Friday, 11 December 2015

A Conversation

Shaun, then marginally better known as a sound artist recording tapes under the name factor X, came to stay at my place on Lordship Lane, East Dulwich at some point during the summer of 1995. Jim came over for a drink and ended up sleeping on the sofa. Next morning, a little hung over, we listened to Ringo Starr's first post-Beatles solo album, a choice suggested by my having attempted to start my own religious sect based on worship of Ringo Starr as the luckiest man in the world and the true brains behind the Beatles. I pressed play and record on my tape recorder just as Shaun finished casting aspersions on my choice of music.

JIM: But you've got bad taste, Shaun.
LAWRENCE: Yeah... yeah...
JIM: Fuckin' square, mate.
SHAUN: Fair enough.
LAWRENCE: You will love these songs one day.
JIM: A lot of industrial bands owe their careers to Ringo.
SHAUN: But I'm not an industrial band.
JIM: I mean like what would Philip Best be without Ringo, you know?
JIM: Philip Best from Whitehouse.
SHAUN: Yeah, though he's a wanker isn't he!
JIM: He might be a wanker, but he's more successful than what you are, Shaun.
JIM: He's more successful than what you are.
SHAUN: Well success isn't everything, is it?
JIM: No, but it's something.

Silence ensues as we listen to the coda of Oh My My.

SHAUN: That's a nice bit of sax.
SHAUN: How old were you when you first heard the good news?
LAWRENCE: Eight probably.
SHAUN: Eight, yeah? Would you say that you were overly excited by it?
LAWRENCE: I remember liking it a lot at the time. It grew on me after I suddenly realised that Ringo was very good indeed. That was about two years ago.
SHAUN: Did you automatically associate Ringo with the Beatles or was it—
SHAUN: You didn't?
SHAUN: So then you discovered—
JIM: Ringo was the Beatles.
SHAUN: Well, yes.
SHAUN: So you discovered one song and then you discovered a whole backlog of amazing material?
SHAUN: Some things have happened to me like that. They totally blow you away.
LAWRENCE: I didn't actually like it all at first. I bought my first Ringo album a couple of years ago—
SHAUN: You had to attune yourself to the material.
LAWRENCE: I thought this is terrible when I listened to it, but I ended up loving it, much more so than with the other three.
SHAUN: A living and a dead legend.
LAWRENCE: But only a legend because Ringo wanted him to be.
SHAUN: But that's a technicality for which there is no proof. Paul may be a millionaire but Ringo is a millionaire every single day.
LAWRENCE: Paul is universally hated though.
JIM: He's just a useless tosser
SHAUN: But not by most people, the ordinary Joe down the street.
LAWRENCE: I think if they were given the opportunity to really think about it, they would realise that they hated him as well.
JIM: He should have been shot just after he brought out The Frog Song - you know what I mean?
SHAUN: We don't want to dwell too much on Paul McCartney
JIM: He's irritating.
SHAUN: George Harrison is also more successful—
LAWRENCE: You're saying Ringo isn't successful?
SHAUN: No because I myself have listened to late Beatles records and the drumming has been rather spectacular.
SHAUN: Loose, half way between jazz and rock, and a little bit of expermentation there because he's finding his own rhythms.
JIM: Well he's a cool dude.
SHAUN: He is a good drummer. There's no-one like him, I must admit. Some of the Beatles told jokes about him being a bad drummer...
LAWRENCE: There was a question asked, is Ringo the best drummer in the world? and John Lennon said he's not even the best drummer in the Beatles.
JIM: Yeah—
LAWRENCE: And look what happened to him in 1980!
JIM: The last laugh was on Ringo, you know what I mean?
SHAUN: How do you think Ringo would feel if you met him and you said you liked him as much as you said you did?
LAWRENCE: I dunno.
SHAUN: Would he just think you're a stupid little squirt?
LAWRENCE: Well he might do, and if he thought that, I guess he would be right, really. I'll go with whatever Ringo decides.
SHAUN: So if Ringo says go and kill yourself, would you do it?
LAWRENCE: I'd have no hesitation.
SHAUN: Really?
LAWRENCE: Yeah. No... yes...
SHAUN: I don't think that's cool at all. I just think it's a cop-out.
SHAUN: With the snacks did you feel the Christian thing like the host, where you're eating part of Ringo in a way, like the bread and body of Ringo?
LAWRENCE: Yes and no. There are salt and vinegar Ringos and there are cheese and onion Ringos. After eating the cheese and onion I found out that Ringo is allergic to onions, so I realised then that Ringo wants us to suffer as he has suffered. So subsequently I enjoyed the salt and vinegar much more because I realised that Ringo would have enjoyed them more, you see.
SHAUN: So there is Christian ideology behind a lot of this?
JIM: Jesus wore women's clothes. Ringo is totally different.
SHAUN: I'm sure Ringo has a dress.
JIM: But Ringo wouldn't do it in public, and if he wants to wear a dress in the privacy of his own home, what's wrong with that? Anyway, he's got far better dress sense. I mean would you ever see Jesus wearing a waistcoat? You wouldn't, would you?
JIM: You know where I'm coming from?
LAWRENCE: It's a good point.
JIM: Yeah.
LAWRENCE: The way I see it is that the Bible and all the world—
SHAUN: So are you two members of this Ringo fraternity?
JIM: No, I'm just a bystander. I will initiate at a later date but the time just isn't right for me.
SHAUN: Have you found Ringo in any way?
JIM: I've read the pamphlet
SHAUN: Yeah?
JIM: And it did move me.
SHAUN: It moved you.
JIM: Especially the bit on the back about Paul McCartney. That was a classic.
SHAUN: So would you say that you're getting into Ringo through the hatred of Paul McCartney?
JIM: Yeah, because Paul McCartney is a twat, ain't he, basically.
SHAUN: Allegedly.
LAWRENCE: Not to mince words.
JIM: I mean, married to Linda McCartney - that's reason enough to hate him, isn't it? I mean who wants to eat Linda McCartney's individual vegetarian pies?
LAWRENCE: I've got to admit those are quite nice actually.
JIM: But they're expensive. They're not nice because she made them though, are they?
JIM: She's just cashing in.
SHAUN: Let's try and get back to the—
JIM: No listen, I've got something important—
SHAUN: To get back to the—
JIM: No listen - a packet of Ringos—
LAWRENCE: I've just noticed there's a picture of Linda McCartney on the cover of this album, so obviously some of Ringo's greatness has rubbed off on her.
JIM: How much are your average bag of Ringos, like twenty-five pence?
LAWRENCE: Something like that.
JIM: And there's a nourishing meal in each bag; and how much is one of Linda McCartney's individual little tarty pies out of Sainsbury's?
LAWRENCE: Exactly!
SHAUN: Have you ever thought of using this man as your spokesman?

DISCLAIMER: Any suggestions of killing oneself in the name of religious belief, or seemingly proposing the execution of any ex-Beatle as punishment due for the recording of We All Stand Together, or indeed any other remarks of a threatening or insulting nature transcribed above were made twenty years ago in the general spirit of humorous off-colour banter and as such should not be taken too seriously by the sort of individuals or agencies who make it their business to take this sort of crap too seriously.

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