Wednesday, 18 June 2014

My Beatles

To paraphrase their own song "It was 50 years ago this week the Beatles came to town to play"  Town being my home town, Auckland.  Today's morning paper carried articles about this momentous (to teenage girls anyway) occasion stirring up my own memories.  I know some of the girls I went to school with bunked off in order to go to the town hall to see the Beatles at their public appearance but I had never bunked school and was too much of a scaredy cat  to start.  The daring girls came back the next day, heroes happy to take their punishment, bringing with them the thrill of Beatlemania to ripple through the school.

I'll never forget the first time I heard the Beatles.  We had a large room in our house, we called the playroom, nowadays it would be called a rumpus or family room. It had a large table and was where I did, or was supposed to do, my homework.  Because it was well away from the rest of the house I could sneakily turn the radio on and listen to my favourite music without my parents noticing...for a while, anyway.  This particular night the Beatles came on singing Love Me Do.  It was like a thunderbolt.  Their sound was so fresh, new, different and captivating that I was hooked immediately. Just as people remember where they were when they heard President Kennedy was shot I vividly remember that evening and that magical sound coming from my cheap and tinny radio.

  As it happened my parents had a close friend, a single woman in her 50s, who was a Journalist for Auckland's evening newspaper.  She reviewed shows that came to town and from time to time would take me along as her plus one.  In return I would answer her questions after the show to give her a young teenage perspective for her reviews.   I was fortunate to go with her to Roy Orbison, Frank Ifield and a few
Some of my old theatre programmes
other shows.  The day the Beatles were in town she rang my home.   I answered the phone and could hear the excitement in her voice. I just knew I was going to be asked to the Beatles.  Unfortunately my mother was out shopping and it was late in the day. Darry did not ask me, she wanted to have it okayed by my mother first and told me to get my mother to ring her urgently. My mother arrived home too late to contact her so I never got to the concert only to find out later that there was, indeed, a ticket for me.  I still look back sadly  on that lost opportunity.  Darry took me to other shows, and I was very grateful, but nothing could make up for missing the Beatles concert.

My beloved Grandmother who I adored, and still do despite the fact she died many years ago, would sometimes rescue me from life with six brothers and take me out for a girly day.  She loved the cinema and on occasion would take me and my cousin to two movies in a day, one in the morning, then  lunch at Smith and Caughey's, a grand old department store in Auckland, and then to another film in the afternoon.  It was fun, my cousin and I reveled in it.  A Hard Day's Night was on and my grandmother had heard that it was popular with young people so she took us.  My cousin and I were thrilled and proud of our cool grandma.  We loved it, I'm not sure about grandma!  My cousin and I were amused when some girls in the front rows were screaming and my grandmother tut tutted declaring "Fancy bringing babies to a film like this" and "Why don't their mothers take them out". She was serious and we didn't have the heart to tell her the screamers were Beatles fans.

My first Beatles LP and I still have it.


I loved the early Beatles' music, painstakingly saving up to buy their first LP...it took me months!  I went right off them, though, when they started going all psychedelic and weird. However these days I still pop their CDs on for a bit of nostalgia now and then. 

Ahhhh, memories, memories, 50 years, eh,...gone in a flash..