The Beatles, Abbey Road studios, 1964. Photograph by Terry O'Neill.

The Beatles, Abbey Road studios, 1964. Photograph by Terry O’Neill.

I was a bit of a late starter with the Beatles. I got into them ten years after they’d stopped working together as a band. It was like shopping for clothes at Kensington Market in 1981, because that’s the only place where you could find classic items and that’s what it is with the Beatles – some of the greatest designs ever made. I was too busy surfing the waves of youth culture during my teenage years to discover them, but like cherished corduroy jackets with exactly the right sleeve lengths, lapel size and pigmentation, I got into the Beatles and now rarely take them off.

I can talk about them for hours, but it’s when they catch you out driving with gems like ‘Michelle’ and the sun’s shining and it’s spring and there’s bird song coming in through the window, it can set you alight again like your first time. Of course, it’s only one of many sublime songs, but it’s also the captured period of recording and culture that I see as completely unrepeatable. We can hear great live versions of those songs, but the recordings are simply magical. Ethereal. Almost otherworldly, like this stuff was being beamed down to them from other stars, galaxies and black holes. Maybe the Beatles wore black polo necks because they actually came through black holes. Maybe we all come from black holes, but that’s another blog.

It may be because I’m in creative mode at present – writing and recording new songs – that my antennae are picking up on melodies like an ant coming in through the bathroom window (which happened to our lounge windowsill lately). We gave them lemon juice, but they seemed to like it, so we warned them that they could be sent to the light, as this windowsill is very important for eating next to and generally feeling good about sitting in front of. They got the message and some coffee granules and even a strong ticking off and now the window is clear. Beetles are welcome, Byrds, Beach Boys, Bee Gees, Billy Joel, Blur, Beechwood Sparks, Burt Bacharach, Belle & Sebastian, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Beautiful South, Ben Folds Five, Bernie Taupin, Tony Bennett, Berlin Symphony Orchestra, Norman Blake, Blondie, Bobby Darin, The Blockheads, Boston Symphony Orchestra, David Bowie, Breeders, Broadcast, James Brown, Bronski Beat, Finn Brothers (ha!), Sam Browne, Jeff Buckley, Buddy Holly, Kate Bush, David Byrne, Gary Burton, and last but not least the very, very wonderful Bellamy Brothers. Most bands beginning with B are welcome, but things beginning with A, I need to investigate. In the Meantime, there’s no ants in the carpet (dirty little monsters) and the writing and recording is going great, thanks to all artists beginning with letters.

I have a feeling cinnamon is going to influence these new recordings in some small way, but that’s because I’ve just eaten a small cinnamon & walnut cupcake. Is cupcake a band? I wonder how many bands beginning with C appeal to these taste buds. Anyway, back to the Beatles. Great band. I love bands. I love towns and I love bands. I love this universe and even though it’s bonkers, I’d like to smack its little bottom as it gets on the coach for the next pop concert.

Nick

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