It was thirty years ago today huh. How time flies. I’m getting old, although those in their 40’s or
worse older scoff at the idea. But still, I’m teaching students, some of who were born in the late 80’s when I was turning delinquent. Others in the early 90’s when I was returning from delinquency.
But I am getting old, and I have proof. Because I also remember in 1983 when the teaser for Martin Sheen’s three part mini series on President Kennedy had a gravely voice asking ‘Was it really 20 years ago?’ Implying that 20 years is an awfully long time. In just a couple of years I will be wondering ‘was it really thirty years ago’ since that chap was inquiring whether it was really twenty years ago. Geez.
I couldn’t find the original teaser to the Kennedy series, which I have on box set by the way, but did find the trailer. And, just in case you’re wondering, no I do not think there was any grand conspiracy in his assassination. Kennedy’s, not Martin Sheen’s. They are easy to confuse. No conspiracy, apart from the media conspiracy to create a conspiracy anyway.
But anyway. Thirty whole years ago since John Lennon was killed. I was but eight years old, but I can remember where I was when I heard. It’s traditional to remember where you are when something important happens. In fact I often make mental notes of where I am when I hear trivial pieces of news, just in case it turns out to be big news. Just in case. I can remember exactly where I was when I heard that the Queen Mother was going to have a fish supper one time. Because you just never know. Turned out, however, that she had sufficient resilience to see off a fish bone or two.
It was the day after the shooting, way back in 1980, and I picked up a copy of the Sun newspaper in my parents room. The front cover had Lennon’s photo splashed across it, with a few words letting the reader know the man was a gonner. I couldn’t find an image of the Sun’s front page for that day, so the Daily Mirror will have to do. For nostalgic purposes.
That days paper left two burning questions in my mind. The first was a simple one. Who is, or, rather, was John Lennon? I was only eight, after all. The second question was more complex. Why is this John Lennon chap also on page three? He’s not supposed to be on page three. There are supposed to be boobies on page three. I wanted to see the boobies. Just eight, but the inbuilt male fascination with boobies runs strong. It was, probably, the only reason I picked up the paper.
The Sun is a trashy tabloid that went from 1960’s new kind on the print press block to all conquering media giant thanks to the Page 3 girls, and remain there today. The owners correctly identified that boobies sell papers, especially to curious eight year olds, and also, and more importantly, to those who may have lost their curiosity, but retained the mental age of an eight year old. That accounts, sadly, for a huge chunk of the British population.
It’s a rather appalling indictment of the standards of the UK print media that boobies sell newspapers better than news does. And that we can assess the importance of an event by checking with the Sun to see if page 3 has boobies or not. No boobies? Make sure you remember where are are – you’ll be asked for the location at some point on the future. Lots of boobies? Carry on Britain, go back to work. Switch on X Factor, switch off brain. Nothing major happening today.
But I digress. Lennon. Paola and I have been entertaining ourselves on Sunday evenings of late watching VH1’s The Greatest Artists Of All Time. Four episodes, counting down from number 100 to the hallowed number one place. I disagreed mightily with many of the placings, decided by adding up the votes of two hundred top artists, who each picked their top five. The Doors at only 65? Prince in the top ten? Madness. Paola and I also disagreed with each other on who would win. We both had a good idea of who would be in the top two. I predicted, with disdain and resignation, that Michael Jackson would rule the roost.
Paola was convinced that Ozzy Osbourne’s list was right, and it would be the Beatles. I pointed out that some of the entries on Ozzy’s list didn’t look like real bands though, just random words that had happened to flutter through his drug addled mind at that particular moment. We agreed to wait for the final moments of the show to reveal all. Paola wanted revenge, after losing our predictions game with El Gran Mexicano.
The full list is here, but perhaps you want to watch the video first, to have the winner revealed unto you in more dramatic form. For the record, and after much thought, I can reveal who my top five would have been. Had I been asked. At number five, Bob Dylan. Four would be The Doors. David Bowie at three, with the Beatles at number 2.
For me the greatest band ever, ever, ever, with no doubt nor room for argument – Pink Floyd. And the greatest album ever, ever, ever – The Wall. Only a week and a couple of days to go till the most wondrous musical day of my life. I can’t wait. But I’ll have too. But anyway, the video….