Our small but deep thinking discussion group explored Danny Boyle’s Yesterday. We first talked about the short films. Our own Ben’s skilful interview at The Forum with the exuberant actor Phil Philmar was much appreciated. Phil starred in Julian Lennon’s ‘I Don’t Wanna Know’ pop video and he told how he met both Julian and Sean Lennon. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k199ayCpPbg
Chris Purcell’s short film ‘Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?’ showed the significance of the iconic Abbey Road zebra crossing to the public. This meditative film with the distinctive poetry of Liverpool poet Roger McGough was a treat.
We shared our responses to the Beatles’ music and felt we had grown up with them. We talked about the ground-breaking White Album, the expertise of George Martin as a producer and the complexity of tracks such as Strawberry Fields. Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was the first to have lyrics on its cover. We wondered what would happen if the songs came out today, or whether they were a product of their time. Of course, in the fantasy of the film, the songs’ release lacked the evolution that many of us witnessed from the 1960s.
We felt that the Beatles were very British and ‘had the common touch’, in contrast to the American dominated music rock and roll before them. Their lyrics were simple and universal – ‘All You Need is Love.’ We shared some thoughts about Jack’s decision to ‘drink the chalice’ of fame before finding the truth and were touched by the inclusion of an elderly John Lennon. Tanya spoke about bands nowadays, with some people in the music business often managing to keep a career for a long time.
We ended with some customary anecdotes, hearing about the time The Beatles drove down Southborough in a yellow car and about an encounter with a typically rude Johnny Rotten. We agreed Yesterday was not to be analysed too much. It was a film to enjoy that took us back to the warmth of our memories. Some of us loved the film’s angry punk version of ‘Help’, which showed that the Beatles’ music can be reworked and still shine.