Magical Mystery Tour

1968-4 I Am the Walrus

-How do you gatecrash a party?

-Let’s just say that we’ve come from Bill’s party around the corner and that he told us that you’re running an open house.

-Do you think they’ll let us in?

-You think they’ll be sober after nine o’clock?

I’ve been in this town so long

that back in the city

We were in a very clean and unpre-possessing German bar in Düsseldorf, well Hubbelrath, a suburb on the edge of the city that was filled with British soldiers. The three of us were perched on wonderful stainless steel bar stools nursing our Pils whilst we waited for the great mass of squaddies, wives, girlfriends, and family old and young to get royally pissed.

I’ve been taken for lost and gone

and unknown for a long long time

The furniture would have looked perfect in a Malibu home surveying the Pacific but we were just arraigned in front of its 13 foot long 4 metre bar. We had picked some tunes on the jukebox by the door and all six bare tables in the place were empty.

Fell in love years ago with an innocent girl

from the Spanish and Indian home

of the Heroes and Villains

The Germans didn’t seem to be celebrating New Years Eve, which was a surprise. Mind you nor were they challenging us Brits to rematches of the 1966 World Cup Final any longer, which they still believed (and still do so in the 21st Century) we had cheated them out of thanks to “the third goal”. We kept telling them that we won 4-2, but they wouldn’t quietly go back into their boxes like they did in the fifties before the country’s “wirtschaftswunder” of the early sixties gave them their confidence back as a nation. The quiet, and somewhat echoey, bar was probably easy to clean up after the excesses of a Saturday night, but that was about all its decor had to recommend. We were just building up our Dutch courage with the solitary expensive local beer we could afford and our nervous jollity filled the bar.

-Hi I’m Andrew, Sgt Scott’s son, and we’ve just come from Bill’s round the corner, it’s packed out there.

-Come in son! Who are your mates?

-I’m Fred!

-I’m Tom!

-What do you want to drink then lads? We’ve got enough duty-free in here to sink the Sergeants Mess.

-Three Beers I think.

-Beers? Come on lads, its duty free all night! We’ve got everything in, even vodka!

-Oh, thanks, could I have a vodka and lime please?

Fatally I changed my mind in the face of this generous offer as I’d heard that vodka and lime (was it a gimlet?) was Jackie Kennedy’s favourite drink, so it seemed like the height of sophistication to my sixteen year old taste.

-Rum and Coke!

-I’ll stick to beer thanks, I’ll probably have to get these two home later.

We were in! Somewhat unfortunately as it turned out, because we became their entertainment for the evening. There were just three drunk and sozzled couples lounging around the living room, and they were looking at us expectantly to brighten up their evening as the clock slipped slowly between nine and twelve.

All the drinks arrived in front of us in pint glasses with the injunction to get them down whilst second pints of vodka and lime and rum and coke were prepared to get us “in the mood” for the celebrations.

We were interrogated on what we were doing and it was obvious they realised we were gate crashing but with drinks of vodka coming in at less than sixpence a pint no one really cared. Except it wasn’t any more joyful as a party than the empty German bar had been. Where was the music to lift everyone’s spirits? There was just half a dozen lonely people, far from home and their families getting steadily drunk.

Tom said it first, as soon as the alcohol kicked in, and we realised we were sitting down chatting up forty-year-old wives instead of dancing with the teenage girls we had spent hours talking about getting off with.

-Where did Diane and Rhonda say they were going?

-They were going to Bill’s, but it’s invite only, we’ve got no chance of gate crashing there.

-Look, whatever happens we are well in here aren’t we? If we don’t get into Bills Andy will just let us back in here again; I bet Bill’s back door is unlocked anyway, he’s from Glasgow. Fred tell Andy you’ve just remembered that you’ve left your wallet at Bill’s or something!

I readily agreed to anything that would get us out of this suffocating parlour.

-OK then. Do you think Rhonda will be there? I’ve really got a crush on her. She’s the most perfect dolly bird with her bob-cut and mini-dresses.

-All the birds are there, it’ll be mini-skirt heaven,

-Well I want to give her a midnight kiss…

-Come on then, get us out of here!

–Hey Bill, we are looking for Diane and Rhonda, we were supposed to meet them earlier but we seemed to have lost them.

-Come in lads! Yes they’re inside with all their friends, we wondered why you weren’t here.

I am he as you are he,

as you are me as we are all together

The odd strains of the strings from the opening of I Am The Walrus were striking up in the background as we squeezed past the dozens of coats hanging up in the corridor.  The release of a new Beatles single was still a major social event and people played both sides endlessly to work out which side they liked best.

-Phew, that’s more like it and some bloody music at last. Third time lucky!

see how they run like pigs from a gun

-The trough’s in the kitchen lads, get yourself some food and anything you fancy to drink, no limits here. Mind you, you three lads look merry enough anyway. The girls are on the dance floor, you’ve just missed Hello Goodbye, they’re playing the B-side now. Bloody weird those Beatles.

See how they fly; I’m crying

Crying? I don’t think so! Flying more like…

Sitting on a cornflake

waiting for the van to come

Two more pints into terminal vodka poisoning I switched to beer hoping it would help me get through to my midnight kiss.

-I’m going to kiss Rhonda.

-Aren’t you going out with Carol?

-Oh she finished with me when I went back to England, she’s got some squaddie boyfriend now.

-Lucky bastards those squaddies, they get all the girls.

-They’ve got money and they can take them to the Junior Mess, what would you do if you were a sixteen year old girl stuck out in Germany? Wait for us to come back from Boarding School?

-No! Go out with me of course!

Corporation T-shirt

Stupid bloody Tuesday Man

You’ve been a naughty boy

You let your face grow long

Rhonda was the Jane Asher of our circle. A tall full-figured redhead, always wearing a very short minidress, her head framed by her hair like some pre-Raphaelite muse. I was dying for her to muse me, as long as it led to a kiss. She was the perfect sixties dolly bird and generally recognised as the class bird of Hubbelrath. She went to the Girls School in Hamm, but wasn’t in Balmoral House like me so I could only talk to her during the holidays; she had exactly the look every girl wanted for Christmas 1967.

I am the egg man

I are the egg men

I am the walrus

Goo Goo Guh Joob

Rhonda was dancing in the front room, in a halo of light with which she stood out from all the other girls. At least she is as I recall it from the very edges of my working memory; which gave up on me just after I spotted her.

Mr. City Police men sitting pretty little policemen in a row.

See how they fly, like Lucy in the Sky

see how they run

– Shit! There are Military Police here, they’ll nab us for underage drinking.

-Don’t be stupid! They are off duty. Anyway they want to dance with the girls and half of them are underage, and pretty willing too. There’s no way they are going to cause us trouble unless we cut in on them. They are either on duty, and shouldn’t be here, or off duty getting drunk.

-Thank God for that! Isn’t it great watching the girls dance? It’s just like Ready Steady Go.

I’m crying

I’m crying (oohhh)

I’m crying

I’m crying

–Am I dead?

-No we are walking you home

-I feel like I’m….floating…

…like I’m…

…in heaven

yellow matter custard

dripping from a dead dogs eye

-Are your eyes closed or something? It’s filthy out here, and cold

-I can’t feel the cold; doesn’t that mean I’m dead?

-Come on move your legs now you are awake, you’re just dead weight!

-Where are we?

-Pass the wood, bout ten minutes from your house

-What happened?

-Well we were all dancing at Bills and then Rhonda invited us back to her house to see in the New Year. So we could all snog the New Year in.

-Really! She did?

-Yeah, and Diane was really pissed off

-Diane? Why?

-You kissed Rhonda at midnight.

Crobberlocker fishwife

pornographic priestess

-I kissed Rhonda!?

-Yeah, lucky bastard! Don’t tell me you can’t remember it? It looked fantastic!

-Fantastic? No I can’t remember anything! But I do remember that I promised myself that I would kiss her at midnight whatever happened.

-Not just at midnight! It went on long after midnight. And you went upstairs with her after that as well.

-I did?

boy you’ve been a naughty girl

you let your knickers down

-I went upstairs? With Rhonda? My dream girl! I went upstairs with my dream girl!

-Yes, you lucky bastard. All we could do was look up her legs as you disappeared up the stairs with her.

-I went up the stairs with Rhonda! Why can’t I remember any of this?

I am the eggman

I are the eggmen

I am the walrus

-You can’t remember anything? How do you feel?

-Feel?

-Yeah, how do you feel you idiot! Did you lose your virginity?

-My virginity? Hmm… I don’t know! I feel a bit Blue Jay Way. But, but

-Yes? But what?

-I do feel strangely satisfied…

-Unlike Diane…

Sitting in an English garden

waiting for the sun

if the sun don’t come you get a tan

from standing in the English rain

–Here you are Mrs. Garnett, no need to worry about him. He’s alright now. Just put him to bed and let him sleep it off.

-Is he alright? What’s wrong with him?

– Wrong? Oh nothing. Just, you know, err, drunk. He’s just drunk.

-Badly drunk?

-No, he passed out some time after midnight, but he’ll be fine once he’s slept it off. Too much free booze on offer to be honest. Its New Years Eve after all.

-Well thank you very much for bringing him home, would you like a cup of tea before you go?

-No thanks, still got a bit of a walk to get back to the married quarters myself.

-Of course you do! Well thank you again.

-It’s Okay Mrs. Garnett

-Happy. New. Year. Mum; err everyone

I am the eggman

I are the eggmen

I am the Walrus

-Wow I kissed Rhonda that must make her my girlfriend!

Expert texpert

choking smokers

don’t you think the joker laughs at you

There was no sign of my father. Mum got out a cigarette and wanted to know everything. I was in vino veritas, at least in spirit.

-Oh Mum I’m sorry I don’t really know what happened.

-You got drunk John that’s what happened. Where did it happen

-Oh we gate crashed a couple of the parties, but Andy at the first one gave us pints of vodka when we just asked for beers. I thought I was being sophisticated like Jackie Kennedy.

See how they smile, like pigs in a sty

See how they snide, I’m crying

-To be honest I don’t remember much after we arrived at Bills. It was just round from the corner from where Diane and Rhonda live, they’re neighbours. Apparently I kissed Rhonda at midnight.

-I thought you were going out with Diane?

-We’re just good friends Mum.

-Good friends? I thought she going to come to France with us?

-Oh yeah! I forgot…

Semolina Pilchard

climbing up the Eiffel tower

-Well you won’t be going out again before you fly back to England, your Father’s decided, so I hope kissing Rhonda was worth it!

-I can’t even remember kissing Rhonda. I bet it was fantastic. I bet it was like kissing Jane Asher…

Elementary penguin

singing hari krishna

-Oh, by the way John, something funny happened yesterday afternoon. Two lads came round and asked if Fred and Alf were in. I told them they was no one with those names here. That was strange wasn’t it?

Man you should have seen them

kicking Edgar Allen Poe

-Fred and Alf? Well, err Mum, that’s me and Dave.

-What do you mean that’s you and Dave?

-Fred and Alf; I’m Fred and Dave is Alf

I am the eggman, they are the eggmen, I am the walrus,

-Oh no! And I gave you such beautiful names!

Goo goo gajoob ga goo goo ga joob

2 Comments

  1. September 4, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    […] in given to me as a Christmas present, just like Twist and Shout was exactly four years earlier. My story is about hearing I Am The Walrus, currently my all-time favourite Beatle track, on New Years Eve. […]

  2. September 5, 2009 at 9:40 am

    […] We Are All Together Magical Mystery Tour […]


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