Sunday, September 7, 2014

Quips spark Press Meet

Quips Spark press Meet
By Barbie Hale
The Telegram (Toronto)
September 8, 1964

Between the two Beatle concerts in the Gardens yesterday there occurred a few moment of relative calm, though not necessarily relative sanity.

These were occupied by the Beatles press conference, marked by the largest attendance of newsmen so far on this tour.  The conference was conducted by Derek Taylor, the Beatle press officer, in such a way that there were no complaints, and as little confusion as possible.

Taylor opened the conference by reading two telegrams, one from a man in Chicago who wanted the Beatles' tonsils when they were removed, another from a man in Saskatchewan who wanted their bathwater.

The Beatles arrived a minute later, wearing fresh clothes, smiling amiably as the news corps applauded, in disappear for several minutes in a knot of still photographers.

As is custom several "special" shots were taken with disc jockeys, Beauty Queens (Miss Canada), fan club presidents, and the like.  But when Taylor announced the end of the photo session, especially the "specials", the Beatles suddenly stopped posing.

One gentleman still persisted in trying to get a shot with THEM.  He stood in the middle of them, so they dress apart into pairs and left him in limbo.  He moved over to stand with John and Ringo.  Ringo moved over to stand with Paul and George and John moved to stand in the middle again Stalemate -- no special picture.

They accepted some gifts, and began to accept some questions from reporters.  They sat behind four microphones which had been set on the stage of the Gardens after the girls had been whisked away following the first concert.

In the position, they were elevated, looking down on the assembled newsmen, and they sat relaxed, with a fine ironic sense that this arrangement was fit and proper.

And then the questions.  The same questions they have been answered since the tour began.

"How much money do you make collectively?"  John: "A lot."

"Will you leave show business when you have made enough to leave?"  John:  "We've made enough to leave now, but we're not going to."  George:  "We're greedy."

"What time do you get up in the morning?"  John:  "Two o'clock in the afternoon."

"Do you feel you're setting a good example by smoking?"  George:  "We don't set examples."  Paul:  "Why should we?"  Ringo:  "We even drink."

"It's been said that you appeal to the maternal instinct in these girls."  John grinning, "That's a dirty lie."

"What do you think of press conferences?"  John:  "They're great fun, aren't they?"

"Has this tour been wearing you down?"  George:  "It's been wearing us up."  John:  "It's nearly killed our road manager."

"Mr. McCartney, what do you think of American girls?"  Paul blinking innocently:  "Why me?  Oh, I love 'em.  They're the same as girls anywhere else."

"Is it true that you named Hamilton Mountain Beatle Mountain?" John:  "Yes, but I don't know if it's a joke or not.  We did it by phone."

"What is responsible for your widespread popularity, your music or you?"  Paul: "Oh, it was the music first, I think."

"Why don't you record all the songs that you write?"  Paul:  "It's just not good policy to flood the market with records like they did in America.  Naughty them."

"If the music trend changes, will you follow it?"  John:  "If it's basically the same, I guess we will."

"How long do you think you'll last?"  John:  "Longer than you."

"What do you miss most about England?"  John:  "Our homes."  George:  "hot tea."

"What do you think of the Queen?"  George:  "She's all right.  She's doing a good job."

"When will you be knighted?"  George:  "Next week."

"How are you going to vote?"  Paul:  "We don't know enough about politics to vote."

"What do you think of Barry Goldwater?"   George:  "Well, he's not very much fun, is he?"

"Ringo are you still teaching your face how to smile?"  Ringo:  "Oh, you've not been paying much attention, have you?  See?  (flashes smile, then looked distractedly away)  I smile quite a lot.

"George, is the story about you throwing a drink at a photographer in Los angeles true? "  George:  "Well, we were invited by the own of The Wiskey a Go-go for a quiet drink.  The news photographers were asked to leave, but they wouldn't.  There was one who kept on flashing away in my face so I blessed him with what was in my glass.  They retouched the photo to make it look like there was more stuff in it."

"How has the press coverage been?"  George and John:  "Very good."  Paul:  "Very fair."

"Are you ever afraid for your lives on these tours?"  John, "No."

"Will you be going out of town after your Gardens concert tonight?"  Ringo:  "I don't think we'll go out tonight."

With such a tight security guard around them, it is clear that if the Beatles didn't want to give press conferences, no pressure on earth brought to hear by mere adult males could compel them to.

But they do, and they respond to the endless waste of identical questions with good humor, charm, and a great determination not to be bugged.  Paul appears to be the most nearly earnest of the lot, John and George don't so much answer questions as deflect them, and Ringo simply sits and views the world through king-size cigarette smoke, speaking only when spoken to, directly.

After all, he knows, as does everyone in the room, that all those aging adults asking questions aren't going to be among those who have paid five dollars to scream their adoration.

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