This is quite a short piece by recent standards – because I think you need a bit of a break from long-winded rants at government agencies and the like!
On the assumption that I manage successfully to schedule this piece correctly on WordPress it should appear on both this site and my Facebook page on EXACTLY the 50th Anniversary of the event recounted. I’m not going to hold my breath over that though!
Let me take you back to Christmas 1967 when I was 14 years old! Apart from the fact that we spent it at home instead of at my Aunt and Uncle’s house (next door but one to my maternal grandmother’s house – thus doubling the available accommodation) as was normally the case, I remember exactly three things about it.
- One of my Christmas presents was a plastic model kit, somewhat superior to the usual Airfix ones that I tended to get, of an American Hot-rod car known as The Green Hornet. It had chromed plastic trim and transfers (U.S. = decals) of flames to be applied to the bodywork. It was a much larger scale than most of my aeroplane models and therefore involved much finer detail. I think this may have been it:
The other thing it had was…….. absolutely nothing to do with this story!
- I had a really bad dose of the ‘flu all over that holiday and concern that I might infect my three cousins may well have been why we weren’t across town as usual. My research tells me that most Influenza outbreaks in the U.K. up to that winter were weakening mutations of the great 1957 “Asian Flu” pandemic which, over its lifespan saw off somewhere between 1 and 2 million people worldwide. I caught its last feeble effort before it was replaced by a reinvigorated brand new strain the following year – the “Hong Kong Flu” pandemic of 1968. Nevertheless it was still powerful enough to cause me to spend all of Christmas Day and Boxing Day (and maybe other days either side) in bed and feeling thoroughly miserable. Remember too that I would have been effectively quarantined in my little bedroom with only my books and my little Benkson radio (as long as the PP3 9 volt battery lasted) – there were no such things as portable Televisions or computers to maintain any visual contact with the outside world!
- One of the reasons that I mentioned Television in the previous paragraph and another reason other than sickness to account for me being miserable was that I was going to miss THE major TV event of that Christmas, to be shown on BBC1 at 8.35 p.m. on Boxing Day. It was listed as “The Beatles present their own film, Magical Mystery Tour” and I really, really wanted to see it. I’m not actually sure if my parents would have consented but there was very little to compete with it given that my Dad had a very definite antipathy to just about anything (other than “The Saint”) produced by ITV! Whether the rest of the family saw it or not I don’t know, I only know that I didn’t!
And for nigh on 50 years that fact has rankled with me! It never seemed to get repeated and I was never able to find it on Video or CD. I was, of course, very familiar with the sound track – a mixture of extremely unusual and rather mundane songs and in my mind I made it out to be something absolutely brilliant that I was very much the poorer for never having seen!
A few months ago I was sorting through some files on an old laptop hard disk and found a whole folder of videos and music albums that I had copied from a PC I had been upgrading to Windows 7 about 5 years previously. When I found a sub-folder entitled “Magical Mystery Tour” I thought it would be just the album but it turned out to be a video file of this major omission in my life!
Incidentally, can I just say that I have, of course, now deleted all the files I copied in this way – to keep them would be illegal!
Before I did so, however, I felt compelled to watch MMT and fill in this great missing piece in the jigsaw of my life.
What a load of old tosh it was!
The soundtrack music remains brilliant (as does everything MUSICAL that The Beatles ever did) but the film was the most self-indulgent, drug-addled, badly assembled pile of crap that I have ever watched! I could see exactly why it has never been repeated on mainstream Television!
I am left now with a wish that I had never found that computer file and that I was still in blissful ignorance and waiting hopefully for the something wonderful that I had missed to emerge from the shadows!
Or perhaps if 14 year old me had seen it back in 1967 I would have thought it wonderful and the memory would have been such that I would never have needed to see it again through adult eyes!
Ah well, we can never know!