Shabby Road

The equinox arrives, which means it’s time to write to Paul McCartney. Every year, I invite him to give a concert in the Congo; thus far he has always declined, citing prior engagements. What can I do to tempt the great tunesmith to the jungle this year? Free lessons on the Congolese nose-flute? A year’s supply of Jamba weed reefers? A brightly-plumed parrot that will sit on his shoulder and squawk the lyrics of Hey Jude? Maybe it’s impossible to tempt him with bribes because he’s worried about the reception he’ll get from the chimpanzees. Rumour has it that he used to snub Bubbles during his visits to Neverland. These things can weigh on the conscience of an artist.

Macca, let it be said, is a tremendous friend of the gorilla nation. During his last world tour, he insisted that only vegetarian meals were served to the workmen who put up the fixtures. When it was suggested to him that men who did heavy lifting needed to eat steaks, Paul pointed out that gorillas were plenty brawny on a meat-free diet. How right he was! It’s as easy as walnuts in a condom to acquire a muscular physique on fruit and vegetables. You just have to combine the wholesome fare with a rigorous exercise regime involving tree-climbing, chest-thumping and the spanking of recalcitrant baboons.

He might have also mentioned that eating meat gives you halitosis. Lions may look pretty feisty in wildlife documentaries, but most of their time is spent sprawled on the ground, panting out foul gases that would poison a dung beetle. Fresh vegetables, by contrast, only give you flatulence. In the words of Old Melonhead The Wise, “Tis better to fart like thunder than to have bad breath.”

Paul has recently been in the news for trying to save the famous studio near the famous zebra crossing which he famously walked across barefoot. Miserly EMI Records want to sell the property to a consortium planning to convert it into a plastic surgery clinic. “All you need is a nose job,” as John said to Ringo. I suppose Paul is reluctant to buy it himself after paying his ex-wife £24 million for three years of viper-tongued bliss. But maybe the real problem is excessive nostalgia. The Beatles are gone, and posing for a picture on a zebra crossing in London does nothing to honour their memory. For what great band ever wished to be remembered for disrupting the flow of traffic and increasing the blood pressure of motorists?

Forget about the zebra crossing. If Paul comes to Africa, we’ll give him a real live zebra instead. Ordinarily they’re truculent beasts, but if one of the Beatles is in the vicinity they lie on their backs and giggle like star-struck schoolgirls. Paul’s barefoot march across Abbey Road will seem like a trivial detail of history after he’s ridden bare-arsed on a galloping zebra, tanning his ageing butt-cheeks in the African sun. A picture of Macca mooning the baboons would make a far more exciting album cover than that over-hyped tiptoe on the tarmac.

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