Rubber Soul

The Word

Hey Fred do you want to come to the pub?

Down the railway line?

Yeah, we’re going in five minutes, see you by the exeat book

We were trusted to sign ourselves out and so we didnt write, “down the railway line”, we just put down “town” as our destination. It was a see no evil system and we tried to not do much evil.

Say the Word and you’ll be free

Say the Word and Be Like Me

So why did you wait so long to buy Rubber Soul?


Billy; was that all?

You’ve got to play it somewhere and if Billy doesn’t like it then…

Yeah, tell me about it.

But the real reason was money.

Money? But you bought Best of The Beach Boys…

Complicated that; my aunt gave me the money for an album and I asked what I should get and she said

What did she say?

She said, it’s like get a “Best of” album, because it is better value for money, you get all the hits, no duff tracks

Say the word I’m thinking of

Have you heard the word is love?

Oh No! No you’re wrong there! No duff tracks on Beatles albums

You’re right. She’s wrong about Beatles albums! But it’s not a bad album, I’ve always liked I Get Around, it’s about cars and travelling, like we all do.

Not really; that’s a surfer song!

No, it’s not a surfer song, it’s more rocking than that.

Yeah? Maybe, so go on.

Well my parents came up and took us to Soest;

Ah the miracle of the cheap Canadian PX!

Yeah, your money goes really far there!

Enough for an album every time!

Almost enough My Mum took pity on me and said she would make up the difference as it was the Beatles.

It’s so fine, It’s sunshine

It’s the word, love

I guess Run for Your Life is your favourite song after all the cross-country running that you do?

No! The Word! Sounds like a follow up to Day Tripper at times; The Word is Good!

In the beginning I misunderstood

But now I’ve got it, the word is good

I think Day Tripper is over-rated, I prefer We Can Work It Out myself.

Aren’t they both great, like a mini-album?

Don’t be a prat. An album’s got fourteen tracks on it, it’s nothing like an album. You know they’ve got a new album out next month.

Next month? I’ve only just saved up for Rubber Soul!

Spread the word and you’ll be free

Spread the word and be like me

We turned sharp left out of the school gates. I kept my eyes to the ground as I was embarrassed, but Rob always checked out the Gateman, and released his thin, knowing smile at him.

It was about 80 yards to the Railway Line and we were in Great Escape mode. The Boarding School had been a German Army camp in the war so we always had a real sense of escape about our evenings out

The critical move was made at the railway line. The conversation abated, we lined up efficiently so that all four of us could get on to the railway line together, and we smartly executed the necessary left turn. It was seven thirty in the evening, optimum time for illegal manoeuvres as most kids had gone out earlier so there was little chance of being seen. We passed silently behind the main building of the school determined to get out sight quickly. My heart was beating furiously, as we negotiated our two minutes of quickstep across the railway sleepers. We remained two sleepers apart in case one of us was seen. We fell back in step again with a conspiratorial phew, and the shared smiles that say you have just gotten away with something. We always had the best conversation of the evening in the following few minutes. The heady sense of liberation (from school!) freed our tongues and we joked, joshed and ran through several conversations, usually at the same time.

Spread the word I’m thinking of

Have you heard the word is love?

I needed to get out of the dorm regularly. Robbo’s dorm was claustrophobic. We were a real mix of characters and we hadnt gelled into a group. In a day school you look forward to relief at the end of the day, but boarding school keeps throwing you up against various kids you really dont want to deal with at all hours of the day. Robbo’s dorm had far too big a range of characters to take on any clear identity; two swots, two hard cases, couple of lads keen to stay well in with the hard cases and two kids mostly keen to avoid trouble. Nearly all my real friends were in other dorms, so it was good to get out and talk to them.

It’s so fine, It’s sunshine

It’s the word, love

Our school year groups didn’t give you any sense of identity either, so I had fallen in with this crowd of experienced drinkers. Bob, our leader, was already a “quiet pint” kind of guy at seventeen! With his raincoat and scarf he always looked grown-up, so he usually got the orders in. He had a quiet way of talking which seemed to reassure grown ups too. He was 16 and I was 14 when I started going out with his group. I think the deal was that I was smart enough to add meaningless facts to the conversation in the pub.

Everywhere I go I hear it said
In the good and the bad books that I have read

Being so young we couldn’t drink in any of the officially sanctioned pubs in town, where the trendier teachers were also liable to drop in at any time. We had to head off to Rob’s favourite Pub, two miles away and in the country. Rob couldn’t stand the thought of socialising with staff, or “wankers” as he invariabky called them. So he walked the extra mile, only hung out with his own under-aged followers and kept his own counsel. Of course we loved it; little cygnets kissing allegiance to our be-ringed swain.

In the beginning I misunderstood

But now I’ve got it, the word is good

The tedium of a two mile walk down a railway line both dimmed the conversation and set us up for a drink.

Rob’s pub was enchanted, just beyond the last level crossing in town with only the countryside beyond us, it felt otherwordly after the barracks of the school. It looked more like a Hansel and Gretel gingerbread cottage than a pub, shaded and covered by ivy and vines. Curiously it was nearly always empty when we arrived, which always got us a big welcome, not that we really wanted to be noticed.

Rob got them in straight away and, as usual, rejected my request for a coke and got me two centilitres of Warsteiners, my first regular beer. We ordered some schaslik and chips to eat, reward for our stomachs after the march

Say the word and you’ll be free

Say the word and be like me

Say the word I’m thinking of

Have you heard the word is love?

Once Rob’s ritual slaking of his thirst was over he turned to me with the big question of the week.

Have you got a girl for Balmoral’s big birthday party? Are you actually going to dance with someone this summer?

Carol Budge I hope!

I though you were going out with the twins?

It’s so fine, It’s sunshine

It’s the word, love

They all laughed. This was a big joke with Rob’s group. I was going out with twins who kept switching on me. At first I was annoyed, but I ended up thinking that, well I am dating two pretty dolly birds, however chaste it all was. But they never failed to laugh at me about it. In the curious rituals of an Army Boarding School you always had official parties with your sister house, which meant there wasn’t a lot of point dating girls in other houses like the twins. But the twins were the first girls I had met, because their parents were friends with mine and they did date me, so…

Now that I know what I feel must be right

I’m here to show everybody the light

You’re the only guy who double dates all by himself, Fred

And he still doesn’t get kissed!

Well I’ll kiss Carol!

Give the word a chance to say

That the word is just the way

Yeah only coz she’s in Balmoral and she’s kissed half of the fourth form!

Ted, she’s only kissed Ted! And he kisses everybody. Anyway she’s really nice!

Oh yeah? Cant’ Get No Satisfaction all over again, I think?

It’s the word I’m thinking of

And the only word is love

I had somehow not got a dance during Satisfaction at the Christmas party, the one song we schoolboys and schoolgirls all agreed on as being perfect for dancing, the number one floor filler at the official Christmas Party.

It’s so fine, It’s sunshine

It’s the word, love

The schaslik arrived, Rob got up to get a second drink for him and Ted. Andy and I nursed ours as we needed to be completely sober on the return, in case we were seen getting off the railway line. We were underage and out-of-bounds. I nipped over and got the ketchup bottles and the senf dish and we tucked in. This time Rob’s line of questioning was more comfortable for me.

Say the word, love

So why is The Word the best track then Fred?

The Word? It’s driving beat! Which track do you like?

Say the word, love

Girl, classic sensual song; really good song about girls too.

It’s not bad

Not bad? It’s a man’s song about girls.

That’s funny!

Say the word, love

That means that The Beatles have now sung about both Boys and Girls

And it’s time for you to progress to kissing Girls as well young Fred.

Say the word, love



  1. August 16, 2009 at 10:06 am

    […] Rubber Soul […]

  2. August 20, 2009 at 11:32 am

    […] The Word is Love RUBBER SOUL […]

  3. January 8, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    […] The Word (is Love) is about the balancing act between following the rules, as in HELP!, and breaking them in order that you learn about the world and have a social life. How did your friends affect how you learnt and what you learnt? […]

  4. September 30, 2012 at 10:30 am

    […] Rubber Soul; great folk-rock influenced epic by Dylan & Crosby as they lift off (with one last blast of […]

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