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2001-May-03: Sir Paul Talks to The New York Times

In an interview published in today's New York Times, Sir Paul relates the details of a poetry lesson he received from his poet friend Allen Ginsberg during a visit to the McCartney home in Sussex: "He was all for economy.  He said to me: 'Never use the word "the." And also try to avoid "ing" -- don't use 'singing,' but use 'sing' instead.' "

Sir Paul did take issue with the poet when he suggested that the opening lines of his poem should be changed from "Two doors open on the 18th of June" to "Two doors open. June 18": "I said it's great, but you're making me into a New York Beat poet." Poet Paul was encouraged, however, when Allen Ginsberg told him that " 'Eleanor Rigby' is one hell of a poem."

In the interview, Sir Paul explains that his poetry comes to him in a much different way than his songs.  His song writing usually requires a musical instrument since he writes the lyrics and melody simultaneously.  He uses the composition of Eleanor Rigby as an example:

"I was sitting at the piano vamping on the E minor chord.Da da da da da -- Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice . . And in actual fact, it wasn't Eleanor Rigby, it was something else, because I got the name Eleanor Rigby later. Sometimes the real words arrive, and sometimes I have to kind of go back and fix it.

"It's like Yesterday.  At first it was 'Scrambled eggs/ Oh my baby how I love your legs,' which I thought, 'That's gotta be fixed. Can't go with that one.' "

Sir Paul also discussed his friendship with John Lennon:

"We had been arguing about stupid stuff -- money and things, things that weren't really important in our relationship but were the kind of things people argue about. " [But back on speaking terms again.]  "We talked about him baking bread, him putting the cats out, him padding around the apartment in his robe and slippers, him bringing up his baby, Sean. It was really intimate and mature, good real talk between friends."

Addressing the loss of Linda and his new relationship with Heather Mills, he said:

 "It was perhaps unlikely in my life that I would have two strong women who I felt so strongly about.  Even though it's early days in my new relationship, I do feel lucky to have met someone strong and interesting and beautiful."

His poetry book Blackbird Singing is receiving mixed reviews from the critics:

Stephen Logan, The Sunday Times of London: "Unlike more rarefied poets, who communicate mostly with each other in obscure crannies of our culture, McCartney writes as freely (and often as beautifully) as a blackbird sings"

Mark Hertsgaard,  The Los Angeles Times:"They're not bad so much as unfinished and inconsequential."

The critics do not bother Sir Paul:

"It's not as if I'm not used to it. She Loves You was called banal when it came out -- it was the first time I had ever heard the word."

His poetry readings and book signings are attracting fans by the thousands.  He told the story of how during his book signing  in Liverpool he was greeted by a teenager wearing a Beatle-vintage button that read "I slept with Paul McCartney."

"Oh, really?" he said with a big grin, "When was that?"

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)


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