Nov 27, 2023

Ancient potted shrubbery: some thoughts on the new Beatles track

The brand new Beatles song Now And Then caused quite the stir. The lost Lennon song returned them to the number one spot for the first time since 1969. That's an awfully long time. To be fair, Free As A Bird should have been top of the pops in 1995, but the exorable Earth Song kept it off number one.

I should be frothing at the gills for a new single by the Beatles. Truth is, the Beatles never really excited me. Yeah, I know their place in history. Their phenomenal production techniques, their tape-twisting sonic savviness, the blueprint they set for the rest of time. But songs about submarines and octopuses seemed so childish. Says the man who owns numerous cartoon rave singles.

I spent many of my younger years in the Manchester Boys Choir, a well-regarded choir that hit the buffers when its choirmaster turned out to be a wrong 'un. My overwhelming memory of our repertoire was singing the iconic Beatles song Yesterday over and over again. And again. And again. This was not a good thing. It quashed any kind of Beatlemania I could have developed as a child.

As a fan of dance music, I should be into the Beatles by law. The references throughout the history of electronic bleeps are legion. The Chemical Brothers paid tribute to the Beatles on more than one occasion, from aping Tomorrow Never Knows for Setting Sun, to dropping in a snippet of Revolution 9 into Chemical Beats

Danger Mouse spliced The White Album with Jay Z for The Grey Album, one of the most interesting mash-up albums. You can hear a bit of the Beatles in the Black Dog's Book Of Dogma, and on UNKLE's Psyence Fiction album. And Massive Attack directly referenced Here Comes The Sun on their Blue Lines album.

Having said all this, a few years ago, I did make a video about the Beatles. It called The Fabulous Four, made for a project called Let The Artists In. The cartoon video has television snakes, ancient potted shrubbery, a safety-conscious canary, and an unexpected fourth member of the Beatles. Absolute glorious nonsense. And quite fitting too: I have a copy of John Lennon's In His Own Write, which is also full of cartoon daftery.

Incidentally, the silly Ringo reference in the video was taken from my Seven Inch show (2018/2019). The Beatles sketches featured in the video are the actual A3 cartoon props used in that show.

There you go. A blog post about the Beatles. And I didn't mention Candy Flip once.

A few years ago, I suc