Monday, 26 August 2013

Tara Browne Crash Scene

I took a trip today down to Redcliffe Gardens in London to visit the site of Tara Browne's fatal car crash. It was quite an illuminating trip, and, as with most things connected to Beatle lore, doesn't seem to quite fit the stated facts.

Firstly, Redcliffe Gardens is a one way road with traffic flowing in the direction of the arrow above. If this was the case in 1966 is unknown, however, I suspect that it was not. But, according to Wikipedia Tara had been travelling from South Kensington, meaning that he would have been travelling in the direction of the arrow anyway. Currently the traffic can flow in two lanes along the road, though this would not have been the case should the traffic have been flowing in either direction. It is also a moot point if the parking bays on either side of the road, where the Beetle and the van are parked, existed in the sixties.

Perhaps most significantly though is the layout of the traffic lights at the junction. In 2013 these lights are pedestrian controlled. If this has always been the case, again, I don't know. However, if we assume that they were this would add an entirely new dimension to the accident.

As the lyrics go, "he didn't notice that the lights had changed", if this incident happened now the lights would only have gone red had someone been waiting to cross the road. Therefore adding both a potential witness and a possible cause of the accident, had Tara swerved to avoid a pedsestrian.

Of course, in 1966, the lights may have been differently sited, and designed, to allow traffic to enter Redcliffe Gardens from Redcliffe Square. Now vehicles from the square can only turn left and into the flow of the traffic.

As we can see from the above photo, a view from Redcliffe Square toward Redcliffe Gardens, traffic can only turn left at the junction. Assuming Tara swerved to avoid a car pulling out from this junction then it is possible that he hit a vehicle parked where the car is on the left hand side of the road.

Tara, according to Suki Potier, his companion that night, deliberately swerved the car to avoid injuring her and so absorbed the impact of the crash himself.

For that to be the case then the car would have to have been dragged over to the other side of the road, and turned around, and there is no sign of a lorry - which he is supposed to have crashed into - in the photo above. However, looking at the railings, it is possible that this where the car landed up.

This is, of course, highly hypothetical as I am speculating wildly. It is equally possible that Tara was racing someone - Paul McCartney? - and this is how he came to grief. All I can do is post these photo's in the hope that someone may come up with a more coherent theory.

View across Redcliffe Gardens towards Redcliffe Square
View back down Redcliffe Gardens

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Mals Page - A Kenyan Odyssey

One of the recurring themes in the work of Iamaphoney are his references to Paul’s trip to Kenya in November 1966.

Up to now I was not aware of any evidence to substantiate his claim that Paul was hospitalised on that trip, however, an article in the January 1967 Beatles Monthly magazine has come in to my possession which does, albeit vaguely, confirm that something happened.

 However, as with most things Beatles, all is not as it appears.

As you can see Mal claims that the trip began on a Tuesday, which given the other information the article yields, must have been the 8th November, – an auspicious date in Beatles circles as it seems to have been the date John met Yoko at her exhibition at Indica and, possibly, also the day that Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate popped by to play chess – however, according to the Beatles Bible they met in France on Saturday 12th November at the Saint-Eloi catholic church, on Rue Saint-James in Bordeaux. Further, the ever reliable McCartney biographer and propagandist, and erstwhile owner of the aforementioned Indica Bookstore and Art Gallery, Barry Miles in his book Many Years From Now states that McCartney said..."We met up, exactly as planned, under the church clock. He was there. I figured I'd had enough of my own company by then. I had enjoyed it, it had been a nice thing. Then we drove down into Spain but we got to Madrid and we didn't know anyone; the only way would have been to go to a club and start making contacts. So we thought, this is not going to be any fun, and rang the office in London, and booked ourselves a safari trip."

Dear old Mal, bless him, informs us that they had been planning on joining up with John in Spain only to discover, via a telephone call, that John was already back in London having finished filming How I Won the War, and had abandoned both Neil and Cyn and was, instead, heading off, under his own free will, to Indica where he would be set up with his handler.

Given that Neil and Mal worked in tandem on their on-going Beatles arse-wiping mission it seems almost impossible that Mal would not have known exactly where Neil and John were at that time. Add to that the fact that in order for operation ‘brainwash Lennon’ to work would almost certainly require that nosey old McCartney was well out the way at the time then this Gallic sojourn is just too convenient. Because, although Yoko had never heard of the Beatles before, the fact that she had knocked on McCartney’s door the year before and begged him for a shag might have spoilt the romantic frisson between her and Johnny a tad!

Of course who knows what dates to believe? The Beatles Bible claims that McCartney went to France on 6th November 1966 – 666 anyone? – and then met Neil on the 12th whilst also claiming that John arrived back in London on the 6th (666 again), meaning that Mal would have had a full six days in which to have learnt about the early cessation of filming and, thereby, negating any need to phone London for a Lennon update. Confused? You will be!

McCartney meanwhile, again according to the Beatles Bible, was busy trying hard not to be a Beatle complete with “the moustache and glasses disguise he had prepared to allow him to travel incognito”. So, it was a fake moustache?

The Beatles Bible also claims that Paul and Mal met up with Jane Asher before flying on to Kenya but, poor old Mal, completely forgets about this. To be fair I have not seen any evidence to suggest that Jane was in Kenya and none of Mr Phoney’s footage, that I have seen, shows her.

The significance, or at least inference, in Iamaphoneys Kenyan reference is that it was here that the replacement ‘Paul’ received the plastic surgery that he needed to transform him into a fool-proof McCartney. This seems to come from extracts of a document that, we are meant to assume anyway, is a segment of the long lost memoir of Mal Evans, wherein there is an intriguing line that says ‘they did a good job in Nairobi’ and talks of a clinic in Kenya.

It is telling then that the Beatles Monthly piece confirms that whilst at Ambosali Park (actually Amboseli) Paul ‘had caught too much sun and felt really bad for a day or too’ (sic). Is then when the alleged plastic surgery took place? We will probably never know, however, recovery from surgery would surely take more than two days?

At the very least herein lies the germ of the story and from, though an official Beatles organ, a far from reliable source. The Beatles Monthly Magazine was an outlet by which Billy Shepherd a.k.a. Neil Aspinall could plant the stories that would later seed the Paul is Dead myth. It is pertinent to remember that this article from the January 1967 edition was just a month before the famous ‘false rumour’ article in which a story about Paul dying in a car crash was first suggested.

Further evidence, though I concede not proof, that the entire Paul is Dead myth was perpetrated by the Beatles and exacerbated by Neil Aspinall before he founded the in 1990, not coincidentally, at the same time that the Beatles Anthology project was commenced. The more I dig the more I become convinced that the Iamaphoney series is a means of utilising unseen footage compiled for the aborted ‘Long and Winding Road’ project, that was in essence a proto anthology, and that it presents a secret Beatles history.

Terry Knight was the inside man

Some time ago, in a blog piece entitled The Beatles, theOTO, Terry Knight and Detroit I speculated that Terry Knight was responsible for seeding the Paul is Dead myth around the University campuses in and around Detroit from whence the phenomena first emerged.

Well, I recently came across a new piece of evidence which, I believe, substantiates this. Before I get to this I feel a little recap is in order.

For reasons unknown in 1968 Detroit DJ and musician Terry Knight sat in on a Beatles recording session for the White Album where he witnessed an argument that led to Ringo Starr walking out, temporarily, on the band.

It seems apparent that Knight had travelled to London that year in order to bag a recording contract with the Beatles newly formed Apple records company, however, despite the fact that band were handing out contracts to anyone with a pulse at this stage, Knight was unsuccessful.

Quite why then he should be in the incredibly fortunate position to have sat in on the recording session is a mystery, unless he had been selected for a higher purpose?

Shocked, apparently, at what he had witnessed in the studio Knight would go away and pen a song entitled ‘Saint Paul’ with some rather cryptic lyrics which he maintained concerned his, brief, relationship with McCartney and his belief – in which he would be proven correct -  that the Beatles would soon split.

As we know, once the Paul is Dead myth emerged the lyrics would be assumed to be about Paul’s demise and form another strata in the layer of clues. Why the song should be about Paul though and not the clearly hurt and upset Ringo also remains a mystery.

Having been blown out by Apple Knight would go on to land a ‘producers’ contract with the Beatles US label, Capitol, the following year, 1969, which allowed Knight to release solo material. Who he was producing and why Capitol didn’t just give him a recording artists contract is yet another, you guessed it, mystery.

Using this contract, in April 1969,  Knight released ‘Saint Paul’ with its refrain of ‘hey Paul’ to the tune of “Hey Jude” as well as vocal lines from "Hello, Goodbye", "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "She Loves You" apparently without anyone at Capitol realising the potential copyright infringement. In time, this was noticed and the song would be re-issued as the only ‘non-Beatle’ song credited to Lennon and McCartney’s MacLen Music company.

Nothing much happened until October 12th 1969, when a caller to WKNR-FM radio station in Detroit, Michigan from Eastern Michigan University announced that McCartney was dead and that the DJ should play the Beatles’ song “Revolution 9″ backwards.  The Detroit radio DJ, Russ Gibb, did as he was instructed and reported on the airwaves that he thought he heard phrases to the effect of, “turn me on, dead man.”  Soon, Gibb was telling his listeners what he had found and was also adding to the list of clues.

Meanwhile, on October 14, 1969, college students at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor published a satirical review of The Beatles’ Abbey Road album in The Michigan Daily.  This story stoked the “McCartney-is-dead” claim with “new evidence,” offering various “clues,” some supposedly found in any number of Beatles’ songs and/or album covers.  This story, in turn, was picked up by various newspapers across the U.S. and escalated nationally.

So, where was Knight at this time? Only touring small venues and university campuses in Michigan!

Now, here is where the new stuff comes in, on November 8, 1969, the advert below would appear in the American music journal Cash Box.

The previous day, November 7, 1969, the now famous Life magazine, in which McCartney was the cover star and would deny his demise, was published. Now how could Terry Knight and/or Capitol have known about the Life article if they weren’t intimately involved in the whole thing?

To paraphrase the advert strapline, now I do understand its significance! Oh, and is that a lilly I see before me?

UPDATE:  Here is a bit more detail, from Knight, about how Saint Paul came to be...

Extract from a Terry Knight interview.

PSF: Do you recall meeting McCartney [in 1968]?

TK: Yes, I recall meeting McCartney very well. We first met in Detroit and shared a brief hello. Later, he called me to England, Apple bought me a plane ticket, he invited me to sing. We had lunch in London with Linda and Twiggy, Roger Moore and Peter Sellers - and then I went to the studio where Yoko and Ringo and everyone else was assembled. It was the session where it was over [Ringo walked out during White Album sessions]. I went back to New York empty-handed and wrote the song "Saint Paul" on the flight.

PSF: Are you aware that the song is credited with starting the "Paul-is-dead" rumor?

TK: [Smile.] Oh, yes, I've heard that before.

Here we get a slightly different version...

While down in Florida for a gig, Knight began hanging out with the gorgeous
young waif of a British model known as Twiggy. She was the apex of mod
Sixties fashion in swinging London, the toast of Carnaby Street, and Knight
(of course) was smitten. Twiggy, who was quickly developing into an actress
and performer to go along with her modeling career, knew all the cool people
in London, and she took a liking to this guy Terry Knight.

"Twiggy put me on tour with her, to warm up the audience with a few songs
with the guitar," he recalled. "And then they'd introduce her, on this great
Revlon [cosmetics] U.S. tour, when she was at her peak. One night I was in a
hotel room in Miami, singing these songs. And she just fell in love with the
songs - and me, I guess. We never had a romantic relationship, but we were
very, very close."

"The following day," Knight recalled, "Justin, her manager and boyfriend,
came in the room and said, "You have a long distance call from England. You
better come and take it - it's in my room." So I raced to his room, pick it
up: "Hello" [Knight doing proper British accent]: "Terry Knight?"
[Knight]: "Yeah?" [English guy]: "This is Paul McCartney." [Knight]: "Yeah,
who the fuck is it, really?"

"Anyway, it was Paul," Knight said. "Twiggy had recently discovered an
unknown girl named Mary Hopkin. Mary had done a wonderful record for Paul
called "Those Were The Days." And she had discovered James Taylor, by the
way, for Apple. Paul was told by Twiggy that he dare not miss the opportunity
to sign Terry Knight!"

"Just as Paul stated on the phone, there was an airline ticket [reserved for
Terry Knight], first-class, to and from London, England," Knight said. "I
got to England just as The Beatles broke up. I was actually present at the
studio the night the whole shit fell apart."

The time period would naturally have to be late 1968, during the time The
Beatles were finishing up recording of The White Album, when the group very
nearly did break up, before coming back together for another year or so.
Ringo had walked out on the others, apparently right before Knight arrived in
London. Terry also mentioned that he recalled seeing Bob Dylan hanging around
the studio with the remaining Beatles.

"Before flying back," Knight said, "I learned Graham Nash had just left The
Hollies. Tony Hicks of The Hollies came over to Ringo's flat, where I was
staying, and offered me Graham's job, with The Hollies. I turned it down."

"I did not want to be a frontman anymore, ever," Knight said. "The
experience with The Pack was so devastating to me, going through egos was
just not part of my plan again - unless I was in control of them. So I said
no politely, thanked him, and came back to America."

The ironic thing was that, after McCartney had summoned Knight to London,
paid for his trip and arranged for him to be put up at Ringo's flat, he
didn't even have time to see Knight. The problems The Beatles were
experiencing right at that moment precluded McCartney from considering what
talents Knight might have to offer Apple Records.

On that TWA flight back from England, Knight said, "I wrote a song, which
I recorded myself for Capitol, called "Saint Paul." It was about McCartney.
I went back to Cleveland to record it, and used the entire Cleveland Symphony
Orchestra. My buddy, Joe Walsh, sat in on the session. Anyway, that's how
Paul and I met. I met Ringo in Detroit, and George in Detroit, but was never
really close or friendly with either of them."

"Saint Paul" is a Beatles curio, to be sure, and perhaps the most
interesting record that Terry Knight made as a singer. (It was also one of
his final attempts to make it as a vocalist.) Capitol did release it, and
apparently Paul didn't mind being the subject of the song, but he did mind
that Terry had borrowed melodies and/or recognizable passages and lyrics
from various Beatles songs, which included "Hey Jude," "Strawberry Fields,"
"A Day In The Life," "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds," "All You Need Is
Love" and even "She Loves You".

Not sure how much I believe, but, interesting none the less.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Iamaphoney and the Shakespeare letter

I have just come across an image on Iamaphoneys website;, on a page entitled Its .

How long this page, and indeed image, has been there I do not know, however, it is mighty interesting. 

The images are from the letters page of the Beatles Monthly Magazine, though from what month and year I do not know, and concern the extract of a Shakespeare play that appears at the end of "I am the walrus".

According to Wikipedia; "The dramatic reading in the mix is a few lines of Shakespeare's King Lear (Act IV, Scene VI), which were added to the song direct from an AM radio Lennon was fiddling with that happened to be receiving the broadcast of the play on the BBC Third Programme. The excerpt begins at Act IV, Sc vi,II lines 224-25, most pointedly (given Lennon's problematic history with his own father) where the disguised Edgar talks to his estranged and maliciously blinded father the Earl of Gloucester: Glo: "Now good sir, what are you? Edg: A most poor man, made tame to fortune's blows." Edgar then kills Oswald the steward of Goneril (who cries out "Slave, thou has't slain me"). Edgar describes the dead Oswald in words heard in the song's coda as a "serviceable villain." Gloucester asks "What, is he dead?" and Edgar replies "Sit ye down father rest you." 

Now, this Shakespeare clue is well known in PID circles and has been discussed before, but to me it is fantastic that IAAP gives us this little gem without comment or fanfare. I guess I am guilty of looking for clues that perpetuate my own beliefs about PID, but, this confirmation, in an official Beatles publicity organ, has to be taken seriously.

The Beatles Monthly Book, or, Beatles Monthly Magazine was produced by the publisher Sean O' Mahony of Beat Publications Ltd between August 1963 and December 1969. O' Mahony would contribute articles under the pseudnym Johnny Dean as would the Beatles press officer Tony Barrow, who wrote using his middle names Frederick James, as did Mal Evans and  Neil Aspinall who, of course, used his wonderful nom de plume, Billy Shepherd. 

After the publication ceased it would reappear from May 1976 until September 1982 when all 77 original issues were republished. After that the magazine continued with original content until January 2003. The letters from Bealtle people section was edited by Johnny Dean (O'Mahony) and Billy Shepherd (Aspinall) and, guessing from the fact that the heading is now 'more recent letters from Beatle people', I assume this comes from one of the later magazines with the newer content.

I would love to know the date of this magazine so if anybody knows please do drop me a line. Given that the PID rumours only began in September 1969 and this publication ceased in that December there would have little time for it to have been in that print run. So, logic suggests, it appeared somewhere between October 1982 and January 2003. 

Given Neil Aspinall's involvement in the Beatles Monthly Magazine and, in my opinion, his connection with Iamaphoney (please see blog piece here) this is yet another tantalising clue he has chosen to bring to public attention, especially given the inference that the Beatles perpetuated the whole thing.

As Johnny Rotten once said; "ever get the feeling youv'e been cheated?"