It’s long and winding, so why not let it be
PAUL McCartney used to argue with John Lennon because it was a penny extra to have jam on your toast. Look at all the jam he’s got now, the jammy bastard. He owes me 15 quid, by the way. I don’t know how he can sleep.’’
So says Allan Williams, the first manager of the Beatles, bringing some much needed levity to this overlong ( 90 minutes), plodding and tawdry expose of the dark side of band.
Williams fights for air space with the usual types dug up from Liverpool or Hamburg ( Tony Sheridan, Klaus Voorman and other less well known peers), who imagine they are delivering revelations: The Beatles transformed the whole British scene,’’ says Lennon’s art college friend Bill Harry,
not just in music ( long pause for dramatic effect) . . . they were a cultural phenomenon.’’ Well, duh.
Try as it might to be a tell- all series of revelations, like a poor student trying to write an analysis, it can’t help telling a story so well known that even the casual or lapsed Beatles fan is well ahead of the game.
Is there anyone alive who doesn’t know the Beatles took amphetamines in Hamburg so they could play for days on end? It seems to come as a surprise to the makers of this film.
But then, at minute 13, German club owner Horst Fascher drops a bombshell. They came to me once and said, For the price of one autograph, we all four made love to the same girl.’
The unstoppable Fascher continues: I think the girls showed them what to do with their little pee- pee.’’
In an altogether more cultured way, the narrator extrapolates: For John Lennon, Hamburg provided an escape from the sexual norms with which he’d grown up in middle- class Liverpool.’’ Cue transvestites in sexy clothes, fussing in mirrors, eyelashes like lead weights.
Then there’s a long diversion into the saga of Brian Epstein’s homosexuality, once again a yawn for the mildest Fabs fan, even with the unconfirmed suggestion that Lennon may have experimented with him.
Beatle babies: some mothers do ave em. Most pregnant girls were given money and told to sign something guaranteeing their silence.
Oh, and someone professing
to have been a chauffeur claims to have delivered a giant lump of hashish to Apple. Once.
There are more revelations in Hunter Davies’s fairly pedestrian 1968 biography The Beatles.
Anyone looking for a sensible inquiry into the substances that fuelled the astonishing flood of creativity during the Beatles’ decade together will be sorely disappointed. But if scraggy old kiss- and- tell Beatle girlfriends and shallow, rehashed biography appeals, this is your show.
Fab bore: This Beatles documentary goes down a road well travelled