Listen, There’s a Blackbird Singing

Sometimes, doing the job that I do, something arrives purely by chance and straight out of left-field. A set of circumstances come together (or not) which almost leaves one with an unswerving belief in fate. The week before last Jonathon Ross had presented his final show for the BBC, a programme that included one of my favourite bands Roxy Music, as they embark on the first of two major tours. With Jonathan that night were the ever present Four Poofs and a Piano, a group of very talented guys that have joined me several times before on my own show. Following that final Ross broadcast the ‘Poofs’ agreed to join me in the studio for another predictably chaotic interview which was due to take place last Friday. A friend of mine, Angie, who lives in southern California, had heard that they were coming on and had told me that she’d been a fan of theirs for a long time. I’d suggested to her that she might like to join us on the phone during the interview just to add an extra dimension. She was delighted to oblige and the whole thing turned out to be one of the most surreal moments in my broadcasting career. You see, the ‘Poofs’ were due to arrive at 4pm at which time I’d arranged for Angie to have a chat and a laugh with them. However, someone had failed to tell me that they had had to cancel their visit due to pressing commitments elsewhere. What would I do? So infuriating! This is a live four-hour broadcast that had taken a great deal of time to prepare and research. Well, I needn’t have worried.

The Rutles. ‎'Dirk refused to lie to the British press and admitted not only taking and enjoying tea, but biscuits too!'

The Angie to whom I referred was the second wife of a certain Jim McCartney who was the father of Sir Paul McCartney. She and Jim had been married for 12 years (24th November 1964-18th March 1976), a period which saw the rise and rise of the Beatles and the subsequent rise and rise of Sir Paul as a solo artist. She began the early Wings ‘Fun’ Club for her stepson Paul, until the volume became so great; it had to be handed over to a team in London. This was at a time when Jim’s health was deteriorating, and Angie needed to take care of him. She now lives with her Daughter (Paul’s stepsister) Ruth, and to quote Angie (an octogenarian) ‘has never been so busy’ promoting her own tea company. The ‘Poofs’ failure to appear was a twist of fate: a blessing in disguise as my interview with Angie turned out to be one of the most enjoyable experiences of my broadcasting career. The revelation that the song ‘Blackbird’ had actually been written for Angie’s mum by Paul as he sat on the end of a bed with an old Grundig reel-to-reel tape recorder. Both Angie and her daughter Ruth are an absolute delight and a credit to each other. Didn’t the Rutles once confess to ‘taking’ tea?
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