Annoying to get ill just as work is starting up again. This morning I woke up at about 5.30am and couldn’t get back to sleep so ended up on social media, blindly following links, ending up on YouTube, seeing something about a conspiracy theory about Paul McCartney and clicking it. This particular link was an hour long attempt to make me believe that Macca had been replaced by a lookalike, after dying in a car accident in the 1960s. It wasn’t very watchable, really just a collection of images and music and graphics with no real narrative and often not really clear about the point it was making. The kind of thing put together by a mad person. But then perhaps I should have guessed that.
I didn’t think there were people still alive who believed this elaborate story of cover-up and subterfuge, but as I investigated more I found out that I had been wrong. There are websites dedicated to pointing out the impossible changes in Paul’s face shape and ears that prove that he is not the original McCartney. Like most conspiracy theories or tall-tales (just like Rasputin’s death or the survival of Anastasia), you want to believe that it might be true, because that would be so incredible and so you are quite easy to convince.
But in this case it’s hard to get on board with the notion. Partly because the lie would be so much more complicated to keep up and put into action than is humanly possible. Also it’s quite well documented how the theory came into being. But the people who believe it, essentially believe that McCartney died in an early morning car crash. The rest of the Beatles and the powers that be and any witnesses to this accident all immediately realised that the death of Macca would have a massively negative impact on the sales the band could make (even though previously when pop stars died it had had the opposite effect) and wanted to keep things going. They couldn’t have planned for this as it was an accident, they had to improvise. So they presumably spirited away the body and got rid of it, and then got in touch with a Paul lookalike (who had maybe won a contest) and persuaded him to give up his normal life, maybe have a bit of plastic surgery done, learn to sing and play (and presumably write music) like Paul and join the band. The other Beatles went along with this too, I mean, why wouldn’t they? And Jane Asher, Paul’s girlfriend was also convinced to take the new lookalike to her bed. Why not? As long as the good times kept rolling in. And none of the lookalikes family or friends noted his absence or thought it was odd that he disappeared.
Like most conspiracy theories it would take the collusion of dozens, if not hundreds of people and it would also be highly unlikely to work on any level. But they pulled it off and replaced one man with another similar man without anyone really noticing. And you can understand how annoyed they were about that, after all the hard work. They had made the switcheroo of all time and not a soul (rubber or otherwise) had noticed it. That’s got to hurt. So although they all risked imprisonment (at least for the illegal disposal of their friend’s body) they then started putting loads of clues to what they had done in their music and album covers. I think I would do the same. I’d definitely put some backward messages that broadly alluded to death in some of my songs.
Satisfyingly for the fake Paul, even once the Beatles had broken up (and no wonder they were angry with him for being so arrogant when he wasn’t even Paul and when they’d presented him with this free meal ticket), it turned out that he was a good enough singer-songwriter to forge a successful career.
That’s definitely more likely than the idea that none of that happened and that Paul is the same Paul and is still alive.
It was a fascinating way to spend the already paranoid and slightly fuzzy hours of the morning. My cold made me feel like I was on drugs and that anything was possible. Except the only thing that wasn’t possible was that this story wasn’t the truth.
I battled through the day and even though I was sluggish and not entirely comfortable I managed to record the first two RHLSTPs of the new series with Katherine Ryan and Mark Gatiss. Lots of laughs. They will start going up next week, hopefully. I got some conspiracy theory questions in there too.