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Why the embarrassed laughter matters—Some reflections for the 50th Anniversary of "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"


This coming Thursday, June 1st, sees the fiftieth anniversary of the release of perhaps the most famous and influential (though, perhaps, not the “greatest”) Beatles’ LP of all, “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” As a lifelong fan of the band’s music I decided a few weeks ago that I would take a close look at the record on the anniversary to see whether it still offers us any lessons relevant to our own age and culture.

Then last week there occurred the suicide bombing in Manchester which, not least of all because of the high number of child victims, has been an exceptionally serious and disturbing an event for us in the UK. All in all, it seemed that avoiding all mention of it today would be, at the very least, a sin of omission. (Although it is very important for us to be clear that an atrocity like this would hardly be mentioned were it to have taken place in many other places in the world as it does, alas, almost daily.)

For a while I considered abandoning the “…

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