31.12.13

THE McCARTNEYS, November, 1971


As MM’s news editor I was the lucky recipient of a handwritten invitation to a party that Paul & Linda threw at the Empire Ballroom in Leicester Square to announce the formation of Wings. I was going through a messy break up with my girlfriend Julie at the time and it threw me a bit when she turned up at this do on the arm of my MM colleague Roy, dressed to kill and clinging to him like a limpet, but this was temporarily overshadowed by the knowledge that if I played my cards right the evening would bring about my first close encounter with a real live Beatle. Keith and John from the Who were there and figuring that elite bass players probably knew one another well I asked John to introduce me to Paul which he duly did. Paul was wearing a loud checked suit, a bit wild and crazy, and after a bit of small talk I asked him to give me a proper interview and he agreed, saying I should contact his PA, an American girl called Shelly who worked on the third floor of the building in Soho Square which Paul gradually bought up in its entirety (and still owns), and through her I arranged to meet him two days later at Abbey Road where he was recording Wildlife.
     The next day in the MM office Roy looked a tad sheepish so the Julie issue was a bit of an elephant in the room. No matter… the day after saw my first ever visit to Abbey Road, and on the way I walked across the famous zebra crossing more than once before heading up the small flight of steps to the reception, thinking as I did how many famous feet had climbed these steps before me. We did the interview in the control room of Studio 2, for me the holiest of the holies – Stonehenge, St Pauls and the House of Commons all rolled into one. My head swam a bit a bit as I looked down on the big studio floor where The Beatles made history, all those records that had given me and millions of others so much pleasure, but now here I was faced with Paul in a strop about John’s song ‘How Do You Sleep’ – “John and Yoko are not cool in what they’re doing,” he said, a quote MM chose to trailer on page one – and it seemed to me I’d arrived too late and missed the party, as now John and Paul were sniping at each other like a divorced couple, a bit like me and Julie.
     It’s all water under the bridge now of course. John was murdered by a lunatic, Paul’s the pre-eminent rock figure of the age, Roy died in 2002 (and I gave the eulogy at his funeral) and I think Julie married a bloke from a band called Fumble. As for me, in the words of Buddy Holly, I’m just sitting here, reminiscing… 

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