Saturday, 5 September 2009

Boring people doing boring things

Since it’s Beatles week on the BBC, I thought you might like to be reminded of this enchanting sequence from the film Yellow Submarine, a psychedelic take on Liverpool and the quotidian:

John Lennon, by the way, poured scorn on Paul McCartney’s ‘novelist’ songs: ‘These stories about boring people doing boring things – being postmen and secretaries and writing home. I’m not interested in third-party songs. I like to write about me, ‘cos I know me.’

Needless to say, this blog is happy to join Ian MacDonald, author of the definitive Beatles book Revolution in the Head, in the militant pro-McCartney wing of the Beatles fan club.

Did you know that Edward Heath once praised the Beatles as ‘the salvation of the corduroy industry’? (see Dominic Sandbrook, White Heat: A History of Britain in the Swinging Sixties, p. 101)

And this is a piece I wrote recently for the FT weekend magazine about spending a weekend at Newport Pagnell service station. It was inspired by the genre of quotidian travel writing which emerged in France in the 1980s and 1990s and which treated routine journeys as intrepid adventures: Julio Cortazar and Carol Dunlop’s journey from Paris to Marseilles in a Volkswagen camper van, Jean Rolin’s adventures in the Parisian banlieues, Jacques Réda’s attempt to walk the line of the Paris meridian, and François Bon’s and François Maspero’s journeys on commuter trains. You can find my own humble effort at,dwp_uuid=a712eb94-dc2b-11da-890d-0000779e2340.html

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