The Big Issue : Edition 559
THEBIGISSUE.ORG.AU 6–19 APR 2018 13 PHOTOSBYJAMESBRAUND I MISSED OUT on the Beatles. Too young. I have one album, A Collection of Beatles Oldies, which has a lurid psychedelic cover and was a cheeky stop-gap of hits pushed out by their record label between Rubber Soul and Sgt Pepper’s. I bought it as a teenager because it had ‘Michelle’ on it which, as a dramatic young woman with the sensitivity of an exposed tooth, I’d listen to on repeat with tears of longing pouring down my cheeks. I was a water wall of misery, triggered by the romance of a song that was, on reflection, a cheap ploy to get into a foreign girl’s knickers. As a grown up I do rather like Sgt Pepper’s. It’s my favourite “commit suicide in traffic/abandon your parents” album. But I don’t care about the Beatles. Good on them, clearly excellent music, as you were, you had to be there, no truly I don’t need another documentary/book/box set of hits/barrel scrape from their archive of never-released D sides. A few years back my boyfriend did a quick photoshop of our four chickens into an image parody called Let It Beak, but that’s the extent of my interest. So, I surprised myself by being moved recently by the knighthood for Beatles drummer Ringo Starr. Arise Sir Richard Starkey! Did you see the smile on his face? Broad as a welcome-home hug. There was a man enjoying his moment, and so he bloody well should. It’s been 21 years, after all, since fellow Beatle Paul McCartney was knighted in 1997. That’s a looong wait. It’s got to give you the irrits. What, you don’t think it was niggling? Yeah, it was. “Well, it’s about time,” Starr said in 2015, after being inducted as a solo artist into America’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, not so hot on the heels of John Lennon (1994), Paul McCartney (1999) and George Harrison (2004). Even more galling, apparently Starr got the nod because McCartney agreed to host the ceremony. Ringo’s the least-rated Beatle, the “non- genius”, the fourth banana, consistently slagged off and joked about. English » Fiona Scott-Norman (@FScottNorman) is a writer, comedian and one cool banana. FIONA A Hard Day’s Knight “A few years back my boyfriend did a quick photoshop of our four chickens into an image parody called Let It Beak, but that’s the extent of my interest.” comic Jasper Carrott’s gag (once attributed to Lennon), was that Ringo’s not the best drummer in the world, he’s not even the best drummer in the Beatles. Oh, how Ringo must laugh at that one. Even in February this year Quincy Jones rubbished Starr in an interview in Vulture (“Ringo? Don’t even talk about it,” he said, after dismissing the entire band as “no-play motherfuckers”). Back in the day, Ringo was the one groupies crawled over to get to John and Paul. If the Beatles were high school, Ringo was picked last for sports. Every. Single. Time. It must be tough, doing a damn fine indispensable job in the shade cast by three giants. Ringo’s drumming has been thoroughly vindicated (google “Ringo’s no joke”), but though the Beatles couldn’t have done it without him, he’ll always be the lesser star. It was the same at school with the Bay City Rollers. The most popular girls in our group got to like Les, the lead singer, and Eric, the guitarist. Those of us further down the pecking order had to grudgingly make do with Alan, who was probably in his late twenties but looked like someone’s dad, or Derek (not coincidentally, the drummer). What was it like being in One Direction and not being Harry Styles? In Take That and not Robbie Williams? In The Supremes and not Diana Ross? Being Art Garfunkel instead of Paul Simon? A universe of post-show parties where everyone’s making small talk and looking over your shoulder in search of the main prize. But that’s nearly all of us. Beavering away unacknowledged, knowing that without us the star can’t shine. We are nearly all second, third, or 18th bananas. So, thanks, Ringo, for your knighthood. Arise, Sir All Of Us. Finally.