years after the fact (january 13, 1969 part two)

coloured lights

As the morning of January 13 goes on Paul, Ringo, Linda, Mal and Glyn continue their various conversations. Ringo and Paul spend a little time quizzing one another on the whereabouts of various old Liverpool acquaintances–this is, for me at least, pretty insidery stuff and gets a bit difficult for me to follow. When Neil Aspinall, who has seemingly spent the morning thus far trying to get the three remaining Beatles to the rehearsal studio, arrives to find two Beatles already present, conversation turns a bit more serious.

yoko ono

Finally, Paul gets into a bit of what went on at the fab meeting the night before (I’m sorry, I have to do this-–lame, I know), but just as he does, Michael’s voice comes over the tape loud and heavy. It seems as though he is in the process of recording his end of a telephone conversation. It is so intrusive and comes at such a juicy point in the conversation (Paul can be heard saying “John does bullshit. I bullshit. Ringo bullshits…” just as Michael comes in) that in order to replicate how irritating it is I will transcribe it here.

“…Twickenham. Which is just so hard. –Probably this week or maybe next week. I’ll call you this week anyway to let you know how it’s going and then we can make the date for this week or next week. Okay. Bye. um. um.”

When Paul again becomes audible, he is in full flight and the topic is Yoko. It turns out that the meeting at Ringo’s went well until John’s refusal to speak and, moreover, John’s insistence on speaking through Yoko sent George storming out the door. This is interesting because until I heard these tapes I always followed the conventional wisdom regarding George’s departure: that he left because he found Paul’s bossiness insufferable. This version of the events has most likely passed into semi-official story due to this minor though legendary argument between George and Paul that was included in the Let It Be film. As Paul complains about Yoko, Glyn reminds Paul that the sensitive topic is being recorded. This doesn’t faze Paul. What he is going on about is insanely insightful. He is describing his attempts to write songs, specifically “I Will,” with John while Yoko is present. Yoko, it seems, throws off the Lennon/McCartney dynamic because her presence causes Paul to come in on what he calls “a Yoko beat…writing songs about white walls just because [he thinks] that John and Yoko would like that–but they wouldn’t…they’re very straight.”

very straight

Next, more of what went on at the band meeting at Ringo’s house is revealed. John, of course, arrived with Yoko who did most of the talking for both of them. Paul brought Linda and Heather along, a decision that he now regrets, though Ringo is quick to point out that Linda “stayed out of the way.” This is interrupted by someone (probably Mal) arriving with a breakfast of toast and tea. The conversation briefly changes to talk of diets (Michael, it seems, is constantly worried about his weight; Paul’s trying to not eat so much toast). The talk of toast and butter brings Paul back to singing another chorus of “Build Me Up Buttercup.” The guy is a fucking genius.

Paul bitches a bit about John’s nonverbal “heightened awareness” (some nonsense that Lennon was then practicing–he seemed to think that one didn’t need words to communicate) saying it “screws things up totally” because they “aren’t ready for vows of silence” and it results in no one knowing “what the fuck each other is talking about.”

Paul lays out the state of the Beatles at the present moment. He lists the problems within the band and “Yoko is very much to do with it.” The non-Lennon fabs have two Yoko-related options: either to “fight it, and…ask her to sit down at the board meeting” or to accept that she is not going anywhere–making her “not so much of an obstacle as long as [they’re] not trying to surmount it.” He insists that it is “not so bad” but it seems as if he is trying to convince himself that Yoko is not a big problem or convince the others or the documentary crew–since Michael followed the tea trolley back onto the rehearsal space, this has become something of an interview.

john and yoko

Macca equates the halt in fab sounds to a workers strike with George striking because work conditions aren’t right–a situation that he insists John is aware of. “We’ve done a lot of Beatles now, we’ve had a lot of Beatles, you know, and we’ve got a lot out of Beatles…so I think John’s thing now if it became a push between Yoko and Beatles, it’d be Yoko [who’d stay].” Neil, Michael and Paul continue the Yoko conversation while Linda and Ringo discuss their children’s love of animals. Heather is “animal crazy.”

The other problems within the fabs are that since they’ve finished touring, John and Paul aren’t around one another enough to write songs together; there is no Epsteinesque “daddy figure” to tell them “nine o’clock…Leave the girls at home, lads;” and that they aren’t working hard enough or playing music together often enough.

After listing the problems within the band for twenty minutes or so (and it should be pointed out that George is barely mentioned at all at any point during the day), Paul sums things up quite nicely by saying, “It’s going to be such an incredible, comical thing, like, in fifty years time, you know, ‘they broke up ’cause Yoko sat on an amp.’”

One response to “years after the fact (january 13, 1969 part two)

  1. The thing is that Paul WAS perfect:

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