Interview for The Beatles Monthly Book • August 1966

Beatles Talk - August 1966

Press interview • Interview of The Beatles
Published by:
The Beatles Monthly Book
Interview by:
Frederick James
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Another in the special series in which FREDERICK JAMES lets his tape recorder listen in on informal conversations between John, Paul, George & Ringo. This month: JOHN AND PAUL

PAUL: Yes, we’ve certainly flown a few miles so far this summer — and I’m sure the total on the American tour will be something like 20 or 30 thousand miles.

JOHN: Therefore, listeners, this month’s topical talk subject is planes and what Beatles do on long plane trips. So fasten your meat belts and we’ll take off. Are you clinging comfortably to the edge of your seats?

PAUL: On the way to America we usually go by one of those flights which have film shows.
There’s nothing like seeing a movie for the third time round to pass the time on an air journey! Only kidding — they’re usually new films.

JOHN: We took these new miniature tape recorders with us to Germany and Japan. Ringo recorded all sorts of stuff on the plane. He held conversations with himself. He’s made a complete tour diary — in a mad sort of way — on his tapes. You can’t really settle to read a book properly on a plane but I did a bit of reading on the really long flights — Hamburg to Tokyo for instance.

PAUL: Sooner or later the whole group finishes up in the lounge area at the very front of the aircraft and we get a card game going. Mal Evans is the card expert so, if we get tied up over rules, everyone lets Mal give judgement on what right and what’s wrong. Mal always seems to win too – but I suppose that’s just coincidence!

JOHN: Then there’s DICTIONARY. It’s a game we play which we like to think is an original idea but I think the basics have been pinched from something on telly. Anyway, Paul will now teach you how to play Dictionary.

PAUL: Well, you need about four people, a dictionary and lots of sheets of paper. Ideally you have six or seven people playing. We do. Brian and Neil usually join in. Plus anybody else who happens to be around.

JOHN: One player starts off with the dictionary and chooses some obscure word nobody has heard of. Say it was ZEBU.

PAUL: So everyone thinks about it for a while and writes on his bit of paper what he thinks is the abbreviated dictionary definition of zebu. If you know what it means, that’s great, but most of us find ourselves either guessing or making up some ridiculous description.

JOHN: Then the guy with the dictionary collects all the bits of paper and reads out the definitions — slipping in the real dictionary meaning somewhere along the way. He’ll read out the full list starting like “No. 1 — a partially enslaved worker bee or drone. No. 2 — a hand-carved shaving mug. No. 3 — Indian ox or cow. No. 4 — type of dwarf zebra found in the south of Australia.” And so forth until everybody’s description — plus the actual definition which, in this case, happens to be the one I just said as No. 3 — has been read out.

PAUL: Then each player votes for the description he believes is the correct dictionary one. Those who pick the right one each get a point.

JOHN: If I’d made up “a hand-carved shaving mug” and you voted for that then I’d get a point for giving a definition which fooled you into believing it was the right one.

PAUL: You can vary the points system but the real fun of the game is in the reading out of so many daft definitions.

JOHN: As the game progresses the dictionary passes round from player to player.

PAUL: There’s no time limit or number-limit involved so it’s ideal for playing on a long journey. Extra people can just join in as the game is in progress, as long as points scored up to then are scrapped so that the newcomer has a fair chance of winning.

JOHN: Maybe we’ll invent another plane game during the American tour. Or maybe we’ll spend the time making a set of hand-carved shaving mugs!

Last updated on August 26, 2023


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