I was just a second rate actor, the real leaders were beating their war drums. In the UK the Beatles ruled the north and the Rolling Stones dominated the south. Northerners always appeared to be more genuine, friendlier people. Southerners were more cool & reserved; keeping one’s distance was socially acceptable. The Beatles were a media success story; they were appealing through their charismatic northern charm. The Beatles were eventually able to lead the media and promote our independence. The Rolling Stones were demonized outcasts that played on the flip side of the coin of rebellion. They say opposites attract, some of us were caught in the middle. We were bonding as a generation thanks to the Beatles, and we were making waves leaving the shores of normality through following the wild uncompromising stance of the Stones.
Our currency of admission into our lifestyle grew in value & prestige. More and more it was becoming about us.
In 1965 the Beatles were due to perform a Christmas concert in the Hammersmith Odeon, London. I was determined to get a preview. During one rehearsal, I sneaked past the door staff having had plenty of practice with my truancy loving school friends, and managed to enter the theatre. Band equipment was being set up on stage, lighting tests made, and the occasional sound check heard. I walked on the plush carpeted floor towards the middle rows and found a comfortable seat in an almost empty hall. My legs lazily swung over the seat in front, I was making myself comfortable and the means of entry were forgotten. I felt a keen sense of belonging to these events that were unraveling before me.
At that time, the Beatles were not yet great international stars; however an intoxicating feeling of excitement spread its magic portion into the surrounding environment. We were standing on the threshold of a new age, its character was yet to be revealed but its emerging presence could be strongly felt. Two of the Beatles came and sat next to me, they were probably amused to see a younger school kid, making himself at home in their domain. However, whilst the actual words exchanged cannot be recalled, the warmth of their greetings and their down to earth deliverance is something worth remembering. They were at pains to show that they were part of the people; prepared to share an exciting journey that fate had cast them to commandeer.
I felt super charged after hearing them, and totally transformed as I re-entered the streets of London. I knew that changes were taking place that would have far reaching consequences. Like someone let in on a secret of devastating proportion, I later returned to school almost burning with a mission to accomplish. No longer would I see myself as an accidental gang leader, here was a real endeavor to promote. We were heading for a revolution of our own making!