There was a British gentleman in a web-based music group that I belong to who signed his posts, “Nothing is Beatleproof.” That’s to say, no matter it’s, you may at all times join it to the Beatles, sort of just like the Kevin Bacon parlor sport.
That is the (partial) premise of Love and Let Die by John Higgs. (Pegasus Books, 400 pp. $28.95). The subtitle actually tells the story, although: “James Bond, The Beatles and the British Psyche.” Higgs endeavors to intertwine 007, the Fab 4 and Britain’s bent in such a way that it varieties a cultural / geopolitical / sociological historical past of the Nineteen Sixties and past.
Within the first a number of chapters, Higgs riffs, in essence, on Hugh Grant’s speech from Love, Really, by which his character lauds England because the “nation of Shakespeare, Churchill, The Beatles, Sean Connery, Harry Potter, David Beckham’s proper foot. David Beckham’s left foot, come to that.”
As for the Beatles, a lot of the data contained in Love and Let Die is accessible elsewhere. Nevertheless, Higgs outdistances every other author in the case of making connections between the Liverpool lads and Bond, to not point out each different rattling factor on the planet.
When Elton John requested Yoko about promoting a herd of prize cattle, assuming that she had turned a tidy revenue, he discovered that the precise purpose for sending the bovines packing was “all that mooing.”
Initially, that is an attention-grabbing train. However because the pages pile up, it will get tiresome. At one level, I started to think about these “documentaries” regarding alleged hidden messages in The Shining. Certain, Christopher Lee is likely one of the actors on the quilt of Paul McCartney’s Band on the Run album, and he appeared in a James Bond movie. This is only one of dozens of historic intersections that Higgs factors out within the textual content.
Ian Fleming, the creator of the James Bond novels, doesn’t fare properly on this telling. Higgs makes a nice case for the argument that Bond was an avatar for Fleming, an “aspirational fantasy at its most alluring.” This state of affairs later induced issues for the Bond film franchise, since Fleming was misogynistic, fascistic and sadistic. Oh yeah, and a virulent racist.
Higgs has written a few books on the English poet William Blake, in order that explains a number of Blake quotes which present up in Love and Let Die. He’s additionally evidently well-versed in each Freudian and Jungian psychology, which accounts for his examination of Thanatos, Freud’s “dying drive” concept and its software to the Bond canon, particularly with regard to the way in which each girl who sleeps with Bond finally ends up useless.
The portion of the ebook describing John Lennon’s post-Beatle life is illuminating. Higgs presents proof that the agreed-upon story — Lennon turning into a “home husband,” baking bread and elevating his new son Sean whereas leaving the enterprise dealings to Yoko Ono – is, within the vernacular, horseshit. In response to Higgs, Lennon was in a extreme depressive state throughout this era, not leaving his bed room for days at a time, consuming closely and possibly doing heroin.
And what about Yoko? Higgins is even-handed in his therapy of the oft-maligned Beatle partner, however he does get in some digs relating to her diva-like nature. When Elton John requested Yoko about promoting a herd of prize cattle, assuming that she had turned a tidy revenue, he discovered that the precise purpose for sending the bovines packing was “all that mooing.”
John additionally zinged John and Yoko for his or her conspicuous consumption, which compelled them to buy quite a lot of flats in New York simply to retailer their acquisitions. In a parody of “Think about,” he wrote to the couple: “Think about six flats / It isn’t exhausting to do / One is filled with fur coats / The opposite filled with footwear.”
Everybody appears to have a favourite Beatle, and in Higgs’ case that may be Paul McCartney. Higgs usually excuses McCartney’s vapid musical output of the Eighties, although he does skewer the ill-advised musical movie Give My Regards to Broad Road, noting that the London’s Broad Road Station “closed down two years after the movie got here out, most likely out of embarrassment.”
Higgs additionally permits McCartney (by way of quotes from different sources) to grumble about Lennon’s perceived sainthood following his passing. To wit: McCartney complains that folks spoke about his colleague “as if he had been Martin Luther Lennon.”
As this examination of the Beatles, Bond and Britain involves a detailed, Higgs shifts right into a geopolitical mode, offering a lot data on Marxist ideology, Soviet propaganda and Vladimir Putin’s ongoing methods to undermine the West. It’s properly written, however at instances Higgs’ prose resembles that present in a time period paper, together with the occasional analytical overreach. He asserts, “To credit score the Beatles as a major issue within the fall of the Soviet Union may sound like hyperbole to Western ears, however it’s an argument that matches properly with communist thought.”
Perhaps Higgs misses the bigger level. In the case of the Beatles and James Bond, it is likely to be greatest to sit back, keep away from overthinking and simply take pleasure in. Nevertheless, obsessive hardcore followers of both the Beatles or Bond will most likely eat it off a stick, saying, “Oh yeah, that’s proper!” many times. In spite of everything, nothing is Beatleproof.