Latest posts by Devin McKinney (see all)
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DEVIN McKINNEY • I’m not a Doctor Who fan myself, but if you are, this must be the cat’s whiskers.
Courtesy of Archie McPhee’s Endless Guyser of Awesome!.
Speaking (loosely) of the Beatles and alternate reality, I just discovered Jeff Walker’s book “Let’s Put the Beatles Back Together Again, 1970-2010.” It imagines what might have happened if the Beatles had been able to work out their differences to the extent of releasing music together, even though not working together on that music. The beginning of the book is a fascinating take on an alternate reality for the late 60s Beatles — where not quite as much goes quite so wrong, interpersonally — and the rest of it is a series of annotated suggested “BRC” (for “Beatles Releasing Collective”) albums, compiled from solo releases from all four members of the band.
I don’t agree with all Walker’s choices of what to put on his BRC releases, but part of the enjoyment is deciding what would make sense to release, and why. And you can create playlists based on the suggestions and burn CDs, if you so desire. I found the book a lot of fun and very thought-provoking.
This has been the subject of so many chat room discussions, parlor games, and articles (chiefly thinking of David Ulin’s “The Beatles 1970-75: Imagining a Post-Breakup Discography” from the July/August 2009 “The Believer”) that I’m surprised it took someone this long to make it into a book.
Oh my god, I HAVE to read this book! Thanks, Nancy!
Wasn’t “BRC” part of the whole “Klaatu is The Beatles” thing? Letters etched into the wax next to the label, IIRC?
Devin, you know how I feel about your compilations (ie, he MUST share them with the world). Have you done one of these, too?
Use your power for good! Tell us!
And Michael, to your point in an earlier comments thread, I believe Walker’s book is a self-published venture. It’s better written and copyedited than many books published by major houses.
On the subject of major publishing houses, I have recently been hugely disappointed by “Fab,” Howard Sounes’ McCartney biography, published by Da Capo. The book is notable for its steady lack of charity toward McCartney’s personal failings and for the absence of any meaningful discussion of his music. Seriously, an over 600-page book in which his bass playing is hardly mentioned? Arrgghh. Sadly, the existence of this tome probably means we won’t get a really good comprehensive critical biography of McCartney, since it’s “been done.”
Nancy, of course it was better written and copy-edited, because the corporate model does not put money towards what it can’t quantify. If they spent $5000 on a great copyeditor, would 5000 more people buy the book? Probably not, so they hire the cheaper one, or they get the author to do it. It’s all about selling the most copies for the least investment. Furthermore, anything pop culture-y often gets kicked to the younger, hipper editors, which is its own trouble if you’re working with a topic that requires historical balance. Plus there’s the feeling that really analyzing something cultural takes the fun out of it somehow. Macca’ll get his bio five years after he’s dead, perhaps.
To put it another way, you’ve got on the one hand “Mad Men,” and then you’ve got dusty tomes. The one is corporately funded, the other academically funded–but the vast space in between these two extremes is probably closer to the reality, and certainly more useful to us than the stylized commodity on the one hand, and the “counting pot shards” thing on the other. I was just talking to an historian about this re: the political murders of the Sixties.
You know, there’s absolutely no reason Dullblog couldn’t publish books on The Beatles. Any topic we could sell 1000 copies of @ $15.95 would probably be worth everybody’s time and money.
I just stumbled onto this blog; never read it before.
I’m 53, old enough to remember when the fab 4 first arrived here. I had two teenaged siblings in 1964 who played their records non-stop. I saw “Hard Day’s Night” in a movie theatre, and the girls in the audience were screaming like it was a live concert.
The Beatles were the soundtrack of my life. I was nine years old when Sgt. Pepper’s came out. My father brought home the album (mono) and I played it over and over.
I was 22 when John was killed. I remember feeling numb for a few days, then crying my eyes out.
When Harrison passed, I felt like I was a hundred years old.
Great blog, keep up the good work.