It’s a clickbait-ey headline, but a nice excerpt of the new Paul McCartney biography. It ought to be pretty interesting: it’s based on firsthand interviews that McCartney granted specifically for the book.
I’ve already pre-ordered it. This seems like a particularly interesting time for McCartney to be working so closely with a biographer. He’s now officially in his Seventies. Is this a time of life when someone in the public eye starts to think more seriously about the legacy that they’re going to leave behind? I suppose if people are going to talk about your thoughts, actions, and motives long after you’re gone, you might as well get your side of the story down on paper while you’ve still got all of your faculties.
This excerpt covers a particularly interesting period: McCartney figuring out how to build a new life as a former Beatle. Remember that he had been one of those since he was 15 years old. In the 70s, he was starting over again…with the added handicaps of the world’s attention. Fans and press were going to use his solo efforts to prove their own favorite theories about why the Beatles succeeded.
Great biographies, like great documentaries, try to answer the question “why did this person do what they did?” instead of just telling us what they did. If you’re the person who wrote “Hey, Jude” you’ve earned the right to hit the “snooze” button every morning for the rest of your life. McCartney also had millions, plus a family. So why form a new band and go out on tour?
Bill Watterson retired “Calvin And Hobbes.” He was content to lead a private life. But he didn’t quit doing art! He kept right on drawing and painting. He turned his creative passion into a private hobby. He felt no need at all to show his work to anybody. He’s published only twice, and both times, his motive seemed to be to raise money for Parkinson’s research.
Forget birthplace and upbringing and girlfriends and kids…the most valuable part of a biography would explain why each of those men made each of those choices.
I said “Merry Crimble” to everybody all through the holiday weekend, despite a unbroken streak of Not Saying That which began, I suppose, with my first exposure to air and daylight.
(Before that, there were no witnesses to anything I might or might not have said, and I refuse to ask you to accept unreliable single-sourced testimony.)
Yet all weekend long, I’d meet a friend or family member and return the good, time-proven Christian greeting with (yes) a “Merry Crimble.” It was all due to timing. My holiday meetup celebrations started almost immediately after I’d spent an hour on the UK-based Bagel Tech Mac podcast. The others were passing around Merry Crimbles. I tried it just to be sociable at first. I didn’t think I’d have a problem quitting, you know?
“Merry Crimble” comes from a Christmas record the Beatles made for their fan club. It beats out the two more famous holiday records recorded by the post-breakup Beatles. “Merry Christmas (War Is Over)” is a bringdown. You might as well add “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” to the party mix, or even just rip the audio from one of those late night “Save The Children” commercials.
“Harsh words, Ihnatko!” you cluck. Well! Then watch the song’s official video, straight from YouTube’s John Lennon channel. I swear that I had not seen this video before I wrote the preceding paragraph. Warning: you might not want to watch this as it gets very disturbing early on and doesn’t let up. I bailed at around the 47 second mark, with the appearance of the third clip of someone cradling a dead child.
This is a holiday song with a message, and that message is “Fa-la-la-la-laaa la-la f*** you (if you spent any amount of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas feeling any kind of joy).”
Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmas Time” is appealingly simple in both melody and content. Yes, I mean that as a compliment. You must admit that holiday songs which can easily be sung by kids’ choruses have a Darwinian edge over the ones that want you to feeeellllll something.
Alas, McCartney overworks the thing. One marshmallow is a delightful confection. Fifty pounds of marshmallows packed inside a pillowcase and then dropped on your head gets a bit wearying.
Whereas! “Christmas Time Is Here Again” is what it is: the Beatles getting together to knock out a Christmas song that would be fun to play and hear, without giving much thought to its commercial appeal or how it would contribute to their cultural legacy.
Only I’ve just listened to it all the way through and they don’t say “Merry Crimble” at the end, as I remembered. Perhaps the official representative of Apple Corps who posted this completely legal video cut it off before a talky bit at the end?
That’s all academic, anyway, because there is Crimbling on a previous Beatles fan club record:
But (dammit) it’s a “Happy” Crimble, not a “Merry” one. Honestly, I don’t know how etymologists handle their jobs. They need to get unravel these sort of word-origin forensics day in and day out. Plus, slightly clueless friends are always sending them samples of bugs that they’ve caught in their kitchens and asking for advice on pesticides.
(There ought to be some sort of professional courtesy-matching service. It’d pair up two people with similar-sounding professional certifications. Every time the bug guy gets a question on proper English usage, he or she can forward it to the entomologist. Someone asks the entomologist about when to use “that” instead of “which,” he or she sends it to the word guy. Physiologists/Physiatrists, Cosmologists/Cosmetologists…even Plumbers/Pilots, if they have particularly stupid friends and family members, would benefit from this service.)
Well, the point is that the Beatles made “Merry Crimble” famous and it’s a Lovely Holiday Tune besides. Alas, it’s not available on either Amazon or iTunes.
(Oh, and the usual disclaimer applies: my Amazon Associates code is embedded in the link and anything you buy after clicking it results in my getting a small kickback. And the capital of Delaware is Dover.)