I climbed into the cab the other day only to discover the driver (whose name sounded like snotter or rotter) is a bit of a Ref21 aficiendo. The traffic was thundering in London so it difficult to catch every word but he was commenting how he had noticed a broader perspective in the blog in recent weeks, thought references to the Daily Telegraph were particularly helpful. He said something about someone (I couldn't quite pick up the name but it sounded like newman) not knowing his left from his right. I couldn't quite get the point of this as he then went on to talk about Republicans and Democrats.
Anyway we got to discussing the John Lennon who would have turned 70 on Oct.9th. I had been reading in Time Magazine (the driver thought I was simply being pretentious at this point) a review of his life as he went from 'star to icon to legend.' My cab driver seemed sceptical (US=skeptical) when I told him that I had come too late to appreciate the Beatles at the top of their game though I think he felt some sympathy with my observation that it seemed to me that they always took themselves too seriously. I have to say that when I went on to say that the really astute cultural observers of the period were Simon and Garfunkel to almost stood on the brake. Just to be to New York is to feel again the excitement of the great concert in Central Park which defined a generation. I held my own though as I defended thse self-confessed prophets of the 'subway walls and tenement halls' to their work up until their last album together where they self-consciously gave up the attempt at social comment and turned to the allure of pop as industry.
I think I lost my conversation partner when I confessed that the demise of Simon and Garfunkel was for me a defining moment and from that day on I too gave up any hopes of using rock/folk/pop as a medium for communicating meaning and instead found my joys elswhere. Where some extol the worth of Led Zeppelin it is for me the Beach Boys and the Monkees that crank my handle and who have been gravely under-rated by the self-important uber-snobs of rock history. My driver stopped the cab and ordered me out just as I was explaining that no vacation for our family was (or is) complete without the Beach Boys and their iconic ballads which capture a lost era - 'Here comes the sun'...and....'Lets go surfin now...come and go safari with me....'
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