It may be fifteen years ago that George left us to garden in the eternal spiritual sky, but the enormity of his loss is still hard to comprehend. And yet, as I have been floundering to write something vaguely coherent about his massive contribution to this world, it is clear that he is still very much felt today in a million different ways:
It is every time you hear a stunning guitar solo,
pitch-perfect harmonies or honest lyrics which make your heart physically
It is every time someone references the explosion of Indian and Hindu culture in the late ‘60s and the peaceful acceptance thereof, in the Western World.
It is every time someone mentions a Gretsch or a Rickenbacker 12-string with reverie.
It is every time you drive past Bhaktivedanta Manor, with its stunning gardens.
It is every time we see former World Champion Damon Hill being interviewed about motor sport.
It is every time you hear the unique note at the start of A Hard Day’s Night.
It is every time that the whole world, including remote tribes in the Amazon, can identify all the Beatles songs solely from their guitar solo within 5 seconds.
It is every time there is a TV quiz question about Hinduism and the clueless answer is always “Hare Krishna?”
It is every time you remember about the real people trapped in the middle of unwanted overwhelming fame.
It is every time you sit down and watch Monty Python’s Life of Brian during Christmas.
It is every time you see the Hare Krishnas and enjoy their
Paneer Burger for £3.50 for lunch.
It is every time that you see a story about Indian street-children who had been helped off the streets and are now being educated, and have a safe future.
It is every time that you see a story about Guatemalan street-children who had been helped off the streets and are now being educated, and have a safe future.
It is every time you drive past the new cinema at Henley, knowing a cinema is only there at all after a good fight.
It is every time you hear the word ‘Bangladesh’ and realise that the country and most of its people were very close to never existing until a friend asked for help.
It is every time you hear Ravi Shankar’s name and everyone agrees he was a brilliant musician on the sitar.
It is every time you hear a naughty chord.
It is every time you think of insanely talented people who were battered around and succeeded anyway.
It is every time someone mentions the word ‘Supergroup’ and the ‘Traveling Wilburys’ are the next words.
It is every time you see ॐ and know what it represents.
It is every time you visit the Sefton Park Palm House in Liverpool.
It is every time you see certain artists being interviewed, happy and healthy, and know that they are only still here because they received gentle help and love when they needed it.
It is every time you hear the awesome slide guitar on that Belinda Carlisle song.
It is every you see photos of Fiji, and think of a small village there which has the best musical instruments ever.
It is every time you think of beautiful souls who have struggled with defeat, pain, loneliness and heart-break but found their way out of the depths to become more strong, more compassionate, more gentle and more loving.
Om Shanti Om, George. You are still with us every day and you are very much loved. Happy Astral Birthday.