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January 2013

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I'm trying to ignore the more disturbing implications of my current mad obsession with a man who has been gone for ten years to focus on the positives this fixation has brought to the surface ... wonderful things that I didn't realize I'd been missing in my life:

1.  Rockabilly!!!

The music I grew up on, that my Dad has always loved over every other kind, is the same music that thrilled George Harrison as a boy.  I never made this connection until recently, because I only thought of George in conjunction with "The Beatles" - and Beatles didn't equal rockabilly in my vocabulary.  I didn't learn about the early days of The Beatles until I was an adult, but I'm ashamed to say I still didn't recognize the near-to-my-heart roots of George's incredibly distinctive guitar sound until this past year. 

Lightbulb moment:   DVD of "Carl Perkins & Friends," a rockabilly session filmed in London with the greatest musicians every to bogart a Sun recording.

2.  The Eighties

The clothes may truly never be seen again:  fashion so precisely "of the moment" that nothing really felt even vaguely "throwback," colors so bright and clean and happy that are forever tied to a decade of near-maniacal optimism.

The music I call the Eighties is high, fun, melodic POP music.  None of the Smiths/Cure/etc. moping for me ... nope, my cassettes were labeled Hall & Oates, Duran Duran, Cyndi Lauper and (of course) Madonna.  I was a legwarmer-wearing, lace gloves and petticoats, big hair-loving gal.  I feel lucky to have experienced adolescence during a time that will always be instantly recognizable by sight and sound - a unique time in history that I honestly can't see evolving into some future decade's signature look (ex. the 90s grunge was born of 70s punk and a dash of 50s plaid shirts 'n' dungarees.  Yeah - think about it.)

How does this loop back to my George Harrison phase of late?  In going through his solo work, I'm realizing that a handful of the more distinctive 80s tunes of my adolescence belong to George! (OK, I lived in a behind-the-times small town, so one or two of these touchstone tunes were actually from the 70s, but no matter.)   I was clueless at the time, still fairly ignorant of the The Beatles' overall importance, so while I knew on some level that the George Harrison singing "Got My Mind Set On You" used to be in The Beatles, there was no great significance in that fact for me. Today, I know that if I hear a DJ announce George's name, the next song I hear is likely to spark an immediate, emotional flash to a totally important moment in my life between 1980 and 1989.

3.  My lifelong TYPE of man

I tell my husband he's the only conventionally good-looking guy I ever dated, and that's the truth.  I have a lloonngg history of being wildly attracted to the "Offbeat Guy":  slightly awkward, really cute but in an unconventional way, somewhat out-of-step with the popular/mainstream.  Getting a mental?  Start with George Harrison at any given age, and you've got a perfect picture of the guy I would unfailingly make a beeline for in any social situation.

How much of this may have come from a sense for self-protection, I can't say.  I probably had a healthy awareness of where I stood on the beauty rankings in any crowd.  But this I know:  imagine a line-up including the Homecoming King, the Captain of the football team, the obviously cool guy, the super-studious nerd, and any other stereotype you may have grown up with.  Now throw 1963 George Harrison in the mix - that's my target, every time.  (Later in life I would have a brief flirtation with the loveable nerd, a worthy species in his own right, but ultimately not for me.)

As my Carl Perkins & Friends DVD comes to a close, I'm struck by the perfect example of "George Harrison as he represents my perfect guy" scenario:  as they always are when in the same room, George and Eric Clapton are sitting/playing side by side.  The perfect "compare & contrast" example to explain my left-of-center attraction

No argument that 1986 Eric Clapton is a beautiful physical speciman.  George Harrison is several years older but looks even more; Eric is sporting a black shirt, tight jeans and great hair while George is wearing a suit that I can't pin to a specific era as "fashionable."  They both exploit my ultimate weakness for talented musicians (OK, especially guitar players), but Clapton moves like sex when he plays.  George?  His fans adore his awkward physical charm, but no doubt it's an acquired taste as a turn-on.  I enjoy the hell out of Eric's solo turn with Carl - his guitar skills just aren't natural! - but quite honestly, Carl Perkins and Dave Edmunds are equally compelling. 

However, the moment George Harrison is on my screen, he's the only man I see.  I don't know any other way to explain my unerring attraction to a boy/guy/man who stands just outside that charmed circle of mere physical beauty to become a fascinating collection of uniquely male traits that add up to a slightly unconventional and incredibly appealing person.

So instead of beating myself up about spending an inappropriate amount of my waking hours to talking and reading about, watching and listening to George Harrison, I'm going to relax and appreciate the delights to be found in my heart and memory as they are triggered by everything this amazing man means to me.