Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan


(UK/Germany, 1994)

I liked this a lot more than I expected to. It’s about the very early days of the Beatles, when they were touring various toilets in Hamburg and working their asses off, learning to play all night long, getting better and better, abandoning skiffle for hard (for that time) rock ‘n’ roll. I hadn’t realized it was mostly about Stu Sutcliffe and his girlfriend Astrid, and his relationship with John Lennon. I barely know who Stu was, hadn’t even known he died. Didn’t know he was an artist, didn’t know he was good at it, though I can take or leave his abstracts. Didn’t know he didn’t really give a damn about the band. The DVD had an interview with Astrid, who is still thriving in Hamburg. I like her photos a lot. She documented those early days better than anyone. And it was great fun to see them recreate those crazy days in Germany, and hear all those covers they played from the Golden Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll. (I’m not talking about rock, which came later, and was also wonderful, but it was artier. This stuff was primal, and innocent, and just so much fun. I still love every note of it. Chuck Berry is a genius.) I don’t know how accurate it was, and don’t really care. I thought the suggestion of a homosexual attraction was a side issue, not really relevant. Obviously two men can love each other and never think of sex. Obviously John could be jealous of Astrid, that sort of thing happens all the time. Great performances by all three principles, most of all Sheryl Lee. And I find out she is now married to Neil Diamond’s son. Small world of celebrities, isn’t it?