking out of the window; the factories and the fields and the stupid little houses with neat little gardens.  That isn’t for me.  My God, what short-sighted lives they lead.  As I pass the familiar buildings, the train building up a little speed, the railway footbridge where we used to watch the few remaining steam trains chuffing underneath, drenching us in hot sticky smoke, past the streets and houses huddled so close to the railway line, as if they were too scared to breathe, the very streets we  tramped round as kids, it only seems days ago when it was years really, past the old iron foundry where they make the lawnmowers now, past the paint factory and the fertilizer plant with the big blue and orange drums of chemicals stacked up in rows, past the nursery greenhouses all mildewed and yellow glass, and then the fields with the cows chewing the cud and staring up at me and the train whooshing by, their tails swishing at flies on their rumps, past the little copses where we, little Jane and her big sister Harriet, used to take our picnic basket when the sun seemed to shine all day, past the little farms and outhouses, the very barns where we played when our Mum took us fruit picking, the tiny lives lived out here with such narrow horizons, such dark and dismal skies, such limited imaginations, such tiny ambitions, to live and die here in these little houses, to be born and die in the same place, never having lived your life to the full, never having done anything, never achieving your potential, never realizing you had potential to achieve even.  No, not for me, this country life, getting married to your childhood boyfriend, the first boy who kisses you, the boy from the same village, the same school, who knows your parents, who is probably even related to you a couple of generations back, to get yourself stupidly pregnant, to have to get married, to bring up your snotty-nosed kids in these same stupid houses, wiping the shit off their arses until you have the next one, and the next one, and you become fat with flabby arms and legs like tree-trunks and stop enjoying sex because it is always the same and worse still – the same man, until you are there crying at your daughter’s wedding as she too marries a local boy and is probably already up the duff herself and you watch as she has your grandchildren and they grow up in the same little houses and mean streets and none of them will ever do anything with their pathetic little lives at all.  No, Jane, I am different.  I am better than that.  I am going to be someone. I am not like them, these ordinary people, I am different.

But Jane.  I haven’t forgotten you.  No, I will never do that.  Listen – this is my plan.  I’m going to get a flat, or maybe just a room to start with.  And then a job.  Anything will do to begin with, a waitress or a shop girl.  I’ll try all the boutiques in Carnaby Street and the Kings Road.  Maybe I’ll become a model – or join a band.  I could always sing; the best in the school choir, wasn’t I?  And I’m going to see all the new groups and go to parties and meet all the best people.  I can do it Jane, I know I can. But I will come back for you Jane; I promise.  Once I get myself together, you know.

Hey Sis, you remember that song by The Beatles – “She’s leaving Home.”  I always thought it was me they were singing about – though sod the man from the motor trade – I don’t need any man at all.  Well, maybe one for laughs or to go to parties with.

Truth is, though Jane, I am scared.  It is a huge decision; I’ve been thinking about it for ages though – this isn’t just some impulsive thing.  I am scared of the future, of maybe not being famous, of not being someone, or of screwing things up in some way.  Mostly though I am scared of failing, of returning home with my tail between my legs, like some lame animal, begging our parents to take me back.  No.  That isn’t going to happen.  But I am gonna come back for you Jane.  We were always together, weren’t we?  At parties, at Youth Club, we were inseparable – The Wilkinson girls.  I will come back for you Jane.  And if you dare, you can come and live with me in my groovy flat in London.

But I am so sorry it has to be like this Jane.  A stupid letter, when I should have told you face to face. It’s just that I thought you might not understand, you might have tried to stop me, to make me see sense – as you would say.  You were always the sensible one with her feet on the ground while I was flying miles above you.  And so, I didn’t tell you, did I?  And I can’t even remember if we said goodbye.  I think I just called out ‘See you’ or something like that.   But that doesn’t really mean anything, does it?

Oh God, I’ve smudged this letter now.  It must have been a few drops of this glass of water and the train jolting and that.  But you know that’s not true don’t you Jane.  I am crying.  Here I am, your big sister Harriet blubbing like a baby.  I’m crying for the times we had, the love we felt for each other.  I’m crying for you Jane, and I’m crying for me Harriet.  I’m crying for us both you see, Jane. That’s why I didn’t say goodbye. Cos’ I would have burst out crying and that would have started you off, and then I might not have had the courage to go through with it, after all.

Anyway, the train’s pulling into Liverpool Street.  I’m gonna stuff this letter in the envelope, it’s already written and stamped and I’m gonna shove it in the first letter box I can find.  Love you Jane.

Don’t forget me….your big sister, Harriet.

 

My Record Collection 28

Tuesday 26th June

The Beatles – continued (Life After Death)

But, of course this wasn’t the END of Beatles records.  As early as 1973 the RED and the BLUE albums were released.  These were greatest hits and I have never bought them.  Live at the Hollywood Bowl came out in ’76.  I did buy it and have it now on CD.   It is an interesting record of their live touring years.  The songs are short but there is notable excitement from fans and the band.  Rarities came out in 1978 and I bought it, it has a few weird tracks on it, mostly ‘B’ sides and a couple of German singles, a nice acoustic version of ‘Across the Universe’ and their weirdest song ‘You know my Name, Look up the Number’.  Past Masters, a double came out in the late 80’s, it has a few EP tracks and ‘B’ sides.  Also many of the singles which were never on albums which are good to listen to; for years that was the only stuff I really knew.  Interesting, but as with most compilations it doesn’t really hang together as an album.  But we were desperate for anything we might have missed or forgotten,; nice to hear the old singles again too.  It sold well and maybe prompted a renewed interest in The Beatles.  John had been shot in 1979, George had stopped recording and Paul was resurrecting Beatles songs in his live concerts.

In 1994 the long awaited Beatles At The BBC emerged.  I can remember catching the odd Beatles at the Beeb, or Saturday Club featuring the Fab Four.   Brian was very clever at getting them on the BBC in the early days; they were almost the house band.  In fact, they were on air so often that they couldn’t simply sing their singles or album tracks.  We suddenly had a cornucopia of covers which the boys would have learnt in Hamburg and Liverpool.  Lots of Chuck Berry and surprisingly a lot of ‘light entertainment’ slower songs.  Paul always did seem to hanker after that ‘music hall’ style.  But all in all a really nice addition, a quality almost ‘live’ recording of their first few years.

Then came the Anthology series, on ITV if I remember.  A (final?) trawling through their past.  The three double CDs accompanying the TV series contained many early takes of their songs.  Again an interesting archaeological find, but not my favourite records.  I wouldn’t discard them, of course, but compared to the final LP versions these takes show just how much work George Martin must have done with the group to get the final versions down on tape.  But good to listen to occasionally I must admit, especially the very early stuff before they had a real record contract.  I will look out for the DVDs one day soon; still trawling through the films – Help is up next.

Then we had 1  All the singles which reached Number 1 in the UK or America.  Again as a completist I had to have it, but no surprises on it at all.  Nice to listen to though, you can really appreciate their progress.

Next up was Yellow Submarine Songtrack; all the Beatles song from the film.  Okay, it was a blatant trap to make you buy stuff you already had – so what – I bought it of course.  Then came Let It Be Naked  – in 2003.  Paul had always been unhappy with Phil Spector’s production and he had the original, un Spectorised, tapes cleaned up and re-issued, now including ‘Don’t Bring me Down’. Okay, it is pelasant, but if push comes to shove I prefer the original…and at 35 minutes and no extras a bit short on content.

 

2006 saw what may actually be the very best Beatles compilation of all – Love.  Le Cirque de Soleil asked the remaining Beatles if they could do a whole show based on The Beatles.  Permission was granted and George Mattin and his son Giles remixed and mashed up a whole cornucopia of Beatles songs, some just short excerpts, many sequeed and combined.  It is absolutely brilliant, and almost stand up with the originals.  Well worth a listen.

Then in 2011 another tranche of BBC radio recordings.  Quite good, but how many of these do we really need.  Ask me, after I have bought every one of them.  A whole load of early recordings have appeared lately under various labels as copyright expires.  I will probably get around to buying them all one day.  I Saw Her Standing There is the one I have bought, and it is quite good, early Tony Sheridan recordings and a few songs not on any other compilations….but I am sure my Beatles Collection will continue to increase.  Apparently there is planty of Life after Death.

Anthology 1

 

Heathrow Airport Expansion

Monday 25th June

I have no doubt that Heathrow will get it’s third runway.  The Government has had committees and reports galore; we have been talking about it for decades and now there will be a vote which WILL give the go-ahead for Heathrow to expand.

I do not live close to any of the airports considered so have no vested interest – but it does seem a shame that the plans for Heathrow will mean about a hundred houses demolished.  And even more congestion on the roads of West London which are almost at gridlock much of the time now.

We are actually victims of a history of non-planning; airports have simply expanded with little thought for the future.  In reality the best solution would probably have been Boris Island; a completely new airport with at least 5 runways on an artificial island in the Thames Estuary.  But that was always considered too expensive, with new roads and rail links needed.  Anyway, as usual a fudge will be agreed – and in all probability we will be talking about increasing airport runways again in a few years time.

It does seem incredible but the UK does seem incapable of making big infrastructure decisions.  There is a large degree of NIMBYism, but we always seem scared of the costs involved, even though the fudges may cost far more in the long run.  Also, because Political parties are far more concerned with getting re-elected than doing the right thing, politicians struggle to think beyond five years.  So, we bumble along.  Heathrow will get its third runway, there will be chaos for years and by 2030 we will be once again talking about the need for airport expansion – Brexit, or no Brexit.

Come On England !!!

Sunday 24th June

 I have been holding back from writing about the football.  And holding back from dreaming of an England success; and of course, none of us dare dream of Ultimate Victory.  All we really want is for our team to play well and progress – just a bit further than we have done lately.  And so far, so good.  1 game played and 1 game won, which is an unusual start for us.  But next up is Panama; Belgium made them look pretty poor – but then they made Tunisia look poor too, where we struggled at times against them.  And this is the real problem with England.

We used to be great, world beaters in every Sport, and now we struggle; and the biggest struggle is with ourselves.  I can remember a World Cup game against Brazil; we got an early goal, but almost everyone watching (and playing) could barely dream of winning the game.  Brazil just seemed to shrug the goal off and carried on, knowing that they would win the game.  Brazil equalised….Oh no.  Every England fan knew we would lose.  We lost.

And so it is with our country.  We have dared to believe that we could make a success of Brexit (well of course, I didn’t), and yet we know deep down that it will be a disaster.  And in our negotiations with the EU we are hopelessly defensive, threatening own goals and fearful of red cards, holding back until the last moment before time runs out and the final weekend of talks, our very own penalty shoot-out.

And we appear to have no strategy at all, certainly no manager and a very poor back-up team.  Do we stick to our (popular but unrealistic) red lines?  Do we do the sensible thing and go for a score draw, shaking hands and walking off together with a deal in the bag?  Or do we pick up the ball and petulantly walk off the pitch claiming that as we invented the game we will have our ball back and play in our own quite small backyard?  And all the while we know that we won’t win the darned thing, we are simply not strong enough – and yet too stubborn to admit we were wrong in the first place.   Come on England – show some leadership.

Image result for images of harry kane

A Woman’s Work Is Never Done

Wednesday 20th June

That’s why a Man has to finish it

Hahaha….And in great danger of being crucified by the fairer sex I will expand my theory.   Having lived with four or five specimens of womanhood, which I admit is by no means a comprehensive sample, I have discovered certain traits of behaviour common to them.  Namely that identifying a task (more often one for their partner than themselves) they do rather bang on about it, stating their intention time and again to do it.  They usually start some days later – as if repeating the thing is akin to actually doing it.  Likewise, at work they are very fond of having a meeting to decide to do something, often detailing at tedious length the requirements – but come next week’s meeting (why are we having this, I enquire – oh yes, to report on fact that the agreed task remains uncompleted), and it is immediately added to next week’s agenda.

And when a task is begun it is rarely actually finished…”I’ll just leave that till tomorrow”  or, “Well, I have made a start” we hear all too often.  If gardening there is no more dangerous sight than a woman with secateurs in her hands, as a large pile of thorny cuttings is strewn on the path and lawn – but, who is left to clear them up and bag and dispose of them (which takes longer than the pruning ever did).  Yes, you guessed correctly…and to put away the secateurs left in the rain too.  Ironing, if ever attempted, is another rarely completed task – about the half the ironing pile will be neatly folded (for someone else to put away) while the ironing basket is rapidly shuffled (still half-full) out of sight. (one partner used to have the whole bed in the spare bedroom as her ironing pile, simply rummaging each morning to drag out a skirt and blouse to iron before work…)

Not that we men really mind finishing off jobs, though always being the one to empty the dishwasher when the last plate has been used does get a bit annoying.

But, for all their minor faults, we men do love you women – even if only because it gives us a chance to moan about you….hahaha

 

The Anticlimax of it All

Friday 15th June

Brexit has been, and still promises to be, a tortuous process.  And yet it still rumbles on, blundering blindly across the Political Landscape, apparently unstoppable and yet still deliberately uncertain of its path.  Sometimes it seems as if nothing will stop it rolling right off the cliff-edge, at others it appears to be slowing and approaching at least a manageable path.  And yet, still it rumbles on.

And of course, will continue to trundle for many years to come, long past the actual Brexit Date, way further than the transition period, and will be used as justification or recrimination for a generation to come.

Last week was supposed to have been one of those weeks when the course of Brexit might possibly be altered; when at last some sense might have been injected into the negotiations.  And my, what negotiations we are having.  Ostensibly the real negotiation is supposed to be happening in Brussels between David Davis and Michel Barnier, and teams of advisors too.  But there is little discussion going on at the moment, in fact there is a deafening silence roaring across the channel interspersed only by the constant ticking of the clock.  As far as anyone can tell they are still refining and re-defining (and wining and dining no doubt) the (sort of) agreement they reached back in December of last year.  Now that had taken nine months of tedious argument and obfuscation only for Theresa May to agree to almost everything the EU demanded.  But since then backsliding has been the modus operandi, and we are no further forward.  By far the most important part of the whole discussion is our future trading relationship with Europe.   And we still do not know what that will be, or even what our Government wants it to be.  Except the impossible quest of no barriers and yet no Customs Union either. Dream on.

But the real negotiation is within the Tory Party itself, and of course within the Cabinet.  Last week before the ‘crucial votes’ we had the unedifying spectacle of the Prime Minister begging three Brexiteer Cabinet Ministers not to resign, followed a day later by her promising rebel Remain Tories that she was listening and would accommodate their views into the negotiations as well.  These last ditch attempts to stave off her own demise have simply kicked the can further down a road we still have no idea where it is heading.

And there is a sense of anti-climax; will this wretched process ever be resolved?  We are like the Grand Old Duke’s foot-soldiers, constantly being marched up the hill only to stumble bewildered down as the cannons continue to roar, nobody sure who is winning – only the death-knell boom of a ticking clock resounding ever louder…

 

My Record Collection 27

Monday 11th June

The Beatles – continued

Well, 1969 was a pretty crazy time for The Beatles.  Their hastily created company (to replace Brian) Apple was in chaos, as they were really.  Desperate to get the band (which had stopped touring two years earlier) active, Paul suggested a film of them rehearsing their next album, with the idea of a concert at the end.  But the film only served to expose their bickering and differences, with George even walking out at one point.  The film eventually came out but the songs recorded in a different studio and with, (John’s choice) Phil Spector, in the producer’s chair became the album Let It Be.  This was released in 1970 after the band had actually broken up, so I am reviewing it in this order.  It was in fact the first album of theirs I actually bought, begging and borrowing and taping some of their earlier records.  When I finally got a record deck of my own (after a few disasters, the birth of my son and my marriage breaking up) this was one of my first purchases.  Then I worked backwards. Anyway the record is quite good; the songs are good anyway.  Paul had the classic title songs and ‘The Long and Winding Road’, George wrote ‘For You Blue’ and John had ‘Across the Universe’.  But listening now it still feels unfinished somehow.  Paul apparently hated Spector’s production, and one cannot help but wonder what it would have sounded like if George Martin had produced it.  But anyway, it is what it is. My favourite bit is John saying ‘And I hope we passed the audition’ right at the end.’  12 songs and only 35 minutes long.  Many years later Paul arranged for the album to be re-produced (see Let It Be Naked later).

Abbey Road was recorded in 1969, the last record they would record together.  It came out before Let it be because nobody was really happy with either the film or that album.  It was a return to brilliance, not that they had ever strayed that far away.  It is many fans favourite.  I do like it, but am slightly embaressed by ‘Maxwell’ and ‘Octopus’.  It is side 2 that was the gem.  After the brilliant George composition ‘Here Come The Sun’. we have a few short songs, some mere snippets (maybe left over from the White album) but they are segued together as almost one continuous song cycle climaxing with the superb ‘Golden Slumbers’.  The two codas, (if you can have two) ‘The End’ and ‘Her Majesty’ made many think that they knew this would be their last record.  But they all later insisted that though the recording had been sporadic and fractious it was only a week before the album’s release that John finally confirmed that he was leaving.  The other three immediately decided to break up the band too.  Mind you at 45 minutes they had exceeded any of their earlier discs.  But in a way this worked to their advantage.  Sometimes you do feel you are wading through albums as they approach 80 minutes in length nowadays.

Abbey Road by The Beatles (2009-09-09)

My Record Collection 26

Thursday 7th June

The Beatles – continued

The film and EP – Magical Mystery Tour came out in late 1967.  But it was a few years later when it became available on an album .  The 1976 album had the film songs on side 1 and five other ‘hits’ on the B side; Hello Goodbye, Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields and All You Need is Love – and the best track on the whole album was originally a B side ‘Baby You’re A Rich Man’.   A nice addition to the collection.

Brian, their manager had agreed (before he died) for a Beatles cartoon film to be made.  The Beatles were barely involved at all.  But a great film emerged.  The boys had to write a handful of new songs for the film, and they made a cameo appearance in it.  The album of the Soundtrack came out in 1968.  Yellow Submarine (39 minutes)– the album opened with the title song from Revolver.  The new songs are great – ‘Only a Northern Song’, ‘the snippet ‘All Together Now’, ‘Hey Bulldog’ and ‘It’s All Too Much’.  Although maybe hurriedly written, they provide a nice post Pepper coda to their completely psychedelic period.  But turning the album over is the real treasure; George Martin was asked to write some instrumental music for a few of the films sequences.  And he did a brilliant job.  I really love this stuff, but I suspect that many ‘fans’ simply played side 1.  This record actually came out in January 1969 but the songs were written in early ’68 before recording started for another Masterpiece.

In 1999 Yellow Submarine Songtrack was released.  This features ALL the songs in the film.  A nice collection, but most fans like me already had every song on it.  Not that that stopped me buying it of course….hahaha.

But back in real time The Beatles had a problem – how to follow Sgt. Peppper.  It had been so lauded, so feted that it would be almost impossible to duplicate.  So, they didn’t.  Instead they simply gave themselves the space and recording time to produce what I think is one of their best records.  Simply titled The Beatles, it became known as The White Album, a double albumIt seemed that anything goes, and yet in a way they also managed to return to the band they originally were.   There are plenty of rockers; ‘Why Don’t We So It In The Road’, ‘Birthday’ and ‘Back in The USSR’.  There were ballads ‘Mother Nature’s Son’, ‘Blackbird’ and ‘Julia’.  There were weirder songs ‘Glass Onion’ and ‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun’.  And there were some silly songs which somehow worked too; ‘Ooh Bla Di, Ooh Bla Da’ and ‘Rocky Racoon’.  There was great songs from George – by now at least an equal to John and Paul; ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ and ‘Piggies’.  And there was Revolution No. 9 of course.  I cannot really say which are my favourite songs, they all seem brilliant, even after all these years.  I think it is probably my very favourite Beatles Album.  But then again when I am listening to one of the others I find I usually like that one best, but if I had to choose…..but then why would you when you can have them all.  A double album and still only 78 minutes long, the length of many CDs these days.

Magical Mystery Tour album artwork

Teachers

Wednesday 6th June

Teachers…we all remember teachers, don’t we?  The Good, the Bad and the downright Useless.  When I had my sole interview (5 minutes max) with a careers advisor, she said “Go to University, get a degree – and if all else fails, you can always become a teacher.”  As if that was simply a fall-back, not an aspiration.  And guess what? Many of my classmates did just that and became teachers.

And teaching is still almost a despised career, it is not what most kids want to be when they grow up.  Maybe, simply because they disliked or fell out with their teachers.  And yet we need good teachers more than ever.  Our children are our future, and we need them to be taught well, not just stuffed full of facts (as we were) or sat in front of a computer screen.

Funnily enough though, despite 13 weeks holiday a year many teachers seem unhappy, they leave the profession in droves and complain of the long hours and the pressures of the job.  In fact, talking to an ex-teacher recently I related a conversation I had heard on LBC a few years ago.  It was a phone-in about teaching and teacher after teacher phoned in complaining how hard the job was.  Then a call came through “I agree with every caller so far.  I used to be a teacher and left for a job in Private Industry – and guess what?  It was just the same, same pressure, same long hours – but only 4 weeks holiday a year.”  To which the ex-teacher I was talking to said “Yes, but we needed 13 weeks off a year.”

To which the answer obviously is “Don’t we ALL.”

Yes, teachers are underappreciated, but rather than despise them for their long holidays we should be fighting foe longer holidays for all of us. Especially with the new revolution in AI and robotics we should all have far more time NOT working.  Three-day week anyone?

My Record Collection 25

Tuesday 5th June

The Beatles – continued

But the real revelation, the turning point proper was their sole 1966 release (unless you count their first Hits Compilation {a collection of Beatles Oldies} which came out in time for the Christmas market and featured a few singles and EP tracks).  REVOLVER.  A clever title and a brilliant cover drawing by Klaus Voorman (who played bass with them in Hamburg all those years ago).  In many ways this is a better record than Sgt. Pepper, which was hailed at the time as the greatest ever.  It starts with a rocker from George ‘Taxman’ – a cynical view of the then very high Supertax in Britain.  Then comes the brilliance of ‘Eleanor Rigby’ from Paul – a departure if ever there was one from the typical love-song.  Next we have John’s fabulous ‘I’m Only Sleeping’ with its heavily echoed vocal and world-weary deliver.  The boys had discovered tape loops, where they kept over taping producing weird sounds that replayed time and again.  And they were expanding not only their minds but their musical palette.  With George Martin’s help they were dabbling their way through the entire orchestra.  But you have to keep coming back to the brilliance of the songs themselves – ‘Here, There and Everywhere’ a remarkably wise ballad; ‘Good Day Sunshine’, which is just so joyful; ‘For No One’, the saddest of songs – and ‘Got To Get You Into My Life’ to bring you back up again.  But what about John’s ‘She Said’ and ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’?  They may be drug-influenced, but they are still brilliant forays into the surreal.  All in all, simply a Masterpiece.  And they were still remarkably using the 14 song, 34 minute formula as on their earlier purely ‘POP’ albums.

And then came Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band; and nothing would ever be the same again.  I first heard this one Sunday afternoon in ’67, when Kenny Everett played the whole thing on Radio London (I think it was).  I was bowled over… we all were.  No-one had ever heard anything like it.  It was (at the time) revolutionary, a tour de force, a psychedelic dream, a cacophony of sound.  Now, looking back it is (although I know it back to front) a bit dated, a quaint little curiosity of a year when we all went a little bit mad.  The Beatles had stunned us with the single ‘All you Need Is Love’ (not on the album) which they sang live at the beginning of Eurovison.  Then again the sheer brilliance of ‘Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields’ (again not on the album. Where would they go next?  The sky was not even the limit.  But Sgt. Pepper will always remain as THE album of the Summer of Love.  Not a bad song on it – 13 songs and 39 minutes (they were really stretching themselves), and your immediate reaction was to turn the album over and play it again.  Favourite song – all of them really (it is all of  piece) but the stand-out track was ‘A Day In The Life’.  Nothing ever like it before or since.  Incidentally the track ‘She’s Leaving Home’ was a trigger for my leaving home the following year – not that I can blame The Beatles in any way at all.

Revolver album artwork