Ringo and Me.

I met the Ringed One recently, on the occasion of his 70th birthday.  He was in Niagara Falls to launch the North American tour of his All Starr Band. Being a lover of all things Beatles, and in the fortunate position of being a newspaper reporter (meaning I had a reason to make it worth his while), I made my pitch to meet the drummer of all rock band drummers, the one-and-only Ringo Starr, and lo, I was granted a face-to-face interview.  When he approached me inside the red-velvet confines of Fallsview Casino’s in-house concert venue, to quote an old tune by the Fabs, I thought I would die. “Christ, it’s like meeting the Queen,” I blurted rather clumsily to the vigilant PR standing with clipboard by my hyperventilating side. I was nervous. What if I fell flat on my face? What if I asked a stupid question? But Ringo put me instantly at ease. He was affable, smiling and quick to laugh. He even hugged me (and he smelled good, too). I ran through the questions on my sheet; this wasn’t a time to improvise simply because there wasn’t any time. We talked about his new album, how he is now wanting to write songs as autobiography. He said he doesn’t want to write a book, though publishers have lined up at his door, offering him pots of money to do so. “Why would I write a book when I can say everything I need to say in a single lyric?” Soon, my time was up, but not before I asked him what was his favourite Beatles song. “Oooh, that’s hard one,”  he said, smiling.  “There are so many.” I liked that we shared the same problem. He mentioned a few of the oldies, among them Hey Bulldog, an underplayed  rocker by John with harmonies by Paul that features  Ringo saying, “Yeah?” when John says, “Big man?” The PR gave me the boot; there were other journos witing in the wings. I took a fast elevator upstairs to my Fallsview hotel room to write my article on Ringo to deadline. While I was half-way through, I suddnely noticed that hotel tower I was sitting in was moving. Niagara Falls, which I could see out my window, looked to be moving back and forth instead of downwards. I thought, I’m going to die. But also, oh well. I had to keep on writing. A journalist’s gotta do what a journalist’s gotta do. After I filed I discovered I had just experienced an earth quake. I found that poetic somehow. I had waited so long to come face-to-face with one of my idols. And so it came to be that the day I finally met a Beatle, the earth did move.