Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Eleanor Rigby and immortality....

With the screening of TIFF"s The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby this year (2013), I am reminded of the song Eleanor Rigby, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and recorded by the Beatles. A quick Google search brought me to an amazing article published in the Daily Mail about a person who might have been the original Eleanor Rigby. Above is a link to the article. What is equally amazing is that the song has elevated a long forgotten soul, virtually just a name on a gravestone, to immortality.

In spite of many protests by the Beatles that the name was fictitious, the article suggests that there actually was an Eleanor Rigby. She was a scullery maid, who lived all her life in the same house very close to where John Lennon grew up. Eleanor did not marry until she was 35 and bore no children, before her death at the age of 44, a year before John Lennon was born. She was subsequently buried in the churchyard of St Peter's, where John Lennon and Paul McCartney would occasionally "sunbathe." (Author's note: there has to be some symbolism here. How many people spend their time sunbathing in a cemetery, in sunless England, only to become famous celebrities, who write songs about the long dead, from names inscribed on tombstones that may have been their "beach chairs?" This is most surreal.)

I really must see the film, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, to compare the literary motifs in both. The screenwriter could not have ignored the iconic song, about leading a lonely life and ultimately dying, with no one to remember you. In fact all that appears to be left of Eleanor is her name, in spidery handwriting, on an old Geography book, a hospital ledger and her marriage certificate.

However, according to the newspaper article, which is lengthy but worth the read, the hospital ledger, when it was auctioned, sold for £500,000.00. Life just does these crazy insane "things" from time to time.

All comments welcome.

Have a memorable day!!

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