Sunday, 13 November 2011

Living in the Material World

I don't usually do reviews, but then I don't usually find things on TV that are worth watching.  Not saying that to be cruel, it's just when you get to my age you've seen it all, or most of it, so the latest soap story line or new character in Doctor Who doesn't hold the same fascination.

But it's nice to find a programme that's so well made and says something genuinely new that you can slide into it without effort.  That's how I felt about Martin Scorsese's Living in the Material World, a two part documentary about the late George Harrison, part one of which was broadcast last night.  Part two airs later this evening so no prizes for guessing what I'll be doing then.

The appeal, for me at least, is partly nostalgia.  That's another thing about getting to my age - your distant past becomes endlessly fascinating.  I was a little girl when the Beatles burst on the scene, lighting up stuffy British culture like a Catherine Wheel.   Somehow they appealed to everyone; old ladies and little kids like me were equally smitten, not just the hordes of young women who screamed hysterically at their concerts.  These four fresh faced lads brightened post-rationing Britain and made everything seem possible as they conquered the world.

I was smitten by Paul in those days.  He seemed the least threatening of them in my estimation.  John was my older sister's crush, but not many fell for the quiet one, George.  Yet as the years went by it was George of all of them who seemed least affected by the fame they accrued.  Every interview shows the same thoughtful young man who was never afraid to speak his mind, whether it was telling George Martin he didn't like his tie, or, in a studio debate on spirituality, declaring that the only 'mysticism' in meditation was down to ignorance.  He was always content to go his own way, never looking for acclaim or the limelight, pursuing his own quest for spiritual growth in spite of popular skepticism.  And he became a hero of mine when he put up the money to fund Monty Python's Life of Brian after the film's original backers pulled out at the last minute.

Living in the Material World contains fascinating clips and interviews with those closest to Harrison, all new and giving a unique insight into this most interesting man.  And of course there's lots of music too.  Just to prove he was no slouch in that department, I've posted one of his songs below.

I'm looking forward to watching the conclusion of this film and recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in its subject matter.

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