by James Coarse
Sorry Hannah. The first person I ever heard say that they didn’t like The Beatles was also the person who encouraged me to start drinking miller high life when I started drinking for the first time during the summer before my 18th. A time when some of the people I see the most are more aptly described as drinking buddies or gang members or fellows and the people I say I love you most to are almost inexplicably out of physical reach for months and months at a time. Had a girlfriend (a term which seems dated at this point – a time when lovers are most aptly described in that vague way so as to convey the vague lines within which we love each other).
Had an older sister who took our cash in exchange for an 18 pack of miller high life bottles & two forty ounce bottles of miller high life with which we played kings in my bedroom at my mom’s house. This stuck with me most because even as a green drinker with no useful conception of a liquor store layout I couldn’t & can’t answer the question proposed by the forty ounce bottles. Was 18 so clearly not enough? 30 far too many? An odd credit minimum or the desire to use exact change paired with a refusal to pocket our extra dough? When he would say “ahh they suck” with a smile and a pull on whichever freshly opened can of miller high life he was directing over the years before a brush with forces beyond our immediate control led to him switching to PBR, my reacting progressed from one of surprise and indignation at the idea that anyone could be so blasphemous. Never conventionally religious & always argumentative I would attempt to defend the kingdom of rock & roll as my rigor would allow even though he was already bent over our particle board based pool table explaining that if the rack was good it was tight and a decent break would leave the 8 ball stationary. My uncle in later years would impress with mostly failed attempts to crack & send the 8 ball into a pocket
ending the game & either way it just meant one of us would have to rerack because when you try
to shoot so that the 8 ball goes in on the break you have to shoot at an odd angle and with what
turns out more often than not to be too much authority giving flight to objects that really shouldn’t
have the ability of anything like a bird or a human or certain fish & squirrels & bats.
Sometime later I started trying on his hat, just like I adopted his choice of beer – of course in situations absent from him and his superior drinking, poolplaying, joketelling self – once most
recently when I found myself almost kicked out of a bed I really wanted to be in by the person I
wanted to be in it with because I tried to fork over some half assed shit with a comparable grin that
probably came across as comparable attempt at ftw hepness which it probably was at the time & was quickly admonished with ice and fire. The nit & grit of it I have come to realize has nothing to
do with John’s abusive tendencies or Ringo being “not even the best drummer in the Beatles” or their (personally) irrelevant boymeetsgirlsboywantstofuckgirlditcheshimhethreatenstoputherintheground songs or their songs about drugs or really any of their songs or really anything at all that the Beatles did or didn’t do. It’s not about them anymore.
My father was the president of the motorcycle club at Amherst College & said there was a day when you had to choose between the Beatles and the Stones and that the good kids chose the Beatles (which right now is striking me as odd if only because in 1965 they looked almost the same, but maybe people in those days chose their favorite bands for different reasons) but that these days it doesn’t seem like such an important choice – not like sox v yanks (my words not his) – & so we can like both. The problem is that I don’t like the Beatles, or, to be more specific I don’t want to listen to them pretty much ever and usually will change the radio station when their music comes on. Here’s the crux
(ready? or are you already so engrossed that “ready” doesn’t apply?):
The Beatles were way too influential for any of our personal or collective goods.
So many songs and artists since them have been so influenced by them I could practically say that I’ve heard every Beatles song more often than the song has literally ever been played. And I mean literally in the old sense not the sense that is literally the opposite of the old sense which is so much more common these days I literally will kill myself in the new sense.