Continuing the spring theme for a while longer, the daffodils are now out, joining the snowdrops and crocuses in adding a little colour to a countryside that has still to cast off the dull yoke of winter. Completing the final reference to spring, are the lambs that have arrived in the world, just as the temperatures dipped, and the sunny weather of a week ago, gave way to cold north-easterly winds, overcast skies and the odd shower.Last December, I wrote about the new desk-top computer that I’d purchased and that whilst I was pleased with it, I was disappointed there was no CD/DVD drive fitted to the base unit. I wrote about this omission at the time, asking why manufacturers saw fit to remove what, for many people, is a useful feature of a computer, especially if, like me, you like listening to the odd piece of music whilst typing or surfing the net.
It turns out that omitting the CD Drive from modern computers, is quite common, and whilst I can perhaps understand not fitting one to a laptop – where space is often extremely tight, there’s no excuse for leaving this feature out from a desktop. As one commentator pointed out, it’s rather like not supplying new cars with a spare wheel!
So far so good, and for just under 24 quid, I now have the facility attached to my PC, to listen to music and watch DVD’s and seeing as Mrs PBT’s seems to have a monopoly on our main TV and DVD player, I’ve a lot of catching up to do. One particular DVD I watched the other night was the Beatles 1967 classic, Magical Mystery Tour.
As a 12-year-old schoolboy, I too found it both strange and somewhat disjointed, but half a century on my opinion has changed. Yes, it is on the surreal side, but then there’s supposed to be some “magic” about it – the clue is in the title, after all! Viewed in colour, instead of monochrome, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and feel that not only has it stood the test of time, if anything its surreal and off-beat theme, was rather advanced for the age in which it was created.
Originally shot on 16mm film the production has been restored and transferred digitally onto DVD, with some additional background information, including Interviews with the two surviving members of the band. Ringo Starr said that coach trips were a regular feature of growing up in 1950’s Liverpool, allowing working class families the chance of escape from the bleakness of the city.
Paul McCartney admitted that whilst there was a basic plot, much of the film was ad hoc. Advanced arrangements for both cast and crew. Were minimal, and in the main they just turned up, and allowed the camera to role. This anarchic chaos was described by the two women who ran the Beatles Fan Club, back in the sixties, who were invited along on the bus as extras.Apart from some scenes filmed in the West Country, primarily at Newquay, the bulk of the filming took place at RAF West Malling, a decommissioned military airfield, just a few miles up the road from here. The car and bus racing scenes were all filmed here, and the concrete "blast walls" formed the background for the group performing “I am the Walrus.” One of the large hangers was converted into an indoor studio, and was used for the scene where the Beatles, dressed in their white tuxedos, descend a large staircase into a massed assembly of ballroom dancers, whilst singing “Your Mother Should Know.”
Anyway, apologies for this indulgence on my part, but it’s good now and then to take a look back to time when life was simpler and more relaxed. If you like the Beatles or, like me, remember them from their heyday, back in the day, give the film another look. The same applies if you want to catch a glimpse of a long-vanished England.