As an introvert, I have never wanted to attend the big fan festivals for those entertainment giants I like the most: the Beatles, the Chicago Cubs, and Doctor Who. I am content to enjoy this entertainment on my own, follow them on television or the internet, and even use the internet to share enthusiasm with other fans. Aside from attending an occasional game at Wrigley Field, I have no inclination of being physically surrounded by fans who share my interests.
Therefore, I decided this fall to hold my own private Beatlefest. To celebrate the Beatles, I am doing three things, or possibly four. I am reading the 350-page coffee table book Beatles Anthology. I am watching the eight-part video series that goes with that book. (Each installment is about seventy-five minutes.) I am setting my CD alarm to wake me up each morning with a different Beatles song. I may possibly find time to listen to entire albums from start to finish.
The only problem with my own private Beatlefest is that I am not able to keep the different media in sync. I am already half-way through the book, which I started a day or two after I finished reading the Encyclopedia Britannica. I’m all the way up to “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” I’ve been able to see three installments of the video series, which has me up to the tour between the filming of “Hard Days Night” and “Help!” My wake-up music is still coming from the soundtrack of “Hard Days Night.” Meanwhile, the only album I’ve had time to hear from start to finish is “Please Please Me,” (which was released in the United States, missing a couple of songs, as “The Early Beatles”).
Actually, a second difficulty was choosing thirty-five favorite songs for my alarm out of the many Beatles songs which I like. I had to try my best to stick to three songs an album, even though there are some albums which have many more than three good songs. I didn’t really want the Beatlefest to last much past the eighth of December, though, so I am limited in the number of songs I can choose.
For many years, November has been, for me, a month to remember the Beatles. When I was first learning about their music and beginning to buy their albums, a documentary about the Beatles was shown on TV, followed immediately by the movie “Hard Days Night.” This happened just before Thanksgiving, and I spent the entire long weekend listening to the Beatle albums I had already bought. Now, more Novembers than not, the Beatles come to mind. Sometimes my festival runs from November 29 to December 8 to remember the deaths of George Harrison and John Lennon, respectively. This year I started earlier, mostly because I wanted plenty of time to read the big book.
The Beatles managed to combine excellent music with entertaining personalities. I cannot agree with every decision they made for their personal lives, but I have learned to enjoy their music, their movies, and the documentaries about them without being distracted by their drug use, their casual attitude towards sex and towards marriage, and their dabbling in a form of the Hindu religion. John Lennon’s famous remark that the Beatles were “bigger than Christ” was meant (according to John), not as a boast or a put-down of Christ, but as a complaint that the Church was not doing enough to promote Christ and his teachings. John Lennon thought Christianity was going to disappear from the world; in that, he was misinformed. While Christ will remain God’s Son and the world’s Lord and Savior, the Beatles will remain an entertaining foursome from Liverpool, England, who have helped to shape the musical taste of several generations of music lovers.
In the past, I’ve been known to sink so deeply into a private Beatlefest that I actually pick up a Liverpudlian accent. I doubt that is going to happen this year. As long as I enjoy the music, though, the time spent on my own private Beatlefest will be worth the experience. J.