Total Pageviews

Thursday, 9 October 2014

WINDOW FISHING: The night we caught Beatlemania

Hi Tai, John B. & all the other contributors to WINDOW FISHING  : )

What a gorgeous book! I opened the package under the full moon by the Crowe River less than an hour ago. I started thumbing thru, & LOVE ME DO popped into my head. It's still there, altho a crazy juke box of other Beatles' songs keeps chorusing as well.

The life I've lived wouldn't have been the same, not half as full, without the Beatles. One of the first postings I did on my blog was about George Harrison. For over a decade George, & his mentor, A. C. Bhaktivedanta, have been my personal spirit guides. Yeah, crazy shite! The Beatles sang us out of the doom and gloom of the 1950s & early 60s to give us a glimpse of what human beings could make of life on planet earth. Bodhisattvas all  (yeah, yeah, yeah)!

peace & poetry power!

Window Fishing: the night we caught Beatlemania (2nd edition), edited by John B. Lee, Hidden Brook Press, 193 pages, 2014. $19.95

my contribution:

Chapter 3 - The Day We  (Sort Of)  Met George Harrison

It was late summer.  A bunch of L'Auberge regulars decided to take a Sunday trek to see George Harrison, who was rumoured to be living in a little village named Esher.  We hopped on the double-decker bus in Richmond, and after an hour or so of riding we arrived in Esher.  The ten of us were a scraggly lot, all would-be hippies trying to grow our hair long, the girls dressed in shawls and long skirts and granny boots.

Our goals were the standard ones in 1969 - California Jon, Canadian Peter and a couple of other guitarists had made a tape, and wanted Harrison's opinion of it.  I had a copy of my just printed haiku chapbook, Cricket Formations, and I hoped to get up enough nerve to present my poems to my idol.  And of course we all wanted to meet a real live Beatle!

Harrison was my favourite Beatle, largely because he was the one closest to me in physical appearance, with his craggy face and dark hair.  I had modelled my haircut and clothes on Harrison for some time.  I also thought he was the most interesting Beatle because of his enthusiasm for Eastern mysticism.

Someone had gotten good directions, for we actually found Harrison's house without a lot of trouble.  Located in a very staid, upper-middle-class suburban neighbourhood, the house stood out like a psychedelic advertisement.  A high fence bordered the large lot, and the house was painted a myriad of colours, like something out of the movie Yellow Submarine.  We were all entranced to be setting foot in a sacred preserve of Beatledom, and after knocking on the door and receiving no answer, we boldly began surveying the premises.

"MICK & MARIANNE WUZ HERE!" was spray painted on the front wall, and this further consecrated the property.  Our rock heroes actually lived here, visited with each other, slept together, and had probably done these wild paintings on acid trips like our own.  We were all strengthened in our faith as true believers in hippiedom.

Some of the group camped by the front door, and the guitar payers started scratching on their ubiquitous instruments.  I wandered around, and found a pair of George's jeans hanging on a clothesline.  For a fleeting moment I was tempted to steal them, to see if my hero's jeans would fit.

                          Manicured lawn
                          would-be hippies wait
                          for a Beatle

A touch of the Beatles' famous ironic humour was present in a large wooden cross leaning against the back fence.  I even had the nerve to peek in the draped windows.  On the window ledge of one room was a collection of seashells.  Miracle of miracles - there was even an apple tree - how appropriate for the founders of Apple records.  If there was a heaven on earth, this was it for Beatle fans.

                        Seashell    lined window
                        apples rotting in the yard
                        suburban fences

I rejoined the group on the front lawn, and soon a mini-car came scooting up the drive, quickly followed by a luxury sedan.  The driver of the mini got out, and a not-very-pleased looking George Martin confronted us.  He wanted to know what we were doing, and while we all sat there stunned, George and Patti Harrison disembarked from the sedan.  George wasn't really very prepossesing at all, but Patti was a vision of beauty, a psychedelic queen who smiled on us and calmed down the two very aggravated Georges.  She knew that we were harmless fans come to honour Beatledom, and while she smiled her guileless smile, we felt like we were in the presence of a divine goddess from another reality.  Canadian Peter recovered first, and awkwardly handed George Harrison the tape, mumbling something.  I followed suit, even more awkwardly giving George my thin booklet, and saying I hoped he would enjoy it.

An invitation inside was not forthcoming, although I believe Patti wanted to ask us all in.  We were all so enthralled at meeting George and Patti, awkward as all involved had been, that we decamped and blissfully headed back in the dusk for the bus to Richmond.

Several weeks later, a few members of the entourage went back to pick up the tape.  Apparently a record contract wasn't immediately offered, but Canadian Peter did have some good news for me. " George Harrison told me to tell you that he really liked your poetry."  I was thrilled, even though I now realised that Harrison was a mere, awkward mortal, and I was no longer in his thrall.  As a postscript, I note that George Harrison's first solo album, All Things Must Pass, had the lyrics printed on the sleeve like poems. I like to fantasize that maybe my booklet had some subtle influence, but that's wild hope and speculation ...

                        ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Oct. 14/14:

Dear Tai:  I can't thank you enough for the wonderful words.  I will treasure this message.
Hopefully I can recreate the reading this Thursday when John B. and Bunny and I will be part of Cafe Cuba's "John Lennon in Havana" at Ellington's.

                                          . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

To:; Subject: RE: Love Me Do!: congrats to all on Beatles tribute WINDOW FISHING (2nd ed.)
Date: Mon, 13 Oct 2014 22:55:28 -0400

thanks chris for your words about Window Fishing – The night we caught Beatlemania – 2nd edition

john B. lee did a great job as editor of this book. we will keep you posted on future readings for the book. along with other fabulous pieces, give special attention to Honey Novick’s piece. it is one of my personal favorites. she did a great reading of it at the Stellar Lit Fest in the summer

all the best


                          ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

No comments: