Tuesday, 5 February 2013

You Gave Me the WRONG Answer

Today, on a certain social networking site, I was informed that Paul McCartney has set up a new Q&A feature on his website entitled You Gave Me the Answer, named after the Honey Pie-style pastiche which appears on the Venus and Mars album. This prompted me to listen more closely than heretofore to the lyrics of said song, and it is not too much to say that the experience stunned me. Below is my analysis.

Let's look at the opening lines for a kickoff:
You gave me the answer
To love eternally
I love you and you
You seem to like me
WRONG! This is NOT a sound basis for a lifelong relationship. The final line ought to have been:
You love me.
That is the only logical option, inexplicably shunned by Macca. (What? Oh, I dunno, use a bit of melisma or something.)

Anyway, that's merely the first in a catalogue of errors. I have literally only scratched the surface. Hang on. Next verse:
Wherever we wander
The local folk agree
I love you and you
You seem to like me
Again, WRONG! One's estimate of the success of a relationship cannot be judged by "local folk", especially if they're like the people I saw in Asda today. Besides, modern conventions of social engagement make it unlikely that passers by would be openly scrutinising strangers' faces, their primary objective being to avoid any display of what might be taken to be confrontational behaviour.

Now, striving to mask our disappointment at the trail of careless and shoddy workmanship revealed so far, we move to the bridge:
Heading back to old familiar places
Places where the cobwebs blow away
I can forget the airs and graces
This is literally unbelievable! Again, WRONG!! "Places where the cobwebs blow away" would not be "old familiar places", which are more likely to be cobwebbed, unless the National Trust have taken over with their stupid signs and gift shops. And - also WRONG! - "airs and graces" are almost certainly integral to the artistocratic narrator, whose whole identity is bound up with maintaining them.

Besides, top poet Charles Lamb tells us that all, all are gone, the old familiar places - and Macca's own experience of playing in the Cavern-which-isn't-the-Cavern ought to have alerted him to the goof, even if he had never come across Lamb's verse.

But these inconsistencies, these instances of gross observational negligence, are as nothing compared with the final verse:
You'll never be crowned by the aristocracy
To their delight, you'd merely invite
Them in for a cup of tea
Putting aside the question of the aristocracy's power to create some new ruler willy nilly outwith the bounds of a Stephen Poliakoff miniseries, the suggestion that people of that sort would evince "delight" at the prospect of dining with a commoner is incredibly WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!!!

For make no mistake: whatever small talk might issue from their smooth, oleaginous lips, some sign - a brightness in the eyes, perhaps, or a meaningful glance exchanged after some solecism committed by the untutored teamaker - would put beyond doubt that these lordly types were experiencing a sensation more precisely described as smirking contempt.

What, so you'd call that a kind of delight, would you? Well, I would not: not true delight, unfettered joy, so NO. Once again, WRONG!      

It is clear from the above that of all the songs which could have chosen to be associated with a Macca Q&A this has to be literally the wrongest choice ever.

What do I suggest? I'll tell you what I suggest. And I strongly resent the appellation "Smartypants."

Why not make it a phone in and deliberately disconnect each caller in the first instance? This would have the effect of weeding out less determined fans and it would allow Macca to dub the feature Call Me Back Again, conveniently on hand on the same album.

Or, I dunno, you could maybe restrict it to female fans asking irrelevant questions so you could call the feature Oh Woman Oh Why? (Can't remember what that comes off of but I think it's a B side.)

Or going back to Beatle days you could call it Ask Me Why (although you'd have to illustrate with one of those early editions of the Please Please Me album which credit it to McCartney-Lennon, obviously).

In the next post I shall be turning the bright beam of my incisive analytical skills towards Tommy Roe's Sheila.

And almost immediately after that the concept of the Superfluous Man shall be discussed, with particular reference to the shirtfront incident in Rufus Thomas's Funky Chicken.

I know you won't want to miss either.

Tatty bye, everybody, tatty bye.


  1. In many years of surfing the net and reading witless comments about the Beatles this blog post surprised even me. Congratulations, my friend - you have taken inanity to new, soaring heights. I await future pronouncements with interest.
    Mike Bolin

  2. Paul McCartney is one of the world's greatest songwriters and that's a FACT. If you had one iota of his talent you wouldn't be spending all day blogging. By the age of thirty he was a multimillionaire; you, I suspect, are eking out a miserable existence avoiding doing anything worthwhile. The blog posts I have read suggest a life of utter bleakness. Get help, and a copy of Red Rose Speedway with the sublime Little Lamb Dragonfly.
    Willaim Campbell

  3. HA HA HA CLASSIC! I laughed so much I had bubbles coming all out of my nose! You really nailed Paulie with that one! Have you heard that one about a cup of tea? Same kind of thing but even worse - he thinks he's Noel Coward but he's really Noel Gallagher - he WISHES!!! :)

    Now go and get the boot stuck into ringo (only joking ringo I love you really!!) ;)

  4. this is plain an simple jealousy and spite if you dont like pual that is like saying you dont like breathin and I wld be happy to help you along those lines if you want. I have seen McCartney play twelve times in the last two moths and each time he has always given hundred per cent - FACT. This lousy excuse for a blog picks at Beatles or Barry Manilow or whatever, but what is it puttin in their place? Absolutely d-mn all, as far as I can see. Other bloggers write about something but this joker spouts all this cr-p that wouldnt have been funny in a 1950s copy of Punch. And he says John Peel wasnt funny?? Peelie was a comedy GENIUS next to you, and he gave something to society. Away and crawl up your own metaphor. You make me sick and Paul will shrug you off because he knows he is doing something, still writing. Your schoolboy witterings are less than nothing, and that's compared to the lousiest album track or B side that Paul ever made. The day you write something as good as Wild Honey Pie then let the world know. Until then, keep it buttoned you LOSER.
    Alan Clarke (no, not that one)

  5. Sorry, but it's just not very funny. Too much straining for effect and who breaks a butterfly on a wheel? (to coin a phrase) Paul knew exactly what kind of song he was making and he made it well. Just seems odd to turn your venom on such a blameless piece of work. Whenever I hear it I smile - maybe you should try listening to it with your heart for once.

    Sorry, I don't mean to be critical but it reads like something you've dashed off - those long posts about Jake Thackeray etc are much better because they read as tho you put some care into them. On the other hand I'm reading this for nowt, so continue to do what you want, but maybe posts should come with some kind of grading or warning: "may contain traces of student humor" etc. On reflection maybe not feasible but there is a definite variation in quality of post and perceived application on your part, if you'll forgive my saying so, squire. Have a good evening.

  6. This whole blog is consistnently dirsrespectful to Paul and the Beatles giveing airspace to that stupid Marc Shipper book and going on and on about how the Hunter Davies book traumatised him and clearly favouring lennon over paul (just compare the ratio of posts). There is zero appreciation of music in any of the posts I have read here, about *any* artist, just excuses to make puns and jokes I can only assume the writer is deeply insecure and inadequate in some way but this is the kind of therapy which should not be made public. If I want to find out about Pauls songs I will go to his own website in future. Respectfully suggest you go suck an exhaust pipe and stop writing about things you have zero understanding of if you write one more word about Paul I will have this blog deleted and I can do it
    E.L.N.R. Rigby

  7. Hold hard, me hearty, calmez-vous down a little there!

    Having read this blog for some years, and not merely reacted to a perceived (wrongly, I might add) anti-Macca bias whilst trawling the net for hagiographic pieces about the thumbs-aloft crooner, I have to say that while, yes, puns and jokes may feature (and may, in fairness, be less than consistent in quality), surely it's in the nature of blogging that the reader is at the mercy of the circumstances in which it's written. So a half hour snatched for some squib here or a leisurely day or weekend permitting some more ruminative piece there (either also depending on mood, the weather etc) - well, surely that's the nature of the game. It's free, it's fun and occasionally informative (sorry Pismo!) and it's in the nature of internet reading - you skim it, enjoy it (or not - though usually I do) and you move on to something else.

    What you *don't* do, or shouldn't, is misrepresent the contents of this blog in a way that will put future readers off and above all you do not threaten the blameless blogger - though quite how you intend to "delete" his three years of writing I don't know, unless you think that by putting your hands over your eyes it will just go away (I used to think I could do that too, but then I was only three years old at the time).

    And to say that Pismo isn't appreciative of music or the people who make it is - if I may borrow his device from the above post - WRONG! I'd say he was deeply appreciative, in fact. Look at the study of Stand By Me and that superb last line:

    "And as he finally sashays into the darkness with the ghost of those long-ago-learnt Atkins moves, I salute him and return his thanks."

    I mean, that is a kind of poetry, however you slice it. Okay, some posts are more light-hearted, and maybe, as "Mumbled Sour Speech" puts it (did you change your name to Leitch and have a busy day, Sir?), a few give the impression of being more or less dashed off, but for me I quite like not really knowing what's coming next.

    What I do know, however, is that I will usually get something out of it, be turned on to some music or artist I didn't know, or be forced to reassess something I thought I knew. And c'mon, with the McCartney thing he puts in a clip of the song at the end, and that's the point, isn't it? This Macca trifle can withstand anything. You ever read The Pooh Perplex, Ms. Rigby? Thought not.

    More power to ya, Pismo - may your witterings and insights continue to combine in these pages. I feel I'm on a long journey with you - even if the standard of the buffet varies alarmingly! (joking.)
    B.D. (loyal reader)