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Wings Over America
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2001-May-03: GMA Interview, part 4

Today's interview focuses on memories of Sir Paul's boyhood in Liverpool:

"I love Liverpool. It's my hometown. You know, some people turn their back on their hometown, and I think, you know, it creeps into songs and stuff. And I think it crept into a lot of John and my early songs like Penny Lane.   Strawberry Fields was a real place next door to where he lived.

"I was quite solitary till I met a young man named George Harrison. We shared a bus, that's how we got to know each other."  [Their first conversation?] "Well, it was about guitars. We both liked music, rock 'n' roll."

Sir Paul also spoke of a particular English teacher:

"He tried to start teaching us Chaucer in the original language, and we were 16-year-old boys, and we weren't interested at all in that kind of thing." [Until he learned about  part]" Well, that's what he eventually did, he--he told me about the dirty parts. And he said, 'Get a hold of a copy with the translation of "The Miller's Tale."' He said, 'It's really dirty,' and it was the dirtiest thing I'd ever read so he hooked me with that. I had the normal instincts of a 16-year-old boy in Liverpool.

"I used to be the guy in class who could draw these--do these drawings that when they were folded, it just looked like a woman. But when you pulled them open, she jumped out of her clothes."

[However, his thrifty mother would search his pockets to retrieve his school dinner tickets]

"And unfortunately, the drawing was in there, so I denied it. 'No way, no, no, no, that wasn't me. It must have been Kenny Halperin. He's like that.' And it went three days, and my father was called in on the case, and he grilled me. I still denied it. And in the end, I had to break down. He broke me down. And I--I admitted it and cried.

"Remember, sexuality was nothing we ever talked about at home. I didn't know what periods were for women. That had to come much later, people explained all that. I remember actually asking once how babies were made, and my dad said, 'Do you know those two dogs we saw in the street the other day?' I went, 'Yeah. Yeah?' And he said, 'Well,' he said, you know, he kind of left it there. You know, 'Oh, no way. My parents? Doing that?' So I had much more vivid imagination than they gave me credit for. So I had horror--horror visions of them running around the street doing that. So anyway, we didn't talk about it. So to get caught out was a very shameful thing."

This incident inspired a poem he composed while clearing a path for his horses in the woods:

"It's called "Dinner Tickets." (Reading) "My mother always looked for dinner tickets in the breast pocket of my gray school shirt. Dried mud falls from my work boots, zig zag sculptures leave a trail as I head for the woods. She found a folded drawing of a naked woman. My father asked me about it. Chains makes easy work of young birch blocking my path. For days, I denied all knowledge of the shocking work of art, resting on a fallen log, I wiped the sweat from my brow. Admitting I had made the drawing, I wept."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)


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