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19 December 2013
8.37pm
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Ahhh Girl
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I was thinking about the National Health System in the UK. Was that in place when Dr. Robert was written? I just got a little head side tilt when I thought about health care being relatively "free" in the UK, but the Beatles sing that you'd pay money to see yourself with Dr. Robert. I am no expert on the NHS, so if I have that fact screwed up, feel free to correct me.

19 December 2013
8.56pm
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fabfouremily
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Yeah, the NHS was set up a few years after the war.

I assume the character Dr Robert was a doctor in a private practice - where you pay.

Moving along in our God given ways, safety is sat by the fire/Sanctuary from these feverish smiles, left with a mark on the door.

(Passover - I. Curtis)

19 December 2013
9.13pm
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Ahhh Girl
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fabfouremily said
Yeah, the NHS was set up a few years after the war.

I assume the character Dr Robert was a doctor in a private practice - where you pay.

OK. So you have private doctors that are not a part of the NHS.

19 December 2013
9.34pm
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fabfouremily
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^ Yeah, there's the NHS which is open to everyone, free of charge. Then there's private clinics which you pay for, if you want to.

Moving along in our God given ways, safety is sat by the fire/Sanctuary from these feverish smiles, left with a mark on the door.

(Passover - I. Curtis)

21 December 2013
2.40am
Porgy
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Ahhh Girl said
Didn't know where else to put this. Hope it kind of fits.

I was thinking about the National Health System in the UK. Was that in place when Dr. Robert was written? I just got a little head side tilt when I thought about health care being relatively "free" in the UK, but the Beatles sing that you'd pay money to see yourself with Dr. Robert. I am no expert on the NHS, so if I have that fact screwed up, feel free to correct me.

Dr. Robert was not an English doctor, though the National Health can make it sound like. It's just a Lennon pun, National Health - nation's health. Dr. Robert was a New York "Doctor Feelgood" for the rich and famous, associated most publicly with the Warhol scene, he would give those who could afford it shots of B12 in their backside laced with amphetamines.

McCartney, in 1968, said of the song, "There's some fellow in New York, and in the States we'd hear people say: 'You can get everything off him; any pills you want.' That's what Dr. Robert is all about, just a pill doctor who sees you all right."

In Many Years from Now, Paul further explained, via Miles, "In fact, the name was based on the New York Dr. Feelgood character Dr. Robert Freymann, whose discreet East 78th Street clinic was conveniently located for Jackie Kennedy and other wealthy Upper East Siders from Fifth Avenue and Park to stroll over for their vitamin B-12 shots, which also happened to contain a massive dose of amphetamine. Dr. Robert’s reputation spread and it was not long before visiting Americans told John and Paul about him."

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Ahhh Girl
1 February 2016
5.50pm
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leoc
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Maybe it's too obvious to be worth stating, but (as noted elsewhere) the implied 'missing word' after "Well, well, well, he'll make you ..." is obviously 'high', right? It's only a half-rhyme with 'fine', but then it is Only A Northern Song after all. It's like the joke in some recordings of "Click Go the Shears"

Looking round the shed like a real connoisseur

With Brilliantine and scented soap and smelling like a—who said that?

, or a thousand old suggestive jokes in music hall songs, no doubt.

1 February 2016
6.15pm
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leoc
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Ahhh Girl said

fabfouremily said
Yeah, the NHS was set up a few years after the war.

I assume the character Dr Robert was a doctor in a private practice - where you pay.

OK. So you have private doctors that are not a part of the NHS.

You also have doctors (often specialists) who are working for the NHS but also taking private patients on the side for extra money. That's the situation being described in "Doctor Robert": anyone can pay money to see the good doctor as a private patient, but "my friend" can pull some strings and get you assigned to him for free as an NHS patient instead. (Well-connected people pulling strings to get access to well-regarded NHS doctors or institutions is far from unheard of.) Obviously this does means the story is relocating the real Doctor Robert (assuming it was indeed Freymann) from New York to the UK, but that's not really surprising or unreasonable.

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Ahhh Girl
6 February 2016
7.04am
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Derek_Francis
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My doctor's name is Robert so I generally play this song in my car before going to see him.

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