A Different Perspective
Paul McCartney has celebrated his 63rd birthday in a good hour, and I wish him until 120. It's amazing to see that he's still on the concert tour and seems to be enjoying his work. He's truly an artist with a passion. I had the privledge of being Paul's "neighbor" in Tucson, AZ many years ago. We didn't actually live in the same neighborhood, but on the same side of town and both of us lived close enough to the big supermarket on the east side of town so that it wasn't unusual to see Paul on a Sunday morning with a carton of milk in the express line. Even back then he was enough of a legend that the younger people didn't recognize him, and those of us who remembered the Fab Four in their heyday were probably still too much in awe or simply wanted to respect his privacy. I have to admit that I fell into both of the latter categories. Seeing Paul in line, even in my early 30's, still brought back the feeling of wonder and magic of the early 60's--wish we could bottle the euphoria of those times!
I wonder though. Did we really witness and take part in a cultural phenomenon when the Beatles hit the American scene in the early 60's? Or do I Iook back on this time with such incredible excitement simply because I was the right age at the right time? Of course the world has completely turned topsy turvey since the early 60's. England was "a lot farther away" back then than it is now. When news of Kennedy's assassination reached England in "only 30 minutes", everyone was amazed. Now that I've been living overseas for almost 15 years, this fact has really struck me. It's not unusual to get an email from someone back home asking me about news over here that I haven't even heard yet. So, putting things into this perspective makes one understand how four long haired fellows from England's appearance on Ed Sullivan one Sunday evening was indeed the beginning of an era, so to speak.
With all that said, on to the future--which is now our present. John Lennon is still my favorite Beatle. In spite of the fact that he's been gone almost 25 years, the sadness of his brutal murder and untimely death occasionally pops up into my consciousness. Does anyone else out there in cyber space ever experience flashbacks of his sometimes snide and outrageous remarks as well as his super idealistic and all too often misunderstood ones? Remember all the uproar from his song "Imagine"?--"…Imagine there's no religion…" Boy, did that line ever set some folks on fire! I didn't realize that a lot of people hadn't read between the lines, and naively mentioned to someone what a neat song "Imagine" was--almost got myself lynched. And of course there was the "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" fiasco. John's beautiful imagery of his son's imagination (Tangerine Trees, Marmelade Skys, Kaleidescope Eyes...) was seen by so many as a plug for the drug culture--really sad. But the real sleeper of it all is John's song, "Working Class Hero". As far as I can remember, there was never any comment or controversy whatsoever on this one. If there were, I completely missed it or was still too naïve to understand. Whichever the case, all of us Lennon fans have experienced enough by now to appreciate the line,
"They hate you if you're clever and they despise a fool."
Ever try to tactfully tell your boss he's wrong?
And the line that really gets me,
" And you think you're so clever and class less and free
But you're still f@#*%ng peasants as far as I can see ".
What's globalization if not global feudalism?
How did one of the most successful young men in recent history so succinctly express the facts of life for so many working people--throughout the world's history? Yes, forty seems frightfully young to me now. And when I think of the depth of John's work during his short time on this earth, well, maybe that's why he didn't need a long life.