GEORGE HARRISON AND LIVING IN THE MATERIAL WORLD 1

Perhaps it’s karma, perhaps it’s a Lamb Korma, perhaps it’s just la la and wah wah and all about timing to find more about myself because I want to and not to appease others and con everyone in the process, but for the past five successive days, I’ve switched on the telly and on has come “Living In The Material World”, a two hour documentary on the life and times, the heart and soul, the yin tong and Lang Lang and the good, bad and spirituality of George Harrison.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEo7TYt8ay4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4LVCczYmcQ

Frankly, I have never seen a better, more comprehensive, more honest insight into any Rock star- especially a Beatle.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEgCB6qa5jw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HO8GYD6ose8

Watching it has become my personal “mantra” that is on Repeat mode in my head and also there when faced with people talking to me about things that don’t really matter but make feel that it’s time to beware of darkness and leave.

This insight into George is more therapeutic than seeing a shrink or numbing yourself on one hand, wanting to move things up a notch with the other and then gulping down some vodka so you become Mr In-Between.

Take one “Living In The Material World” and go to bed. Wake up and you’ll see everything and everyone differently and won’t waste time taking in the strays.

There are some fascinating interviews with, well, just about everyone who walked in and out of his life.

Phil Spector, not exactly the most “balanced” of people, has this to say: “He just lived by his deeds and it made everything spiritual- even when having me record those weird American Krishnas he signed to Apple with their bald heads and powered faces coming outta the darkness of the studio.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JTcb6usy54

Asked why he chose Spector to produce All Things Must Pass, George’s reply is simple: “He needed a job at the time”- before mentioning how he took the eccentric American producer to hear a new song written by Lennon. That song was Instant Karma.

“Phil stood around listening- not knowing what to do before going in adding all that echo to the vocals.”

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As for the All Things Must Pass sessions, Spector talks about how there were so many changes being made by George that he wondered if he ever wanted the record released: “He had all this emotion built up which I don’t think he had played to anyone and was such a perfectionist, we seemed to be changing My Sweet Lord every day- more harmonies, less harmonies, even more harmonies…”

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDF-9Wz9dE4

The first song recorded was Wah Wah. “I hated it,” says George. “It sounded like a mess but Eric (Clapton) said, ‘I love it’ and so I said, ‘Well, you can have it for your next album'”. The track stayed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFvxGdiMYwM

There are some great quotes and interviews along the way and a greater understanding of his lyrics: “You’ve been so polluted so long, there’s a way now to get it clean. Chant to the name of the Lord and you’ll be free”.

When asked what makes My Sweet Lord timeless, he asks, “Well, is it?” before talking about how the song has a mantra and how “Mantras are a musical vibration that can hypnotize you.”

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What happened when he was looking into the spiritual world which affected his physical world and indifference to his marriage of Patti with Eric Clapton admitting to his best friend that he had fallen in love with his wife and didn’t know what to do, was handled simply: “Take her, she’s your’s. This is all material. It doesn’t mean anything to the Big Picture”.

The voice only of Patti Harrison is heard giving a far more complex and romantic version of what happened. I prefer the simple version.

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Clapton, of course, did marry Patti, wrote Layla and Wonderful Tonight for her and the marriage lasted a few years.

For George, the journey, the almost-preparation for his death continued.

He had met and married Olivia Arias, his true soul mate.

When asked what makes a perfect marriage, he’s to the point: “You don’t get divorced”.

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Meanwhile, we see him collaborating with Ravi Shankar and other superb Indian musicians, the team from Monty Python, the Rutles, the musicians who became The Traveling Wilburys, Ringo, Macca, Yoko, his great friend and percussionist Ray Cooper, Neil Aspinall etc.

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“Is that a vegetarian leather jacket?” he asks Paul who comes to visit a very ill George.

Olivia explains that the lines, “Let me in here, let me into your life” were actually written for Bob Dylan ‘cos he thought Bob had closed himself off from him.

He loved his friends and knew that to create this perfect world he seeked in the real world, he genuinely wanted to do everything to be with and help his friends”.

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This quote from Olivia brought tears to my eye: “There was a profound feeling when he left his body. Let’s just say that he lit the room”.

Watching this amazing documentary about an amazing human being who happened to be a musician, you can’t help the feeling that he is still communicating with this world and offering advice one can take or leave or embrace with both hands and make it part of a new approach to living.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4JXhq7gd9g

The most cynical of us have always been seekers trying all those different types of steps because we have been told to- sometimes with a gun to our heads- and which only results in a very strained relationship full of bitterness and blame.

Everyone is different and one size and one solution or one pill doesn’t fit all. George Harrison did things his way and it worked for him.

This is much more than the kid who could play guitar meeting Paul and John when 14, playing to sailors, strippers, gangsters and pimps in at Hamburg when 16, becomes The Quiet Beatle, learns the sitar from Ravi Shankar, embraced Eastern spirituality and was pure as snow.

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No, we hear from his long-time friend from Hamburg, bass guitarist and artist Klaus Voorman, how he hid his dark journey into hard drugs.

We hear him being a naturally charming ladies man, there is nothing on Brian Epstein, the My Sweet Lord lawsuit, the recording of Sgt Peppers, but, for me, what’s new is understanding that so many of his songs that found their way onto All Things Must Pass were meant to be included on Let It Be and Abbey Road.

How do I end this? Let’s leave it open-ended and with Prince playing The World’s Greatest Guitar Solo on George’s While My Guitar Gently Weeps.