The Blog and Pony Show

Saturday, March 11, 2006

God is Not in These Details

Okay, kids, gather 'round... time for a book review!! This week's book review is The Beatles: The Biography by Bob Spitz.

So round about before Christmastime, I was surfing NPR.com when I learned that yet another author had undertaken to record the rise and fall of the Beatles. In addition, NPR published the entire first chapter of the book online. Pretty kewl. I read it and was pissed off when I realized I couldn't read anymore. So I did what any smart girl would do right before Christmas: I added it to my Amazon wish list. And my dear loving sister purchased said book for me for Christmas, b/c she's just that kind of girl. Also, she lives in Seattle, which is as far as you can get from Miami and still be in the continental U.S., so ya know, ordering from Amazon is just a lot easier.

Anyway, back to that first chapter. Basically, biography of John Lennon, going back to his grandparents. Pretty fascinating. By which I mean, very detailed. Unbelievably detailed. I mean, the author must have made some of it up sort of detailed. It wasn't so bad with the first chapter. But then I read on and... okay, here's what I mean by details: The color of sofa in John Lennon's apartment. Every house Paul McCartney ever lived in (and every move). How his mother broke down in the phone booth and huddled up in a fetal position when she called her husband to tell him that she had been diagnosed with stomach cancer. The first time George Harrison's mum went down on his dad, etc. The details are mind-boggling. And somewhat distracting. I just want to learn more about, say, the circumstances that brought about the White Album. But just finding it in the book requires some research on it's own.

Then there's the cursing. No, it's not particulary offensive, it's just that I get the feeling that Spitz throws it in to try and shock his readers. Only, it comes off as a mediocre comedian trying to get a cheap laugh by working the "F" word into a knock-knock joke. El Lame-O mucho, gracias, senor!

All that being said, I'm kinda of plowing through it anyway. It's entertaining to see what bizarre detail this guy's gonna pull out of his ass next ("... Then Ringo's great-grandmother, Martha, blew out the three white candles on her pink and yellow birthday cake and clapped her hands in an unusual rhythm that Ringo himself would later incorporate into "Helter Skelter.") It's a bit strange thinking that I now know more about each Beatles' ancestry than I do my own husband's; then again, Michael hasn't managed to make so much as a gold record yet.

Hmmm.... it would be kinda cool for Michael to become the next King of Pop. We'd finally be able to afford his rock-star lifestyle, and people would voluntarily research his ancestry to boot. He probably wouldn't mind all the groupies that much either.

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