The Songs of the Beatles, the Voices of Pinky & Perky: a Match Made in Hog Heaven

August 29th, 2007

I was clearing out the loft the other week and stumbled upon some old vinyl from my childhood, which included my small, but perfectly formed, collection of Pinky & Perky albums. Looking through the track listings I discovered that, as well as committing to vinyl such heavyweight numbers as ‘Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf’, ‘Nelly The Elephant’ and ‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep’, the little swines had also recorded a wealth of Fab Four songs which, like the songs listed above, were obviously considered the perfect blend of musical content and subject matter to appeal to their target audience – three year old children.

(If you’re in any doubt as to just how successful Pinky & Perky have been over the years in appealing to their target audience; I used to know a guy in Nashville – ironically a massive Fab Four fan – who bought himself a big house with a swimming pool from the proceeds of having just one of his songs recorded by the piglets!)

In fact, so intrigued was I by the sheer volume of Fab Four songs recorded by Pinky & Perky in my own modest collection of just four LPs and a couple of EPs, that I decided to do a bit of research into the piglets’ more recent repertoire to see if their artistic discernment had developed any over the ensuing decades. Sadly not. Talk about discovering a winning formula and sticking to it.

Just as in their heyday, the sixties and seventies, when Pinky & Perky’s advisers chose to ignore the songs of Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, the Stones, Neil Young and the like, in favour of material made popular by artists the calibre of Cliff Richard, the Beverley Sisters, Donny Osmond, Perry Como and, of course, the Fab Four, (with whom they were so enamoured they even had them as guests on their TV show), once again, during the eighties and nineties the piglets’ people chose to shun songs from acclaimed songwriters such as Nick Cave, Kurt Cobain and Morrissey in favour of material made popular by the likes of Take That, Right Said Fred and Jason Donovan.

I’m sure this above information will prove absolutely indispensable when you reach that point during the ‘the talk’ with Fab Four fans when they try to justify the Beatles’ mass appeal by hitting you with that old chestnut: ‘great art should appeal on all levels’.

Although I haven’t had a chance to actually put this into practice as yet, I’m certain that, in order to quell the ‘great art should appeal on all levels’ misconception rapidly, all you will need to do is give the fan you’re dealing with a brief overview of Pinky & Perky’s unrepentant passion for peddling paltry pop songs and the average age of their intended target audience. Then follow this information by asking the Fab Four fan if they feel that a typical Pinky & Perky aficionado would appreciate Shakespeare’s King Lear, Caravaggio’s Conversion of St. Paul or Tolstoy’s War & Peace (particularly in Russian) to the same extent as the pigs body of work – to which the fan will have to reluctantly mumble the word ‘no’. Once you have established with the fan that the works of Shakespeare, Caravaggio and Tolstoy are not as popular with three year old children as two ten inch puppets singing songs about Octopus’s gardens, yellow submarines and the like, you can complete this simple exercise by enquiring if, with hindsight, the fool before you is still convinced that their ‘great art should appeal on all levels’ assertion is a suitable gauge with which to judge what is and is not great art.

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Mop Top Misconception No. 1: The Beatles’ Music Changed the World

July 31st, 2007

Of all the misconceptions that have come to my attention since I first wrote the Good Book, this one is the most ridiculous and – unlike the misconception that the Beatles’ music changed the face of popular music – impossible to prove or disprove either way. That said, by employing the spiritual law of least resistance and allowing the fan to do all the work for you, the method I’ve devised to deal with this particular fallacy is actually the easiest of all to execute: when faced with the misconception that the Beatles’ music changed the world, as is bound to happen at some stage during your fight against Fab Four fundamentalism, simply ask the fan at hand this easy-to-remember, yet difficult to answer question: ‘How?’ Then just sit quietly and wait for the stammering and spluttering to commence.

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Sneathers-Part Two

May 30th, 2007

After several polite verbal attempts at rousing Gail, Jane decided to enhance her wake up call technique with a boisterous banging campaign, which Gail eventually acknowledged by wrenching the door open and hurling a stiletto shoe at Jane, missing her head by millimetres. As Gail was fumbling around for more missiles, Jane – well versed in the art of stiletto evasion and determined not to ruin her mother’s big day with any sibling rivalry – began a rapid retreat downstairs.
 
However, just as she cleared the bottom stair and was only a few short steps from the refuge of the living room, a second shoe struck her just above the left ear. Jane hit the deck harder than an unlucky skydiver and released a deafening wail, interspersed with a varied array of insults, which brought Colleen running in from the kitchen.

‘What the fucking hell is going on here?’ Colleen bellowed, immediately leaping on top of Jane and pinning her to the floor to reduce the chance of any further reprisals. Once satisfied Jane was completely secure, Colleen continued,
‘Look, you little bastards, I’ve been slaving away all fucking morning in that kitchen trying to get these orders sorted out in time to sign on and get myself ready for this afternoon and all you two can do is piss about like a pair of fucking social workers. Have you no consideration for others?’
‘All I was doing was trying to get the fat cow out of bed like you told me to, Mum.’ Jane bleated breathlessly from the floor, still struggling to free herself from Colleen’s clutches and wreak revenge on Gail.
‘Who are you calling a fat cow, dog breath?’ Gail hissed menacingly from the landing, now armed with a fresh arsenal of shoes and clearly ready to rumble. Before Jane had a chance to respond, Colleen stepped in once again with her own distinctive style of parental guidance.
‘Look, if you two don’t shut the fuck up right now, I swear to God, I’ll freeze the fucking pair of you out of the family business and you can both pack your bags and piss off, do you understand me?’        
‘Oh yeah, and who the fuck are you going to get to help you run things around here if you chuck us two out?’ sniped Gail petulantly from the landing.
 ‘I’ll get young Chardonnay Murdoch to sort out any orders I can’t cope with myself and she can help me with the pirate DVDs as well.’   Colleen retorted.     
‘Chardonnay Murdoch is just a snotty, jumped up little brat that sucks up to you.’ Jane protested, still in a crumpled heap beneath her Mother.
‘Well, she may be a snotty nosed little brat to you, Jane, but she was an absolute fucking Godsend to me this summer when you two buggered off again on your 18 to 30’s jaunt and left me in the lurch for the third year running.’
‘And you reckon she’ll be able to deal with all the coppers, bailiffs and awkward customers then, do you?’ Gail sneered sarcastically.
‘No, but her Mother will. In case you’ve forgotten, smart arse, Liebfraumilch gets out of the nick next month and she’s already looking for new business opportunities on the outside. And, as I’m sure you’re both aware, Liebfraumilch Murdoch doesn’t take any shit from anyone. Remember what happened last year when we were all having a drink outside the Flying Bottle and her probation officer walked past and refused to kiss the family pit bull?’

After several seconds of uncomfortable silence, Colleen realised that her parenting skills were starting to have the desired effect. Rising up slowly from Jane’s ribcage, she got to her feet and then hit the girls with a knock out blow.

‘Oh, and one more thing, if you two can’t make the effort to be fucking civil with each other on today of all frigging days, you can both keep well away from that community centre this afternoon, do I make myself absolutely fucking clear?’ And with that Colleen slammed the door behind her and marched back into the kitchen.

Although both girls knew deep down that Colleen would never freeze them out of the family business, nor see them out on the street, they recognised the threat of being excluded from the award ceremony as a very real one.  Everybody in town knew just how much this award meant to Colleen and that no one – not even her own flesh and blood – would be allowed to ruin her special day.

Gail and Jane realised they had a big decision to make, and quickly: either call an instant halt to their hostilities or risk missing out on the award ceremony and, more importantly, the chance to bask in all the reflected glory.  

Things weren’t always this volatile between the Synott sisters. In fact, until Gail slept with Jane’s first husband, Mick Fletcher, hours after he discovered his blushing bride in the back of Jim Mumford’s taxi  ‘paying her fare in kind’, the girls had been very close.  But ever since that fateful night, Jane has never been able to forgive Gail for sleeping with her now ex-husband, (something she still does from time to time to wind Jane up) and Gail has never been able to forgive Jane for throwing her marriage to Mick away so cheaply after only six weeks of wedlock. ‘All that agro for a one pound eighty fare’ Gail will exclaim disparagingly, every time the subject of Jane’s infidelity comes up ‘You could at least have got a fucking airport run out of it.’          
      
On this particular occasion Gail was the first to weaken. She tossed the shoe she was holding on to her bedroom floor and began walking downstairs towards Jane. Sensing her sister’s desire to call a truce, Jane rolled tentatively onto her side and hauled herself up a few inches from the floor to meet Gail’s outstretched hand.
      
‘Come on sis’ Gail said as she pulled Jane to her feet and gave her a playful punch on the arm ‘If we don’t get ready soon we’re going to be late signing on.’ Jane smiled, threw her arms around Gail and gave her a big sisterly hug.

Whilst hugging Gail, Jane suddenly grabbed the stray piece of kebab meat that had been clinging stubbornly to the side of Gail’s face throughout the whole ordeal and began waving it in front of Gail’s eyes as a hypnotist would with a watch. As soon as Gail realised what it was, she let out a loud, piercing ‘Oh-my-god-what-a-silly-cow-I-am’ cackle before snatching it straight back out of Jane’s hand.

‘You can get your own fucking breakfast next time’ Gail screeched, lifting the piece of meat high above her head and dancing around the hallway with it hanging from her fingertips like some mad Morris dancer dangling a manky hankie. Jane was laughing so much that no matter how hard she tried to make her sister drop the meat, Gail somehow managed to evade her and keep a firm grip on it. Then, out of the corner of her eye, Jane spotted a Christian Aid envelope on top of a pile of final demands that had been lying around for weeks next to the ‘phone on the hallstand.

‘Stop, Gail, stop, give it to me!’ she squealed ‘I’ve got a great idea, you’re going to fucking love it, trust me, just watch this.’ Reluctantly, Gail handed over the piece of meat and slumped down on the bottom stair to catch her breath as Jane proceeded to take the piece of meat and drop it into the envelope, seal it up and then place it back on to the hallstand ready for collection.
‘Well they’re always fucking moaning about having no food aren’t they the miserable bastards’ Jane howled uncharitably, instantly causing both girls to collapse into uncontrollable fits of giggles once again.

To be continued…

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Getting to Grips with Lennon’s MBE Ping Pong

April 19th, 2007

When ‘having the talk’ with certain Fab Four fans you’ll often find that, within seconds of demolishing their delusions concerning the Beatles abilities as musicians and songwriters, they will suddenly – in a last ditch attempt to save face – hit you with the ‘Lennon was a living God’ card.  Sometimes this desperate act will involve going to such extremes as comparing John’s god-like deeds with those of say, Ghandi getting the British to hand India back to the Indian people without the use of violence, or even Martin Luther King’s contributions to the Civil Rights movement.

As you are well aware, the only subject you should be prepared to discuss whilst ‘having the talk’ is the pros and cons of the music the Beatles churned out, never the pros and cons of the individual band members’ actions, motives or personalities. (Particularly if neither you nor the fan you’re dealing with have ever met the Mop Top in question).  However, as the ‘MBE Ping Pong’ technique has been designed specifically to help Fab Four fans put John’s God-like deeds into context and only requires that you state a fact – as opposed to offer an opinion – this particular exercise should be considered the exception to the rule.   OK, without further ado, let’s take a look at how to put the ‘MBE Ping Pong’ technique into practice.    

The main justification for John’s God-like stature amongst the Fab Four fraternity appears to stem from his rather well documented/publicised disapproval of the Vietnam War. Therefore, the ‘Lennon Was a Living God’ address will basically involve you being regaled with a long list of the God-like deeds John carried out in protest against that particular war. These will include such feats as staying in bed for several days at a time in various five star hotels, writing a couple of protest songs and even attending the occasional anti-war rally (at no cost to the organiser!)  

DO NOT attempt, at any stage during this procedure, to juxtapose John’s protesting prowess with that of those conscripts imprisoned for burning their draft cards or the martyrs who set themselves alight protesting against the same conflict, as comparing John’s God-like deeds with those of mere mortals will be considered a personal attack on John’s character and could jeopardise the whole exercise.

Instead, bite your tongue and wait patiently for the fan to reach their grand finale before you respond. You will know the end is nigh when you hear the following sentence being bellowed at you in breathless indignation: “And-as-if-that’s-not-enough-evidence-to-prove-to-you-just-what-kind-of-a-man-John-was, he-even-handed-back-his-MBE-in-protest!”

Once John’s ultimate god-like sacrifice has been revealed, it’s imperative that you allow the fan a few moments to settle down and catch their breath before you proceed because, as I’ve learned from bitter experience, a tired and emotional Fab Four fan can become very irrational when their fallacies, falsehoods and fantasies are finally confronted by fact.

(You may be sorely tempted at this point to shout out the names of some of the perhaps slightly less brazen Brits, who, unlike John,  ‘politely’ refused to accept a British honour, such as Francis Bacon, Alan Bennett, Kenneth Branagh, Jim Broadbent, John Cleese, Joseph Conrad, Albert Finney, Robert Graves, Aldous Huxley, Rudyard Kipling, Philip Larkin, Ken Loach, C S Lewis, L S Lowry, Keith Richards and Evelyn Waugh to name but a few – DON’T, as this act could also be construed as a personal attack on John’s character.)

Instead wait until the fan is suitably settled, and then – in as friendly and non-judgemental way as possible – simply present the fan at hand with the following fact: in order for a person to hand back an MBE, at some stage during that person’s development as a human being, that person must have been prepared to accept an MBE (and all that it stands for) in the first place.

If, as will happen on occasion, the fan at hand appears to have some difficulty getting to grips with this – what to you or I is straightforward logic – don’t despair. Simply find a pen and paper, write out the equation below and hand it over to the fan so that this conundrum can be studied in more detail during their own time.
 

FACT 1: In 1970 person A returned object C to person B.
FACT 2: Object C is only given out by person B in an annual ceremony.
Therefore, using simple logic and facts 1 & 2 we can deduce that person A must have accepted object C from person B during an earlier annual ceremony.

Admittedly, ‘MBE Ping Pong’, compared to some of the more sophisticated techniques in your repertoire, is a relatively basic exercise. That said, when presented in conjunction with an in-depth dossier of the band’s wealth of woes and amalgamated with such favourites in fighting Fab Four fundamentalism as the ‘Let the lyrics Stand Alone’ test or the ‘Nursery Rhyme’ test, I’m confident it will provide you with a welcome addition to your overall defence strategy.

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Sneathers-Part One

March 26th, 2007

Gail Synott staggered through the front doors of the False Tan Tavern and flung herself into the bleak Sneath night with all the poise and finesse of an Easy Jet baggage handler. The moment the fresh air hit her Gail began to feel faint and steadied herself against the police van parked outside. She managed to remain upright just long enough to light a Lambert & Butler and take a few deep drags before that old familiar force they call gravity came back to haunt her once again.

By the time Gail was back on her feet, the autumnal chill had already started to penetrate the warm glow of booze in her bloodstream. She wrapped what little she was wearing around her flabby frame, re-adjusted her thong from barely visible back to blatantly obvious, and set off for home at as brisk a pace as possible to try and combat the cold. After an abundance of brief bouts of synchronised slurring with simpletons in a similar state, plus her obligatory visit to Kardiac’s kebabs, Gail finally turned the key in the lock of forty-seven Cairnsmore Avenue at 1.57 am. The second she opened the door and saw the house in complete darkness, Gail realised that the promise she had made to her Mother and sister (five pints and six shots earlier) – to be home in time for an early night – had been broken.

The following afternoon was to be a very important milestone in the criminal career of the Synott family and they were all well aware that they would have to look their best. In just over ten hours time, during the annual ‘Crime Pays’ ceremony held at the Sneath community centre, Gail’s Mother, Colleen, was due to be presented with a lifetime achievement award for her continued commitment to catalogue fraud from Janine Pierrepoint-Browne – Sneath’s very own Crime Invention Officer. Mindful of the fact that her big night had already eaten into her Mother’s big day by several hours, Gail immediately wobbled upstairs to bed for some much-needed beauty sleep.

The next morning Gail awoke to the familiar sound of a pounding head and the distinctive scent of stale meat. She opened one of her bleary, blood-shot eyes and managed to locate the Paracetamol packet, balanced enticingly against a bottle of Bacardi Breezer on the bedside cabinet. She reached over, popped two pills directly from the foil tray into her mouth and washed them down with the dregs that were left in the bottle. Then, after peeling the remains of last night’s kebab from her pillow, she disappeared again beneath the duvet.

Downstairs in the kitchen, Gail’s Mum, Colleen was already hard at it; sorting through the day’s consignment of knock off goods that were ready for delivery. Although the ‘Crime Pays’ ceremony didn’t start until midday, she still needed to get all her customers’ orders prepared, sign on down the Social and get dolled up for the big occasion. In the living room, Gail’s elder sister, Jane, was sprawled out on the sofa watching the Trisha show whilst lovingly polishing her vast collection of sovereign rings and garish gold trinkets.
‘Give our Gail a knock and tell her to get her fat arse out of bed will you Jane.’ Colleen shouted from the kitchen.
‘In a minute, Mum, I’m just watching a really fucking rocking Trisha repeat, I’ll go up during the adverts.’
‘Which one is it?’ Colleen enquired.
‘The one with that fella with the shaved head, whose missus was doing the rounds while he was banged up for armed robbery.’ Gail replied.
‘What that bloke with the ‘cut here’ tattoo on his neck and those big, beautiful, visit-me-in-prison-eyes?’
‘Yeah, that’s the geezer, do you remember him?
‘Do I remember him? How could I ever forget such a fine fucking specimen of a man, Gail? Kick boxing champion. Did his first stretch aged fourteen. Seven kids to six different women. Never worked a day in his life and a Granddad at twenty-nine. Is that the one by any chance?’
‘Yeah, that’s the one. You’ve just missed that fucking brilliant bit where Trish gives him a proper tongue lashing for attacking his son in law with a chair and wrestling with the studio security staff.’

Colleen stopped what she was doing and hurried excitedly into the living room. She parked herself down on the sofa next to Jane, where they both sat in silent rapture, super-glued to the screen until the commercial break broke the spell.
‘Well, that young man can leave his shotgun under my bed anytime he fucking likes.’ Colleen drooled, winking at Jane as she got up and wandered back into the kitchen.

Ever since Jane had caught Colleen in bed with a teenage waiter during a holiday in Torremolinos five years ago ‘helping him with his English’, the thought of her Mother ‘entertaining’ a toy boy had repulsed her.
‘You’re nearly fifty, you dirty old fucking slapper’ Jane muttered to herself in disgust as she was climbing the stairs on route to rouse Gail – desperately trying to ignore the disturbing vision flashing across her mind of Colleen being ridden rigid by yet another shite in shining armour.

To be continued…

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How to Write the Perfect English Folk Song

February 19th, 2007

If you are to have any success writing the perfect English folk song in this day and age, your song will need to be directed at a specific target audience – which we refer to in the trade as the bushy beards, beer bellies and bad breath brigade. These are the kind of people who run folk clubs so they can get up for a few numbers during the floor spot each week and strut their bumptious stuff in alluring Arran knit wear and come to bed hiking boots, still think booing Dylan for going electric was a good call and despise any songwriter that is young, talented and struggling to drag the true spirit of folk music in to the twenty-first century.

Ok, now you know the level of common denominator you should be trying to appeal to, if you are still intent on having a crack at writing the perfect English folk song, you will need to adhere rigidly to the four following rules:

1) The song should possess the minimum amount of chords, so that the more musical members of your target audience stand a chance of learning how to play it.

2) The melody of the song must be extremely repetitive so that people who are pissed on real ale will still be able to slur along.

3) The rhythm and tempo of the song will need to be ‘half-hay friendly’ so that Morris dancers can shake their asses to it.

4) The lyrical content of your composition must be written in a faux Olde English style, tell a story about a character of little relevance to anyone in today’s society (such as a milk maid, highway man or pirate) and be slightly saucy and comical in a wink, wink, nudge, nudge say no more kind of way. The addition of a supernatural element is also a welcome addition.

Here is an example of a set of lyrics I prepared earlier, featuring a selection of the essential ingredients mentioned above:

Heathen Hotpot

Come gather round childer and lend us an ear
For a cautionary tale about culinary cheer
Based on a recipe by the milkmaid of doom
Who killed highwaymen and pirates with the food on her spoon

It tasted so good that no man could resist
Filled with mutton as tender as a bloody big cyst
With tatties and onions and a secret addition
Her dish became legend for its taste and nutrition

But all those that ate it would soon pass away
Writhing in pain and ruing the day
That they ever set eyes on the milkmaid of doom
And tucked into that hotpot from off of her spoon

For the milkmaid of doom were a witch in disguise
Who danced with the devil at full moon and high tide
It’s no wonder her hotpot were such a big hit
With Satan the caterer doing his bit

So the moral of this story is simple and plain
Never trust heathens in the catering game
Because the secret addition that folk thought were kidney
Was arsenic soaked sheep shit – try saying that line quickly

So long as you stick to these rules, and resist any urges you may get to breathe new life into this once highly regarded, yet now – thanks to these bodhran bashing bigots – mainly ridiculed art form, your efforts should reap rich rewards.

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Fab Four Fundamentalism in Full Flow

January 12th, 2007

      Returning to the office this week, Charlotte discovered – whilst checking the freespeechbooks.com web stats – that not only had we received a lot of traffic over the holiday period from a U.S.  music industry web site called The Velvet Rope, but also, a disproportionate amount of book orders from new customers in the States – which was nice!  It appears the reason for this sudden flurry of interest from across the pond was that, shortly before Christmas, a fellow non-believer by the name of RJH, posted a link to my latest weblog entry ‘The Beatles Christmas Quiz 2006’ on the Velvet Rope’s discussion board and, naturally – being a music industry website – this brave act had ruffled a few high fliers feathers.
     
      Now, having had some time to study the responses to this initial post in greater detail, I can confirm that I have never before experienced Fab Four fundamentalism this severe.  And – as there appear to be more examples of Mop Top misconceptions crammed in to this one particular thread than I managed to address within my entire book – I consider it an essential reading companion for all those serious about living life without loving the Beatles.
     
      However, If you have never before dipped your toe into that cess pit we call the music industry, and are unsure if you should proceed – due to fear of being intimidated by the wisdom, intelligence and foresight offered up by these Music Moguls – I’m quietly confident that reading the following examples of their wisdom, intelligence and foresight will help allay some of your fears.     
     
      (Please bear in mind before continuing that the only provocation for these quotes is one solitary soul politely begging to differ with these peoples’ views regarding a group of light entertainers from yesteryear.)

10) – ‘Fuck this guy, fuck this stupid book and fuck this quiz’
9) – ‘The Beatles’ greatness in no longer an opinion it’s a fact’
8) – ‘Whoever wrote these questions is in desperate need of a cock punch’
7) – ‘You Sir are an idiot’
6) – ‘I must agree you’re an idiot with no taste’
5) -  ‘Revolver is the greatest album of all time’
4) -  ‘Who is this douche bag?’
3) – ‘Fuck this retard’
2)  – ‘Anyone who hates the Beatles lacks love in their heart’

      (And last, but not least, my personal favourite – offering the perfect blend of inaccuracy, aggression and festive cheer – posted on Christmas Day by Platinum Member, Heldo)

1)  – ‘Dear Stupid Twat, The Beatles were the greatest band ever. As a matter of fact, there will never be another band that comes close. Please kill yourself. Merry Christmas’

      Ok, if, after reading the above, you now feel you won’t be too intimidated by the level of sophistication on display – before you do face the full force of this ferocious flock of Fab Four fundamentalists foaming at the mouth – let me give you some key pointers to focus on, which should prove very useful in strengthening your defence stratergy against all forms of Fab Four fundamentalism in the future:

1) Always remember to follow the excellent example set by RJH and remain polite at all times whenever  ‘having the talk’. Even if your attempts at helping the fan you’re dealing with see sense are proving less successful than a Jehovah’s Witness cold calling campaign, you must never ever use threatening behaviour or attack people personally like some of the Fab Four Fundamentalist you will soon encounter on The Velvet Rope.
 
2) Note how whenever asked an  ‘awkward’ question (which, if answered honestly, would immeadietly render the argument useless) the Fab Four fan will either skulk away and re-join the discussion again later when the heat has died down, or unleash a huge volley of expletives before going off on some wild tangent.  Whenever the Question Avoidance Routine does occur in a situation like this  – as it inevitably will – it is essential that you carry on asking the question, as even though the fan at hand may well continue to refuse to answer it, any innocent observers who are following the thread (like the more evolved Velvet Ropers who placed book orders), will be able to see for themselves that you are right and the fan is wrong – which in turn will help them to form a somewhat more ‘sober’ opinion of the Beatles ‘greatness’.

3) Always make it known as soon as is possible during ‘the talk’ (as RJH correctly does) that you have absolutely NO PROBLEM WHATSOEVER with the Beatles as people  – except when they go near a musical instrument – as one of the first things the fan will do, on discovering your distaste for the lion’s share of the Fab Fours’ musical output, is accuse you of being an evil person who is filled with hatred and despises every member of the band as individuals. In fact, one of the best examples you will ever experience of this occurs on page two when – shortly after RJH spends an entire paragraph declaring his admiration for the Beatles as individuals – Gold Member, Sidcatlett declares RJH’s lack of enthusiasm for the Beatles’ music to be as ‘sickening’ an act as someone he heard about wearing a T Shirt with John’s face crossed out and the words  “1 down, 3 to go” printed on it not long after John was tragically gunned down in cold blood (ironically by a Fab Four fan).

4) Pay particular attention to the subtleties you’ll encounter whenever a member of the Fab Four fraternity delivers a Mop Top misconception but expresses it slightly differently to how I have explained the exact same misconception in the Good Book.  For example, in a post from Platinum Member, Massive you will witness him declare that the only reason RJH claims to not enjoy the vast majority of the Beatles’ music is because it’s ‘a great way to get attention’. This is an identical claim to that old chestnut: ‘you’re just saying you don’t like the Beatles music to be different and clever’ which is discussed in detail during the Nostalgic Impolitic chapter on p.48 and should be dealt with using exactly the same method.     

5) Once you begin ‘having the talk’ it is imperative that you try to get the fan you are dealing with to commit to the ‘Let The Lyrics Stand Alone’ test as soon as is humanly possible.  Then follow this immediately with the ‘Nursery Rhyme’ test, (something that RJH, sadly, failed to do on this occasion) as this will not only give you the opportunity to sit back and allow the fan you’re dealing with to dig themselves into a deeper and deeper hole, but, again, will allow any innocent observers to be presented with the facts that categorically prove  the bulk of the Beatles songs to be not only lyrically inferior to the average nursery rhyme, but also  rhythmically and melodically substandard.

      Ok, if you now feel you are finally ready to engage with Fab Four fundamentalism in full flow – all you need to do is take a few deep breaths and then click here.

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The Beatles Christmas Quiz 2006

December 21st, 2006

Please answer either Yes or No to each of the ten questions below. The correct answers are printed at the bottom of the page.

1) – These days you will often hear bands such as Oasis, Coldplay and Keane bleat on about how the Beatles’ have been a massive influence on their music.  After carefully considering the music that these bands make, do you feel that the Beatles’ influence has been a good thing?

2) – Ross Cameron (PHD), a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Leeds claims that when Sir Paul wrote the line ‘her name was Magil and she called herself Lil, but everyone knew her as Nancy’ in the song ‘Rocky Racoon’, that our old mucca Macca was “elaborating Frege’s sense/reference distinction’.   Would you agree?

3) – During his glory years, George Martin had Geoff Emerick at his side, the world’s greatest session musicians at his beck and call, access to the best studio technology money could buy and an unlimited budget.  Do you think that he could have made better use of his time working with more talented artists of the day such as Scott Walker, Brian Wilson, Bob Dylan and the like?

4)  – If you discovered that your son or daughter had been invited to go to a birthday party which featured for their entertainment a performance by Fab Four puppeteer, Mr. Puppet, would you still be prepared to allow your child to attend?

5)  – Do you find it ironic that, every time a Fab Four fan buys a Beatles-based product, a portion of their hard-earned cash will end up in the pockets of Yoko Ono (the woman who, allegedly, broke up the Beatles) and, in a roundabout way, once the divorce case is settled, Heather Mills McCartney (who, allegedly, broke Paul’s heart)?
 
6)  – As you are no doubt aware; in order for a song to receive heavy rotation on the radio it must be safe, bland, obvious, repetitive and appeal to the lowest common denominator. Bearing that in mind, would you be surprised to discover that the most played song on radio of all time is ‘Yesterday’ (formerly ‘Scrambled Eggs’) by the Beatles?

7)  – If Led Zeppelin had employed Ringo instead of John Bonham as their drummer, would they still have gained their reputation as the greatest live rock ‘n’ roll band on earth?

8) -There are tens of thousands of people in the world today who will openly declare Sergeant Peppers to be their favourite album of all time.  Would you agree that this statistic, more than any other, offers cast iron proof of just how low the combined intelligence quotient of the human race has sunk?

9) – Please study the following facts carefully:

Fact One – Love - the latest musical monstrosity the Fab Four industry is using to part the band’s fans from their cash – has a recommended retail price of £15.99

Fact Two - Cortimoxazole – according to the charity Global Movement For Children – is an antibiotic that prevents life threatening infections in HIV infected children (of which there are over four million in Africa) and costs less than half a penny per day per dose per child.

Would you agree that the money required to purchase a copy of the Love CD would, perhaps, be better spent on the latter? 

10) - Even though John was hardly in the same league as the likes of John Fogerty, Bob Seeger or Gary US Bonds as a rock ‘n’ roll singer, when he put his mind to it he was, undeniably, the best singer by far in the Beatles. However, would you also agree that on tracks like ‘Across The Universe’ and ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ when he chose to sing in that ‘Oh please Sir it wasn’t me, it was Wiggins’ voice of his that he wasn’t really doing himself any favours as a vocalist?
 

 The Answers
1) No
2) No
3) Yes
4) No
5) Yes
6) No
7) No
8) Yes
9) Yes
10) Yes

How did you score?

(0-3) - You need to pull your socks up, STOP following the herd and START following your heart.

(4-7) - You are still displaying some disturbing signs of longing to fit in and merge with the masses in order to be able to take the easy road through life. Be careful, the next step down this slippery slope could find you standing in a queue at your local Tesco’s with a Franz Ferdinand CD in your shopping trolley and a smug look on your face, convinced that you’re breaking new ground!

(8-10) - Thank you for taking the time to read my book, let me take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Beatle-free New Year.

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Help to Cure Dominic Monaghan’s Fab Four Fixation

December 3rd, 2006

     ‘It’s like a school of thought for me’
      (Dominic Monaghan discussing his belief in the Beatles’ ‘teachings’)
      ‘One and one is two’
      (An example of the Beatles’ ‘teachings’)

Unaccustomed as I am to watching movies about midgets squabbling over jewellery (in fact given the choice of watching Lord of The Rings or spending equal man hours studying the ingredients of a tomato ketchup bottle in Dutch, I’d plump for the latter) I was unaware of who Dominic Monaghan was, until one night a few months back when I happened to be watching the Jonathon Ross show by mistake and he was on as a guest. 

I’ll be honest; I was really starting to warm to Dom Dom with that rather endearing ‘sometimes I just want to run away, learn to play the hurdy gurdy and breed pigs’ charm of his, until all of a sudden – for no apparent reason and with absolutely no prompting whatsoever from Jonathon or the studio audience – he blurted out to the nation that he ‘loves to talk about the Beatles’.  So intrigued was I by this outlandish declaration that I decided, when time permitted, I would definitely make it my duty to delve a little deeper into Dom Dom’s disturbing desire to discuss deified dinosaurs. 

From information I have since managed to acquire (all freely available on the Internet) I’ve discovered what may well prove to be one of the main reasons for this fascination with the Beatles; it turns out that Dom Dom actually has the musical taste of a 15-year-old middle class schoolgirl.  Consequently, only having the likes of the insipid piano-driven drivel of Coldplay, or those ‘don’t worry these kids are too young to remember the Bunnymen’ bass lines of Interpol as reference points with which to compare the Mop Top’s music, it is understandable, I suppose, that Dom Dom developed this fixation for all things Fab Four. 

A fixation, apparently, so severe that it not only involves the poor lamb listening to their music on a regular basis, but also believing wholeheartedly in the band’s ‘teachings’, and even going so far as to have a line of their lyrics tattooed upon his left shoulder

After resisting the temptation of other ‘classic’ lines of wisdom from the pen of Lennon & McCartney such as ‘Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da life goes on brarrhh’, ‘I am the egg man oh, they are the egg men’ and  ‘I must not be so oh, oh, oh, oh’, Dom Dom finally decided to adorn his body for the remainder of his natural life (unless, of course, his record collection should dramatically improve whereupon laser treatment could be considered) with the words ‘Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed’ from the ditty ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’.
     
      (Note to any Fab Four fans reading this by mistake: we’re fully aware at freespeechbooks.com that the line ‘living is easy with eyes closed’ is in fact a metaphor, we’re just astonished by how weak it is)

Ok, I know what you’re thinking – ‘I blame the tattoo artist’, right?  Well, to some extent I agree.  Dom Dom should certainly have been offered a selection of alternative lyrical options to ‘Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed’, which, although still including the word eyes (them being the windows to the soul and all that) are not gauche, grammatically ungainly, lazy, semantically misguided, or indeed such a bone of contention for referees, bus drivers and ornithologists. However, Dom Dom is a big lad now and old enough to make up his own mind. Therefore, even though the tattoo artist responsible will have to live with the fact that he’s scarred a man for life with sixth-form poetry, ultimately; the customer is always right. 

Naturally, working in an industry where the obligation to be Fab Four friendly is stifling, Dom Dom will be actively encouraged by the majority of his colleagues to continue spreading his hell-fire brand of Fab Four Fundamentalism, whilst meeting little resistance from the more evolved industry insiders who – for obvious reasons – will remain silent.  That is why it is absolutely imperative, with so many kids these days being influenced by their hero’s taste (or lack of it), that for the sake of musical evolution, you should do everything in your power to help Dom Dom see sense if you ever get the opportunity.

If you are lucky enough to bump into Dom Dom on your travels, I’ve devised a very simple exercise, which you can utilize to test his faith in the Beatles’ ‘teachings’.  It’s called the All You Need Is Love challenge.

      (The All You Need Is Love challenge is also recommended for use during ‘the talk’ with any strain of Fab Four fan {apart from the Beatle Head} when you feel that he or she may be confusing a song that has genuine integrity and is worthy of your attention, with one that’s main melodic refrain was openly lifted from the nursery rhyme ‘Three Blind Mice’)
      
In order to successfully execute this exercise all you have to do is ask Dom Dom – in as polite and friendly manner as possible – if he would be prepared to take the All You Need Is Love challenge’.  If he agrees, which I’m sure he will, as he’s renowned for taking time out to mingle with his minions, simply ask him the following question: 
    
“If I were to commence my studies of the Beatles’ ‘teachings’ by evaluating the credibility of their song ‘All You Need Is Love’ as a valid concept, in order for me to be absolutely convinced that love really is all you need, am I to assume that Rolls Royces, mansions and fur coat collections are optional extras?”  

That’s it! That’s all you need to do, just plant the seed of reality inside Dom Dom’s conscience and let him go away and begin to scrutinize the bands’ ‘teachings’ at a deeper level in his own time, as I’m sure, being a bright lad, he will do.  Once he starts to realise that it’s actually his sacred cows who have been milking him (not just financially, but musically, spiritually and emotionally) for all these years, I’m convinced he’ll be desperate to put his days of doing it in roads, holding hands, digging ponies, fixing holes and residing in submarines behind him and move on.  In fact, given time, Dom Dom may one day progress to a higher level of enlightenment where, assuming he does shun the idea of laser treatment, he’ll have the lyrics  ‘take what you need and leave the rest’ tattooed onto his other shoulder as a way of balancing out his yin and yang, maan!
     
      Now say the following prayer with me for Dom Dom:
     
      Dom Dom, yer daft ‘un, pull your socks up
      You’ll soon be a middle-aged man
      These Beatles’ ‘teachings’ are all well and good
      Whilst your main form of transport’s a pram
    
      If you’re looking for guidance on living your life
      Try Krishnamurti, the Dali Lama or Christ
      Not some long since disbanded lightweight beat combo
      Whose back catalogue is way overpriced

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Gordon Brown’s Big Gold Giveaway

November 14th, 2006

Here’s an interesting fact for you concerning a member of that honest, selfless, forward-thinking gang they call the New Labour Government, which, particularly if you’re a British taxpayer, you may find mildly amusing (in an ironic sort of way.) 

In the summer of 1999, against the wishes of people who paid attention during their economics classes, our ‘prudent’ Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr Gordon Brown, started selling off over half of Britain’s gold reserves (three hundred and ninety-five tonnes in total) for a knockdown price of around $275.00 a troy ounce.  If you’re dull enough to know how many troy ounces there are in a tonne please feel free to move on to the next paragraph.  If not, I’m sure you’ll feel considerably more indispensable in any future pub quiz in which you may partake, to discover that there are 32,150.7.
     
Since the summer of 1999 the price of gold has been rising faster than an MP’s pay packet. In fact, the last time I looked, it was hovering around the $610.00 a troy ounce mark.  I’m no mathematician, so it would be difficult for me to give you an exact figure of how many billions of pounds this specific financial faux-pas of Fife’s finest has cost the country thus far, but I feel pretty sure it would have paid for at least a new hospital or two, with perhaps even a little loose change left over to help a few destitute pensioners with their crippling energy bills – what do you reckon?
      
However, what I find even more remarkable than Gordy Boy dropping such a big bollock with our bullion is that, apparently, there are still some people – so dazzled by that confident manner, foppish charm and masterful  “Agnes that smells rank, no more Scotch broth for you!” brogue of his – who seem totally unconcerned that, if Prudence does become Prime Minister, he’ll bring the country to its knees at an even faster clip than the current nit wit we elected. 
     
Therefore, out of idle curiosity, I’ve devised a survey to assess the general public’s views on this particular ‘prudent’ pursuit of our Gordon’s, which, if you have a moment, you may be kind enough to complete.  All you need to do is answer A or B to the multiple-choice question below:

[poll=9]

If you answered A to the above question please ask an adult for permission to contact me and let me know how you managed to arrive at your somewhat controversial conclusion.  Alternatively, If you answered B to the above question you may find it mildly amusing (again, in an ironic sort of way) to check out the website www.goldprice.org from time to time over the coming years, so that you can observe for yourself the price of gold continue its relentless rise. 
    
However, if you find that with each repeated visit to the website that your thirst for irony is diminishing almost as fast as the price of gold is rising, until it actually reaches the point were you find yourself kicking your computer screen in a fit of uncontrollable rage, you may find that taking a few deep breaths and then reciting the following mantra to the tune of ‘Golden Brown’ by the Stranglers will offer some comfort. 
    
      Gordon Brown, you’re a buffoon
      We’re billions down, all thanks to you
      You’re squandering more than ever before
      There’s no other clown like you Gordon Brown

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