Friday, June 14, 2013

I'd Go Anywhere With You : Washing with the Beatles

The Beatles were the subject over laundry a couple of days later. Lewis had connected with them at age fourteen, when he discovered counter-culture. “The Beatles were so cool, it didn’t matter if uncool people were into them, which is saying a lot,” he said. “I don’t know if Elton John was ever really cool, but he was kind of coming back as an adult contemporary artist with a pop hit when I was a big fan. They were probably his most massive influence, too, along with a lot of black records, like it was for the Beatles, and the Band really shaped his ideas, too, early on.”
“I had outpatient surgery to remove a cyst from my eyelid when I was thirteen. The two days I was home from school, I heard his songs on the Oldies Lunch Set on K-98. After ‘Rocket Man,’ ‘Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road,’ and ‘Tiny Dancer,’ I was hooked! I couldn’t believe one man sang all this great stuff. There was more, too.”

“The Beatles was what got me invested in song writing,” he admitted, with a huge load of clothes in a bag that he took into the apartment complex washateria not far from where he lived. He had gotten into the habit of coming here while Ed, Wylie and Chris lived here as roommates. Today this trip would put them close to the hospital where her grandmother Custer was recuperating, so they started laundry as part of a two-in-one trip.

“I had tried playing along with some Top 40 songs, and knew a little piano, but between Elton and the Beatles, I got into lyrics and melodies. Well, actually Bernie Taupin wrote most of Elton’s lyrics.”
Gina started slotting quarters as Lewis continued enthusiastically.

“They had such a variety of song styles, although their straight-forward rock style that broke them in America is still classic. It’s what they did with harmonies, for one. And rock was really hungry for something fresh, with Buddy Holly gone, Elvis kinda neutralized by Colonel Tom and the army…”

He began stuffing the clothes in without any care, mashing the big pile down.

“Even something like ‘Octopus’s Garden’ which was written as a Ringo Starr one-off had this special magic, you know,” he continued, blithely rhapsodizing about Beatles. She knew they would wash better if they were separated piece at a time.

“It’s all these touches they brought as an ensemble, too. I wish I had a guitarist like George Harrison to work with! I mean, that’s what makes ‘Garden’ such a cool if goofy hit.”

She smiled and looked at her cool if goofy fiancé.

“Oh, Darlin’” she began, as if to sing to him, “would you stop for a minute and pay attention? I just realized something. You just got on my nerves for the first time!”

“I’m sorry, wha--?”

“Carelessly shoving everything into the washing machine in one huge pile,” she said.

“Oh! Well, I couldn’t really see any…”

“It just washes better if you put things in one at a time. Like, if you have socks balled up in a shirt, or something. Ha!” She felt relieved. She put her hands on his chest. “If you want to talk to me about the Beatles, would you mind if I took over? Because I don’t mind, it’s just…”

“Hahah! Okay. Sure…I’ll watch for that in the future,” he said, standing aside. “You know, I don’t expect you to get that, just because you’re the woman, you know.”

“Oh, I know,” she said brightly. “I was just watching you do that, with your mind somewhere else, and it just irritated me!”

“Well, every disagreement should end so simply,” he said, smiling.

“I’m sorry, heh heh! It’s no biggie.”

“Oh, yeah, sorry I got on your nerves, Gina Belle. But yeah, it was Lennon and McCartney’s basic facility with these masterful little songs, about all facets of love and some kind of surreal take-offs on lyrics, that were the basis for the band’s success. All good players…great singing…but it’s the song itself that makes the difference. And you see how their writing evolved, and how they more and more started writing by themselves…”

He didn’t stop enthusing over rock history. He also didn’t bother to touch another article of clothing the rest of the time.

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