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  • Were you disappointed to go to a Beatles concert and not be able to hear them, or did the experience in general make up for it? Interesting (though unsurprising) that references to ‘the sixties’ are so much more common than to other decades: it’s a real indication of their enduring cultural influence, I suppose.

  • Well, this was in the sixties, so of course I can’t remember! As you say, Stan, the cultural influence of that decade has been enormous, and it’s probably also something to do with demographics: this was the period when the baby-boomer generation were in their teens – and we’ve been going on about it ever since!

  • ‘this was in the sixties, so of course I can’t remember!’ Ah yes.
    Cook and Mercer’s work looks very interesting. I can see it appealing greatly to Beatlephiles.

  • I’ve never thought of plasticine and play-doh as equivalent, because here in Australia we had both. In my childhood play-doh dominated, largely because you could make your own from household ingredients (one would probably call the home made stuff “playdough”, but it’s not as if there was any call to spell it). I think of plasticine as a higher quality (e.g. less prone to drying out), more firmly textured, and more expensive commercial product.

    I lived in the UK for part of my childhood, but don’t remember playing with any kind of modelling clay.

  • I, too, went to the first Beatles concert when they came to the Houston Coliseum. I was on the center aisle, 8th row from the front. The audience was warned to not stand on the seats. I was probably the only one who did not get to either hear or see the Beatles starting the instant they first appeared on stage. The ‘experience’ did not make up for it. I never went to another concert of any kind after that. I also don’t feel like I have missed anything since, either. It is easy to look back and see how much the 60s influenced culture change. Personally, I favor the 50s myself. Of course, every decade has it’s pluses and minuses. The biggest problem with this sort of introspection is not remembering the minuses and thinking that our 20-20 hindsight is perfect, which it isn’t.

  • One of my colleagues likes to refer to the Beatles as a great little American band from Liverpool… I think we should avoid the urge to overemphasize the British idiom. I think referring to Britishisms as seeming “strange” to most Americans is also a very inaccurate statement. Many people around the world lapped up everything they could from the Beatles and they learned from them along the way (this black-and-white, American-British division fetish comes up far too often in the study of English). The Beatles also preserved an interesting Americanness in their music throughout their career and well into their respective solo careers. Their work and their compilations were so diverse that I find it actually more interesting to look at the ways they were able to weave together aspects of life in Britain with those of other cultures. It is simply wonderful to find yourself learning a particular lexical bit heard most often in the UK laid down over the 12-bar blues that clearly says The South? Why do we so often choose to focus on something as trivial as “bathrobe vs. dressing gown” and think that we’re on to something incredibly important?

  • Thanks for your Comment, Ted. It’s true that musically the Beatles (like the Stones and many other British bands of the time) were drawing on American models. And I’d agree that, in 2013, most Briticisms wouldn’t seem odd to most Americans (though some still would – and vice-versa). But I wonder how true that was in the early 1960s? The cultural traffic was a lot more asymmetrical then: over here we were massively exposed to US culture, but i think a lot less British culture (and hence language) was familiar in the US – and of course the Beatles were a big part of changing that. Even in the UK, most people on radio and TV at that time were southern RP speakers, and part of the Beatles’ appeal to younger people (at least initially, circa 1962-3) was their outsider status