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(this interview was done on December 19, backstage at the Manchester Arena)
About playing in front of celebrities
Paul McCartney: I always like the celebs coming. I’ve always been a bit like that. The Beatles used to make fun of me — ‘You’re a bit starstruck!’ and I’d say, ‘Come on! It’s Prince Philip — he’s a Royal!’ I have an innocent excitement about it all. I knew Wayne Rooney was coming. Rooney, he’s not a bad player, my boy. And I hear he plays guitar. Don’t tell him but I’ve got to get his autograph for one of my grandkids. There’s always a bit of that for the grandkids. Peter Kay is a great guy and JK is a lovely girl and I’m lucky to know them a little bit. I hope I put a good show on for them.
2011 has been a pretty special year. Well, I got married, so that’s got to be the most memorable moment. Apart from that, we have had a really nice time. The gigs we have been doing have been amazing. We’ve done all sorts of places, from the White House to South America to Yankee Stadium in New York to Moscow.
About lasting music:
It is amazing that the music lives on. We didn’t expect The Beatles to last ten years, we expected it to last a couple of
years because that is how long everything lasted in those days. Suddenly it was ten years, then it was 20 years and now it’s coming up for 50 years next year. It’s just totally unbelievable. I still get one of our guys sending me things about iTunes — ‘You’ve had ten million songs downloaded!’
We should have been finished years ago but there’s just something about the music that each generation comes up, discovers it and says they like it. I’m not complaining.
People often say to me, ‘You must be knackered’ but actually it’s invigorating. I wouldn’t have thought that, if you had asked me ten years ago. If you had said, ‘Will you still be doing it in 2011? Are you still enjoying it and do you feel energised?’ I would have said to you, ‘Maybe not’. In actual fact it is energising. It is knackering but I always liken it to a heavyweight boxing match. The guy who wins might get smacked about a bit but when he gets up the next day he still feels good. The guy who loses, well, maybe not. He doesn’t feel so good. So it’s that kind of euphoria. The crowd love it and we are getting great reviews. Whatever. We loved it, more importantly, so it gees you up.”
All I want for Christmas is a pair of black socks, ankle length. It’s true. Christmas is all about family for me, like a lot of other people. It is a time when all of your family comes together. There is family, food, drink, overdoing it, excess and then recovery. It’s A Wonderful Life is always a great film to watch, and The Snowman. There’s always some great stuff on TV even if it’s not Christmassy, but it’s really the people for me. I’ve got eight grandkids now, which I can’t believe either. It’s just great hanging out with them. You sort of just sit in the middle of it and they do things around you.
I will be showing Nancy the sights in Liverpool, absolutely, yeah. I can’t help it. Whenever I get there, I always take the route that takes me past all my old houses because I lived in a few places over Liverpool. There are a couple in Speke, I’ll show her them. Then there’s Allerton and then there’s where I went to school, where John, George and Ringo lived.
There’s LIPA (The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, which Sir Paul co-founded) and the coffee bars I’d like to show her. I can’t help it, it’s just memories for me.
About writing songs:
Sometimes when I am writing I look back and wonder what John would do, particularly with a sticky point if I think I’m going down the wrong track. “What would we do if we were clever? I would think, stop. Okay, what might we do here?” And sometimes it can give you a bit of a clue. The truth is though, the best songs kind of write themselves. So if it’s
going well it just tumbles out and you don’t need the second opinion. “But if it gets a bit sticky, I do think, ‘Imagine we are sitting down at John’s place, diddle-do’ and most of it is printable.”
The thing is, it started a few years ago. Some DJ — normally in America — would say, ‘I hear this is going to be your last tour.’ I always say, ‘Where did you hear that from?’ Then we suspected it might be unscrupulous promoters trying to sell tickets off the back of it being my last tour. I don’t know where it came from but it isn’t true. At the end of every show I
am careful to say, ‘See you next time’. We are enjoying ourselves too much.