It’s a Tuesday morning in Autumn 1990, and I’ve decided, on a whim, to fly to London. Standing with my shoulder bag in Hyde Park near the B & B I’ve chosen to make home for a few days, selling newspapers to passersby because the man needs to pee and he trusts Canadian girls, I have the sensation of having travelled across some universe into a world both old and new to me.
I’m in the library at the British Museum, my fingers on the glass that protect the words I know so well, every last one. There they are, John and Paul’s scribbles of lyrics that in some real way had defined my entrance into that vast, frightening, exciting, life-altering hole between childhood and – well, you know. And with my first pay-check two weeks after my sixteenth birthday, I had purchased my first guitar, the same Dégas I still have and love today. I sit myself cross legged before my brother, where he is playing his Yamaha on the old wooden floorboards of our attic hide-away and say simply, Teach me. He does.
When I can’t sleep at night –which is often-- I never resort to counting sheep. Instead, I sing. I go through every Beatles song I can remember. There are so many, I never get through them all before sleep.
I come late to “Across the Universe”, the anniversary Beatles celebration musical. That’s okay; I knew I would love it when I got around to it. Even so, it has left me a bit breathless, recalling as I listen, what wonderful words these two wrote. This is why we still pay homage to them, isn’t it? It isn’t the C – G -- D combinations, though simplicity gives room to creativity, in my opinion. I have sung Beatles songs in any number of ways, whether in the bathroom or on stage. Only simplicity of notes can allow for singing the same songs in such varying melodies by so many over the years. But it’s their words that make these songs live on. Considering the vast array of candy they/we were all tripping on back then, John and Paul managed to provide us with insightful, meaningful lyrics. Poems put to melody.
Come May 1st, I will be taking part in a month of poetry alongside truly talented poets, artists who will keep me humble. But I’m willing and wanting to take part in this gathering of words, and though songs & poetry are not one and the same (though I dare you to take it up with Cohen), I've decided to take The Beatles along for the ride. They're in my well...
To all you Beatles fans, lovers of music & motion, lovers of words & stories; to those of you who recall the American promise to learn from history, to those of you who find true meaning in this photo; and to you, who dared individualism in a time when it wasn’t fashionable to have an opinion, I send out two thumbs up for ‘Across the Universe’.
Jai Guru De Va Om .........Nothing's gonna change my world