Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Oxford Press conference





The story from the Summer 1973 issue of McCartney Lovers and Friends continues.  In this installment, our heroes make it to the press conference/party in Oxford after the show.   See what happens when only one girl is allowed inside and a drunk Macca is interviewed.  


Oxford Press Conference

As I explained before, Paul’s tour manager, Dave, told me that all five of us could attend the press conference to be held at the Randolph Hotel in Oxford.  He said to mention his name so we could gain entrance.  When we arrived, there seemed to be millions of people waiting in the lobby. When we tried to get into the conference room, no one seemed to know who “Dave” was.  There were a lot of hassles, and I was really getting annoyed.  Finally, I got fed up and decided to go right to the source – namely Paul.  His nobody employees (if you want to call them ‘employees’ – they were only there one day) think they’re something else just because they’re connected with Paul McCartney for a day.  (He’s just a regular person, folks).  Eventually, we saw 10,000 flashes going off so we knew that Mr. Mac was coming.  As he walked by me, I sort of grabbed his arm to get his attention.  In the confusion, he just looked at me and smiled.  After he struggled into the elevator (he kept saying “I have to go upstairs first”) I finally got his attention and said, “Paul, can you get us in?”  He said, “Yeah” I don’t think Linda appreciated that very much, so a second later he said, “I’ll try.  Maybe.” 

In any case, we were better off – at least there was one foot in the door.  Then guess who arrived?  Dave! Suddenly everyone who didn’t know him before knew him now.  He said he’d talk to me in a minute.  Oh, just before that, Paul’s press agent told me I could go in, but not the others.  I just couldn’t do that.  I told Sarah about it and she told me if I had another chance to go n it.  In the meantime, people were getting thrown out.  This included my four friends.  I was allowed to stay because Dave told me to wait.  He told me to go on it.  I asked the press agent about the others and he said to forget it. 

I walked into a large room, and there was another large room adjourning.   For some reason, I expected to see a huge table with microphones on it where Paul would be sitting.  But it wasn’t that way at all.  It was a party.  By this time, my nerves were really playing Hell.  I was especially nervous because I was alone and my stomach started feeling like it should have felt.  I hadn’t eaten in 2 days!  I saw Denny Laine being interviewed and then decided to get up and mingle.  I was happy to see a familiar face – Valerie!  She had managed to get in with a photographer.  It certainly was a relief to be with someone.  There was a table with food and cookies and other pastries on it and my first impulse was to take some. I just completely lost my appetite (nerves do funny things to one’s stomach) However, I never refuse a drink, so I had a Scotch and Coke.  That was really intelligent of me – drinking on an empty stomach, but who cares?  

We were talking to Denny Seiwell for a while.  I can’t remember what was said just that he was nice.  His wife, Monique, and I were laughing for some dumb reason and holding our drinks up – Cheers!  I congratulated Denny and he said thank, “we need all the encouragement we can get!”  He was really nice and super tall.  Suddenly those flashes went off again, so you know what that meant.  Can’t understand why that man doesn’t have closterphobia by now.  He noticed us in the crowd and smiled.  A few minutes later, Dave came over and announced that we would have to leave because Linda didn’t want us there!  Just one look on our faces and he told us to bury ourselves in the crowd.  So, we buried ourselves in the crowd.  Eventually, Paul moseyed on over to a waiting chair and was immediately swarmed again.  In the meantime, I had another Scotch and Coke.  After 45 minutes of catching an occasional glimpse of him, I got nervy and got closer.  And closer and closer.   I was still hiding myself pretty well, but for some reason, people decided to keep pushing me and I ended up right next to him!  

You probably know that when you come face to face with him, you develop a silly disease called “I can’t stop staring at him.”  He was chattering away but his voice was like a hum in my ear.  Finally, I decided to get myself together and listen.  Everyone was taking pictures, so I took a few.  I could have taken more, but I don’t particularly like flashing at him.  The reporters were driving him absolutely insane with that dried up old question, “Are The Beatles going to get back together?”  God!  They don’t know when to stop.  Just then, the man had put on an absolutely fantastic concert with a great band, Wings, and all they cared about asking was Beatles, Beatles, Beatles.  I don’t know where he gets his patience.  It drove me crazy, and I haven’t heard that dried up old question half as many times as he did.

Anyway, he explained over and over that The Beatles WERE a great thing, but NOW, TODAY it’s WINGS.  Sure, they’ll get together every now and then, but not like before.  By the way, Paul was wearing the same jacket that he wore in the pub scene from the James Paul McCartney special.  They kept asking about John and if he had seen any of the “others” recently.  About John, he just looked over to the side and said “not physically.”  He’s great at telling stories.  Every now and then you’ll hear “I’ll tell you a little story.”  One unparticular was about this little old man they became friendly with in Jamaica.  After a few days, they were talking about music, and the little old man, not recognizing Paul said, “You know, I really love the Beatles!”  Paul was really proud and let him know that he was once one of them.  Well!  The little old man nearly had a heart attack.  I can’t remember everything he said, but if I read an article about the interview, I remember then.  When someone asked what he thought about the girls waiting outside and screaming at him – he said he didn’t like the screamers, he didn’t dig that too much.  He said that Heather liked David Cassidy and little Mary liked Donny Osmond.  He calls him “Dommy”.  “All you hear in the house is Dommy this and Dommy that.”  

I kept being pushed against Paul and then noticed Linda was looking at me.  I caught her once and she smiled and said hello.  I spoke to her for quite a while, but more about that later.  I managed to get a half-hour tape so I’ll print what I got.

Q:  Artistically do you think, I mean obviously, you did tremendous things with The Beatles, John Lennon…
P:  The thing is (pause), that you get to know the people in the  band, like you do in a football team, like anything, you get to know the people in the band and you get to play often and the more you know them, the better you play off them.  Any band that’s been together like 10 years is known to do it.  And like with Wings, like, we’ve been together a short period, like compared to The Beatles, it’s like nothing.  I mean, The Beatles hadn’t even made a record when they were going together this long.  Umm, so umm I can’t be bothered with the details.

Q:  How much do they criticize you?
P:  Well we get criticism, I don’t mind.  I like it!  It’s cool!  You see, the thing is, it’s only to be expected, we’re gonna get criticism.  It’s the whole bit, you know.  But, umm, it’s really ok!  For the first few months, I thought “Oh Christ, this band’s never gonna come together because people are gonna be so critical.  They’re gonna say you know every time they see me, they’re gonna say ‘He should be with The Beatles!’”  but I don’t think if you check out  the audience, there would be an awful lot of people who went home who said, “oh, we shouldn’t’ have come” but there would be more people who said, “I really dug that.”

Q:  How many people thought that in the beginning and changed their minds (about not liking Wings).
P:  But you see the thing is now we know more than you know because we’ve done a few tours together.  We’ve gone through all that.  You’re coming in on it cold and any British audience that’s seen us for the first time doing that.  Now we know that part, so we keep cool, and we play.  And we know that by the end of it you’ll think it’s a new thing, it’s different you know, and you’ll go away and think the next time we come to into town you’ll be wanting to see Wings.  And gradually, the whole thing…as I say gradually 1950 begins to go away.  But you start to think 1950 was ok.

Q: When you were with Wings surely John Lennon must have criticized you an awful lot.  I mean it must have sort of rubbed off on you.  You must have thought all the time…

Paul wasn’t paying attention to such an asinine question.  He just sipped his drink and said, “I’m drunk.”  He said that a few times during the evening and I said “You’re not the only one” 

Q:  What does L 7 mean in C Moon?  I don’t understand that.

Paul:  L 7?  Do you know Sam the Sham’s record Wooly Bully baby?   It was on the radio today, and ah, that record says “Let’s not be L 7” in the lyrics.  And, at th eitme, I ah said “what’s L 7 mean?”  You know just like you. I thought that on that L 7 is (making his left thumb and forefinger into the L shape) “L” then “7”  (making his right thumb and forefinger into a 7)  He made sure everyone saw it.  L 7 is a square.  L 7 is slang for square.  Sam the Sham says “Let’s not be L 7 “  -- Let’s not be square.

Q:  What about C-Moon?

P:  C-Moon is (again demonstrating with his fingers) is C-Moon, round, it’s a circle.

Q:  Someone thought it was Carolina Moon.

Paul was talking to someone on the side.  I really couldn’t catch onto everything he was saying. 

P:  A lot of people don’t like sex the way most people do.”  Then he was talking about Linda Lovelace and Deep Throat.  But I’m not certain of what he was saying.  Then a Greek reporter came along.

P:  Yes, well, I think Greece is a very lovely place.  Very nice people, the weather, yes, I like zaszuki very nice.  I like the dancing too, a Happy Christmas to all the Filippos may it be a festive one and a wonderful one.  This is a message.  This message for all our Greek listeners goes something like this “a lenik das”  (pronounced that way.  I have no idea of how to spell it).  This is Paul McCartney speaking to the listeners of Apollo in Fini:  Hello and Happy Christmas.

Another reporter came along…
P: Hello Dave, do you mind if you sit over there for just a second? 

During this pause; I asked Paul if he thought he’d tour the States.  He grinned and said they wanted to.  I said “Great!  They’ll love you there, really!”  He said, “I hope so!”  I said, “They will, I know they will.”  Then Paul was interviewed by Dave.

Q:  It’s been a long time, eh?
P:  Since what?
Q:  Well, since I last saw you.
P: Yeah, it’s been a long time.  When did I last see you Dave? That’s right.  And ah, I should be, it was a good year for babies!  And ah, you know I just think.  I listened to the Billy Cotton Band Show and I dug it.  Nothing wrong with ole Billy as far as I’m concerned.  And I listen to Paul Whitman played with my Dad.  I listened to my Dad!  So I naturally have all those kinds of influences, you know.  So you know, I don’t ahh, personally, I never got ‘round to thinking “well, that was a dumb period and this is a good period” I like it all.

Then Dave rambles on for a while about what makes a record sell, and then asks Paul what inspires him to write a rock song or a love song.

P:  It’s just what I feel like at that particular moment. I can sit down and just happen.  I mean this is the way songwriters do it, no matter what anyone tells you.  You sit down and you hit a chord.  Or you hit a sequence of chords.  And if you happen to be hitting them kind of slow, and lamented type chords, you know, then you’ll probably write a ballad.  If you happen to sit down and plunk out a kind of blues riff, then you’ll write a blues thing.  And, that all I do, you know, I just sit down and whatever kind of thing comes out, comes out and then I use it if I think it’s good.  So, I mean I really can’t answer for the fact that it might be kind influenced by 1940 or whatever, you know.  I say you know, I just kind of write it, and then if I like it, I think that’s good enough.  You know I write this “Gotta Sing, Gotta dance” you know on the telly show we did.  You know that thing, that was written specifically was Twiggy, who was gonna do a film called “Gotta Sing, Gotta dance.”  And it was written with her in mind, you know, the big production number and Twiggy swinging away with 60 white horses, all nuns.  So, I wrote that kind of number you see.  See, so I came to do it myself.  I don’t bother me, this kind of work.  I’m not kind of into that-this is what I do, one specific thing.  You know I’m worried, I sometimes I just sort of think, you know maybe I should just sort of get it all together into one kind of music.  I’m not like that that’s not me, you know.  It never ends up like that.  It always ends up a touch of this, a touch of that.  Come on, let’s have a laugh, get your hands together, and we’ll have a touch of that.

Dave:  Doesn’t that sort of musically persecute you?

P:  No, it doesn’t persecute me, or percussion me.  You know I don’t look at music like that.  You know music’s just kind of something you sit down at an instrument and you plunk away.  And whatever happens, to come out is what comes out.  Sometimes “My Love” will think “that’s a nice example of his songwriting” or whatever, you know.  Sometimes “Smile Away” will come out and “Smile Away” is a whole different kind of thing.  It’s not anything like what I do -or I’ll pick up a newspaper and I’ll notice that the British paratroopers are like shooting some Irish plains of mine, and I’ll think, “Hey man!”  It’s time to write an Irish song, you know.  You can’t hear too much of what he’s saying cos I was blabbing to Linda – but he said “cut it out, give it back to them and do something about the Protestants in the North.”  You know, that’s my opinion about it, so a song comes out like that, you know I don’t have to have any background in it.  It’s just what I feel at the time.  And I don’t mind if people say, “Oh that my country is virtually at war with them over Northern Ireland scene and has been for 800 years.”  

Dave then carries on again about Wild Life and music in general.

P” I’ll tell you a little story, Dave.  I was in Jamaica recently, and filming there was Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman.  They’re filming a film called “Pappy Young.  Soon to be released film.  It should be good.  And we went around to Dustin Hoffman’s and you know, he invited us round.  And we got to know him a little bit, and we were sitting around a few days later with him, and he was saying, you know, talking about songs --- about movie songs, if they become great, they become great, if they become lousy, they become lousy.  He was talking about a song that went like this “Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can’t drink anymore.”  They were talking about some old guy.  Turns out he couldn’t drink.  He’s an old bloke, you know the doctor advised him not to drink.  So, I got these words together and (singing) “Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can’t drink anymore, da da da drink to me…”  And Dustin’s flippin, he’s knocking and “Yeah baby, this is a soul number, yeah! “Alright!  And he’s rockin’ alright, so there’s an example of how it happens.  It just comes out of the air, you just sort of do it, with the people you’re with, you know.

Dave starts talking about Paul’s musical experience with the Beatles.

P:  The Beatles?  Yes, the Beatles, yeh. I can agree yeh, Dave.  But as far as I’m concerned, the first kind of phase of my musical thing was concerned with coming down from Liverpool with four lads who never kind of had their photo taken.  So that is the whole of the thing of the phase.  You know we came down from Liverpool.  We did it just like Sweet, Dave Bowie, Slade, all those grounds.  (I was talking to Linda again, and I can’t hear what Paul is saying – sorry).

Paul:  You know, you’re 8 or 12 then you become 15, then 18, then 20 and then maybe you get married cos then you kind of look back on when you were kind of 12 through 20 and think it was all just a phase you know. 

Paul:  We’re talking about Malcolm Brown, who was actually an old school mate of mine.  He used to try and play trumpet and he was terrible.  Terrible, Malcolm if you’re listening!  Absolutely!  And ah, he was just an old mate of mine.  I still remember him.

Then Dave asked what he called a “gentle question” and asked Paul how he felt when he gave Denny Laine a “beat” in Maybe I’m Amazed when the original one was with George?  (Paul started laughing and I was ready to fall on the round from that winner!)

P:  Well, you’ve actually picked a number that George didn’t play on.  “Maybe I’m Amazed” I was the ONLY ONE.  I played all the instruments on that one.  “Long Tall Sally” is the only one you could actually say that on.  You know, because we played that with George.  I can sit around and moan and think “Oh yeah, I should have George on it – it would be so much better, OR I can think ‘I dig the way we’re playing it with Denny.”  I like what’s happening now.

Dave:  Have you seen the other 3 recently?

P:  No, I haven’t.  (He did mention before that he had gone to Apple with Ringo).  Yeah, but you know, as friends. 

Dave:  You’re still seeing them?
P:  And you’re wondering why Dave?  Well, ah, what should I say?  I mean, as far as I’m concerned, you know, the main thing I’m like interested in is you know, working the main thing with this band at the moment.  And ah, for instance, a lot of people I know aren’t really involved with The Beatles.  I mean a lot of people, younger people I know, you know, think ‘ah well, the Beatles were a great thing” but there’s no kind of reason to kind of go potty over it.  You know, it was great, it was good, you know, but let’s get on with what’s going on.  And that’s really where I’m at, you know I just think that what we’re doing now is as good as anything I’ve ever done.  You know I’m still singing “Long Tall Sally” like I sang it.  In fact, I think I’m singing it better!  So I mean that’s as far as I get into it, you know as long as this evening captured it – that’s it for me.  You know I think you’ll find kind know.  Isn’t that so kinds?  People listening now on their little trends.  They’re going yeah yeah, we’ll try. 

Dave asked him what his plans were after this.

P:  I haven’t got any future plans and this man knowns because he switched off his tape recorder.  And that’s about it, we just planned this British tour.  We’ll just kind of leave it to that.  Let’s go off because we’ve got almost 2 weeks to run.  And so…we’ll get on with whatever we do after that.

I spoke with Linda for quite a while and she was really nice.  We just talked about normal things like was she nervous on stage?  “Just a little bit – but not really,”  I told her everyone loved the shows and she was glad and said that she could feel that the audience was enjoying it.  I asked her what made her cut her hair like that, and she said, “Paul cut it.  I cut his too!”  She said that she saw me the night before in Bristol.  The subject of Lilian Roxon came up and Linda said that she didn’t understand what her “problem” was.  She said, “Tell her I personally feel that she must not have ever really known me.”  She wanted to see the review Lillian did on James Paul McCartney so Linda W. sent me a photostat and I gave Linda a copy a few weeks later.  I asked if she’d like to do the States.  She said she’d love to and she can’t wait to get back.  She’s especially interested in New York and Arizona. I asked if Paul had gotten his visa.  “No, we haven’t gotten our visa yet” (I don’t understand why she’d need a visa because she’s American).  Anyway, she was really quite nice.  In the end, I asked her to tell me honestly if it really bothered her that we were there.  She thought a second and said (as she took my hand).  “No…it’s all under the water now.”  (What a relief!)


It was 2am when they left and I went back to our guesthouse to sleep before we left for Cardiff. 

5 comments:

  1. I was born in London,but I have lived in Oxford since I was over a year old. I didn't know they visited there. Thank you for sharing. My Auntie and Uncle got married at The Randolph Hotel in 2002.

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  2. Lillian Roxon's "problem" was that Linda completely dumped her after Lillian helped her meet Paul

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    1. They lost contact, yes. But things like that happen, especially when you move to a foreign country, start a new family and find yourself in a situation where your new husband is involved in a acrimonious break up with his friends and business partners and reacts by getting depressed and developing a drinking problem. Roxon was a journalist and like a bit of gossip as well. And if you read the article she wrote about the visit of John and Paul to New York in May 1968 you would know that she was not too fond of Paul to begin with ( possibly out of jealousy).

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    2. Yeah life changes but here in nyc we knew how close Lil & Linda had been for a long time; Lil tried to keep contacting her but she never responded back. Lil was an ok person really.

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  3. love the part where linda said that paul cut her hair and she cut his. what a beautiful love they had

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