Sir Paul, his wife Heather, and brother Mike were in Liverpool last evening to participate in the celebrations to mark the 10th anniversary of the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA) and the official launch of Liverpool's Capital of Culture themed year for 2006. Sir Paul and his two bodyguards arrived at the festivities in a Ford Fiesta. Heather arrived ahead of him in a silver Mercedes CDI. The McCartneys watched the gala performance by LIPA students, then joined the students and Liverpool dignitaries for refreshments. Sir Paul told the guests that the purpose of LIPA is not to produce another band like the Beatles:
"We decided not to make that our aim. We have to give up on that, if it happens, great. If your going to be a member of Coldplay, or the Stones or U2 then that's a different ball game. When we started the school I was working with the Liverpool band The Christians on a charity record and they said to me that you couldn't teach what we did. I agree with that, a great band probably just comes about naturally.
"You look at how things are these days, you look at every program on the television and it takes someone three weeks to train a person and they become stars. It's Pop Idol, Strictly Dancing, Strictly Ice Dancing, Strictly Walking. I get a bit bored with it. 'They give kids a showcase but there's a danger that every TV show is becoming the same.
"Liverpool to me is the city I was born in so obviously everything up to this point refers back to Liverpool. Whenever I come up here to LIPA I get a feeling of great pride. I am very proud of this school and what it did for me, it gave me a free education. Since we have been able to do LIPA we have managed to educate a lot of kids in performing arts who have then gone forward into the world. I get stopped on the street all around the world by people saying we have a LIPA student in our show and they are great.
"So for me Liverpool is a feeling of pride. The dream we had to save my old school and turn it into something really worthwhile has happened. I find it very moving. I always feel great pride in LIPA - sheer pride in the students and their talent."
Will Sir Paul be performing in Liverpool 2008 Capital of Culture celebrations?
"I haven't got any plans yet. I have just finished a tour in America and I normally lay low for a while afterwards. I have not got any plans. We will see, it is obviously very early days."
Sir Paul said that he was in London when he first heard that Liverpool had won the bid. He was thrilled, but Heather was not:
"I heard it on the radio when I was driving through London and I was well-chuffed, it was something we had been looking for and hoping for. It was a race and quite tight. My wife comes from Newcastle and they were up there a bit, it was a family barney really."
(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)
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