Friday, November 26, 2010

Living Arrangements Improving

Late November 1960

Peter Eckhorn, the manager of the Top Ten Club, must think the Beatles have something.  He offers to allow them to "bunk down" in the attic above the club.  These are pretty spartan accommodations, but far better than the squalor they have become accustomed to behind the projection screen in the back of the Bambi Kino.  They begin to catch what sleep they can at the Top Ten, especially as they know their days at the Kaiserkeller are certainly numbered. 

The intimate relationship between Stuart Sutcliffe and Astrid Kirchherr is quickly developing into an engagement to be married.  He is allowed to stay nights at Astrid's home in a well-to-do district of Hamburg with the approval of her mother.  Even she, a concert pianist herself, has recognized the soul of a budding artist in him.

In Beatles lore, Stuart has gotten the reputation of having been a poor musician, always playing with his back to the audience so the more musically inclined can't see all of the mistakes he is making.  I sometimes wonder how much of that reputation is really deserved.  There is at this time an internal conflict within the band chiefly between Paul McCartney and Stu.  It is easy to imagine that some of this animosity may arise from a competition for the attention of the uber-cool John Lennon.  Pete Best, the Beatles drummer at this period, says that he didn't notice any obvious shortcomings in the bass playing.  And it doesn't take a great leap to believe that a highly competitive and perfectionist young man like McCartney might have tried subconsciously to drive a wedge between the outwardly hardcore John and the sensitive and gentle Stu.  Doesn't it make sense that Paul would take more of an interest in the bass in order to "show the boy how it's done"?

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