Monday, 23 September 2013

Paul is Dead? Media myths and legends.

Is Paul dead? Was he replaced? In my opinion it is a ‘no’ to the first question and ‘probably not’ to the second. So why do so many people believe it to be the case?

Well, what is for certain is that from early 1967 onward there was a conspicuous media campaign designed to imply that that was indeed the case. From the ‘false rumour’ article in the February 1967 edition of the Beatles Monthly Book onwards there was a deliberate and systematic attempt to seed the idea that Paul had died in a car crash and had been replaced, coupled with an on-going, to this day, attempt to rewrite Beatle history.

In this video I attempt to document this media campaign and to speculate on its origins and who its instigators may have been. I also look at the possible sources of its inspiration and the potential reasons for its longevity.

When I first discovered the ‘Paul is Dead’ conspiracy I was compelled, at first, by the plethora of clues that existed in the album covers and song lyrics, as well as the bizarre backwards messages hidden away in the tracks. I wanted to believe the conspiracy to be true, but, the sceptic within me would never allow myself to be totally swayed. Now, having studied this for many years I am convinced that this is a hoax – I don’t believe it would be possible to replace one of the most famous people in the world without anyone noticing – but yet, a hoax perpetrated by the Beatles themselves.

Believers of the conspiracy will relentlessly refer to the photographic images that seek to compare the Paul of then and now as proof that he was replaced. Frankly, some of the proposed replacements; Phil Ackrill, Vivian Stanshall even Neil Aspinall, are laughable and the counter theories of multiple replacements simply beggar belief. And yet one cannot totally rule this ‘evidence’ out.

There are certainly some compelling images that do make you think that maybe there was a double, however, given that there are so many ways to manipulate images by compressing, squeezing, stretching and distorting photographs, not to mention other factors such as the equipment used, the lens, the angle, the exposure etc., it is impossible to arrive at a definitive conclusion until somebody instigates a thoroughly scientific examination, and, even then it may be inconclusive.

Therefore, I prefer to concentrate on the certainties; and that the clues exist is beyond doubt. Indeed, the issues about why this hoax was perpetrated, and who was behind it, has become infinitely more compelling for me than the 2-dimensional question of Is Paul Dead?

The myriad of clues and the sub-plots contained within are fascinating for me and, I hope, will one day lead us to the bottom of the rabbit hole. If, ultimately, the conclusion reached is that Paul McCartney did die then nobody will be happier than me – not because somebody died, but, because the conspiracy will be no more – and I will be quite prepared to say I was wrong. However, for now, I say it is a hoax.

So why then was it begun? I don’t know but the more I delve the more I believe that it was some sort of LSD inspired avant-garde attempt at initiating the masses into the occult. That the Sgt. Pepper LP is a vinyl version of Crowley’s Book of the Law.

Could this be the true origin of the fabled ‘Paul McCartney goes too far’ project?

Certainly McCartney was surrounded at the time (1966 – 67) by a large entourage of pseudo-intellectuals and publically educated wise arses who may have considered the Pepper project as the perfect opportunity to play an enormous joke on the masses. Oh how they would have laughed at the thought of the strait laced and un-educated working and middle classed people playing the LP in ignorance at the ever so clever clues they had studiously placed in the record and on its cover.

McCartney too may well have been eager to assist. He was vexed indeed that it was John Lennon who was being feted as the avant-garde genius and not himself, after all it was McCartney who had his little coterie of International Times buddies and Eton educated art dealers to massage his ego. Why did the world not consider him a genius?

Likewise, it was Lennon and George Harrison who had seemed to integrate themselves seamlessly into the LSD consciousness of the time. A large part of that LSD ethos revolves around the ‘death of the ego’, which seems to be a concept that Lennon and Harrison embraced warmly with Harrison embarking on a life of Eastern mysticism and Lennon abandoning his earlier aggressive traits for a new ‘love and peace’ lifestyle.

I am guessing that this was something McCartney could not do. He could neither surrender himself to LSD nor dispense with his ego. So, could ‘Paul Is Dead’ be an alternate means to the same end? A metaphorical death of the old McCartney to be replaced by a new, spiritually aware, well read and intellectually superior version?

I know not, so, I shall let you all form your own opinion and hope that you enjoy the video.