The lovely folks at Purbeck Film Festival have asked me along to introduce a special charity screening of Yellow Submarine at the Rex cinema in Wareham on October 12.
They've invited me because of the continued local interest in Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth, particularly in the light of this year's 50th anniversaries and copies of the book will be on sale on the night, but the invite is particularly special as it means much more to me than a simple sales event.
The first films I saw as a kid were in the Rex – 40 years or more ago. My dad used to take my brother and me to see Saturday matinees – Treasure Island, various Disney films, Bond, a packet of Paynes Poppets, maybe a vanilla tub, grown ups smoking, us kids stamping our feet when the feature started and seeing the shadow of mint imperial missiles cutting a trail through the smoke as the big kids threw them from the seats up the back. I loved it.
It was about that time I first saw Yellow Submarine – sadly not on the big screen, but on the telly. I’d seen cartoons before of course, but not like that. I’d seen films with songs in as well, but nothing like that. Yellow Submarine was crackers. It wasn’t a kids’ film, but it spoke our language, or so I thought. Mum and dad definitely didn’t get it and there weren’t any older brothers or cousins around to ask. So, if it wasn’t for Them, our parents, it must have been for Us, right? Yes, but who was Us?
So anyway, I knew The Beatles were the good guys because their voices were pretty calm – good guys in the westerns always had calm voices – but there were these shouty, over-anxious blue baddies with horrible yellow teeth and a vacuum cleaner beast that the Numberjacks ripped off 40 years later and a Flying Glove and a Dog with four heads long and flowers that turned to brambles. It’s a wonder I ever slept again!
The Yellow Submarine itself was skippered by Old Fred, who reminded me of my Uncle Johnny who was in the Navy – a man who sailed to sea – and he had a beard. But I remember identifying most strongly with Jeremy, the Nowhere Man – he was a bit chubby and very serious, thought a lot about things and brooded, but Ringo liked him and took him along for the ride until he got kidnapped in the Sea of Holes, which really troubled me – holes everywhere – enough to fill the Albert Hall. Then poor Jeremy’s really in trouble, bad things happen and even as the colour comes back to Pepperland, poor Jeremy gets it again.
Luckily though The Beatles are on hand to save the day with their music and love – well, it was the sixties!
Hope to see some of you in the stalls. The 6pm screening is in memory of Dr Moira Walker and in aid of the charity she founded, Dorset Action on Abuse and Marie Curie Cancer Care.
More about the excellent Purbeck Film Festival here.
Copies of Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth can be ordered here at the special price of £14.95.