Monday, 18 June 2012
... and we'd like you to dance.
We were away hiding in France during all the Jubilee 'celebrations'. I'm not particularly against the royal family; they're just there in everyone's life, like football or EastEnders: ubiquitous and - in me at least - inspiring neither devotion nor opprobrium. But I'm glad I missed the TV coverage of it, because I think I probably would have lost a few hours of my life stuck in front of the television. Just listening to The Word podcast describing Madness playing Our House on the roof of Buckingham Palace or Elton looking looking twitchy as Charles made his speech sounded like the sort of thing which I get glued to then hate myself in the morning.
It was a McCartney-tailored event of course. Since Live Aid, he's the jewel in anyone's gala line-up. But looking at the pictures - and yes, OK, I forced myself to watch some of it on Youtube, he is finally looking like the truth: the cherubic pretty boy of the Fabs is finally succumbing to the ageing process.
He is of course 70 years old today. I haven't looked through the papers but no doubt there are vast numbers of people spewing words about it. Actually, I have looked at the Guardian and they've done a nifty image galley of 70 images with corresponding features. My point - relax, my short point about this is that Paul McCartney has always appeared much younger than he was. Despite the fact that he's the author of not one but two of the most famous songs about ageing, Macca has always seemed ageless. Over the weekend I indulged in the reissued CD of his debut, which comes accompanied by a booklet of Linda's shots from their early 1970s bucolic family life. The idea of Paul being permanently that age (28) brimming with freedom and confidence at having escaped the Beatles is hard to shake. It's only when you are confronted with close-ups of the dessicated showman with the union jack guitar and braces standing next to the Queen, that the horrible truth becomes apparent. Time has caught up. He now looks, like so many ageing male performers, like an old lady. Soon perhaps, he may join this site.
And to make matters worse, as my mum - with what can only be described as a gleeful twinkle - pointed out, "Cliff Richard is still looking so young." That must have been harsh on Macca during the Jubilee bash. A million years old, Cliff looked full and fresh faced. Paul, still playing Hamburg while Cliff was in the charts, seemed very much like a spinster at the wedding.
Of course, this does not affect the music, which goes on and on. I'd never really listened properly to McCartney before and it's a lovely thing. Junk, particularly, along with its sister Singalong Junk are effortless whistle-along classics. I hold no truck with those that lament Macca's loss of the acerbic, witty realist Lennon. Paul wrote my favourite Fabs tunes and even when noodling away (as he is on much of McCartney) still can't stop himself being a safe pair of hands. I don't find myself slapping on Walls & Bridges very often and you really have to be in the mood for Plastic Ono Band. Paul generally puts you in the mood. Even, it has to be said, when he's playing Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
So happy birthday, Paul. Even though you're long past 64, we still need you and life indeed must go on.