Monday, February 7, 2005


Apparently, bloggers all over the world were watching--and betting--on the Super Bowl, but I gave it a pass, except for the Paul McCartney halftime show. Even the ads which once made the Super Bowl appointment TV for the non-fan are now so easily available online there's little reason to wait through a whole game to see them. Even with a 56K dialup connection it's still faster to view them online.

McCartney banged out "Drive My Car," "Live and Let Die" (with now-obligatory fireworks), and an abbreviated "Hey Jude." (Abbreviated?? I remember seeing him perform "Hey Jude" on tour in 1990, when he first began dipping back into the Beatles songbook for his concerts. It was as near as a non-Catholic could expect to get to seeing the Pope celebrate Easter Mass. Now we leave out verses to allow more room for half-time commentary? Tsk.)

As a rock star, Sir Paul isn't aging terribly well, although he's still imperially slim. The overall effect of hearing him perform was sort of like listening to a fairly good tribute band. Perhaps Sinatra was smart, career longevity-wise, not to make the 'Little Richard scream" one of his vocal trademarks the way Paul did. (By comparison, Mick Jagger--who never counted on boyish good looks or choirboy vocal purity to make his mark--had nothing to lose anyway.)

And of course, knowing The Cute Beatle was there as the Anti-Janet Jackson--Sir Paul would never, ever show a nipple!--just made it all a little sadder somehow.

There's a running joke in the magnificent "A Hard Day's Night," in which the Lads go from Liverpool to London to appear on television, with Paul's grandfather in tow for reasons that are never adequately explained. The grandfather is a troublemaker, an instigator, and a bad-tempered bastard--and no one can quite catch on to what he's doing there. The joke is:
"'Ey! 'Oo's the little old man?"
"Paul's grandfather. 'E's very clean."

That kept popping up in my head as I watched Sir Paul remind us of his much-younger self, still radiating that kind of Ed Sullivan-era wholesomeness. But the question asked and answered itself: Hey--who's the little old man? Paul's grandfather. He's very clean.

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