MIDWAY : Life of a rock pensioner
For most pop legends, life beyond bus-pass age remains uncharted territory. It’s a betrayal of the rock’n’roll ethos to live that long in the first place. What you’re supposed to do and how you’re meant to behave is anybody’s guess.
So it is not a simple matter to tell the ex-Beatles heart throb Sir Paul McCartney, the 65-year-old knight of the British realm, seller of 100 million singles and the man you need to see about the publishing rights to, among other things, Guys and Dolls and Grease, that he ought to act his age. In this area, as in so many others, he is a pioneer.
We should regard his newly reclaimed chestnut mop-top, unveiled at the press conference announcing the line-up for Liverpool’s Capital of Culture celebrations, as a bold step forward, if not an obvious improvement.
In any case, he cheerfully admits he’s been colouring his hair for years. He may have got old before he died, but he dyed before he got old.
Since his split from Heather Mills, Sir Paul appears to have been revitalised to the point of giddiness: he’s been photographed in the company of the ever-stunning Renee Zellweger; in March he left EMI and signed with a new music label owned by coffee-chain Starbucks.
Recently he’s been dabbling in the sort of viral entertainment so beloved
of the young people of today, posting little homemade-looking videos on YouTube and letting them spread and mutate.
Some feature Paul McCartney strumming selections from his new album on an acoustic guitar and ad-libbing with toe-curling confidence that is hard to find in even today’s over-the-top novices in the music scene.
One in particular, a video for the single Nod Your Head, in which McCartney and a bunch of his mates (you can spot Kate Moss’s ex Jefferson Hack in there somewhere) nod their heads in time to the music, has spawned dozens of spoofs and imitations.
It is hard to decipher what his real motive is: Whether he is desperately trying to be down with the kids or whether he’s just doing exactly what he likes. But Sir Paul seems slightly beyond the reach of criticism at this point. Perhaps he’s just past caring.