Thursday, January 20, 2011

Beatles, Rolling Stones, Animals and Santa Claus

Dear Editor,
Thank you for answering my question about Santa Claus.  Now I have another one.  I get confused about all these British rock bands, especially the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and the Animals.  How do you tell them apart?
Virginia O'Hanlon

The letter was dated December 22, 2005.  Who knew that Virginia ("Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus") O'Hanlon was still alive?  A bit more than somewhat addled, perhaps, but still kicking.  Through a protracted and excruciatingly bizarre set of circumstances (involving the US Postal Service, a typo on my change of address form, Blackwater, a congressperson whom I can't name, and the Internet), the letter - and the responsibility for responding - fell into my hands early this month.   My reply is below.  Sensitive as I am, and Virginia being THAT Virginia, I thought it best to withhold a few - but only a few - details.  I mean, after you've told her what you told her about Santa, you're supposed to break the news of John Lennon's assassination?

Dear Virginia,

Man, it sure took you a while to get around to thanking us.  You're welcome. 

Francis Pharcellus Church, the guy who responded to your Santa Claus inquiry, is a bit under the weather.  He's asked me to respond to your question about telling apart the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Animals.  I hope the question/answer format I've chosen makes things clear.  By the way, everyone calls them "the Stones" now.

How many members?
Beatles (B) - 4.
Stones (S) - 4 or 5.
Animals (A) - 5.

Trademark album cover?
B - The White Album. (It's all white, Virginia; you don't need a picture.)
S - Sticky Fingers.
A - The Animals.

Trademark anatomic feature?
B - Hair.
S - Tongues. (Especially Mick's and Keith's.  Together.)
A - Zits.

Representative hit song (G-rated/definitely non-subversive)?
B - All You Need Is Love.
S - Jumpin' Jack Flash.
A - N/A.

Representative hit song (not G-rated/subversive possibilities)?
B - Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.
S - Live With Me.
A - House of the Rising Sun.

Most appropriate city in which to hear them.?
B - Liverpool.
S - New York.
A - Rotterdam or Detroit, whichever's closest.

If they were an author, they'd be?
B - Dostoevsky.
S - Hemingway.
A - Mailer.

If they were a disease, they'd be?
B - Tuberculosis (popularity plus a romantic/tragic aura)
S - Malaria (popular, worldly, and it's got staying power)
A - Grotesque acne or herpes.

Most closely associated bodily fluid/secretion?
B. Semen.
S - Semen.
A - Semen.

OK, that didn't work; second most closely associated bodily fluid/secretion?
B - Tears.
S - Sweat.
A - Pus.

Selected career highlight?
B - Getting fucked up (that means smoking marijuana, Virginia) at Buckingham Palace before meeting the Queen.
S - Altamont.
A - Staying out of jail.

Drug of choice?
B - Marijuana (just noses out LSD).
S - Things go better with coke.
A - Heroin.

I meant drug of choice for the fans.
B, S, & A - So did we.

What to wear if you're going to see them in concert (excluding footwear)?
B - Your brand new mod outfit.
S - Designer jeans and a tee.  A clean tee. 
A - Anything you don't mind getting vomit on.

What footwear?
B - Cool leather boots.
S - Anything you can dance in.
A - Anything that'll protect you when you step on used syringes.

If the group were a female singer, it would be?
B - Ella.
S - Lady Day.
A - Janis.

If the group were a male singer, it would be?
B - Elvis (bet you thought I was gonna say Chuck Berry).
S - Chuck Berry.
A - Jerry Lee Lewis. 

Archetypal lyric (G-rated/sanitary/totally non-subversive)?
B -
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.
(All You Need Love)
S - 
But it's all right.  I'm Jumpin' Jack Flash, 
It's a Gas!  Gas!  Gas! 
(Jumpin' Jack Flash)
A - N/A.

Archetypal lyric (?)?
B -
Picture yourself in a boat on a river,
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies.
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly,
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes.
(Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds)
S - 
I laid a divorcee in New York City
I had to put up some kind of a fight
The lady she all dressed me up in roses
She blew my nose and then she blew my mind
(Country Honk)
A -
Oh mother tell your children
Not to do what I have done
Spend your lives in sin and misery
In the House of the Rising Sun
(House of the Rising Sun) 

Initial emotion/thought upon hearing your daughter's dating a band member?
B - Happiness  /  "But please, God, not Ringo."
S - Concern  / "Please, God, not that Keith one."
A - Fright  /  "God, how could you do this to me!"

Initial emotion/thought upon hearing your daughter's engaged to a band member?
B - Elation / "But please, God, not Ringo."
S - Ca-ching! + residual concern / "Thanks, God.  It's not that Keith one, now, is it?"
A - Catatonia / "-----------------------"

All the best,

Steve Teich

P.S.  Uhhhhhhhh, Virginia, by now you know that Santa doesn't really exist.  I mean, you learned that a long time ago, right?  Right?

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