Tribute to George Harrison and John Lennon on the radio today. I woke up on a couch in Boston, listening to Beatles songs, and clips saying things like: "A few days ago, George Harrison finished a long battle with cancer and quietly passed away in a friend's home in Los Angeles. Although this event is sad, we must remeber that George understood that life on Earth was not infinite, and firmly believed that our souls live on. And so, we must remember those four Beatles, armed with guitars and drums, who changed the world with their music." Which immediately reminded me of a conversation I had with my 55 year old English teacher last week. We had been talking about Beatle George's death, and I said how depressing this must be for him, considering he grew up while Beatle singles and records were coming out for the first time. He told me this:

When he arrived at boarding school for the first time at the age of 13, he was taken to the gym along with everyone else every evening by the older boys, where they were basically beaten up through sport. My teacher actually played rugby and boxing everyday, but those who didn't would spend that time being beaten up indoors. And those who joined the choir were beaten additionally everyday for two weeks. This was simply the way it was and the way it had been. However, by the time my teacher was at the top of the school, 5 years later, the entire practice had dissappeared. How come? I asked. His answer was: The Beatles. The Beatles had hit the scene by then. They were the heart of the entire peace/love/flower power scene, and they changed the way people felt. They made people want to love each other. He said that when the single I wanna hold your hand came out, there was a noticable increase in hand-holding.

The radio rolls on. I hear a version of Help! with the James Bond theme as an intro, a cover of a Bob Dylan song, and between every song is a clip of John Lennon explaining how unhappy he was when the Beatles were bound by contract to shove out albums, recording with a format, a system which never existed between the Beatles before, or explaining how he doesn't really like writing songs for movies, but he can do it if someone really wants him to. And then, as the DJ is handing over the show to the next one, he reveals that all of the clips which we heard are from a conference which took place on December 8, 1980, a few hours before his assassination. He finishes off with a story about John Lennon and George Martin, the producer for the Beatles who once said he wasn't sure if he did as well with the Beatles as he could have done. Heh.

John Lennon: I wish I could do it all again. If I could do it all again, I'd re-record everything again.

George Martin: Even Strawberry Fields?

John Lennon: Especially Strawberry Fields.

(DJ puts on Strawberry Fields to finish the show.)