First of all, let me declare now, I was never a Paul McCartney fan, at no point in history have I ever bought any of his recordings, but my brother did and so I have listened to most of them and in the main, after the Beatles, I find his output tiresome, bland and his voice contrived.
I’m glad we got that out of the way.
This is 1973, its a TV documentary called “James Paul McCartney” of the sort that McCartney could contrive very easily in the days of Wings, they did another one a couple of years later to promote a tour of the USA and Australia and the resultant triple album “Wings Over The World”, which actually wasn’t that bad of an album, I may have paid with my own money for a copy but I didn’t have to because my brother bought it.
1973, my O level year, I was 16 years old, my peer group was in its last year of high school education, in a few short months we’d be cast adrift, scattered far and wide into the job market and we’d deploy the various tasks that our high school mentors had taught to us for the betterment of commerce and finance, or in my case we’d just hang around in school for a bit longer because we didn’t know what else to do and, as I told the head of sixth form at an interview “I want to be an artist” to which he replied “Well go to art college then you stupid boy” to which I replied “I can’t, I’m scared, its full of bloody weirdos with beards, can I stay here a bit longer”
Confusing times, “confused” is a word that describes the 16 year old me precisely, I loved our high school, we had a great set of lads in the high school, we were a team, so much a team that we’d all go to the cinema together, 20 or 30 of us, if there was reported to be even a sniff of a female breast to be seen in a film, and in the main we were severely disappointed time and again, I suspect that the manager of The Lounge Cinema would start the rumour of female breast visible in certain films just to boost his slow Tuesday takings.
And then in May of that year we were sent home and told to revise for our O levels, not to return to school again unless we were sitting the exams in July, and it was all over, I sat at home not knowing what to do now, went for walks, mooched about for two months not caring about the revision for the O levels, remember this was three decades before mobile phones, we didn’t even have a landline phone in our house and I had barely ever used the phone box three streets away to call my mates, and if they were “on the phone” then I didn’t know their phone numbers.
We communicated by telepathy, its the only explanation, you’d be out walking the streets, mooching around, kicking things along the street when suddenly coming the other way would be one of your classmates also mooching along the street, you stop and talk and suddenly a third would appear, and then more and more and without prior arrangement or anyone calling anyone else you’d have a gang together and you’d speak of your dread of the upcoming exams and all, you’d swap Dave Mauds copy of Pink Floyds “Dark Side Of The Moon” with someone else, trip up Dogdirt Davidson, laugh and walk home.
No wonder that when I eventually left school and was sent to Kitson College of Technology (I was so out of place in that place of learning, like a lamb wandering around in an abattoir), our night school engineering tutor called us “Crazy mixed up kids” for most of them were like me, confused, but at least most of them knew that they wanted a career in engineering, I wanted to be an artist but had found myself at an engineering college by mistake, and worse, I was supposed to be studying electrical engineering but was placed on the wrong course for a year and so learned all about the wonders of structural engineering, none of which have served any useful purpose to me since.
But where were we, James Paul McCartney, yes, never liked the bloke really but he has written some fine songs and occasionally I can stomach him performing them in small doses – my brother met someone who met him recently during a business visit, the person who had spoken to him said that he’d arrived at their place of work for an appointment, alone, and had sat in reception looking a bit forlorn, they had chatted for five minutes about Linda McCartney (it was the reason why he was there), and the person said that he’d seemed quite a lonely vulnerable old man who admitted that his current musical output was for his own satisfaction and consumption and not necessarily for the public – I wish I could believe that.