10 August, 2010

I cannot be free without her

Last friday didn’t start all so well. I did not receive the call I was so eagerly waiting for, however, it would end up in a good note after a lousy start of the day. As the saying goes, to wait is to worry and that’s exactly what I did all week waiting for a phone call that never materialized (it will, eventually) so I could not help but feeling a bit sad. Normally, my wife would be home by the time I get back from work and I would then tell her how bad my day was (again) and in a few minutes the sorrows will magically go away once she puts my feet back on the ground, however, given our temporary long distance relationship, I opted for the second best option and headed to the local club where my favourite Beatles tribute band was going to play that night and, I must admit, they did shy the ghosts away.

Let me start by describing local clubs in Australia as places where adults go for their entertainment, be it in the shape of drinks, dinner, pokies, free shows or just to hang out with friends and family. Interestingly, their ages range from early 20s to late 80’s and the median is normally around 50. This is what my wife calls a safe place for me to hang out to avoid temptations, nonetheless, this doesn’t mean I didn’t have a lot of fun. The tables are long and set up like a tavern, with the drinks bar inside the function room and a dance floor next to the stage. After I got my cold golden syrup, I returned to my seat in the table closest to the stage and I found I had some new company: two really delightful women aged 82 and 76. I could only admire them just for being there and so I told them. They were cheerful and excited. They told me they have been friends for a long time since they met at Tai Chi (a Chinese Martial Art practiced for health benefits) in the local park and when I inquired them about their secret for longevity one of them told me she didn’t know it yet and that she hopes to live many more years before she considers herself old enough to answer that question. I thought the secret was right there: never think you are too old for anything, age is in your mind.

A few minutes after that first lesson of the night the show started and I was ready to enjoy a great evening. As “The Beatels” played the first notes, I had the feeling that some of the answers I was looking for that night may have been in those catchy lyrics so I sat back comfortably in my chair; fine-tuned my ears and opened my mind to try to decrypt those messages. The first song was “I saw her standing there” and the first image that came to mind was the day I met Pato, my wife, “…and the way she looked, was way beyond compare. So how could I dance with another, when I saw her standing there…” We didn’t actually dance on the first date but I knew that she was way beyond compare and it was love at first sight. The band continued with “Please please me”, “Love me do” and “…listen, do you wanna know a secret? do you promise not to tell? let me whisper in your ear: I'm in love with you…”. That lovely secret was followed by one of my all times fav from the fab4: “I'll follow the sun”. It was penned by George Harrison and it’s one hell of a break up song with such a soft melody that ends up being uplifting in the sadness, hard to explain.

For some reason, these songs were telling parts of my life, specially when “…I pretend that I'm kissing, the lips that I am missing and I hope that my dreams will come true..” or “..love you every day girl, always on my mind. One thing I can say girl, love you all the time. Hold me, love me, hold me, love me, eight days a week…” then, right after that, came the description I made on the first paragraph, but in the words of Lennon & McCartney the loved one is actually home waiting for him after work: “It's been a hard day's night, and I been working like a dog. It's been a hard day's night, I should be sleeping like a log. But when I get home to you, I'll find the things that you do, will make me feel alright…”. By that time I was calling for “…Help! I need somebody. But not just anybody. Help me get my feet back on the ground…” and then the help came in the form of another favorite of mine to remind me how “…my life has changed in oh so many ways, my independence seems to vanish in the haze…” as “…yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away, now they look like they are here to stay”.

I was again feeling a “nowhere man” in a “yellow submarine”, sitting in my nowhere land and making all my nowhere plans for nobody until I heard that “there are places I'll remember all my life, though some have changed. Some forever not for better, some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments, with lovers and friends I still can recall, some are dead and some are living. In my life I've loved them all…” now my feet were landing back on the ground again and Buenos Aires was all over me. How could they sing so accurately about a place they've never been?

“The magical mystery tour” was waiting to take me away to “Penny Lane” which was in my ears and in my eyes, beneath the blue suburban skies. Santa Clara del Mar being my Penny Lane, of course. And then again, the lesson from my companion in Macca's own words: “there's nothing you can do that can't be done. Nothing you can sing that can't be sung. Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game. It's easy”. Learn how to play the game; second lesson of the night. When I think of The Beatles I find it hard to imagine the real dimension of their success but I noticed a consistent message through their albums, such us when “Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play, they've been going in and out of style, but they're guaranteed to raise a smile”, which ties up the two lessons together very nicely: age is in your mind and learn how to play the game!
Talking about age, what could be best than thinking how would things be “when I am 64”: loosing my hair (started earlier, I'm afraid); sending valentines; birthday greetings bottle of wine (or mending a fuse) but more importantly I guess is “will you still need me when I am 64?”
I think it will be easier “with a little help from my friends” as “obladi oblada, life goes on, bro” and even when we “say we want a revolution, well you know, we all want to change the world” so we’d better “come together” because “I know you, you know me. One thing I can tell you is you got to be free”.

“Something in the way she moves attracts me like no other lover, something in the way she knows and all I have to do is think of her”, and by thinking of HER I feel that “here it comes the sun” after it's been a long cold lonely winter, it feels like years since it’s been here. Here comes the sun”. Soon we’ll be together again “little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting…” and “…I got arms that long to hold you, and keep you by my side. I got lips that long to kiss you, and keep you satisfied…”.Needless to say that “I’m in love with her and I feel fine”.

I think it is, after all, time to “get back”, “my mother's waiting wearing her high-heel shoes and her low-neck sweater. Get back, get back. Get back to where you once belonged” but “I know it ain't easy, you know how hard it can be. The way things are going, they're going to crucify me”. I need to “take a sad song and make it better. At the end of the show, I went home with more answers than I had questions for. The band, the performance, the company, the lyrics, the melodies, all came together at the right moment and that’s what I love about music. It can make the sun shine through the heaviest rain if you let it into your heart,then, and only then, you can start to make it better.

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