Yesterday was publication day for the US edition of You Never Give Me Your Money, and I spent my afternoon on a 'radio tour' - 17 radio interviews with American stations in just over three hours, with scarcely a pause for breath between each one.
There were lots of questions about who really broke up the Beatles, and where the money went, and whether John and Paul really loved each other, and all the stuff you'd expect. But several DJs also asked me about a new movie, which supposedly proves, once and for all, that Paul McCartney died in 1966, and was replaced by an imposter.
The 'movie' turns out to be a DVD entitled Paul McCartney Really Is Dead (snappy title, huh?). It's based around two tapes, supposedly made by George Harrison, supposedly on the day he was nearly murdered in 1999, in which he supposedly (you get the picture) reveals that he and the other Beatles (not Paul, obviously, cos he was dead) had been involved in a spectacular cover-up of McCartney's death in a car crash.
It's hardly a new idea, this. The 'Paul is dead' saga began in 1969, and I really can't face going through all the 'clues' again right now. If you have a spare day on your hands, you can find all sorts of conspiracy-theory clips on Youtube that 'prove' the case once and for all. But this DVD is, supposedly, different - and it rests on the authenticity or otherwise of these famous tapes.
Well, I've watched the trailer for the DVD, strictly in the cause of research, and it's not even funny enough to count as a joke. I mean, if you're going to pretend that you have tapes of George speaking, then your first step is to find someone who sounds like him - at least a little, right? But this guy - well, the closest he's ever been to Liverpool was watching A Hard Day's Night. I can do a better Harrison impression than this guy, believe me. (So you know where to come next time, boys.)
Paul isn't dead, George didn't leave a 'last testament' exposing the truth, and the DVD is a waste of everyone's time. What intrigued me, though, was the timing. Here we are, 40 or 41 (depending where you start counting) years after the Beatles broke up, nearly nine after George Harrison's death, and you can still get in the papers by making up a story about the group. And you can still get on the radio by writing a book about them, thank goodness. All of which illustrates one of the themes of You Never Give Me Your Money: we (the Beatle-obsessed world) still cling to the Beatles like children do to their favourite toys. We want more, more, more, and if we have to make up new stories because the old ones are no longer exciting enough, then we'll do it.
Meanwhile, here are a couple of equally bizarre claims for you to consider. Which (fairly) famous drummer claimed that it was he, and not Ringo, who played on most of the Beatles' records? And which (very) famous record producer claimed that it was he, and not George Martin, who produced most of the Beatles' records? One clue: it wasn't Paul McCartney. (He died in 1966, remember?) Answers soon . . .