Radio review: Hard to beat Beatles nostalgia

Nuala McCann

One, Two, Three, Four – The Beatles in Time by Craig Brown Radio 4

I never quite got Beatlemania – maybe I was born just a little too late or maybe the Stones were just a bit more edgy.

But Craig Brown's rollicking roll back in time is worth a listen just to wonder at the things people do in the name of fandom and to feed that little twinge of nostalgia sweet and tender as the first bite of the madeleine.

For Christmas 1964, when Craig Brown was seven, his parents bought him and his brothers Beatles wigs. They were manufacturing 30,000 Beatles wigs a week at that time. The Browns got the cheaper variety that sound like they hurt like hell, but hey… Jude.

Santa also put a Beatles magnetic hair game in Brown's stocking. Remember the picture of a bald-headed man, those little black iron filings and the little red and silver magnet for giving him a head of hair and a beard?

Yes, our pleasures were simple in the days when you always got a mandarin orange in the toe of your stocking. Scoff not at the toy.

Fifty-five years later, Brown reports that he saw the very same game in mint condition for sale at £1,250.

Back in the day, the Beatles' mop top hairdos caused a commotion.

In certain institutions – like certain schools - the style was outlawed.

The Beatles' hair was also coveted by fans and collectors. Take the case of the German barber who cut John Lennon's hair in 1966.

He held onto a few of the shorn locks as a nest egg for his retirement. And, indeed, Brown reports that one of the “largest locks of Lennon's hair ever offered at auction” sold for £35,000, three times the estimate.

There are plenty of hair stories – Ringo had his hair stolen in America by an unknown assailant who came forward years later and confessed to nicking a lock which to this day is in her autograph book stuck in next to his signature.

Apparently Lennon gave his housekeeper one of his teeth for her daughter who was Beatles mad and it made £19,000 at auction.

Two years ago, Paul McCartney's English schoolbook went under the hammer for £48,800.

My mother saved ours.. but somehow, I don't believe they'd have the same appeal at auction.

For fans, it appears, there are no limits. This proved an entertaining trip down memory lane – a feast for those yearning for the easy days of Strawberry Fields and stories of the Fab Four living wonder lives.

Those were more innocent days when the picture of a bald headed man and a red and silver magnet in your Christmas stocking made for hours of endless fun.

Nothing beats nostalgia.

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