20
Sep 09

The Most Important Game Ever Made #5: Georgebot Is A Playa

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuCl0Jn_CyY

The Cavern setlist continues with ‘Do You Want To Know A Secret’, another one I’ve not heard before now but apparently originally written by the liverpudlians for Billy J Kramer, according to the in-game factoid thing. Is it just me, or is the Kramer version a lot livelier? That seems to be the norm here, but I’m not sure if that’s iconoclasm on my part or a dulling-down of the sound created by the ‘live’ acoustics.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9E-Wl3uLgVg

Actually, the acoustics (and that’d be a great name for a 60’s beat combo) contribute an awful lot here – I’ve got no idea if this was done on the album or crafted in-game, but the echoey cavern of the Cavern lends a spooky ambience to George’s vocal and particularly to the spectral ‘oo-wah-oo’ sounds made by Paul and John, which almost steal the show. Did they give the lead vocals to George knowing they were keeping the best bits for themselves? Probably not. Anyway, this spectral spookyness gives the song some much-needed extra wallop.

Apparently, the lyrics were inspired by a particular song from Disney’s Snow White, which might explain the creeping sense of… dirtyness there. Listen. Do you want to know a secret. Do you promise not to tell. Especially don’t tell a policeman or your parents. Whoa whoa. Oh. Closer. Let me whisper in your ear. Let me put rohypnol in your ear more like. And those opening lines – “You’ll never know…” – get that chilling minor-key vibe underneath, making it all seem very Stalker Rock indeed, at least to begin with.

But the next line changes the whole context. Where Kramer professed a need to be loved, George’s dirty secret involves saying the words you – as in, not him – long to hear. Suddenly it’s all turned around, the replacement of ‘I’ with ‘you’ turning a position of weakness into a position of strength, and Georgebot knows it – he’s all suave confidence on the stage, grinning to the audience and showing off his good side to the camera despite the fact that he’s been programmed with an absolutely enormous pair of caricature ears. I’ve seen pictures of Real George at the time and these just seem cruel, although I think they shrink down a little as the game progresses. Anyway, Georgebot, with Ringobot stuck behind his kit and the other two bots huddled around their mike, has the free rein to become the focus of attention onstage, and promptly milks it for all its worth. This is a theme we’ll see later in the game as Georgebot sings more songs about gurls and how much of a playa he is. At the moment he has some actual girlbots (who I remember as all having glasses) to bounce it off – later, he’ll be alone, shining his sexual charisma into a psychedelic void.

So, between the almost-arrogant confidence of the lyrics and the charming cocksureness of Georgebot, and the continuing creepiness underscoring it all, what we’ve got here is a song about a creepy seduction technique – George playing the role of the dirty old man in the pub, grinning at the barmaid. “Come a bit closer, luv, an’ I’ll tell yer a secret.” “Ooh, you are rotten.” “Nah, I’ll whisper it in yer ear – I loves yez, I does…” “Oooh, you dirty devil! Gerroff!” Starring George Harrison as Sid James and the audience as Barbara Windsor. In the middle eight, when Georgebot sings “Nobody else, just we two…” I half-expect him to follow it up by singing that his wife doesn’t understand him.

In comparison, Kramer’s version is hopelessly clean and tidy, the cuddly yearnings of a sweet young chap who you’d happily introduce to Father. Score one for the Beatles.

NEXT: Just seventeen, you know what I mean – the parade of filth continues.

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