Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Apple Scruffs

I don't think there is another song in the world that makes me happier than George Harrison's "Apple Scruffs." It just begs to be danced around to, in that boppy, up & down way that I "dance" when so moved. I remember dancing to this song in the front room on Hunter street, in the apartment that I shared with Sean and a slew of other roommates when we first moved here, together, from Toronto. It offered some levity to the otherwise sad event of George Harrison's passing, the news of which Sean and I awoke to, courtesy of CBC Radio 1. It was an unfortunate way to start the day but it was a good day, if the best days are - and they are - the ones that are made significant for and by their honest interactions.

The sheer length of George Harrison's first solo release, "All Things Must Pass," is enough to indicate that he felt there were things he had to say that he couldn't or had not been permitted to say as one-fourth of The Beatles; and one far less considered and revered than the Lennon-McCartney songwriting team.

I would hate to suggest that that I felt I was in Sean's shadow throughout our relationship because this is simply not the case. I am in fact less comfortable with this parallel than I am with the comparison of our partnership to the relationship of the four people who comprised what is arguably the best band of all time. What I believe is apt is the acknowledgement that there are some things you can't take stock of properly when you're in the thick of it, and also that, despite the best of intentions, you necessarily lose a bit of your agency when you are involved in a relationship. That is the nature of compromise, and compromise, to some degree, is imperative for the success of a relationship.

When things don't work out, one understandable response is to consider how this loss of someone else can be a sort of stand-in for the things you have lost of yourself. What was it for? I could have gone to Europe! I'd be living in Whitehorse! I could have been with so-and-so! All of these possible lives are considered with a bitterness to match the lost, could-have-been enthusiasm that would have greeted these adventures.

If you get a best friend out of that mess, you are so far ahead of the game you're on, like, the super-all-stars best team in the universe or something. If you get a sweet, nostalgic song like "Apple Scruffs," it was definitely worth it, that sticking it out.

When Sean and I danced to slower, sadder Harrison songs in that front room, we cried and held each other not because this death was tragic or unexpected, but just because it was a really, really sad inevitability, and we weren't quite ready to say good-bye.

I miss my best friend Sean very much, but not because he isn't. It's only geography.

Apple Scruffs - George Harrison

Now I've watched you sitting there
Seen the passers-by all stare
Like you have no place to go
But theres so much they dont know
about apple scruffs
You've been stood around for years
Seen my smiles and touched my tears
How it's been a long, long time
And how you've been on my mind,
my apple scruffs
Apple scruffs, apple scruffs
How I love you, how I love you
In the fog and in the rain
Through the pleasures and the pain
On the step outside you stand
With your flowers in your hand,
my apple scruffs
While the years they come and go
Now, your love must surely show me
That beyond all time and space
Were together face to face,
my apple scruffs
Apple scruffs, apple scruffs
How I love you, how I love you


Sean said...

...this was a very sad and difficult time indeed. tumultuous change and a none smoking apartment. a month of rain and 9-11. a veritable institution that was my job that was no more, or , so it seemed. so much uncertainty... tears and the t.v. and the santa claus parade. you and rachel going to see the first harry potter movie on the big screen down on spring garden road in halifax. (nice memory) but angry words with the roommates later that same day and feeling stuck. and in the middle . trapped. and it was cold, very cold. amongst all of this craziness i would go to work day after day and stand behind the cash desk at Sam's and spin "The Beatles At The BBC" and "Anthology One" over and over and over again. It was George and the others, so fierce and vibrant, happy, young, hungry and full of promise. I wanted to make a point of celebrating George and his life while he was still with us. The endeavor helped ease my fears and make me feel at home in a place which really wasn't.

Amelia Chester said...

There was actually a fire in that apartment a couple of months ago. I guess it was started by a barbecue out on the deck, and there was pretty severe damage done, especially to the kitchen and the room that belonged to Luke & Claudia/Andrea & Maggie, etc.

Moving day approaching, I find myself thinking of being left alone in that room with the piles of boxes, broom & dustpan & that first norah jones record, while you tried to catch an hour's sleep. Sure wish I had your help (and your cd collection!) this week-end, though I appreciate your lack of sympathy. ;) Moving in the fall, the end of summer, it's sad and hopeful, mostly the latter this time. We had some times on Hunter street, huh? Allan was better.