Number 9, Number 9
There’s a story here, one of mine, if you’ll hang with me for a moment or two.
I’ve talked off and one about the “10 Ideas”, written first thing every morning because, well, ya can, and one of those ideas for me being to read 50 books within a year. I described in some detail the process of selecting the particular books, added a photo of the three piles on a landing between floors. Then, in another “Idea” one morning I considered and made a decision to learn about the Spanish Civil War, of which I knew nothing other than a Picasso painting – but went to the county library on line, ordered a book and when it came in read it through. So another book needed to be removed from the list of 50. Maybe three weeks later I had an idea to substitute no more, somehow, it felt, I was cheating on the slightly mystical aura of the original selection. But then Giles Martin – son of George Martin, sometimes referred to as the “Fifth Beatle” – released a remastered 2018 version of “The White Album”.
I happened across a lengthy on-line interview with Giles about the process, the honoring of the original work, and then another interview, and thereafter listened to a number of the 2018 versions of songs I had loved all these years, on YouTube, one after another after another. All my Beatles love and devotion came pouring back out, so I went back to the library and borrowed a copy of “Here, There, and Everywhere” by Geoff Emerick. I finished that book this morning, having made the decision to read it as one of the 50 instead of “Zen Guitar” by Philip Toshio Sudo. And now, speaking of the famous Beatles’ studio engineer, Geoff Emerick, and speaking of the White Album, and speaking of a long, long time ago…………..
In the fall of 1968 I entered my sophomore year at Cape Cod Community College. A couple of weeks before class began, having rented a cottage in West Yarmouth to be shared with a couple of other Wareham fellas, I began hanging around with a guy named Bob Mulray. He was from New Bedford, the place of my birth, and he was the incoming President of the CCCC student government. He was also a rather experienced druggie, and one more than willing to share his experience with me. That’s when – the fall of ’68 – I began something like a 14-year career using drugs, starting with pot and quickly moving on to reds and blues (downers) and black beauties (uppers) and assorted hallucinogens, colors and shapes mixed with copious quantities of alcohol, leading to all kinds of fun and zany dumb-ass behavior. To support the expense of these habits I found a part-time job at a record store on Main Street Hyannis, almost directly across from the college campus (where it was in those days) and figured out how to squeeze classes between work and play, I mean, priorities and all.
The White Album dropped into our lives late November that year, and Bob and I came up with a plan, and the sunny afternoon the double-album arrived Bob wandered into the store and I simultaneously gathered the older couple who owned the place and had given me the job and concerned them in a corner with something or other while Bob slipped the album under his coat and walked out. Nice.
He and his roommate Roger came back to pick me up when I got off and Bob immediately showed me some hits of acid in his hand and he and I each took one and Roger, who drank heavily through the night, became of necessity the designated driver, and we ran around town for I don’t remember what and got back to their house just as the LSD (which Bob explained was a “double-barrel” hit) was beginning to have its way, and simultaneously a couple of former high school classmates of mine showed up – no clue how they found us – and got stoned on pot and began playing these weird hand games and first Bob and then I began freaking out and telling them to stop which only made them howl with laughter and up the game-playing ante and things got worse and worse and at one point I walked into the kitchen and found Bob with a huge knife and a look on his face – what I could still see of it – clear enough in its intention, so Roger and Bob and I ran out of there and piled into Roger’s Mustang – fire engine red – and drove to a phone booth across the street from the West Yarmouth Police Department and Bob went to call a friend for help and I waited, getting in and out of the car for 10 minutes, and finally saw a cruiser pull up and ran past it (actually through it’s not-really-there-ness) and grabbed Bob, who hadn’t even dialed the phone yet, and eventually he got through to a guy named Kenny and when we got to Kenny’s house Kenny was out on the porch waving a pistol yelling at Bob where were they (my old pals, no doubt heading off Cape in a state of ongoing giggles) because he was going to kill them, and Roger who was now drunk was cracking up and we all went in to Kenny’s house and smoked lots of pot and eventually the three of us went back to Bob and Roger’s rented house and smoked pot for hours and hours to try and “come down”. And that whole time we played the stolen White Album, all four sides, over and over and over and over.
And I tell you now – from that day on, from that day forward, I have always believed and always shared this detail of that night, that Bob and Roger and I listed to the brand new White Album 12 times. Twelve freaking times, all the way through – 48 sides of new Beatles’ music. It was my story and I was sticking to it because I knew it was the truth. Then I read the Emerick book this last week – and fyi, Geoff, who had engineered all of “Revolver” and “Sergeant Pepper” and “Mystery Tour”, actually quit in the middle of the White Album sessions – and finished his book this morning and got to thinking about that night and came to the basement and did some Googling and called up a calculator and came to understand that if, in fact, the three of us had listened to the entire record 12 times it would have taken us over 18 hours. Ha!!! I have been wrong more than 40 years!!! Turns out it was probably more like five or six times, as we finished sometime like 10 in the morning. Forty years.
“Here, There, and Everywhere” was the ninth book I have finished of the intended 50. Number 9. Number 9. This post has to serve for my amends to the record-store owners. Sorry.
It feels okay to have switched books. Right, even. And now I’m kind of hoping for the 2018 edition of music under the tree with all those lights in the corner. I’ll let you know.
That’s not really Bob’s last name by the way. And we lost touch. Roger is, in fact, Roger. And ditto.
And I don’t mind ‘outing myself’ here as being a low-level criminal and pt-time druggie. You know why? Because everybody’s got something to hide except for me and my monkey.
Where’s the damn banana?