26 February, 2006

McCartney as sadist

A conversation with my mother last night reminded me of a peculiar mishearing of 'When I'm Sixty-Four' which as an adolescent I had perpetrated longwhiles. McCartney sings:

Every summer we can rent a cottage
in the Isle of Wight, if it's not too dear.
We shall scrimp and save. . .
grandchildren on your knee:
Vera, Chuck, and Dave.

One part of me would hear the fourth line as a command:

"Grandchildren, on your knees!"

Quite what this suggested to me is unclear, but it certainly must have had penal / sadistic / ritualistic connotations. The fact that the line is sung so sweetly even increases its sinister aspect, implying a grimly calm and jovial act of violence amid gentle visions of retirement. The rest I leave to the reader's imagination.

No comments: