Help] They love you, yeah, yeah, yeah, but I don't

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The Independent Online
THE SIXTIES generation had a great time three decades ago and for 25 years never stopped telling the rest of us how they changed the world. They made a mint out of it: plays, films, books about the sexual liberation of women. They believed they were the generation that invented sex; the people without whom civilisation as we now know it could never have developed. They had it all, knew it all and subsequently made careers out of telling it all.

Then something strange happened. Just as their careers began to wane the Sixties generation decided that they had made a huge mistake. During the past five years, they have therefore made new careers and now piles of money telling us how wrong they now realise they were. The real story, of course, is that having had so many sexual goodies themselves, they now want to stop anyone else enjoying them.

When they weren't wrapped around each other, these lazy, self-obsessed, self-loving 'revolutionaries' were lying in fields, dressed in silly kaftans, drugged up to the eyeballs and putting flowers in their hair. And in the few moments when their senses made contact with reality, they listened to a lot of noises and had the audacity to call it music.

Youngsters of the Seventies generation had to suffer - and still do - the whingeing of their predecessors when the quality of popular music was under scrutiny. True, we had the Bay City Rollers, but we also had Elton John and David Bowie. All the Sixties generation can boast is the Beatles, and what a tired boast it has become.

I can't forgive them, first for inflicting, and second for continuing to inflict, the rantings of the Beatles on successive generations. How much longer must we travel down memory lane and listen to people in late-life crises harking back to the good old days of the Fatuous Four? A darn sight longer, it seems, because the three remaining Beatles have decided to reunite for a one-off TV special, which will be the climax of a (yawn) 10-part Beatles documentary.

Is there really anything left to say about them that couldn't be written on a postage stamp (one side only)? Four lads, silly songs, rotten voices, mysterious success. End of story.

The Beatles' greatest hits were little more than infantile rhyming exercises of the kind set in primary school: you take one syllable and try and find as many words as you can of similar sound: 'Yesterday/all my troubles seemed so far away/now it looks as though they're here to stay . . .'

Very fond of the 'ay' syllable were the Beatles. Take 'Help]', another great hit: 'When I was younger, so much younger than today/I never needed anybody's help in any way.' Or 'Girl', about the 'girl who came to stay' and 'still you don't regret a single day'. Try getting away with that in today's national curriculum.

The whole of the Beatles' oeuvre is a con-trick, which succeeded due to timing rather than talent. The lyrics and sentiments are as deep as an eyebath and had the impact they did because they hit a generation of people who couldn't tell the difference between promiscuity and love. They sang, and listened to songs about love, when what they were really singing about was screwing around. That's why they all feel so guilty about it now.

The mystery is why, in their drug-free states of mind, they continue to lavish adulation upon such mediocrity. Surely, today, they can recognise the crassness of the lyrics, the monosyllabic dreariness of the romantic dirges, the lack of conviction in the sentiments.

McCartney has gone on to inflict more of the same upon us; George made his best stuff when he went solo; Ringo is . . . (where is Ringo?); and the only really talented one was shot down outside his apartment block in New York.

They were only a pop group, and their status as national heroes is undeserved and undesirable. Let us hope that if and when the trio reunite, it really will be for the last time. There's no uglier sight than three middle-aged men trying to recapture their lost youth; and there's no sight more ludicrous than a generation of has-beens watching them do so.

Miles Kington is on holiday.

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