........................................................................................ - a weBlog by Snowy and me.

Friday, 15 October 2021

Fifty Two Years Late But Here At Last

'Get Back'/'Don't Let Me Down' was released
11th April 1969, the advert above was put in the press
to promote it, I reproduce it here to honour the new
multi-media extravaganza/media blitz
for the film/record project that it never was at the time, 
but is now out in the form it was meant to be.

 

Thursday, 14 October 2021

The Madness Of America

I am loathe to take pot-shots at America, religions
or the strange course of logic that a religion
can take in the land of the free (to be absurd
and illogical) where the profit motive
infuses and undermines systems of belief.
I know how strange human being can be,
given the opportunity, under Capitalism.

The above rather took my breath away.
It is the image of the son of the Reverend Myung
 Moon, founder of 'The Moonies', Sean Moon.

He is wearing a crown of bullets from the gun factory

he owns and from which he instructs belief in the cult
he runs of worshipping God whilst always holding guns
that are made in the factory he now owns.

It is enough to make a misanthropy beyond Atheism
seem peaceable and sane, by comparison.  

 

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

A Bad Pun

The gas companies in my country
are raising the price of gas
by much more than they need to,
to, as they see it,
balance supply with demand;
in more than the usual sense of the phrase
they are multiplying the meaning
of the word 'gaslighting'.

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

The Exam For Failure

has yet to be devised
but were it to exist
I would pass it with ease,
and receive the results
with a balanced measure
of self acceptance.
  

Monday, 11 October 2021

A Fresher Breath Of Air?

I have been very distant in following
the 'Billionaires compete with each other to go into space' story. 

Such is the level of my everyday lack of wealth
that this billionaire's soap opera just did not engage with me.

But the following is why the competition exists;
It is well known that many billionaires believe
that they breathe different air than the people
who are poorer than them. Their inherited wealth,
which they have made multiply
makes billionaires different, as people.

That is why they form buddies with each other
and huddle together on their golf courses,
well apart from the people who serve them,
who have to sign non-disclosure acts
about what they see to bind them in service.

Just as rich people in the dim and distant past
used to 'take the waters' in spar resorts
that only they could afford, 'for their health',
so Branson and Jeff Bezos etc now use their money
to enjoy the vacuum of space, and to get a better measure
of the depth of their detachment from those around them.

Sunday, 10 October 2021

The 'Get Back' Story-The Back Story To Music on Film In The 1960's

   In the 1960's music was the medium that attracted young people most, via the then new portable transistor radios. The Beatles ruled the music world, less because of their manager's doubtful business acumen as the band took their place on the world stage, and more for their innate ability as musicians to write, record, and perform strong songs that would very much outlast their era. 

  Whilst the parents of the 1960's were being sold televisions on the back of the world sporting events that led the headlines in the newspapers they read, the young listened to pop radio instead. What nobody could test at the time was what the result might be when the world of music and television properly met. Their first long term introduction to each other had resulted in the formulaic 'Top of The Pops', where from November 1964 to 2004 the music stars of the day openly mimed to their own songs to audiences who were indifferent towards them, they were there to pretend to dance, which was hardly the best introduction anything.

  'Monterey Pop' was filmed in Summer '67 by D.A. Pennibaker, but the film was still being edited and would not be released in any sort of time to influence them when The Beatles came to consider making their own film of themselves. And the documentary of Bob Dylan's 1965 tour of England, 'Don't Look back', had barely been seen at all.  

  Meanwhile in England in the autumn of 1967 Paul McCartney led The Beatles through making their third film, this time self produced, just an hour long, and made to be shown at Christmas for the then new colour channel BBC2. 'Magical Mystery Tour', was their first film and music venture without the reassuring hand of Brian Epstein behind it. What the plot of their film lacked in plot, pace, and sure direction the songs more than compensated for. The critics struck as hard as they could against the whimsy of it all, as if they had always been waiting for the the band to fail at something. But from when the film was made now, the film and the songs have never been out of public view, and are now known for having a sunny charm-that has long outlasted the barracking critics of the time, who have long since been forgotten.

  Enter stage left French/Swiss film director Jean Luc Goddard who filmed The Jefferson Airplane playing live for free, and without a license to play, atop a hotel roof near Times Square, New York, in December 1968, the first ever such rooftop performance. The band had already performed live for television before a tame audience, and had used expletives that could not be deleted before they went out on air.

  After filming Jefferson Airplane off the cuff, so to speak, Jean Luc Goddard sought to film The Beatles in their natural habitat, the studio, recording a song. But Goddard found all cohesive and firm contact with the band hard to make amid the many different film and music projects that Apple and the band had taken on, projects that the band did not realise the scale of until the overseeing of the work overwhelmed them. Before recording of what became 'The White Album' between May and October 1968 they had already recorded four songs for the United Artists cartoon project 'Yellow Submarine', to complete  their contract with the film company that had started with 'A Hard Day's Night' in 1964, and George and John had each laid down plans for solo releases, all for release on Apple Records.

  Goddard found what he wanted much easier with The Rolling Stones instead. He made the film he wanted to make. 'One Plus One; Sympathy For The Devil' as an art house film released in 1969. Whilst the act of filming a song being recorded seemed exciting in theory, Goddard made the actuality of both the song and band seem strangely disengaged, as they engaged with the unknown in the form of extracting the as yet unwritten/unrecorded song, albeit a song that would gain the band an apt notoriety, from the ether.

  Micheal Lindsay Hogg was the first television director to regularly put live music onto English television screens with the ITV programme 'Ready Steady Go' between 1963 and 1966. This led in turn to the BBC responding with the mimed Top of The Pops' 1964-2004. Hogg also filmed promotional films for The Beatles 'Paperback Writer' and 'Rain', and later directed The Rolling Stones and friends in the film 'Rock and Roll circus, filmed December 1968 but unreleased until 1996. Were The Beatles inspired by the failed discussions with Goddard to contact Hogg to make their own 'how we write and record a song' film? If so the project grew and the idea of a live impromptu concert became yet another idea for them to explore without them knowing what the end point for the idea might be. As it was, the idea was already ambitious, with the planned film already being about the making the making of a whole album's worth of songs combined with a clear profile of each member of the band. And Hogg filmed many more performances of songs on the way than were ever going to be used in the film. Material that was seemingly doomed to languish unheard and unseen, as the performances were left on the cutting room floor as part of the many under-rehearsed rehearsals. 

  That such a project was fraught with difficulty was obvious to all except the participants. The first difficulty was that at the start of filming nobody knew whether it was to be a cinema film or a made-for-television film, it could have been either. When recording started it was 'just' footage of rehearsals for what was hoped might be a live concert, with new songs being developed for the would-be-concert which at the start of filming had no planning or preparation. Whilst Hogg filmed he could not tell the band what to do, merely record what was happening in front of him. The band were the drivers for what was filmed and they were always working out what they wanted to perform as they went along. To write and record a song without your normal producer, George Martin, shaping proceedings was one thing. To record said song whilst being filmed sketching out the song with the rest of the band is another, to informally direct yourself whilst writing and recording said song was to put yourself and your art through the maximum pressure to perform/achieve that any artist could contemplate. With such split aims, lack of prior planning, singular pressure, and lack of formal leadership for the project it was no wonder that the end result initially seemed to be no more than a mass of footage with no story. 

 Nonetheless, what they achieved between January and July of 1969 was remarkable. They had released the soundtrack to a feature length cartoon, 'Yellow Submarine', written the songs for two group albums, and accumulated over 60 hours of footage and over 120 hours of audio as source material for an impossible-to-edit film of the writing of one the albums. With the album that went with the film half completed but then shelved, whilst the film remained in a state of chaos. Each member of the band had also written key songs for their first solo albums, albums that as they rehearsed the songs they did not know they would be making in the next year/to eighteen months as the start of solo careers where each of them would be tied by reputation and comparison to the other for decades, where they would each have vast success on their own.

  The project that was started as 'Get Back' became 'Let It Be' in the Autumn of 1969. In it's first iteration it became a boxed set presentation of an album, complete with a book of photographs and dialogue from the film, issued on Apple in April 1970. Then it became an 80 minute film that was released world wide where the longer it remained released the more it was viewed as proof of how the band so disagreed with each other and were so riven by the inability to see the other's point of view that the film became proof of why they each needed to have solo careers. The film became an epitaph for the band that none of them saw coming before it arrived. Whilst in private it was difficult for them to argue against that epitaph, however inaccurate it was, whilst all the legal Gordian knots that had tied Apple up, and had tied them all to Apple were still so tightly tied. 

  Completion of the project has now taken longer than the lives of many of the people who feature in the the film, were involved in making it, or were legally involved in what became a very tight Gordian knot that stayed impossibly tight for many years. In loose order they include......

                                      trusted roadie Mal Evans (1935-76)
                                                          John Lennon (1940-80),
                                                George Harrison (1943-2001),
                                                      Billy Preston (1946-2006),
                Apple projects manager 
Neil Aspinal (1941-2008), 
          later manager of The Beatles Allen Klein (1931-2009),
   legal attorney for Paul McCartney Lee Eastman (1910-91),
Beatles producer up to Let it Be
 George Martin (1926-2016), 
                    producer of 'Let It Be' Phil Spector (1940-2021),
   backing vocalist on 'Let It Be'-Linda McCartney (1941-98),
                     Maureen 'Mo' Starkey-wife of Ringo (1946-94)

 
and the host of Apple staff members who engineered, tape-opped, and did all the vital smaller jobs connected with The Beatles studio work during their time at Twickenham Film Studios and Apple studios between January and June 1969. 

  The living who are still connected with the film include...

                                            Jean Luc Goddard (born 1930),                                                                                                                Yoko Ono (born 1933),
                                                Paul McCartney (born 1942),
                                                        Ringo Starr (born 1940), 
                                      Micheal Lindsay Hogg (born 1940),
   Producer of the 'Get Back' album Glyn Johns (born 1942),
                                 and engineer Alan Parsons (born 1948),

  All of whom would go on to be complete many other projects and be part of greater achievements in the 1970's and well beyond.