Saturday, June 02, 2007

It was twenty years ago today...

... that John Walters pointed out that the twentieth anniversary of Sgt Pepper should really be celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the Lonely Hearts Club Band, which would have made yesterday the 60th, we suppose. Did we really hear during the Today newspaper review that one of the papers actually claimed to be "revealing" the Lucy from Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. (The Times, apparently) to be Lucy O'Donnell. It wasn't about LSD at all - how can it be that we've thought that all these years, eh? Despite Lucy popping up every two or three years giving interviews about how a drawing of her by Julian Lennon being the inspiration for that song?

Actually, you know, we don't believe it for a minute - we know this is the official Beatleography line, and it chimes with Lennon's claims in Rolling Stone back in 1970 that he swore to God he didn't "realise" it spelled LSD. Yes, yes, there was a picture, but are you seriously trying to tell us that Lennon wasn't gurgling with delight at the coincidence?

Meanwhile, the Sun has "updated" the cover with what it claims are more contemporary versions of the faces on the sleeve. It actually starts out fairly well:

1. Indian mystic Sri Yukteswar Giri replaced by Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama.

2. Sinister occult leader Aleister Crowley replaced by Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard.

But then, either the paper is trying to signal desperately to its readers that we live in a decaying culture, where the taint of celebrity has debased everything it touches, or else they just don't have a clue, really:
3. Bawdy hellraising actress Mae West replaced by rehab hellraiser Lindsay Lohan.

4. Offensive stand-up Lenny Bruce replaced by edgy stand-up Ricky Gervais.

Ricky Gervais "edgy"? Perhaps in a culture where Lindsay Lohan is seen as a latter-day Mae West, but Lenny Bruce was repeatedly arrested for obscenity, banned from several cities, barred from nearly every nightclub in the United States, sentenced to four months in the workhouse because of his act. Ricky Gervais writes children's books and makes charity videos with Bono.
5. Pioneer of electronic classical music Karlheinz Stockhausen replaced by electro-wizard Moby.

We're sure even Moby would argue there's no equivalence here.
6. Comedian and actor WC Fields replaced by pint-sized funnyman Danny DeVito.

"I have been in the entertainment business some forty-three years, and I have never said anything detrimental or anything that might be construed as belittling any race or religion. I would be a sucker to do so because you can't insult the customers." versus "I think it was the seventh Limoncello that got me."
7. Founder of analytical psychology Carl Jung replaced by hypnotist Paul McKenna.

One man created a whole way of looking at the world and exploring the way our minds work; the other, a former Capital Radio dj who sells self-help tapes.
8. Dark crime writer Edgar Allan Poe replaced by darker crime writer Ian Rankin

This one's not a bad substitution.
9. Dancing movie legend Fred Astaire replaced by Dirty Dancing’s Patrick Swayze.

But Swayze made one movie about dancing twenty years ago - couldn't they have thought of another dancer? Like Wayne Sleep, maybe? Or perhaps Natasha Kaplinsky?
10. Leading artistic chronicler Richard Merkin replaced by graffiti commentator Banksy.

Maybe, although Banksy's field of reference is totally different - Julian Opie might have made a bit more sense, based on the Blur pictures in the NPG if nothing else.
11. Painting of air force icon Varga Girl replaced by Forces beauty Nell McAndrew.

That works, although it shows how far the concept of "forces sweetheart" has been watered down since the second world war - McAndrew's basically one step away from Force's Readers Wives.
12. Big-faced actor Huntz Hall replaced by big- faced actor Nicolas Cage.

13. Genius builder and designer Simon Rodia replaced by architect Sir Norman Foster.

Again, not bad choices, although we suspect Foster was the second answer shouted back when the newsroom was asked "does anyone know any architects?" (after "my brother-in-law had a good guy for his loft extension.")
14. Cutting-edge beat poet Bob Dylan replaced by a crustier but still cool Bob Dylan.

In other words, the picture researcher called back with an "are you sure there's even a man called Murray Lachlan Young?"
15. Fifth Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe replaced by fifth Arctic Monkey Andy Nicholson.

This is insulting to Sutcliffe, and completely fails to understand why he was there in the first place - I guess at least they didn't replace him with Bonehead. Dylan gets to stay, but the pretty Beatle doesn't? You could argue, if you had to swap him out, that Yoko should have taken his spot. But some chump from the Arctic Monkeys?
16. Controversial cartoonist Aubrey Beardsley becomes Simpsons creator Matt Groening.

Groening would have been the perfect man to replace Disney; really, though, this is where Banksy should have been stood.
17. Old mannequin replaced by Topshop mannequin.

If the Sun had any creativity left in its paper, they'd have put Kate Moss in here.
18. Police founder Robert Peel replaced by Sting, the founder of The Police.

That, frankly, is pathetic.
19. Drug-dabbling writer Aldous Huxley replaced by off-his-head writer Will Self.

20. Poet Dylan Thomas replaced by Irish rhymer Seamus Heaney.

"Irish rhymer", "drug-dabbling" - is anyone else getting the sense there aren't too many Eng Lit graduates working for the paper these days?
21. US screenwriter Terry Southern replaced by Goodfellas director Martin Scorsese.

22. Doo-wop singer Dion DiMucci replaced by R&B star Usher.

23. Comedy actor Tony Curtis replaced by funnyman Adam Sandler.

21 and 22 aren't bad suggestions; Usher could be any unfathomably popular American chart act, but their interchangeability is the point.

Adam Sandler as this age's Tony Curtis, though? Have we really sunk that low?
24. Cutting-edge artist Wallace Berman replaced by shark-pickler Damien Hirst.

25. Radio favourite Tommy Handley replaced by gobby radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles.

Yes, we have, haven't we?
26. Blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe replaced by platinum starlet Scarlett Johannson

The Sun does tend to view all women with blonde hair as interchangeable; if they'd done this three weeks into Big Brother it would have been that woman who wants to be Victoria Beckham.
27. Drug-inspired writer William S Burroughs replaced by serial-caner author Irvine Welsh.

Addict, you fucking fools. Burroughs wasn't "ooh, I'll have a little bit of blow and see if I can come up with a poem", he was a drug addict.
28. Spectral yogi pin-up Sri Mahavatar Babaji replaced by Celeb BB pin-up Shilpa Shetty.

This is a little bit like replacing Pope Benedict with Claudi Schiffer because they're both German.
29. One half of comedy double act Stan Laurel replaced by Dec’s other half Ant McPartlin.

Oh, give me strength. Laurel and Hardy were international celebrities who made iconic comedy films. Ant presents light entertainment on ITV.
30. Painter of heroic figures Richard Lindner replaced by Spider-Man creator Stan Lee.

If Lindner had painted "heroic" figures in the sense of people embued with extrahuman strengths, you could see the thinking here. But Lindner's people are failures, toys and, above all, dislocated from society; they're not heroic in any real sense. Would it be unfair to assume someone scanned his Wikipedia entry to come up with this substitution? And wouldn't, say, Beryl Cook have been a more apposite stand-in; a different approach, but the same milieu?
31. Tubbier half of comedy double act Oliver Hardy becomes Ant’s pal Declan Donnelly.

After all, if Laurel and Hardy were busy, they wouldn't have called in Vernon Kay instead, would they?
32. Creator of the Communist Manifesto Karl Marx replaced by Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

David Cameron would at least have been funny. Osama Bin Laden might have been controversial. Vanessa Redgrave could have been an stage wink.
33. Time Machine author HG Wells replaced by 2001 creator Arthur C Clarke.

That's keeping it contemporary, boys. Although, erm, wasn't 2001 being created at the same time as Sgt Pepper?
34. Yoga guru Sri Parama-Hansa Yogananda replaced by yoga obsessive Madonna.

That's just absurd. Almost grotesque. Mad Lizzie has done more to promote well-being than Madonna, and we'd not even suggest her to stand here.
35. Desert hero Lawrence of Arabia replaced by Gulf War veteran Andy McNabb.

"There were many other lonely fighters to whom this self-regardent picture is not fair. It is still less fair, of course, like all war stories, to the un-named rank and file: who miss their share of the credit, as they must do, until they can write the despatches" versus "Suicide is the arsehole's way out".
36. Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud replaced by Sun Agony Aunt Deidre Sanders.

If only Freud had restricted himself to reducing complex sexual anxieties to photos of women in their knickers, he might have managed to hang on to his seat.
37. Mannequin replaced by New Look mannequin.

No, they didn't use Lily Allen, either.
38. Pin-up cartoon of a Petty Girl replaced by cyberbabe Lara Croft.

39. Wise-cracking stage man Max Miller replaced by cheeky pop star Robbie Williams.

Max Miller was a hugely talented comedian with perfect comic timing. Here, maybe, you could have argued Ricky Gervais could have sat, albeit slightly uncomfortably. But to confuse comic ability with "sometimes wears a cap and gurns" is a travesty.
40. Another Petty Girl replaced by cartoon sexpot Jessica Rabbit.

Again, a good idea but... contemporary? They should have put in Lynne from their own George & Lynne cartoon strip. Or... a page three girl? It's like The Sun doesn't even read The Sun, isn't it?
41. Moody actor Marlon Brando replaced by grumpy thespian Russell Crowe.

Spot on, although the Beatles couldn't have known that Brando was going to end up doing any old crap for the money at the time.
42. Cowboy actor Tom Mix replaced by spaghetti western gunslinger Clint Eastwood.

That's really updated the idea. Despite, erm, A Fistful of Dollars predating Sgt Pepper by three years.
43. Writer, poet and wit Oscar Wilde replaced by writer and comic Stephen Fry.

Fair enough, and Fry has even played Wilde which is quite nice.
44. Zorro actor Tyrone Power replaced by Mask of Zorro star Antonio Banderas.

45. Modern artist Larry Bell replaced by unmade bed artist Tracy Emin.

46. African explorer David Livingstone replaced by British adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

Again, not a bad series of replacements.
47. Tarzan actor Johnny Weissmuller replaced by King Of The Jungle Phil Tufnell.

48. Writer Stephen Crane replaced by Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown.

49. Music hall comedian Issy Bonn replaced by stand-up Jimmy Carr.

50. Legendary Irish writer George Bernard Shaw replaced by modern Irish writer Roddy Doyle.

These, taken together, could really be used as evidence in a court case about the world the Sun has made. Doyle's clunking, insular work in place of Bernard Shaw's connected, deeply political work? Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha as our generation's Arms And The Man? Jimmy Carr there at all? A cricket bloke who won a gameshow what we give to eternity in place of an Olympian who made an iconic movie character? In the stead of Crane's evocation of the meaning of courage, Brown's pisspoor airport potboiler?
51. 3D artist and designer HC Westermann replaced by iPod designer Jonathan Ive.

52. Liverpool FC legend Albert Stubbins replaced by former Everton star Wayne Rooney.

We'll give them these.
53. Indian spiritualist Sri Lahiri Mahasaya replaced by spoonbender Uri Gellar.

They're not very good with the philosophers or spiritual leaders, are they? They might as well have just slapped Paul Daniels over his face.
54. Alice In Wonderland writer Lewis Carroll replaced by Harry Potter creator JK Rowling.

There's some sort of logic to this one.
55. Boxer Sonny Liston replaced by British Olympic silver medallist Amir Khan.

56. Waxwork of George Harrison replaced by waxwork of Arctic Monkey Alex Turner.

57. Waxwork of John Lennon replaced by waxwork of Arctic Monkey Jamie Cook.

58. Waxwork of Ringo Starr replaced by waxwork of Arctic Monkey Nick O’Malley.

59. Waxwork of Paul McCartney replaced by waxwork of Arctic Monkey Matt Helders.

The boxer one is fine, but... apart from there not being any waxworks of the Arctic Monkeys, surely, if anyone, a plasticated Beatles should be represented by Oasis?
60. Albert Einstein replaced by Brief History Of Time genius Stephen Hawking.

"Stuart, you can stop looking for a photo of the bloke who invented Suduko... I've had a better idea..."
61. John Lennon replaced by son Sean.

62. Ringo Starr replaced by son Zak.

63. Paul McCartney replaced by daughter Stella.

64. George Harrison replaced by son Dhani.

Are they trying to make a subtle comment about the foolishness of believing that talent is inherited? Did they get Rupert Murdoch to sign off on that?
65. Child star Bobby Breen replaced by off-the-rails Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin.

66. Hollywood actress Marlene Dietrich replaced by Aussie screen star Nicole Kidman.

They both have funny accents, you see.
67. Legionnaire from the Order of the Buffalo replaced by anonymous British soldier in Iraq.

Curiously, there's no such thing as the Order of the Buffalo - the only other place you'll find it mentioned is in the Independent's guide to who's who on the Sgt Pepper cover. There is a "Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes", which is a bit like the Masons or the Elks; there's also an "Order of the Buffalo Hunt", which is a Canadian honour. Neither are really anything to do with fighting soldiers, though. Still, the paper probably wanted a picture of an Iraq fighter somewhere, knowing how keen the Beatles were on Britain supporting American wars.
68. Shapely actress Diana Dors replaced by curvy Kelly Brook.

Yeah, except Diana Dors was an actress, and Kelly Brook... well, it's kindest to say that Kelly Brook isn't.
69. Child star Shirley Temple replaced by Britney Spears in Disney TV show.

Because, of course, Britney Spears is now only remembered as a child TV star in a programme none of Britain ever saw.
70. Japanese Fukusuke doll replaced by Teletubby toy.

Hello Kitty, surely? They can't even get their toys right.
71. Snow White figurine replaced by Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear.

72. Statue from home of John Lennon replaced by statue of Bobby Moore.

Bobby Moore? Why Bobby Moore?
73. Plastic doll replaced by Bratz doll.

74. Doll with Rolling Stones jumper replaced by ITV Digital Monkey with Arctic Monkeys T-shirt.

Good lord, what's with the Arctic Monkeys connection? It's almost embarrassing to see the Sun dropping their names all over the place, like a grandpa dropping the name of a band he read in the Daily Mail into conversation.
75. Figurine of Hindu goddess Lakshmi replaced by Barbie doll.

We're sure the Hindus will be delighted the consort of Vishnu has been deemed out of date and replaced with a doll eight years older than the original album.

Well done, everybody. Well done. We're going off for a little sob.


karlt said...

70. Japanese Fukusuke doll replaced by Teletubby toy.

Hello Kitty, surely? They can't even get their toys right.

Oddly, the Sun is correct. That's exactly what the doll is.

Chris Brown said...

56-59: Because there aren't any waxworks of the Arctic Monkeys, the Sun has made ones that actually look like the real band, whereas eny fule know that the Tussaud's Beatles look nothing like the originals.

63: Was it something James McCartney said?

75: Cute monkey, but they've left him in his ITV Digital shirt. If they'd used your Oasis idea, they should have put him in a Blur shirt surely?

simon h b said...

Sorry, Karl - I wasn't clear there: I meant they should have replaced the doll with a Hello Kitty doll, not that they'd fukusuked up the identification. (Or rather, copied the Independent's guide out correctly.)

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