Thursday, August 01, 2013

The Quarrymen

I blame "Children of the Corn."

My insomnia started the same week I moved from Sacramento to Los Angeles in the middle of the 7th grade. I could fall asleep but inevitably I would wake up around 2:30 to and I'd stay up until around 6:30 every morning. Then would get up at 7 for school.

After a month or two I was wrecked.

I realized that if I had the tv on, I could fall asleep earlier, around 10 or 11, which would naturally mean that the it would still be on when I eventually woke up at 2:30. While HBO might be showing "Clue" at 10 at night, 2:30 meant either porn or a horror movie, neither of which I particularly enjoy.

It was when I woke up to a scene from "Children of the Corn" in which people ate some corn and then their heads burst, exploding bugs everywhere that I decided I needed a tape I could put on that would be long enough to still be playing when I woke, and had manageable levels of insects and cock.

The immediate answer was The Beatles Anthology. For nearly a year I watched the Beatles Anthology on loop. On really bad nights I'd watch half of it at a time -- about five hours. Over and over I watched it, till the minutiae of Beatles biography was engraved in my consciousness.

And it spread.

Soon they were all I listened to. Los Angeles at that time had an AM station that only played Beatles - singles, covers, instrumentals. If someone didn't recognize a song I could prattle on information without even thinking. "That's them singing back up on Tony Sheridan's single 'My Bonnie,' from 1961. He met them in Hamburg at the Top Ten Club, I think. Came out on Polydor."

I only watched Beatles movies. I started only reading books about the Beatles. It was my eighth grade book report on Mark Hertsgaard's A Day in the Life which prompted my English teacher to tell me and my parents that I was a writer. (So you can blame him.) (For the record, my favorite Beatles biography by far is actually Bob Spitz's The Beatles.) The first script I wrote was about some girls who ran away from their London homes to Hamburg where they drank and "pilled" at the Top Ten and the Kaiserkeller.

Night after night I listened to Paul tell the story about how Frank Sinatra said "Something" was his favorite Lennon/McCartney story, George talk about how they all felt bad for Elvis because he was alone, and Ringo tell the story of quitting and returning to find his drumkit surrounded with flowers.

It seemed to me ridiculous that I could remember hearing "When I'm 64" for the first time and not believing my friend on the bus when she told me it was the Beatles. Thanks to my parents' taste, my Beatles was "She Loves You" and "Hard Day's Night" -- nothing post "Revolver." On top of that, when she showed me a photo, I could not understand that the tall skinny man with the funny glasses and beard was my John Lennon.

Eventually I could sleep again, and eventually I started listening to other things again, but I'm still writing and I can still explain to you what skiffle is or explain how Ringo is both the oldest and the youngest Beatle. So. I've got that. And a fear of eating corn.

1 comment:

Tod said...

This is cool!