We opened the show last night with the song that’s been chosen to lead off Liverpool 8 – Liverpool as European City of Culture 2008. On paper the song doesn’t look promising. The artist is the one and only Ringo Starr and despite past achievements he’s hardly been someone synonymous with creativity over the last few weeks. However it is a wholly appropriate choice given the great honesty and heart warming nostalgia within the song. The song is a brief synopsis of Ringo’s travels and ends with the axiomatic chorus, “Liverpool I love you..” I think Liverpool still loves Ringo.
There is something about the Beatles which gets into the soul of any sixties child. Most of the time we have a detached over view of modern music. Apart from the early days of rock n roll we have watched every new phase come and go. In my case this has generally brought immense pleasure. Joy to see new things coming and relief to see something else coming in from the left to sweep it away. Now there’s a contented happiness that the best of all new things are remembered and every night this week we celebrate all of that. However this distanced overview is put aside when the subject of The Beatles comes along. Suddenly the world-weary cynic becomes a bright-eyed cub scout willing to follow any daft old trail through the forest. I’m like that. Ringo only needs to sing the lines “John, Paul, Me and my friend John” and I’m back in the attic staring at my big sister’s posters from the Jackie. They didn’t have surnames then and they don’t need them now. I always like to think the Beatles were a cut above every other band but I can’t honestly tell you if it’s true or not because I’m far too biased to ever make a reasonable assessment. They, in their turn, have been too big a presence in my life to ever fade into some kind of perspective.
After we played the Ringo song last night I found myself announcing Ringo’s gig in Liverpool on January 12th and saying I’d like to be there…….me, the man who wouldn’t cross the park to see David Bowie if Hell’s Kitchen was on the telly……go to Liverpool to see a gig…by a drummer? You see it’s that old perspective thing. It’s the Beatles and I have none.