Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Whatever Happened To...The Beatles?

I know, I know - two of them died, one of them married a one-legged woman and the fourth became Thomas the Tank Engine. But what if things hadn't gone quite as well for the Fab Four back in the sixties as they actually did? What if they hadn't made so much money and had been forced to pursue other careers, post-Beatles? (No, I don't count bed-ins, films like Caveman and Wings as proper careers). What if John and George hadn't met untimely ends? A lot of 'what ifs', huh? Long, long ago, in a far off post, I recounted my nightmare vision of what John Lennon might be doing if he was alive today - presenting Songs of Praise. Yes indeed, white haired and wearing a roll neck sweater (but still sporting those Granny glasses), there he'd be every Sunday afternoon, sat in his rocking chair giving us a few bars of 'Imagine' on his guitar (accompanied by Yoko on tambourine), before introducing this week's service from some church in the arsehole of England.

I have no doubt that if this had ever come to pass, we'd have seen ITV sign up Paul McCartney to host its rival God-slot offering: Highway. Out would go ex-Goon Harry Secombe blasting out 'If I ruled the World' and blowing raspberries in between reading out letters from viewers chronicling how their faith enables them to endure the appalling afflictions, illnesses and maimings inflicted upon them by God, and in would come Macca treating us to 'Let it Be' on the organ of St Paul's cathedral - with the chorus sung by hundreds of assembled school children. Every Sunday would turn into a battle of rival Christian philosophies, with John and Yoko preaching their fundamentalist vision of the teachings of Christ (all loving thy neighbour and redistributing wealth), while Paul gave us his evangelical showbiz take on the faith (all glitz and glory of God, with a few miracles thrown in).

But what of George? Clearly, the only home for him would have been Channel Four in the days when it still had some integrity. He would doubtless have ended up presenting their alternative religious programme, showcasing those less-popular (in Britain), but peace loving creeds such as Buddhism, Hare Krishna and he like. Every week's show would wind up with him having a jamming session on sitars with a bunch of Tibetan monks or Eastern mystics, in a studio foggy with the smoke of a thousand joss sticks. That just leaves Ringo. Ah, Ringo! I fear that he'd have ended up presenting something like Booze Britain on FTN or some similar scuzzy digital channel. Truth be told, it would probably be mostly composed of his own home movies, as he staggers from pub to pub around London, before collapsing in a steaming heap outside the Savoy, as he awaited his chauffeur driven Rolls Royce, (complete with built-in bar). Mind you, it would surely still be preferable to ending up as the voice of a talking railway engine...

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