Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Beatles overload

Prompted by a recent movement in Liverpool to preserve the birthplace of Ringo Starr, John Harris writes in the Guardian that since the Gallagher brothers exhumed the pop culture phenomenon of the Beatles in the mid 90's, there has been a revived and unwelcome encroachment of Beatlemania on modern day Britain. This paragraph perfectly describes the point of his essay:

These days, by contrast, they use up so much of the cultural air that we seem little able to breathe. There must be more to life than nodding-dog piano ballads of the Hey Jude variety, but there are times when they seem to define a good 50% of the mainstream. For all their inventive wonderment, one would imagine that I Am the Walrus, Happiness Is a Warm Gun, and Helter Skelter left at least some of rock's more creative possibilities unexplored, though listening to the bulk of even supposedly cutting-edge music, you'd never know.

I would have liked to have seen the writer's reaction to this story: UK university awards first Beatles degree. Canadian Mary-Lu Zahalan-Kennedy became the first student to 'earn' a Masters degree in Beatles, Popular Music, and Society from Liverpool Hope University. Course creator Mike Brocken couldn't be more proud:

Mary-Lu now joins an internationally recognized group of scholars of Popular Music Studies who are able to offer fresh and thought-provoking insights into the discipline of musicology.

Sure. This 'internationally recognized group of scholars' is likely comprised of the only people in the world who would refrain from snickering at Mary-Lu's recent accreditation. I think it's more likely she has joined yet another argument for the Western decline of university humanities departments. There is little to convince me that degree programs in U2, or even Nickelback, won't soon be offered.

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