Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Beatles Talk

In this special series FREDERICK JAMES lets his tape recorder listen in on informal conversations between John, Paul, George and Ringo

This month: Ringo and John

JOHN: Yes, ta, we had a very nice holiday, thank you, and we've come back looking all brown all over except in the parts where the sun didn't get like up the nose and down the throat. Everyone just sat around and watched Ringo's beard grow, which is a very marvellous thing.

RINGO: I gather we missed a good do down at George's place, John.

JOHN: Yes, bit of a party apparently while we were away. I think we'd better decide now to have Monthly Wedding Anniversaries instead of Annual ones. That means George owes us a First Anniversary party for the 24th of February.

RINGO: We saw all that in the papers about George having electric gates or electric walls all around his house. Well, he must have bought a lot of surplus stock from the James Bond studios while we were in the West Indies because it wasn't there at New Year.

JOHN: That was just the papers exaggerating and getting all excited again. I expect Neil or Alf just flashed a torch at them outside the gate and they made up the rest.

RINGO: The gate just looked ordinary last weekend.

JOHN: Of course it was. Still, I must look into the idea of having full gas-fired electric fencing put round my swimming pool. It'll stop all the wild beasts of Surrey having a crafty moonlight bathe and turning me water green!

RINGO: Enough of this madness! What are we going to talk about?

JOHN: Oooh sorry, I thought we'd already started. All that about the gas-fired fence wasn't just careless ad lib, you know, I always prepare my BEATLES TALK with great care.

RINGO: By the time this issue comes out the BBC will be showing the Shea Stadium film. Let's talk about that.

JOHN: Well, we think it's a fabulous film. In colour it's great because all our faces look blue and brown under the floodlighting. It starts with Paul doing "I'm Down" and we all look very sweaty because it's hot in New York in August and, in any case, "I'm Down" was at the very end of our act and we'd been on stage over half and hour by the time that bit was filmed.

RINGO: And there are also bits showing us running about, getting out of long cars and getting into a helicopter. Then you see us looking out of the helicopter at the New York skyscrapers on the way to Shea.

JOHN: The bits in the dressing room look like a prison. All little cells everywhere. Actually it wasn't an ordinary dressing room. It was where the baseball teams change.

RINGO: And so that everybody won't start writing a lot of letter asking about the badges you can see pinned onto us when we're on stage, let me give you the answer before you ask the question--they're genuine Wells Fargo Agent badges. They were given to us while we were riding in a Fargo van on the way to the concert. John stuck his in the back of his cap.

JOHN: Not at all. I was wearing my head back to front that particular day.

RINGO: Oh, yes. Shea Stadium was the first time we ever used an organ on stage. We'd used it on telly for "Blackpool Night Out" a fortnight earlier and "The Ed Sullivan Show" in New York the day before but not for a live concert.

JOHN: The thing I like about the Shea Stadium film is that everything we do looks larger than life. We were out in the middle of this big baseball pitch on a high platform. All the kids in the audience looked miles away. So if we wanted to wave or anything like that we had to do it very big so that they could see us. But the film cameras were much closer, and in any case they had these long-distance lenses for the close-ups. So the film shows us leaping up and down like maniacs instead of just waving.

RINGO: The whole thing is a bit special for us. We've seen ourselves on telly plenty of times and we've seen a few tapes of concerts but Shea Stadium was the biggest live show we've ever done--I don't see how we "could" do bigger--and all the camerawork and everything is great.

No comments: