Sir Paul graciously invited the good doctor into his drawing room where he introduced his attractive wife, who was tetchily thumbing through an issue of National Geographic. Dr Whipsnade began by informing the couple that he was acting as my agent.
“You know Gorilla Bananas!” exclaimed Sir Paul. “I always wanted to see that ape perform, but I didn’t want people pestering me inside a circus tent. Did you ever see his act, love?”
“Never heard of him,” replied Heather, not looking up from her magazine.
Dr Whipsnade then delivered my invitation, using his considerable tact to make it clearly understood that Sir Paul would be expected to arrive unaccompanied.
“It sounds brilliant!” chirped the ageing tunesmith, evidently thrilled at the prospect of a solo vacation. “I’ve always wanted to hang out with gorillas – they’re much more interesting than those seal pups we visited.”
But Heather ground her teeth and scowled at her spouse, giving vent to her feelings after he had spoken. “Only one night apart from Linda during a 30-year marriage, but when you’re with me you just can’t wait to piss off, can you?
At this point, Dr Whipsnade should have staged a tactical retreat and let the couple sort things out in private. But having swotted-up on the ex-Beatle’s career, he had come prepared with a number of apt suggestions, or so he thought. He pointed out that if Sir Paul returned to England on the eve of his 64th birthday, he might then serenade his lady wife with the words:
Will you still need me?
Will you still feed me?
When I’m sixty-four!
The author of these lyrics was delighted by the idea. “That’s great, that is!” he exclaimed. “We could invite the press round and get some good publicity about our marriage for a change.”
Heather, however, was less than enthusiastic about her role as the doting wife in the mooted media event. “If you sing that tripe at me, my answer will be: ‘No I bloody won’t!’” she hissed. “And who the hell is this Dr Whiplash, anyway, that you’re hanging on his every word! Just because he wears a suit and talks posh you think he’s some great impresario who can tell us what to do! I’ve seen pimps in Soho who’ve got more class than him!”
Never before had anyone associated Dr Whipsnade with a pimp, let alone compared him unfavourably to one. It was more than a man of his stature could endure with stoic reserve.
“Lady McCartney!” he huffed. “Like your husband, I am a self-made man who has prospered through the creativity of his mind and the honesty of his toil. Unlike your husband, I have a supportive wife who offers me either hearty encouragement or constructive criticism, as she sees fit. It appears to me that you have interpreted your marital vows in a highly unorthodox fashion, to say the least.”
Dr Whipsnade then gave Sir Paul his card before making his excuses and leaving in high dudgeon. On the way home, he made his chauffeur play the soundtrack of South Pacific to sooth his irritation. A few days later Sir Paul phoned him.
“Send my apologies to Mr Bananas because I won’t be able to visit him any time soon,” he said. “I’m having a bit of a domestic crisis at the moment which needs sorting.”
Dr Whipsnade said that he was sorry to hear of these difficulties and hoped that his recent visit had not aggravated them.
“Actually, I’m glad you came, Whippy,” replied Sir Paul. “Sometimes it takes a view from an outsider to make you realise what’s going wrong in your life.”
The rest, as they say, is tabloid headlines.
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