Friday, September 9, 2011

She Said So: An Interview with Jude Southerland Kessler

Jude Southerland Kessler is the author of Shoulda Been There and Shivering Inside, the first two of a multi-volume set of "historical novels" on the life of John Lennon. But don't let the "novel" label turn you in the wrong direction: each volume features hundreds upon hundreds of documented footnotes, and each chapter ends with a fascinating series of notes that indicate which parts of the chapter are historical fact, and which parts (such as the conversational bits) are speculation. Other reviewers of these books have likened the experience to becoming a "fly on the wall" in John Lennon's life, being able to watch each event unfold with the kind of color and real-life detail that strictly academic biographies don't even attempt to include.

I caught up with Jude at least year's Fest for Beatles Fans in Chicago, and she cheerfully agreed to do an interview with me. Finally, after much delaying and delinquency on my part, Jude and I were able to chit-chat about Shoulda Been There, Shivering Inside, and her upcoming third volume in the series, She Loves You.

First of all, congratulations on the first two novels in this series, Shoulda Been There and Shivering Inside - it's absolutely fantastic work. I'm sure all the fans of your work are wondering: when is the next book (She Loves You) going to be ready, and when can we get our hands on it?

Thank you! She Loves You will be out for John's birthday (9 October) 2013.

I've had quite a few "interruptions" in the writing process this year since we've moved TWICE (from Alabama to Dallas, TX and then on to Louisiana three months later). Furthermore, my husband just had his fourth heart surgery in the last 18 months just a few weeks ago. Very scary!

Like thousands of other Americans, we faced unemployment during 2010-2011 and the incredible stress that it generates. But now, we have a new job, are all settled in our new home in Louisiana, and Rande's new heart is working amazingly well; he's even running four miles every other night. So, I'm writing like a madwoman!

The first book, Shoulda Been There, covers the period of time from John's birth until The Beatles bring Brian Epstein on as manager. The second book, Shivering Inside, covers the "blossoming" of Beatlemania in Britain, right up to the birth of Julian Lennon. What events are being covered in the new book, She Loves You?

She Loves You is "the conquest of America." It opens on the Spanish Riviera, with Brian and John's holiday together, and it will conclude at the end of 1965. (So many memorable dates and song compositions fill that time frame!) It's the era that readers remember most fondly -- Beatlemania!

Besides the obvious events like the Ed Sullivan Show and the Royal Command Performance, there are other lesser-known events in the book (like The Beatles shows in Wales, for example). Larry Kane has been so kind to agree to write the Foreword for the book, and he will be working closely with me on details for The American Tour. And Richard Langham is graciously helping me again with details for the recording sessions. I've also been in touch with John C. Winn whose amazing transcripts of the recording sessions are so, so, so important to the text. (His book, Way Beyond Compare, is great!) I'm blessed to have a fantastic group of experts working on the project.

I'm glad you mentioned Richard Langham and the recording sessions, because I wanted to ask you something about Shivering Inside. You've written an absolutely gripping chapter in that book that covers, in great detail, the day-long session in which "the lads" recorded Please Please Me. (It was almost like being in the studio with them!)

But you seem to indicate, especially with songs like "Baby, It's You," that John was writing and singing his songs with Julia in mind. In fact, you say the same thing, essentially, in Shoulda Been There when you describe John writing "There's A Place."

I'm interested to hear you elaborate a little more on this idea. Do you think John ever just wrote love songs for "the bairds," for Cynthia, for Yoko, etc.? Or do you see Julia as always there, even if it's just in the subconscious background?

There are definitely some songs for Cynthia - "Do You Want to Know a Secret" for example, which was penned in the Falkner Street apartment that Brian had "given" John and Cyn as a wedding gift. It had been Brian's secret place for romantic trysts, and now John's secret wife, Cyn, was there with him. The song was for his bride. Some people have suggested that "Norwegian Wood" was written for Sonny Freeman or even for Maureen Cleave. Of course, we all know the origin of "Sexy Sadie" and "Dear Prudence." Those are obviously not for Julia. And admittedly, some of John's songs were dashed off -- commercially manufactured. But the bulk of John's songs are about Julia and for Julia.

He doesn't try to hide this fact. In the song, "Julia," he says, "Half of what I say is meaningless, but I say it just to reach you, Julia." So there.

But if a listener doesn't want to take John's word for it, look at the lyrics to some of his best known songs:

"Here I stand, head in hand,
Turn my face to the wall ...
If she's gone, I can't go on,
Feeling two foot small.

Everywhere people stare,
Each and every day,
I can see them laugh at me
And I hear them say,

"Hey! You've got to hide your love away!"

Remember the true-life episode that occurred when John went back to Liverpool College of Art only a month after his mother had been killed by that drunk driver? (This can be found in Shoulda Been There, Vol. 1 of the Lennon series.) A girl yelled at John across the registration room, "Hey John? It was your mother who was killed wasn't it?" Isn't that exactly what John is singing about? His pain, his loss, and the burden of acting normal in a callous world? The song is so autobiographical. A great portion of John's songs are.

Look at the lyrics of "I'll Get You" and "I'll Cry Instead" and "There's a Place." All for Julia. And of course, even more obvious are the words to "I'm A Loser" and "Help."

Even John's selection of cover songs reveals his life's story. In one version of "You Really Got a Hold on Me," he ends the song by saying, "You really got a hold on me, Mother." And as you mentioned, "Baby, It's You" is his homage to the woman that Mimi disparaged, but John always desperately loved. Listen to his cover songs on Live at the BBC and you'll hear John's angst. John is telling you who he is ... he never tried to pretend that he was someone else. And Julia IS always there beside him -- albeit at times, in the background.

I wrote in Shivering Inside: "Julia was the girl in every song." Okay, maybe not EVERY song, but damn close.

I was recently reading Jim O'Donnell's book, The Day John Met Paul, and I noticed that he kind of does what you're doing in your books, in terms of gluing together historical facts with some "controlled speculation" to flesh it all out - was O'Donnell any kind of influence or inspiration for you? Or - if not O'Donnell - what was it that inspired you to write a historical novel of this nature?

Spot on! The Day John Met Paul is my single favorite Beatles volume. O'Donnell is, in fact, the only author to whom I've ever written. After reading Jim's work, I wrote him to say that more than any writer out there, he feels and loves Liverpool as I do. He breathes Liverpool. He understands the city and its culture.

Amazingly, a few weeks later, Mr. O'Donnell found me and rang me up. I was working as a YMCA Executive in Kansas City at that time and missed his call. But my teenage son excitedly hunted me down at work and said, "Mom, some New York Beatles author wants to talk to you!! He's calling you again tonight! He wants to know about your book!"

That night, Jim O'Donnell spent over an hour with me on the phone, encouraging me to finish Shoulda Been There, to self-publish the work, and to use my speaking abilities to sell, sell, sell! Because of that phone call, I self-published (with the guidance, help, and tireless efforts of my husband, Rande), and Rande and I took it upon ourselves to publicize and sell the book at conventions, clubs, fests, and any venue possible. (Of course, I must admit I have the best Publicity Agent in the world, Jenn Vanderslice of Moonglow PR!!!!!! She does an incredible amount of work on both books. She's amazing!) And after the book came out, I received several e-mails from Jim O'Donnell, congratulating me and cheering me on.

My earliest inspiration, however, was Irving Stone. As a teenager, I was addicted to his very accurate and painstakingly-researched biographical novels: The Agony and The Ecstasy (Michelangelo's biography), Lust for Life (Van Gogh's), Those Who Love (John Adams), Passions of the Mind (Sigmund Freud), Love is Eternal (Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln), and others. I read every one of Stone's books, marveled at his extensive research. In high school, I made a vow to write a book just like that someday.

As an adult, I was reading Stone's The Origin (biographical novel on the life of Charles Darwin) when I decided that the time was right to write John Lennon's story using that same format. If 900 pages could be written about Charles Darwin's life of fossils, rocks, and scientific discovery, then how much more would people love a book about John Lennon? I knew it would be a thrilling biography.

One of the things I most enjoy about your books is that, where you've written the "conjectural conversation" bits - the dialogue between, say, John and Mimi, or John and Paul, etc. - you've really captured John's "voice" and personality in a remarkably authentic way. It's very believable, and I don't think the reader ever finds himself thinking, "Oh, John would never say that," or "John wouldn't think that way." I'm curious: how did you manage to get so far inside John's head that you're able to reproduce his voice so well? Or, put another way, when you have to write a bit of dialogue, how do you prepare to speak for John?

Well, John has been part of my life since I was 9 years old. Hardly a day has gone by in 40 years when I haven't listened to John speak or sing ... or watched him on a video. I make this a part of every day -- on purpose.

I have lists of all of John's expressions (garnered from periodicals, tapes, DVD's, interview CD's, etc.), lists of his mannerisms, facial gestures, and reactions to various stimuli. Every time there's a spare moment, I watch John and record what I see. When I'm driving my car, his interview CD's are playing.

I've also read all of his books (including Skywriting by Word of Mouth) over and over again and been very privileged to read many of his letters that aren't available to the general public. I have a computer file full of "John Quotes" to use, gleaned from those books and letters.

Confession time: I'm also a Beatles book junkie. Over 500 books about John fill my Beatles collection ... and I don't just collect them: I read every word, underline, make notes, find discrepancies ... and research John constantly.

I also do the same for Brian, George Martin, and the other Beatles. Right now, for example, there's a sheet next to me with notes that reads:

Use for Brian

I must say ...
I rather think ...
I don't suppose ...
Would you be so kind as to ...

These are expressions I've observed Brian using in old VHS tapes and on DVDs. I record the actions, expressions, etc. of everyone connected to The Beatles.

Yes, yes, yes ... obsessive! So true.

In order to make you feel as if you are there, as if you KNOW each of the people in a chapter, I have to study them and recreate them accurately. I can't "make up" things about them, or I'd be creating a fictional character. I have to present to the reader the real person, the actual John or Paul or George. It's a serious obligation, because these are real people who lived (and are living) real lives. I must be true to who they were and are. It's a serious responsibility.

As I read your books, another major feature - a major selling point, I should say - is the way you juggle and hold together in respectful tension those places in the story where there are historical discrepancies.

So, for example, there are all sorts of stories about Stuart Sutcliffe being attacked by a gang of street-toughs, and questions about when it happened or how much John was involved, etc. Or, there are discrepancies in the record as to whether or not the Beatles really got booted from the Indra club because of an old lady's complaint about the noise level. In your narrative, you manage to pull off the impossible task of telling the story while somehow leaving room for all of the competing "facts" to find a place.

You mentioned earlier that She Loves You begins on the Spanish Riviera, so, of course, the big question is this: how are you going to recreate the most conflicted and volatile story of them all, the famous "John-and-Brian on vacation in Spain" story? I don't expect you to show all of your cards here, but perhaps just a general trajectory - are you going to skirt the story somewhat, face it head-on, side with one version or another, try to blend all the stories together in a way that they all make sense?

Okay ... I can't tell you. But I will tell you this. I struggled and struggled with a way to present all 18 completely different versions of what happened on the Riviera. I'm used to there being two or three different versions of one event ... but 18? C'mon!!

I worried that there would be no way to tell the story without wandering into fiction or speculation, and it is my responsibility to tell the absolute truth when presenting John's life story. I really lost sleep over a way to rectify the divergent accounts.

Then one afternoon in Dallas, TX, I went out for my daily run (I try to do at least 3.5 miles each day) and as is my custom when I run, I was praying. During the last mile, Wham! The solution hit me! I ran home, ran up to The Beatles room, stood perspiring at my computer, and typed the last two or three pages of the chapter before I forgot what I wanted to say. And it's the truth. And it works.

Right now, I'm writing the chapter in which John batters Bob Wooler at Paul's 21st birthday party, and a similar situation exists. The stories are all over the board concerning what happened that night. Rumors, lies, and outright lies ... cover-ups and milquetoast accounts. It's hard to find the truth in the mire.

I'm running and praying again tonight. The answer is bigger than I. "Gimme some truth!"

This might be more of a "PR and Marketing" question, but - so far, anyway - all of your book titles in this series begin with the letters "Sh" - Shoulda Been There, Shivering Inside, She Loves You. I'm assuming that's deliberate and that you intend to stick with the pattern for the remaining books. Should we expect to see titles like Shoulda Known Better, She Said She Said, and, perhaps Sheepdog Standing?

You got it!! Each cover will be a brown tone ... and each will include a work of art (HINT: something BIG is about to be announced about this in the next month ... stay tuned for thrilling news!) depicting John looking at the reader ... and each title will be a "Sh" title. She Said, She Said is Vol. 4 and Shoulda Known Better is Vol. 5. The final volume will be, of course, Shine On.

That's great to hear, and we'll certainly be looking forward to reading each and every one of those upcoming volumes. Thank you so much for your time, Jude, it's been a pleasure!

Thank you so much for interviewing me! I'm honored. I hope this affords a glimpse into the writing process. Now ... back to work for me! She Loves You beckons.

(My website is On the Rock Books for your readers who'd like to sample a chapter and who'd like to order "the bloomin' bookes"! As we say in Liddypool, TA!)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Three Beatle Responses

I always enjoy little "snippets" like these, which highlight the various different Beatle Personality Types (covered in detail in the book Beatleology). The clips below are taken from Anthology, and capture the reactions of Paul, George, and Ringo on the subject of being awarded the MBE.

First, the Paul response, the "Ram," the personality type most likely to take the award - any award - seriously. Notice also that he takes it upon himself to make his opinion the group opinion, setting himself up as the spokesperson for the collective:

Next, the George response, the "Dark Horse," the one most likely to be a bit more "realistic" about the whole thing, and to come off as more-or-less cynical and jaded in the exchange:

Finally, the Ringo response, the "Octopus," the one most given to hedonism and fun and partying and soaking up the "good time" of it all:

Enough said?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Hard Day's Night: Paul & George at Work

How does Beatleology play itself out in the workplace? Here are a few real-life scenarios that I have observed in the past year, interactions between a project manager who is a strong Paul (the Ram), and a software developer who is a strong George (the Dark Horse). Already some obvious traits can be pointed out: Rams are often the ones leading the projects, thinking "big," coordinating efforts and telling other people what to do; Dark Horses are usually the ones focused on the details, more comfortable working within clearly-established guidelines (don't ever put a Dark Horse on a project that lacks a strong blueprint and well-defined dates and deliverables - they'll go nuts).

The Ram checked the project plan and realized that a certain set of deliverables were due that day. Checking in with the Dark Horse on the status of those items, he was given a "realistic" update that those items were running a bit behind, and might not be finished until the next day. At the end of the day, the Dark Horse reported that they were indeed running behind; they were at "close to 60% completion instead of 100%"; the Ram reported back to the client that his team was "making significant progress and should have it wrapped up soon."

Dark Horses are always looking at the risks involved; that's why they aren't overly optimistic. They hope for the best, but they also see the things that might go wrong, and they try to plan for those eventualities. Rams, on the other hand, are rarely deterred by the warnings of the Dark Horse, because Rams keep their eyes fixed on the best possible outcome, and firmly believe that this is the outcome they will see. Where a Dark Horse will be somewhat discouraged that a deadline is being missed, a Ram will cheerfully report that "significant progress" is being made, because that is honestly how the Ram sees it.

The Dark Horse will see the Ram as dangerously un-tethered from reality, behaving recklessly, setting up unrealistic expectations and goals that won't likely be met; the Ram will see the Dark Horse as too pessimistic, lacking vision, too restricted, aiming lower than is necessary. This is why Rams and Dark Horses don't typically work well together; they're coming from opposite ends of the spectrum.

As the project continued along its way, the team came to a holiday weekend, which meant a solid four days out of the office and not working on the project. The Dark Horse left for the holiday and shut off the work cell phone for the duration; the Ram worked 10-hour days from home all through the weekend. Dark Horses are hard workers, but they draw clear boundaries between work and personal life; to burn up large chunks of holiday time working on office projects is to sell your soul for success. Rams, on the other hand, are energized by working on projects; they love the thrill of getting ahead, of making progress, of being able to cross major to-do items off the list. Putting in 10-hour days over a holiday weekend feels like a good weekend to a Ram; a Dark Horse, if forced to do the same thing, would quit his job on the spot.

The project finally came into its final week, and the Dark Horse was finally tying up all the last loose ends before the product would be released. With two days left to go, the Ram came in with a laundry list of "new features" that he wanted to be added, things that would make the product "really, really top-notch." When the Dark Horse strongly objected that now was not the time, two days before "live-launch," to start experimenting with new ideas, the Ram insisted that the changes were "not that difficult" and would "not take that long" to do. Besides, argued the Ram, these changes would take the product to "the next level" of excellence, would really push the product "over the top." The Dark Horse worked frantically to meet the new objectives, but it delayed the launch of the product by several days, and required several long nights of over-time work.

Again, Dark Horses hate risks. When a situation is stable, the risks have been eliminated, and assurance is high, the last thing a Dark Horse wants to do is to start tampering and changing things around, introducing a bunch of unknowns into the mix. For the Ram, however, optimism and professionalism rule the day: if a situation can be made better, then it should be, no matter how many little details need to be sorted out, because that's the professional thing to do; anyway, everything will work out just fine, because nothing is unattainable. Rams don't give as much weight to the risks, because their optimism tells them that risks are just "maybe's," and you can't sacrifice higher quality for a "maybe."

Rams also have a highly optimistic perception of how much effort will be required; in this scenario it was "no big deal" to add changes to the product, but it cost the Dark Horse a lot of extra over-time to make the Ram's vision become reality. In the Ram's mind, the tradeoff between the amount of extra work and the increase in the quality of the product makes the extra work seem insignificant. In other words, the extra work is well worth it, so in the end it's "no big deal."

The Ram and the Dark Horse almost certainly had different appraisals of the project once it was over. The Dark Horse, in all likelihood, will think of that project and have a bad aftertaste, remembering the difficulties, the lack of planning, the extra work required. The Ram, in all likelihood, will look back and happily remember what a great success the project was, because it ended well, the client was happy, and the product was high quality. He will take pride in his accomplishment, and quickly move on to the next big project.

It's a well-known fact that Paul and George had some trouble getting along within the Beatles. Paul was a kind of "project manager," writing his songs and overseeing their arrangements to the last detail; he had a vision of how it ought to sound, and he worked at it until he got it exactly right, and that meant telling everyone else how to play their instruments. George played a subservient role in these recordings, taking orders from Paul on what to play and not play, even if that meant working for hours and hours re-recording the takes until Paul was happy with it.

Much like the Ram and the Dark Horse in this scenario, when the Beatles went on vacation to India to get some rest and relaxation, Paul couldn't stop working - he kept writing songs and planning for the next album, much to George's extreme irritation:

"George actually once got quite annoyed and told me off because I was trying to think of the next album. He said, 'We're not fucking here to do the next album, we're here to meditate!' It was like, 'Ohh, excuse me for breathing!'" (Paul, quoted in Many Years from Now)

What George probably didn't realize was that planning for the next album was Paul's way of relaxing and meditating; what Paul probably didn't realize is that George saw The Beatles as a job, and needed some time to get away from all the work. Paul was muddying up George's vacation with work; George was expecting Paul to give up something in India (working on music) that truly helped him relax and feel good.

Rams and Dark Horses can work together, but it takes a lot of patience and trying to see the other person's point of view, because both are coming from such polar opposite viewpoints.

Book Review: While My Guitar Gently Weeps - The Music of George Harrison

While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Music of George Harrison
Simon Leng
Hal Leonard Publishing

Beatleologically, I am a George. I relate to his outlook on life, his quiet personality, his contemplative nature, his musical approach. So when, on George's birthday this past February 25, my fiancée gave me a copy of While My Guitar Gently Weeps along with George's best-of collection, Let It Roll, I was ecstatic. (Yes, she's the most amazing woman in the world. Obviously). Simon Leng's masterful analysis of George's music is an absolute pleasure to read, especially if the reader is a) already a Beatles fan, and b) a musician. I am both, and so I devoured Leng's 300-page book in a matter of a few days, thoroughly enjoying the combination of Leng's easy style, evocative vocabulary, and insightful comments on George's music growth and spiritual journey.

Although Leng clearly respects the Lennon-McCartney songwriting powerhouse, he doesn't idolize the duo, and he doesn't shrink at putting them in their place when necessary (he calls the McCartney-driven Magical Mystery Tour "wretched," and is astounded that Lennon's "Ballad of John and Yoko," a "self-serving travelogue," trumped George's "Old Brown Shoe" as the A-side to the single). Leng is entirely sympathetic to George, and frankly, it's about time someone dedicated this kind of attention to George's vital musical influence within the band.

Leng notes that George did not merely play a filler role, lobbing in the occasional riff to fill up some blank space in a song; on the contrary, his lead guitar work often played a crucial role in giving those songs their final shape (it was George who worked out the riff that bridged the gap between the first and second parts of "Happiness is a Warm Gun" when Lennon was struggling to stitch them together).

George's solos are hardly ever throwaway noodlings, as Leng points out multiple times; as a rule, his riffs are miniature compositions in their own right, little songs-within-the-song, and as such they carry a high degree of quality of complexity. Rarely flashy, but always memorable, George's guitar work is subservient to the song and not his own ego. More often than not, his contributions to the Lennon-McCartney compositions are what make those songs shimmer and shine: just try to imagine "A Hard Day's Night" without the jarring opening chord or the closing arpeggio fade-out; imagine "Eight Days a Week" without the sweetly ringing introduction; imagine "I Want to Hold Your Hand" without the chromatic, bluesy hook that breaks up the verses, "Nowhere Man" without its chord-based solo, or "She Said She Said" without the clever, weaving riff that echoes and serves as a counterpoint to the vocal.

Leng's analysis of the group's cohesion (or disintegration, depending on how you look at it) is also spot-on. McCartney started to "go solo" long before Magical Mystery Tour; he was already wiping George's guitar parts and re-doing them himself as far back as the Help! LP (witness "Another Girl"), and by the time of Revolver, he was writing and arranging the bulk of his songs in such a way that the rest of the group became largely unnecessary: "Eleanor Rigby" is Paul and the orchestra, "For No One" is Paul and a horn player, "Good Day Sunshine" is Paul and his piano, "Got to Get You into My Life" is Paul and the brass (George's two-bar allowance at the end of the song notwithstanding).

With a good understanding of Indian music, Leng is able to explain the profound nature of what happened when George began to study the sitar. Far from simply learning a new instrument, George was absorbing the Indian philosophy/spirituality of music: music is prayer, is worship, is a way of communicating with God. In contrast to this, the Western World tends to view music as entertainment, as fluff, as sound-clips and accessories.

Just as George was embracing a philosophy of music as way of finding one's own identity in God, Paul was architecting an entire album of music-as-performance, a staged, theatrical show wrapped in shiny costumes and alter-egos - Sgt. Pepper. Leng insightfully comments that the Beatles and George couldn't have been further apart, ideologically speaking, and it shows on the album: George's "Within You, Without You" contribution is a bomb-shell that spins the album on its head, and his involvement on the rest of the album is fairly minimal. On an epic song like the ground-breaking "A Day in the Life," he did no more than shake the maracas.

With George finding a new musical identity and a new musical purpose that no longer required the support of Lennon-McCartney, with McCartney increasingly becoming a solo artist with a very famous back-up band, and with Lennon drowning in his new, self-absorbed, co-dependent relationship with Yoko, the unraveling of the Beatles was a foregone conclusion. Thanks to Leng's analysis, it can be seen more clearly that the strands of disintegration were present already in Help!, and only become more pronounced with each successive album.

The majority of Leng's book, however, is dedicated to George's solo career, taking each album and breaking it down song-by-song, complete with notes on instrumentation and play-length. Each song is given at least a few paragraphs of musical and lyrical analysis, and Leng's treatments are so well-written that he manages to breathe a new kind of life into George's songs. My experience of reading the book was that I immediately wanted to dust off my collection of George's solo albums and give them a fresh listen - and that, in itself, is a sure sign that the author did his job, and did it well.

If I Fell: Best Beatle-Sign Romances

Every Inner Beatle personality type has its pros and cons.  Some Beatle-Sign couplings are better than others.  Here are the matches that have the most going for them.  If you don't know your Inner Beatle personality type yet, take the test and find out where you fit in!

John & George

George65.jpg George Harrison and John Lennon image by MissBeatles

The pros: John is a natural leader and can bring George out of his shell.  George is more easy-going and calm, and can bring much-needed balance to John's extremist tendencies.  John needs lots of love and affirmation, and George is perceptive enough to be able to follow those cues, and will want to follow those cues, because George is a people-pleaser.  They both share the same sense of humor and can have a lot of laughs together.  All in all, a John & George connection can make for a very affectionate and firmly-grounded relationship.

The cons: both John and George can be moody and withdrawn at times, and neither type is naturally very good at opening up and expressing their feelings.  This pitfall can be avoided if both John and George are deliberate about communication and checking in on each other.

Paul & Ringo

The pros: both Paul and Ringo need to know they are loved, and both are naturally good at showing love (Paul will be better at it, but Ringo will easily be able to go with the flow).  Paul will show Ringo love and affection in the form of constant attention, romantic gestures, frequent gifts, regular phone-calls, and dinner dates, and Ringo will show Paul love and affection with lots of sex (which Paul sees as loving affirmation).  Both Paul and Ringo are optimists who don't like complication, and both are strongly drawn to the stability of family life.

The cons: the sex life can be tricky.  Paul needs the sex for personal affirmation, and Ringo can sometimes be too flippant about sex.  Conversely, Ringo needs the sex as part of a balanced life of recreation, and a too-controlling Paul can manipulate this need as a way to keep the upper hand.

George & Ringo

The pros: both George and Ringo are very easy-going, which makes for minimal conflict and low drama.  Where there is conflict, Ringo's expressiveness and George's ability to analyze a situation objectively can make for quick resolutions, and neither type tends to hold grudges.  Both the Ringo type and the George type are very sexual, and this couple will have no problem expressing their affection in physical ways, which both types view as affirming.  Because George is good at following someone else's lead, Ringo should have little difficulty, with a bit of time and patience, getting George to open up and communicate (once George feels safe in the relationship).  George's contemplative nature can balance out Ringo's casual attitude, and Ringo's ability to have fun in any situation can balance out George's serious side.

The cons: Ringo likes to keep things light, and George tends towards heavy philosophy and introspection.  George may view Ringo as too shallow to think about the deeper things, and Ringo may view George as unable to loosen up and have some fun.  Ringo is quicker to express feelings, and George takes more time to think things through.  George may view Ringo's openness as invasive, and Ringo may view George's guardedness as apathy.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tonight I Just Want to Stay In

George speaks:

"I like parties, and a bit of fun like anyone else, but there’s nothing better, for me, than a bit of peace and quiet, sitting round a big fire with your slippers on and watching the telly. That’s the life." (quoted in The Beatles: Off the Record)

I dig it.  The strong desire to just kick back and relax in "peace and quiet" as a way of recharging is very much part of the George Beatleology type.  It stands in contrast to other types: a Paul tends to recharge by engaging in family time or kicking off a new project, a Ringo tends to recharge by socializing and going out, etc.  It was fun for me to find this spelled out, however, straight from "Alpha" George's own mouth.