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Down Memory Lane

BeatlesWe went up to Sani Pass in the Drakensberg for the weekend, about 7 hours out of Johburg. Leaving the village at the bottom of the Pass on the way home we were all happy and chatting and we had a good time, so out comes the CD’s and the car player is turned up full volume for a singalong. I am relaxing while weaving through the valley of a thousand hills. And the next CD is The Beatles … but guess what … !? The little one is singing along! I can’t believe this! The Beatles were famous nearly 40 years before she was born, and she knows all of their songs! Word for word!

And then a strange, very weird thing happened to me. Subtly I became aware that there was something else happening. I am not a “words” person, but singing with the little one it was as if the words of the songs became a story: The story of me falling in love, my happy marriage, the doubts and the separation and eventually the breakup. Step by step, word for word I was taken on a magic journey. I slipped into a quiet corner with my own thoughts and started listening to the words. And here is my love story as told by The Beatles. P.S. the songs are listed in the cover sequence which may differ slightly from their sequence in my real life. P.P.S. the text below is WORK IN PROGRESS and will be updated over the next few days.

1 “Love Me Do”. (Oct 1962 / 1992 – “someone to love, somebody new, someone like you“) (Their first attempt at a blues song and in the early style.) The first time I saw her was in the Main Str 3rd floor foyer after a presentation. She was wearing a blue dress and had big glasses and long wavy hair. Very aware of her and that she might be the one, but she doesn’t know about me. Will she like me?

2 “From Me To You”. (March 1963 / 1992 – “I’ve got everything that you want … I’ve got arms that long to hold you“) (Written seemingly by chance on a bus to a gig.) She unexpectedly (by chance – get it?) exits the lift in Rosebank, she smells incredible, and my knees are wobbling. Its like somebody punched me in the wind. I approach her and tell her a small man on my shoulder whispered in my ear that I should look at her and notice how pretty her green eyes are. They are.

3 “She Loves You”. (Apr 1963 / 1993 – “She loves you! Its you she’s thinking of and you know that can’t be bad“) (A message song.) Our first dinner date in the Rosebank Mall restaurant, I pull her into a shop entrance and I get my first kiss. Sigh. Those green eyes mesmerise me. The message she is sending is clear though – she loves me.

4 “I want To Hold Your Hand”. (October 1963 / 1994 – “And when I touch you I feel happy, inside. It´s such a feeling That my love I can’t hide“) (Breaking into US market.) Regular coffees at Spur in Rosebank, so cozy, exciting, happy, my world ends at her smile. We do regular lunches too. The relationship is breaking into the big world of exclusivity and maybe permanency.

5 “Can’t Buy Me Love”. (Feb 1964 / 1994 “I don’t care too much for money Money can’t buy me love“)  (Created on a Grand Piano.) Total immersion and dedication to relationship, with warm Rosebank fireplace evenings in winter. Nothing else matters in my life.

6 “A Hard Days Night”. (April 1964 / 1995 – “but when I get home to you, you make me feel all right“)  (A malapropism for their first film.) Parktown North. Always walks me to my car with her slippers and gown to say goodbye when I leave for work, a malapropism for a girl who always dresses immaculately when she goes out. It is so cuties.

7 “I Feel Fine”. (October 1964 / 1996 – “Baby says she’s mine, you know She tells me all the time, you know She said so“)  (getting in tune with their middle phase) Work is going well, love is going well. Everything in my life is in tune in the middle period. Heaven.

8 “Eight Days A Week”. (October 1964 / 1996 – “Hold me, love me, I ain’t got nothing but love“) (working hard on the next film) Making plans to move in together. Eight days a week is not enough to love her.

9 “Ticket To Ride”. (February 1965 / 1997 – “I think I’m gonna be sad … for she would never be free … when I was around“) (their middle period) Vaguely aware of possible issues but ignoring it.

10 “Help!”. (April 1965 / 1998 – “I know that I just need you like, I’ve never done before“) (a personal song for John) Seems like the insecurities are gone. Who needs help!?!?

11 “Yesterday”. (June 1965 / 2008 – “Yesterday love was such an easy game to play“) (scrambled eggs, sudden vision) Reading the history of the Beatles song, it feels very similar. We were seen by other people as an exceptionally happy couple, why did she have to go?

12 “Day Tripper”. (October 1965 / 25 August 2008 – “ … it took me so long to find out, and I found out“) (John and Paul quickly created a matching b-side to the band’s latest single. The rushed nature of its completion led John to pronounce himself somewhat dissatisfied with the song in later interviews, but it has stood the test of time with both fans and critics — indeed, it’s the song that, in most minds, marks the beginning of the group’s fabled “middle period.”). The English definition of a day tripper is a short holiday; no commitment; superficial; dabbler; amateur; a quick-and-dirty. There are so many resonances here. On the one hand I feel somewhat dissatisfied with the relationship, yet indeed it marked the beginning of the little one’s life and my middle period.

13 “We Can Work It Out”. (October 1965 / 2006 – “our love may soon be gone … life is very short and theres no time “)  (first double-A, two sided hit). Like the Beatles’ two-sided hit, we were in a two-sided hit. One story, two sides. I felt like we could work it out but she was in a different space. Like the two sides of a coin, facing in different directions but forever bound together by the little one. The dreaded 3-word condemnation “I need space” marks the end of the row of hits.

14 “Paperback Writer”. (April 1966 / August-September 2006 – “It’s a thousand pages, give or take a few. I’ll be writing more in a week or two“) (Paul was challenged by his Aunt to write a book) Martin challenges me to write down everything, and I am inspired by Patricia to write a novel about the breakup. The 180 pages gets good reviews. Its cathartic (English def: a spiritual renewal).

15 “Yellow Submarine”. (May 1966 / November 1997 – “Sky of blue and sea of green“) (simple Ringo song) We had a blissful honeymoon in Mauritius. I checked some videos of that time and we were so in love! Shopping on the beach for sarongs, walking in Port Louis. Sigh.

16 “Eleanor Rigby”. (April 1966 / 18 July 2006 – “all the lonely people, where do they come from“) (a darker ending than planned) Desperate to find out who my real friends are when the separation hits and definitely a darker ending, divorce always divides friends. I lost some long-standing very good friends.

17 “Penny Lany”. (January 1967 / 2007 – “There are places I’ll remember / All my life, though some have changed“)  (Pauls nostalgic lookback) I notice so many things that have changed, like the church where we were married no longer exists. My first house was flattened and is now a huge gym.

18 “All You Need Is Love”. (June 1967 / 21 May 1994 – “Love Love Love is all you need“) (first big sat-tv show) Nothing, not even the cold of Clarence can dim the glow of our love shining onto the people around us.

19 “Hello Goodbye”. (October 1967 / March 2006 – “You say goodbye, and I say hello”)  Suddenly, unlike before, whatever I do is wrong, from answering the phone to how I do the gardening. We are on opposite sides of the planet!

20 “Lady Madonna”. (February 1968 / 16 December 2006 – “wonder how you make ends meet“) (return to straight rock) I return to making it on my own, starting fresh again as Leon and not “us” any longer. It came at the worst possible time in my life, yet it made me stronger for the next period.

21 “Hey Jude”. (July 1968 / 2008 – “the minute you let her under your skin … you begin to make it better“) (Composed on eve of John’s divorce.) Its hard to allow somebody close again but with some encouragement a new start can be made. Just let her under your skin.

22 “Get Back”. (January 1969 / circa 2008 – “get back to where you once belonged“) (Actually it is two recordings in one.) Getting back on top form after being broken down systematically. Getting the two parts together, the old life and the new life, making me whole as a person. Two songs blending into one better-than-before image.

23 “The Ballad of John And Yoko”. (April 1969 / 1900 – “fifty acorns in a sack … its good to have you back“) (John’s impulsive autobiography, the line refers to planting acorns as a symbol of peace.) Several times I tried to make peace using various things like open letters or date nights or counseling. A lot of my acorns are growing, they just needed to survive the winter.

24 “Something”. (May 1969 / 1996~1998 – “Somewhere in her smile she knows, That I don’t need no other lover.“) (Harrisons ballad that took a long time to get recorded) Slightly out of sequence on the album, feeling like the early years of marriage. Like Harrisons ballad we took a while to marry. I was completely faithful the entire relationship, even emotionally, because she satisfied me completely.

25 “Come Together”. (July 1969 / July 2006 – “One thing I can tell you is you got to be free“) (Initially created for a campaign, the words are largely nonsense in the vein of John’s later works) I guess the thread and swampy sound feels like the period where I had to mobilise a legal team to defend senseless allegations. The origins of the words of the song are disputed to this day, and so are the events.

26 “Let It Be”. (April 1969 / 22 July 2006 – “there will be an answer … let it be“) (Let It Be was inspired by a dream the singer had of his deceased mother, Mary, assuring him, amongst the turmoil of the Beatles’ slow breakup, that everything would be all right.) In my darkest hour my son grew up from teenager to adult and turned into my strongest support system when I was at my lowest point. He sent me this sms on 2006-07-22 at 10am: “dis 100% cool en weet maar net ek sal altyd hier wees vir pa…eks baie lief vir jou en god sal sterk maak en optel wanneer jy nie meer self kan loop nie” (sic) (translated “God will pick you up and carry you when you are too tired to walk“. I’m still crying for all my many blessings.

27 “The Long And Winding Road”. (January 1969 / May 2008 – “You left me standing here a long, long time ago“) (One of Paul’s most moving ballads, The Long And Winding Road – reflecting on his sorrow at the band breaking up – nonetheless has evolved into a very controversial Beatles song indeed.) Looking back at my relationship it was a long and winding road and in the end I felt I was left standing there. But like the song this is a very controversial statement. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the journey and I’m thankful for the experience, and the life lessons learned. And the little one.

Postscript thoughts: The songs have been sung, the CD is recorded, its done. This CD can never be created again. It was beautiful and the music will always remind me of the good times. If it is in my Karma I will sing the songs again, this time with different actors and musicians, maybe even a new rhythm. But I will never forget the original.

One Response to “Down Memory Lane”

  1. Nimick Says:

    Very nice article! Thanks for sharing it with us!


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