“Argh! Leave me alone…”
Recently I caught the famous Let It Be Beatles’ movie for the first time. Throughout, the individual Beatles are fascinating to observe – particularly George, who continually eyeballs Paul with an expression suggesting (Hare Krishna notwithstanding) he’d like to bury an axe between his old friend’s eyes. Paul, meanwhile, goes on obliviously (and perhaps pathologically) craning his neck in the direction of the nearest camera, John and Yoko seem (shall we say) rather distant, and Ringo, in the words of one witty YouTube commenter, looks on “like a kid whose parents are splitting up.”
I ain’t too keen on McCartney myself. A paradoxical chap, he managed to be both an admittedly essential component of the greatest band of all time, and one of the most vapid songwriters ever, with all the emotional sincerity of a greeting card.
That McCartney apparently “woke up” in possession of “Yesterday”– an incident singled out by others as proof of his genius –only bolsters my suspicion that some external entity was cooking up his trite little slices of whimsy before tossing them ready-made into Paul’s rubber soul. How else explain the truly perverse cause-and-effect of Paul getting into acid and shortly afterwards writing “When I’m Sixty-four” (perhaps the first installment of that grand McCartney song sequence the rest of the group christened “Paul’s granny music”)?
Yup, if the grim reaper’s visiting the Fab Four in order of talent, I’m inclined to hope Ringo’s getting his house in order…
But Paul got on no-one’s tits like he did George’s. If you go through every scrap of Beatle stuff on YoutTube (as I have these recent weeks), you can’t help but be struck by Harrison’s consistent drollery on the subject of his former band-mate. The following snippet, from Harrison’s appearance on The Dick Cavett Show, is an excellent example, and brilliantly captures Paul’s aforementioned camera addiction.
Love that little shimmy! Another fave–before I leave the topic and Sir McCartney alone–occurs during episode six of the excellent Anthology series, and concerns Paul’s “confession” to the media about his taking LSD. Paul – who staved off trying the drug for months after the rest of the band (cos he’s a pussy) – tries to make out that he was cornered by the media. In fact, he blatantly did it to look cool, which is so Paul. And also, for the record, impossible. Cue George with another zinger…