I've seen enough of Paul McCartney
PUBLISHED: 00:05 15 August 2012
You get the distinct feeling that, in the advent of Armageddon, as the four riders of the apocalypse hove into view and fiery lakes gather to consume the earth, Paul McCartney will be sitting at a piano singing bloody Hey Jude.
I do not wish to disrespect one of Britain’s living legends – and I really like his late wife’s vegetarian sausages (although I’m not too sure about the country pies) – but frankly, I’ve seen enough of him.
I accept that the world expected to see Paul McCartney at the Olympic opening ceremony on the basis that the world only knows Britain for The Beatles, bad teeth, rain, Princess Diana, fish and chips and Shakespeare.
With Princess Di and Shakespeare out of the running, it was inevitable that Sir Paul would be wheeled out – but couldn’t they just have had him jumping out of a big cake, or something? Did he really need to sing?
Perhaps my apathy stems from the three years I spent studying in Liverpool where every second person you saw was a Beatles tourist stopping to ask you where Strawberry Fields were or if you could point them in the direction of The Cavern.
Practically every café was Beatles themed. I lived next door to what had been John Lennon’s favourite pub. John Lennon may well have urinated in my stairwell, and I never thought to ask for a blue plaque.
By the time I’d left Liverpool, I’d heard their back catalogue so many times that – had they not been superb – I’d have never been able to listen to them again without wanting to cut off my ears.
Very rarely did you hear Ebony and Ivory playing in Liverpool, though. Or Mull of Kintyre. Funny, that. In fact the city totally airbrushed the fact that McCartney hasn’t written a decent song since Harold Wilson was prime minister: even Liverpudlians couldn’t dine out on the Frog Chorus.
I am all for brilliant artists having careers long into their dotage (for example, Duane Eddy is pushing 75, but his gig at the Yarmouth Hippodrome lately was stunningly good) but I am also all for them stopping when the time is right.
In other words, it’s not about Sir Paul being ‘vintage’, it’s about him being able to give the kind of performance that makes us remember The Beatles and not Wings and Heather Mills.
The next time Britain has a big shindig, let’s invite him as a guest and not stick him on the bill to strangle Let It Be or The Long and Winding Road while looking like a wiggy* old fart.
* I accept it might not be a wig. But come on, it looks like one.