41. The Fib Four

“The music industry is a piece of piss nowadays, Lucifer. It were much harder, back in my day…”
“Is that why you’re working in a factory, Scorcher, rather than playing the stadiums?”
“Something like that. If I were a young man today, I’d be on Top of the Pops!”
“That’d be going some. It’s been cancelled for three years.”
“Has it? Never noticed. Thing is, I’ve got an ear for talent. Not like your Simon Cowell. He just knows money, that cunt. Not got a clue about real music.”
“I’m forced to agree with you there, Scorcher.”
“Dead right. I ever tell you about that band I saw in the early sixties?”
“Just a sec, Scorcher. I think my phone’s ringing…”
“I were down The Cardigan Arms in Kirkstall. It must have been winter, at the start of ’62.”
“Go on then…”
“These lads were banging out some songs in the tap room. There were only a dozen people in, and none of them were listening. Well, I were listening, Lucifer. Like I said, I’ve got an ear.”
“You’ve got two, actually.”
“Shut it. As I were saying, these lads looked right dejected, they did. Proper fed up. They finished the set, packed up their kit and went to the bar for a pint. I heard ’em talking. They were on about giving it up as a bad job.”
“Now my phone really is ringing…”
“Well I slams my fist down on’t bar between ’em, making their pots of ale jump almost as high as they did. I says ‘There’s no way you lads are gonna quit! You’ve got what it takes. Mark my words, this time next year, you lads will be famous!’ Well, they say to me that their manager was a big shot, and even he thought they were going nowhere, and that they should quit. So I says ‘Brian Epstein only knows how to sell fucking records, but you lads know how to make ’em. Trust me, I know. I’ve got an ear!’ They seemed to perk up a bit after that! I helped them load their stuff into the van, and I heard one of them humming a song. I said, ‘That’s a catchy tune! What do you call it?’ And he says, ‘It’s called Love Me Do.’ So I says, ‘That’s gold, that is! Get that on a record, and you’ll be onto a winner!’ They all shook my hand, and drove off into the night. You know who those lads were?”
“The Monkees?”
“Just fuck off, Lucifer.”
“The Beach Boys?”
“Simon and Garfunkel?”
“The Beatles?”
“…off. Yes! Yes, it were The fucking Beatles! I met the fucking Beatles!”
“Good for you, Scorcher. You changed the face of pop music, single-handedly.”
“I suppose I did, now you put it like that. Who was it on the phone, by the way?”
“I don’t know. Probably George Martin, ringing to thank you personally.”
“How did he know we were talking?”
“Bye Scorcher.”

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