I Rit A Buk

My Buk Wot I Rit

My Buk Wot I Rit

OK, so after a mammoth final push at proofreading, cover design, file conversion etc, I have now finally (mere hours late for John Lennon’s seventieth birthday) completed my magnificent octopus, The Beatles In Mono. It’s 203 pages in hardback, for £22.50 or 141 in paperback for £10.00, but both contain the same text (55,737 words of it), they’re just formatted differently. If you’re a real cheapskate you can also buy it as a PDF, formatted either way, for under a fiver, so don’t say I never do anything for you.

There’ll be an ebook version available soon too, but it’s 6 O’Clock in the morning now, I’ve pulled an all-nighter, the conversion to .epub hasn’t worked properly and there’s no way I’m hand-hacking XML when I’m this tired, so you’ll have to wait a while for that.

The book contains:
Expanded versions of my Beatles In Mono reviews, now with every single song analysed.
Five longer analyses – of Hey Jude, Strawberry Fields, A Day In The Life, A Hard Day’s Night and Tomorrow Never Knows
Shorter (but still multi-page) looks at the two stereo-only albums, Abbey Road and Let It Be, plus the Ballad Of John & Yoko/Old Brown Shoe single.
And brief (one page at most) reviews of Love, Let It Be… Naked, Live At The BBC, The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl, Liverpool Sound Collage and the three Anthology double-discs.

I go die now. And you go buy books, so my sacrifice isn’t in vain. Hardback and paperback. The paperback will also shortly be available through (US) Amazon, but the hardback will only be available through that site.

I haven’t received my proof copies, so I apologise in advance for any typos or printing errors. I’ve done everything here from writing it to typesetting to proofreading to cover design, so some errors are bound to have crept in – but hopefully not enough to stop it being worth your while.

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38 Responses to I Rit A Buk

  1. Kevin Ray says:

    Cool! Purchased, and am reading the download. Good luck with it!

    • Andrew Hickey says:


      • Kevin Ray says:

        Is that me in the acknowledgments? If so, too cool!

        Also, I got too impatient, but it’s already apparent I’m gonna have to buy the book. A lot of stuff here!

        • Andrew Hickey says:

          It is. You didn’t comment with your surname, previously, and I was leaving people’s screen names as they had them. But you’ve been very supportive of this project, and you deserved the mention. And I’m very glad the finished product is meeting with your approval.

  2. Kevin Ray says:

    Cool! I’m up to She’s a Woman in the book. Thoroughly enjoying it.

    • Andrew Hickey says:


      I should point out that Mono Masters is probably the most expanded of the articles, other than A Hard Day’s Night – the difference won’t astound you on, say, With The Beatles or Sgt Pepper. I do hope that when you finish you still consider it worthwhile…

  3. Kevin Ray says:

    I understand, but that’s what I was hoping for. Disc 2 of MM is my favorite, and I wanted to read your perspective. Your writing on MMT was fascinating. I’m also looking forward to Let It Be and Abbey Road.
    I don’t want to fill up your comments space, so feel free to use my e-mail.

    • Andrew Hickey says:

      Oh, feel free to comment as much as you want! If nothing else, it’ll let prospective buyers know what they’re getting, both positive and negative.

      Disc 2 of MM is my own favourite too…

  4. Kevin Ray says:

    Loved it. Nice insights, really made me appreciate the music even more, with one exception:

    The bassline for Something is simply a masterpiece. :-)

  5. Winkins Lam says:

    Finally it is here. Thanks for doing it. Cheers!

  6. Mike Taylor says:

    Congratulations, Andrew! I’ve ordered mine.

  7. pillock says:

    WOO-HOO…! I’m ordering two tomorrow, maybe three. CHRISTMAS = SORTED!

  8. I am a ridiculously easy sell on Beatles books and magazines (I even bought that recent “100 Greatest Beatles Songs” special edition of Rolling Stone, although in that case I knew I was a chump for doing so EVEN AS I WAS TAKING IT TO THE REGISTER TO BUY), but even if I weren’t, there’d be no question about this one.


    • Andrew Hickey says:

      Thanks! I know what it’s like being an easy sell on these things, and I do hope it ends up being worth the money for you. I don’t want to be the new Geoffrey Giuliano, you know?

      • I wouldn’t worry about it. I mean, I spent TEN BUCKS on that Rolling Stone that had nothing you haven’t read a hundred times about “Rain,” but to be fair, I was never the intended market for that thing; I just needed something to read in a hotel room.

        That’s what I appreciated about your original posts, is that there was no Beatles 101 business going on here. “You’ve all read the Anthology and Barry Miles’s McCartney biography and I Me Mine and the Lennon Playboy interviews and maybe Geoff Emerick’s book, right? Good, then, MOVING ON…”

  9. Mike Taylor says:

    My copy has just arrived — great stuff. Tell me, Andrew, how have you dealt with the problem of copyright of the cover image? Did you pay someone to use it, somehow find a public domain image, or just go ahead and violate on the assumption that no-one will bother you?

    • Hmph – my own copy hasn’t arrived yet!
      Cover image is public domain – at least in the US (I don’t have a huge legal team to check status in all countries). In the US, anything published *without a copyright notice* between 1923 and 1977 is out of copyright. I got it from the Library Of Congress site, via Wikipedia (most of their images have been pre-cleared, so you just have to check their sources rather than spend tons of time on it yourself).

      I’m perfectly happy to violate copyright left, right and centre on non-profit things, but won’t ever do it on anything where I’m selling something (had to turn down a fantastic story by Richard Flowers for PEP! issue 2 because it had Doctor Who characters in it, though I stretched a point for the cover).

    • And like I asked Kevin before, if you don’t think you wasted your money, could you post a short review on lulu? I’m not asking for anything dishonest, just state your opinion – it’ll make the book look less amateurish if people actually say they’ve read it.

      • Mike Taylor says:

        I’ll leave comments once I’ve read it, yes — as I did with Andrew Rilstone’s “Where Dawkins Went Wrong” at http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0557183685/thedinosaurreadi

        Great that you were able to find a good public-domain image: I’d reached the stage of pretty much despairing of ever being able to do anything without falling into the cold clutches of copyright. We’d love to do a coffee-table book of Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week, but the chances of the NHM letting us use photos of their specimens are slim to none.

        • I don’t *think* they can stop you from using photos if they’re ones you’ve taken yourself, unless it was done as part of paid employment. Obviously if they’re photos that belong to the NHM that’s a different matter.

          • Mike Taylor says:

            The Natural History Museum’s official policy is that if you work in their collections, you sign a form saying that any photos you take of their material are theirs. And of course they have a perfect legal right to impose that condition. (Whether they have a moral right, especially given that they hold their specimens in trust for the nation, is another matter; but sadly one that has no bearing on what I can actually do.)

            As it happens, I think the general friendliness and informality of how the collections people do things means I’ve never actually signed that form; or I might have done, but if I did then I’ve forgotten it. But still, as a working researcher who needs to be on good terms with the museum, it would not be in my interests to annoy their commercial arm on that basis.

            The frustrating part of this is that an SV-POW book, if we were ever to make one, would be such a very niche product that it would be amazing if we sold more than twenty or thirty. So it would literally not be worth the museum’s time to come and ask us for a slice of whatever profits there might be. But the threat that they might means there will likely never be a book.

          • pillock says:

            Good heavens, you mean you can’t just ask them for permission to use the pictures in a book and count on them saying “yes of course”?

            Haven’t ordered my Beatlebooks yet; tomorrow will be the day!

            • Mike Taylor says:

              Pillock, I don’t know if you’re being sarcastic about Just Asking the museum, but I’m going to assume you were serious, and reply an that basis. The problem is that it’s a big museum with a lot of departments. If the Museum scientists were making these decisions, I am sure they would very happily let me go ahead; but there is a separate commercial arm which, in my experience, is so focussed on cash that its gut reaction is to block anything that doesn’t bring in an immediate payday, irrespective of what kind of free publicity it might give the Museum.

              To pick a particularly dumb example: in 2007, when I and a colleague named the new dinosaur Xenoposeidon from a long-overlooked specimen in the vaults, the University of Portsmouth publicity department had a real job on its hands persuading the Museum’s commercial people to let us film news segments like this one. They were actively trying to prevent us from publicising the museum.

  10. Steve H says:

    I already had the stereo boxset when I stumbled across these awesome reviews here. They inspired me to get the mono boxset as well, and I’m very glad I did! So naturally I just *had* to get the book too (arrived today)…

  11. pillock says:

    Hooray! Ordered mine today!

    I like the little message I got, too.

  12. Got mine.

    Hey, the acknowledgement was a surprise! My dad, largely responsible for my Beatles education, will be very amused to see his son’s name in a Beatle book.

    • Andrew Hickey says:

      Nice :) I thought it only fair to acknowledge you, because you were one of the people whose comments made me actually finish the thing…

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