Last month Liz and Laura Jane talked on the phone about Get Back for two hours and nine minutes. Here is a transcript of most of our conversation.
LIZ: Before Omicron, I thought one of our Get Back talking points could be which of the Beatles would get COVID.
LJ: Oh, wow, that's so fun!
LIZ: It would be John and Ringo, right?
LJ: John is the obvious one, because he just wouldn't care. Maybe he wouldn’t be a brazen anti-vaxxer, but he’d be vaccine-skeptical. My dad and I had that conversation about Joe Strummer. I feel like he might be an anti-vaxxer, but not a bad anti-vaxxer - he’d just want you to question what they're telling you. John Lennon could have that vibe too. And then Ringo’s just kind of delicate, he was sick as a child. But he's taking good care of himself now. Although I guess it's like if COVID was in the ‘60s, if Get Back took place during the COVID pandemic.
LIZ: I'm so glad it didn’t.
LJ: Me too. I feel like Paul would be so good at not getting COVID. But actually, I'm going to come out of left field and say that having spent a lot of the pandemic deeply immersed in a Buddhist meditation community, a lot of those people are intense anti-vaxxers. So maybe George would get COVID ‘cause he’d be like, “I'm not like putting any chemicals or preservatives into my body.” He’d feel strongly about it from a wellness standpoint. They’d all get COVID, and then poor Paul who works so hard would be in the studio with them, so he’d get COVID too. But somehow George Martin would never get COVID.
LIZ: One of the thoughts I kept having during Get Back was, “Does George Martin like the Beatles?”
LJ: I feel like during this, not so much.
LIZ: He just seems so much older than them and more sophisticated and kind of detached.
LJ: He’s also not there very much. It’s all Glyn Johns.
LIZ: Do you like Glyn Johns?
LJ: I love him. He’s my favorite. I had this revelation that in the context of watching this, he’s kind of this nobody. I'm like a Beatles nerd, I know all the Beatles stuff, and until this I hadn’t really had that big of an understanding of Glyn Johns. And then I was like, “I bet in other arenas of Glyn Johns’s life he’s such hot shit.” And then he comes to this studio and he's just the nerd with the mixing board. But in every other second of Glyn Johns’s life everyone's like, “Oh my God, have you met Glyn? He works with the Beatles! He’s so cool and so rich and has such good style." And it really changed how I felt about Glyn Johns. He’s this hyper-successful dude with such a sick job.
LIZ: I love when Heather comes into the studio and she wears Glyn Johns’s coat.
LJ: I like when Heather comes into the studio, period. She really takes over. It's nice how much she loves Paul.
LIZ: He seems like a real good stepdad.
LJ: Yeah, he does not shy away from that aspect at all.
LIZ: I love when he tells her, “You're going back in your box.” That’s such a cute stepdad thing to say.
LIZ: So did you like Get Back?
LJ: I did, I loved it. I can't believe we got to have new Beatles stuff. I wish that would keep happening. Like if they said, “Surprise, we have one of these for every Beatles album.”
LIZ: Apparently there's an 18-hour director's cut that might get released.
LJ: I would watch it. I don't care. Today I was thinking about the last time that I was in L.A. and how there was a moment where Jed was talking about how you watch things over and over and he asked me, “Are you like that?” So then today I was like, “I'm going to try to watch Get Back like Liz would watch it.” And I just had it on in my house all day. And it was so nice to have the white noise of the Beatles for every second that I was doing whatever in my house, like coming out of the shower and doing the dishes with the din of the weird Beatles doing their stuff. So I would definitely have a place in my life for 18 hours of Get Back.
LIZ: With Mad Men, I always just put it on when I’m doing makeup or straightening my hair or whatever. So maybe Get Back will be thing that I just put on all the time now.
LJ: There’s always a lot of small details to uncover. What would you say is your biggest takeaway from Get Back?
LIZ: Great question! It really changed the way I feel about John, more than anything. My first impression of John as a child - he always kind of scared me.
LJ: He’s not very child-friendly.
LIZ: And as an adult, this was the first time he seemed like a real person to me. He wasn’t like JOHN LENNON, all caps, like everyone always talks about him. He just seemed like a dude that’s annoying and funny and a fucking weirdo. I just loved him so much and was just really charmed by how much he and Paul love each other.
LJ: They loved to goof around. I had a really good chat with my friend Jack about that part of John and Paul's dynamic, which is sort of never-before-seen. My takeaway is that I love Paul McCartney and I’m on Paul's side, and I like John less than I liked him going into it. I was annoyed by how much John’s always goofing off. It was like, “Dude, can you just play the song, and not in a fun accent?” Jack is a musician with more insight into what the studio is like. He was like, “They probably just unfairly weighted the goofing-around parts in the documentary because if they didn’t, it would have been 19 hours of them playing 'Two of Us' over and over again." And we were talking about how it’s weird how John’s funnier than Paul. I feel like it's a very familiar situation, like when you're hanging out with someone who's slightly funnier than you, when you're a person who often is the funny person. But I felt really bad for Paul, just always having to be slightly worse at accents and slightly less on his feet than the person who he’ll be equated next to for his entire lifetime. I really feel being in that situation. There are some parts where I couldn't deal with watching Paul being less funny.
LIZ: It made me love Paul more. I mean, I don't know how you would watch Get Back and not think he's the most wonderful person.
LJ: It really was good PR for Paul McCartney and the negative belief that he was a control freak and a real dick in the studio. He’s so obviously not. But I can see how he'd be annoying if you were George Harrison.
LIZ: But it made me love George more too. I just love them all more than I did before.
LJ: Me too. But Paul and Ringo, my love for them skyrocketed. I guess we’re all really used to seeing line graphs now because of COVID; I’m really picturing this line graph of how much I’ve loved the Beatles over the years. Paul and definitely Ringo, it’s a huge and very obvious uptick. George, it went up a little bit. And John, I'm sorry to say it went down a bit. I still love John Lennon an inordinately high amount compared to how much I love everything else except the ocean and the sky. I also don’t like Yoko. I hate Yoko. Her vibe is so bad. She’s like the opposite of Glyn Johns.
LIZ: I’d kind of like to know if she was the one who insisted on being there. Was it John who was like, “You have to sit next to me the whole entire time,” or was Yoko like, “I have to sit next to you the whole entire time”?
LJ: Or was it completely mutual.
LIZ: The thing I liked most about Yoko always being with there was it made me so proud of Paul for being so chill about it. An opportunity for Paul to shine again.
LJ: I would definitely give Paul that 100 percent. He’s so reasonable.
LIZ: The part where he's like, “I have to compromise first for John to compromise.” That really impressed me. I feel like I just got to the point of being able to figure that kind of thing out like two years ago.
LJ: Is that the same part where he's like, “I know that if John had to choose between Yoko and the Beatles, he’d choose Yoko”? I hate that. I feel like John just made it that he had to choose. Everyone else was just like, “Yeah, I have a girlfriend. Whatever. It’s normal.”
LIZ: Yeah, it’s very teenage. It's very adolescent to be like, “My girlfriend has to sit right next to me every single second.”
LJ: It’s like, “Are you really so unsafe?” I wrote some notes down and one of my notes is that George feels genuinely kind of unsafe in the Beatles. When he quits and they want to go talk to him for the second time and Ringo's like, “He’s in Liverpool. We can't go talk to him.” And I was like, “Oh, that’s so sweet that he went back to Liverpool.” He's having a bad time at work so he went home to see his parents. And there's also a part in the first one where he says to Ringo, “It kind of feels like Lime Street Station.” I feel like he was having this regressive thing of really wanting to be back in Liverpool, in this cold and nasty situation.
LIZ: I mean George is definitely the most exasperating. But he’s so young!
LJ: For the first time I really saw that George is younger than the rest of them. Even when he’s happy and he’s succeeding, he just seems younger.
LIZ: I like how he keeps saying “I’m just gonna do me.” So ahead of his time.
LJ: Yeah, George, we know, over here in 2022. I’m also just doing me. He’s cute. He’s the cutest. I want the best for him. And I want the best for Paul, he’s perfect and can do no wrong. But going back to John – I just feel like his presence and Yoko’s presence…Yoko is 100 percent bad vibes. I don’t think she brings a great energy with her into the studio. I get that she’s like “It’s their thing, I’m not going to chime in every second.” But she just seems so over it. Wait, I'm going to make a long-winded point about the Brooklyn Nets. Right now they’re a really good team. They have like Kevin Durant and James Harden and Kyrie Irving as the big three. it’s like an NBA team supergroup kind of vibe. And I love Kyrie Irving, but he decided that he was going to be an anti-vaxxer and not get vaccinated. So the NBA were like, “Okay, cool. You’re not going to play.” He’s back now kind of, they rotate him to play away games in states that don’t have as strict vaccination rules as New York. But it's like even though the Brooklyn Nets are worse without him and he brings a lot of value to the team, you can kind of tell they’re having a better time when he's not there. And it's not because they don’t like him, it’s just because his presence in the situation takes up a lot of time and energy and space. And I feel like that sort of is what John Lennon is like throughout the entirety of the Get Back documentary. Even though he’s great, he’s John Lennon from the Beatles, we all love him, he brings a lot to the table. His being there just adds 25 percent more effort to everybody else's job. And I'm just kind of over that in the world. I just want people to be more like Paul McCartney and just be kind and do their job. And if you don't want to be like Paul McCartney, you can be like Ringo Starr and you can do even less. You don't even really have to do that much work. You can just be nice.
LIZ: With Ringo it seems like whatever they want him to do, he just does it and immediately gets it right, which is cool.
LJ: Yeah, he doesn’t fight. But I guess he also doesn’t have a ton of skin in the game. He just wants to do a good job and not piss anybody off. Which is really honorable.
LIZ: I love when Paul’s playing piano and Ringo’s like, “I could watch him play for hours.”
LJ: I know! He’s so lovely and so humble. George Harrison would never be able to say that about Paul.
LIZ: Julie Klausner said something about how if Let It Be were being made today, then George and John would just be on their phones the whole time. Which I think is a fun point.
LJ: Yoko would definitely be on her phone. I wish Yoko had a phone to be on.
LIZ: She kind of is on her phone, she’s reading the paper and reading letters.
LIZ: One thing that surprised me was I always thought George and John were kind of a team.
LJ: I feel like John kind of plays both sides. Maybe he would be more on George's side when they talked outside of work. But then in the studio he couldn’t help it.
LIZ: There’s that part where George is showing them “I Me Mine” and John is kind of giving him shit about it and George is like, “I don’t give a fuck.”
LJ: What does John say?
LIZ: I think he says something like, “Do you know what kind of songs we write?”
LJ: I don’t remember but that is so bitchy.
LIZ: I think that’s what happens, I could be misremembering.
LJ: I don't care. I never want to know, I just want to believe that’s what happened. That’s so rude. But like, I get it. That’s such a weird thing about Get Back, they’re just weird co-workers. When I was watching the first installment, I was having some work drama, so I really feel that situation. Of, like, “I don’t fucking care. I’m just gonna do me.”
LIZ: Yeah. And get cheese sauce on your cauliflower.
LIZ: There’s that part where Paul says something like “I'm scared of being the boss” and then - maybe it's not the same scene, but they have this whole conversation where George is like, “Things have been different ever since Mr. Epstein died.” That's such a weird way to talk about what’s happening to them. They’re just speaking out loud exactly what’s written in Beatles history books.
LJ: It's also weird that they're all clearly grieving Brian. That’s a huge weird thing to have happen to you. But I feel like they weren’t really given an appropriate amount of time or space to really deal with it. I guess they dealt with it by going to India.
LIZ: I guess that's the thing with them, everything happened in a real compressed span of time.
LJ: There’s that part where they’re showing them some set designs and John and Paul are like, “This is like Around the Beatles.” And they cut back to some dumb early Beatles performance and you’re like, “How do they remember that?” But it’s like, oh it’s just five years ago. I'm pretty connected to every single thing that was going on in my life five years ago.
LIZ: Yeah 1969 to 1960 would be like now to 2013. That wasn’t that long ago.
LJ: Nine years ago, we went to Martha's Vineyard. That is so recent.
LIZ: Nine years ago we wrote Blurred Lines.
LJ: Which I still think about once a week, I feel like.
LIZ: Yeah, Blurred Lines is so good.
LIZ: There’s that day when neither John nor George shows up to the studio and they're sitting around talking and Paul says, “And then there were two.” And there’s a close-up on Paul and it looks like he’s tearing up a little, but I couldn’t tell if he was actually crying or if I just wanted him to be crying.
LJ: I didn’t notice that. But I want Paul to be crying. There’s a lot of close-ups on Paul where you can see that he’s just going through something so different than what everybody else is going through. Which is that he likes this and he doesn’t want it to go away.
LIZ: That’s so sad.
LJ: I feel like, yeah, things seemed tense and uncomfortable in moments. Mostly when they were at Twickenham Studios, which of course things are going to feel bad there; it’s cold and weird. But I really feel like all of the stuff that was going on, it just doesn’t feel so insurmountably bad that they really needed to get out of this toxic situation. It seems like they could’ve gotten through it. If that’s what broke up the Beatles – like, really, guys? You deprived the entire world that really needed you forever, just because you were kind of weird and awkward in a studio for three weeks?
LIZ: And then once they once go to the other studio they seem like they're having a great time. And then Billy Preston comes in and they're having an even better time!
LJ: The best time!
LIZ: Billy Preston is really, like, whoa – what a presence.
LJ: What a good vibe. And also really good at music. He’s better at music than any of the Beatles. There’s that part where they have that little toy kind of like a Theremin, and Ringo or George is playing with it like, “What is this piece of garbage?” And then Billy Preston takes it and composes this cool, beautiful melody.
LIZ: It’s really sweet how George is talking about him in the beginning of the movie and he’s so excited about him, and then Billy Preston shows up and everyone loves him.
LJ: What do you think Billy Preston's zodiac sign is? I just looked it up. I love it for Billy Preston.
LIZ: Is he a Leo?
LJ: No, he's a Virgo. His birthday is September 2nd. That’s a really cute birthday for Billy Preston. I have a friend who’s a very Virgo-y Virgo and his birthday is September 1st and he’s like, “I feel like that’s the perfect Virgo birthday.” Like, “First day of the month, I’m here. Let’s not complicate things.” And September 2nd is like that, only like, “I’m a little late. I’m Billy Preston and I’m an artist.”
LJ: Something I did in preparation for our conversation is I looked at all of the Beatles’ moon and rising signs.
LIZ: Paul’s moon is in Leo.
LJ: And he’s Virgo Rising. Which is cool for me because I'm a Virgo Moon and Leo Rising. So I like having that little connection with Paul. John is Aquarius Moon and Aries Rising. That stresses me out.
LIZ: Aries Rising seems apt in a way.
LJ: I wouldn’t want that.
LIZ: I wouldn’t either.
LJ: Wait, what are you?
LIZ: I'm Gemini Rising and Leo Moon. That's my astrological connection to Paul.
LJ: George is a Pisces and then double Scorpio. Way to be so hot, George. Like, who has that? Give me a break. And Ringo also is a Leo Moon. And then he’s Cancer Sun and Pisces Rising. That’s a nice vibe. That’s a very gentle person right there. I guess the Leo Moon is why he likes acting. Like you.
LIZ: Yes. I’m a world-renowned actor.
LJ: How do you feel your Leo Moon?
LIZ: I feel it at karaoke. That’s when my Leo Moon really shines. And in that book The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need there’s a part about how a Leo Moon can always be counted on to pick up the check, unless they're a Capricorn. Like, yeah - pretty much. That checks out. David Bowie’s also a Capricorn and Leo Moon.
LJ: I was bored at some point during a lockdown that has happened at some point in the past two years, and I looked up like which celebrities have my exact Cancer Sun, Virgo Moon, Leo Rising. You won’t believe who mine is; it’s so good and so awful. It's fucking Richard Branson.
LIZ: That makes sense.
LJ: I know, that’s the worst part.
LIZ: I liked Mal Evans a lot. He’s really cute. He’s so happy to bang the hammer in “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.”
LJ: I would love to be like Mal Evans, just ‘cause everyone’s like “Oh, that person’s really reliable and kind.”
LIZ: I was thinking about when we did the “If Mad Men were The Beatles” post before the fourth season of Mad Men and –
LJ: Wait, don’t say! I don’t remember who Mal Evans was.
LIZ: Who do you think it was? It’s pretty obvious - when you think about early Mad Men, not later seasons.
LJ: It wasn’t Ken. Is it a man?
LJ: Does he work at Sterling Cooper?
LIZ: He does work there.
LJ: Is he nice?
LIZ: He was nice.
LJ: Oh, Harry Crane!
LIZ: Yes. God, who was Kenny? I mean Bob Cosgrove.
LJ: Oh, was he Maureen Cleave? That’s such a deep cut. I feel like someone was Maureen Cleave but it might’ve been Rachel Menken.
LIZ: I’m pretty sure Rachel was Yoko. We had weird ideas back then. But I love that Joan was George Martin.
LJ: Yeah, that’s really nuanced. It would’ve been smart of us to do that again. But we were too caught up in our recaps. Which was so fun. I feel like I’ll never care about a show that much again.
LIZ: No. And then there was that recap where the title of the post was “Peggy Olson’s Not in The Beatles,” but when we did the NoGoodForMe one, was she Linda? Or George?
LJ: I think we made her both Linda and George. Which isn’t accurate. Peggy’s Paul.
LIZ: I guess we made Roger Paul. Which he’s not.
LJ: Roger’s Derek Taylor. He’s the square who takes acid. John always has to be Don Draper I think. I was talking to Matt King the other day and we were fantasizing about a Mad Men reboot. And we got so deep into it that I kind of convinced myself that it was happening. Like, Matt Weiner’s semi-canceled, this is the one thing he could do to win us back.
LIZ: Why did he get canceled?
LJ: Because he created toxic workplace environments.
LIZ: Well you know what else was a toxic workplace?
LJ: I read this tweet the other day that was like, yeah, the Beatles wrote some of the best songs of all time, but we're all turning a blind eye to the fact that a bunch of their songs sound also like haunted carnivals.
LIZ: Oh. I missed that one.
LJ: At first I was like, “No – only ‘Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite’ sounds like a haunted carnival, and it was going for that.” But then I started thinking about it, and I was like, wow, there really are a lot. “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” is a haunted carnival. “Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da,” kind of. “Bungalow Bill.” A case could really be made for like half of the White Album. I guess the Abbey Road medley is kind of haunted carnival.
LIZ: I listened to Abbey Road all the way through the night before my birthday and it was really satisfying. I hadn’t done that in a really long time. I love the part in the movie where Paul’s playing “Carry That Weight” on the piano and he says, ‘I thought this could be a song for Ringo!”
LJ: Does Ringo sing it?
LIZ: One bit of trivia I know is that it's the only time in the whole Beatles catalog where they all sing together.
LJ: That's a cute bit of trivia. I like when they ask Ringo if he liked India and he says, “No, not really.”
LIZ: When Paul's talking about the footage of India that he was looking at and George says his thing, I couldn't tell, like, does that bother Paul?
LJ: Yeah, I think it bothered Paul. Paul’s like, “Okay, cool, thanks for cutting me down to size.” I wrote that Substack about that moment and some stranger commented on it and said, “I have a point about this situation from George's perspective, but I'll only share it with you if you're comfortable with that.” Which I was like, “Whoa, okay, thanks for respecting me. I wrote this in like 20 minutes after going for a run, I’m not tied to these words. Go for it.” And then this person wrote me the best thing I've ever read, I'm gonna read it to you: Your point about him using his spiritual learning in an aggressive manner is a really interesting one I hadn't considered before, and I agree Paul's feelings and his experience were totally valid. However, I really felt for George in that moment. After everything that had happened in the last week, he was once again in a situation where it seemed Paul was trying to bond with John at George's expense. They were laughing about a trip which meant a lot to him in front of both the crew making this film and potentially the audience watching it, and the whole Maharishi situation had already caused a hard time for him. I get where Paul was coming from, but it wasn’t the appropriate time to make that remark, in my opinion. It was also pretty hypocritical since the Beatles were being filmed and therefore not actually being themselves then either, which I think is also what George is getting at. With him only being 25 on the verge of 26 and at the height of his resentment, I relate to feeling the need to speak up and perhaps letting his emotions get the better of him. Like, what? That is so smart and cool and I never would have thought of that. Like, did the ghost of George Harrison somehow leave me a comment?
LIZ: Yeah I totally hadn’t thought of it that way.
LJ: Paul and John are kind of ganging up on George and making fun of something that meant a lot to him, on film. Although I do really relate to what Paul was saying, having had recent experiences of being in those meditation-retreat, super-spiritual, verging-on-religious situations. It's like, OK, we get it, there is no self. But you feel kind of backed up against a wall, like you really don’t have a voice in that situation. And you’re supposed to be so loving and welcoming and supportive. But you also just feel you’re really on someone else’s turf.
LIZ: Another George thing is I hadn’t listened to “Old Brown Shoe” in so long and I was like, “Oh my god, it’s so good.”
LJ: I like when they call it George's rocker.
LIZ: Why didn’t they put it on Let It Be?
LJ: ‘Cause they released it as a B-side, ‘cause it was too good for shitty Let It Be. George has a lot of good songs that were B-sides. Like “It’s All Too Much.” Seeing the crap they were playing in Get Back, the fact that they’d written “It’s All Too Much” a year before, it’s like, “Guys, step it up.”
LIZ: I like when John keeps doing that same joke over and over again about “Your hosts for this evening, The Rolling Stones.” That’s one of the things that made me understand him more. I was like, “Yeah, I relate to totally just running a joke into the ground.” That really humanized him for me.
LJ: My favorite John part is when he said he was late because he was mistreating his body. He’s like “Oh, I was stoned and high. I was up all night watching films.” And you're just like, wow, that’s what some scrub I had a bad experience dating would do. Like, “Oh, I was smoking weed and I got some coke and it was 5 a.m. and I was just watching this Korean film” and you’re just like SHUT UP.
LIZ: And then Paul says, “Oh, we don’t need that on film, Mr. Lennon.”
LJ: You know what part I think is really cool? When John is playing some blues song, and then Paul is reading the article about them. If I was a psychoanalyst, I’d really like hone in on that moment, like “That’s how they're both coping with this situation in different ways.”
LIZ: Yeah they really hated that article, by Housego. Which is funny because there must have been articles like that all the time.
LJ: Housego is the one who wrote them in the newspaper that they read the most frequently. And also had the last name “Housego.”
LIZ: During the rooftop concert, I liked all the people-on-the-street interviews, or some of them anyway. My favorite was the older man who's like, “The Beatles are cracking! They have a lovely crowd.”
LJ: I like that young hotshot in the car, in the backseat but the wrong way around. He’s like, “I’m just some rich guy. This is nothing to me but, yeah, I like it.”
LJ: I felt weirdly bad for the cops.
LIZ: Did you? I didn’t really.
LJ: I just felt like they were so young and brainwashed and I don't feel like they really believed in what they were saying or what they had to do. They were just doing it because it was their job and probably inside of themselves, their inner children were probably dying and just so happy and excited that the Beatles are playing on a rooftop. I thought that was kind of tragic.
LIZ: I didn’t think of it that way, but that tracks.
LJ: Yeah, I really had their backs. I hated how much the rooftop concert was in it. I was like, “I can’t listen to ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ another time.” That song in particular, I feel like I won't be able to listen to for another five years. “Get Back” and “Don’t Let Me Down” got the most play from start to finish. And “Two of Us.”
LIZ: Yeah, a lot of “Two of Us.”
LJ: How do you feel about that Beatles song?
LIZ: It was never a fave, but I was always in support of it existing. A nice little Paul-and-Linda song. But yeah, it definitely wears on you after the 87th time. And there's the part where they're singing it and they're both gritting their teeth the whole time. Which was funny but I was also like, “Oh my god, this fucking song.”
LJ: It’s like, “We get it, Paul, you don’t need to be so committed to the bit.” If you had the comic genius of John Lennon, you’d know to just do one verse. But no.
LIZ: Speaking of committing to the bit, I like when they do that version of “Get Back” that’s all about immigration policy, “Commonwealth,” and John does the stuffy old British lady accent after every line. He really didn’t quit on that.
LJ: But he’s funnier than Paul. He gets away with it.
LIZ: The part after George leaves and Yoko gets on the mike and they do that crazy freakout thing - I liked that a lot, I liked that Paul was so into it.
LJ: That’s the right way to think about Yoko, as a tool for making Paul seem better. He does have a weirdly good attitude about Yoko.
LJ: Let’s talk about Linda. Linda has a beautiful speaking voice.
LIZ: She does. She’s a breath of fresh air.
LJ: There’s one part where she’s like, “Oh, we were looking at Help! and A Hard Day's Night last night.” First of all, cool that she says “looking at.” But that was a real window into what it's like to date Paul McCartney. “Like, ‘Let’s watch A Hard Day’s Night, in 1969!” And you’re like, “Okay, whatever, I’m dating Paul McCartney. I can do this.”
LIZ: I like when there’s the Hare Krishnas that George brought to Twickenham and John’s like, “Who’s that little old man?” It’s cute that they’re into A Hard Day’s Night.
LJ: I feel like George was like, “I'm going to be cool like John, I'm gonna bring the Hare Krishnas.” And then they only came for one day and everyone’s like “Yeah, that didn’t really work for us. We hated that.”
LIZ: There's a part where the band is playing and Linda and Yoko are talking - I really want to know what they're saying to each other. Like, what did Linda and Yoko talk about?
LJ: I feel like it was pretty surface. I feel like if I were Linda in that situation, I would be like, “I don't want to bond with Yoko right now.” But I guess if I were Yoko, I'd be like, “I don't want to bond with this boring rich American woman.” I like how Pattie Harrison shows up for one scene and looks amazing and has the most beautiful purse I’ve ever seen in my life. She just comes in and whispers something in George’s ear and she’s gone as quick as she came. I don’t like her, but she has the right attitude about having a Beatles boyfriend, husband, partner, whatever.
LIZ: I have some idea that Paul McCartney was very fond of Mo. I'm basing it on like two tiny, split-second interactions, but it seems like he's really on board with Maureen Starkey.
LJ: Like in a sexual way?
LIZ: No, just like, “Yeah, that's Ringo's girl.” I just want it to be true.
LIZ: I wish Paul had brought Martha to the studio. Assuming that Martha was alive then.
LJ: I think Martha lived into Wings days. But maybe Martha was bad. Maybe it would’ve been problematic and she would've chewed on wires.
LIZ: She would’ve been wreaking havoc. She was a big dog.
LJ: But Get Back could’ve used a dog.
LJ: I had this revelation on Christmas Eve night. I was drunk and made my dad watch Get Back with me. And in my head I had this personal revelation that I'll never be able to know in the way I knew it in that moment, but I feel like the lyric “Get back to where you once belonged” is Paul singing to the Beatles. I feel like he may not even really know that. He probably knows it now. But I think it came about in a subconscious way. I feel like that's the theme of this whole era and why Paul McCartney is on such a different journey. He just really wants the Beatles to get back to where they once belonged. And they’re like, “No. We won’t.”
LIZ: I feel like they all seem pretty into it at the rooftop concert. I like when Mal Evans comes up with the cops and he turns down the P.A. and then George turns it back up again. I was like, “Yeah, George.”
LJ: I just remembered that Mal died because the cops shot him.
LIZ: I knew he died tragically, but I didn't know that’s what happened.
LJ: It was. But yeah, he's such a good person to have to go down and negotiate with the stupid 20-year-old cops.
LIZ: The day that Mike Nesmith died, it really hit me that Paul McCartney’s going to die someday.
LJ: I hate when I think about how Paul McCartney’s going to die someday. I really hate the way people react to celebrity death. I feel like I need to work through how negative my reaction to other people reacting to celebrity deaths is. I get so worked up about it. It is tacky and it is performative, but I feel like I don't give other people the space they need to grieve the death of artist that meant something to them. I really have to sort that out before Paul McCartney dies. Because I don’t want to hear everyone suddenly becoming a fucking Paul McCartney fan. I know who was and who wasn’t. I think I’ll be very upset by like, “Oh my ex co-worker is so sad suddenly.” And also, when’s that going to happen? He’s old.
LIZ: But he seems like he's in good shape.
LJ: He seems like he's in really good shape. Like almost too good. Like, chill out. This year he’s gonna turn 80. He could just live to be 103 and we’d have 23 more years of Paul McCartney. That almost feels like too much.
LIZ: Watching Get Back I was like, “How could you not think Paul is the greatest?” But then I saw I saw a picture of him in 1986 and I was like, “Oh yeah – right.”
LJ: Yeah, he was tacky for a while.
LIZ: But he bounced back.
LJ: I was watching the Sparks documentary, and I like that he impersonated Ron Mael in a music video from the ‘80s. There’s a video for some irrelevant song from like 1982, where he dresses up as like a bunch of different famous rock musicians. He dresses up as Buddy Holly and Elvis and his young self. But then he also dress up as Ron Mael from Sparks. Ron Mael is not that famous and he never was.
LJ: I feel like before we end our conversation, we need to talk about how much we love Paul McCartney. That’s the throughline of everything we’ve been saying, that Paul is the obvious hero. Like, I feel like if God came down to Earth and was like, “Hey, like, you're a pretty big Beatles fan, who was right in the Beatles?” And I’d be like, “Paul McCartney. He was right. Let it be known. That is objectively true. He was the best one." He had a really good work ethic, a frighteningly good work ethic for being 26-years-old. He just wanted the thing to get done. There’s no ego about it. He’s just like, “This is our job. And we have this annoying director.” Who, by the way, is so annoying.
LIZ: He’s the worst. I love the part where he's suggesting that they do the show at a hospital for sick kids and there’s this close-up on John's face and he’s just like, FUCK MY LIFE. And then Paul makes that joke about, “Yeah, there's a girl who can't walk, but then when she sees John she can walk again,” and John’s face breaks into this big smile. That was cute.
LJ: See, Paul knows how to mitigate an awkward situation. The only time I like Michael Lindsay-Hogg is when they're talking about something unrelated and he’s like “Just as long as I look thin.”
LIZ: The part where Paul writes “Get Back,” that was something I’d heard 8 million people talking about online, but then when it happened it was like, “That really was impressive as everyone said it would be.”
LJ: I didn’t hear anyone talking about it. I was like completely blank when I watched that happen. It’s crazy, you never get to see that happen.
LIZ: It's crazy that he just came up with the line, “Thought she was a woman, but she was another man.”
LJ: I know, how did that just show up in his head? I like when he's having misgivings about whether Loretta's last name should be Marsh. He’s like, “That's not very nice.” There’s another part soon after that I think about so much where Mal Evans is doing his sad pathetic job of having to transcribe their lyrics and he’s like, “What's that word?” And John Lennon's like “Marrrsh.” Like, yeah, change it, guys. It’s awful.
LIZ: I love all their toast and wine and tea and marmalade.
LJ: I love how often they casually drink white wine at the studio. I think it’s Riesling. Because there's a story about how the weird sound effects at the beginning of “Long, Long, Long” is there was a bottle of Blue Nun on the piano and it started vibrating. So maybe that was their vibe, they just liked to have a bottle of cheap Riesling.
LJ: What is your favorite outfit of the entire Get Back?
LIZ: I like the day when they were all wearing green and Paul eats a cupcake. I like Paul’s sweater when he writes “Get Back.”
LJ: He’s also having a good hair day the day he writes “Get Back.”
LIZ: His hair’s pretty luscious and shiny throughout the whole movie. I like when Ringo’s wearing his pink button down and jeans.
LJ: That might be my number-one fit of the whole documentary. John looks really good that day too in his striped shirt. And Paul’s wearing his orange sweater.
LIZ: I love George’s boots.
LJ: I love Paul’s “Bassman” sticker.
LJ: There’s one point where like George is asking someone, “Oh, can you bring me some shoes? I just want a pair of black plain shoes, size eight and a half.” And then a couple of days later, he's wearing them. And you're just like, “Wow, he’s in the Beatles. He doesn’t have to go to the store.” He wears Converse All-Stars a couple times and he looks really good in them. He just looks really good. Paul’s a little unkempt.
LIZ: But he looks healthy and happy. He looks great at the rooftop concert. I like his little suit.
LJ: I think he looks the worst of the four. He looks happy though. I think John looks really good on their rooftop concert. I love John’s fur coat. John looks so cool the entire movie.
LIZ: I was listening to some podcast and these guys were talking about the part where they’re leaving the rooftop and John asks Yoko what's wrong, and the podcast dude's take on that was “Yoko’s scared John’s going to leave her for the Beatles, and John senses that.” Like – that seems like kind of a reach, but all right.
LJ: Maybe Yoko just shouldn’t have gone to the rooftop concert. But I guess John wanted emotional support. But was it so hard, John? When I was younger, I saw all of their behavior as being more normal, because I didn't realize how weird it was to be in the Beatles. When I was like 23, I just took the way the Beatles behaved at face value. Now I’m 36 and have been working really hard for a really long time and I'm sitting in my okay apartment in the middle of a global pandemic, and I just don't understand why it was so difficult for them. I guess you're just in the situation you're in. But I do feel as though John Lennon and George Harrison took being in the Beatles for granted.
LIZ: I get George, because it seems like he really was not taken very seriously by them. And that must have been frustrating. He had really good songs and he had shit to say.
LJ: He does bust out “All Things Must Pass,” and it’s so much better than like “Dig a Pony.”
LIZ: But I also get if you're John and you meet Yoko and you're like, “Oh, there's this whole other thing that I could be doing.”
LJ: Like what?
LIZ: Like weird, Yoko-y, avant-garde shit.
LJ: But he wasn’t that avant-garde. John just hated every situation and that’s kind of the beauty of John. He was just not into the Beatles music. He’s like, “I hate the avant-garde, I’m just gonna make my gritty rock-and-roll tunes. All I care about is what’s real.”
LIZ: I liked hearing Paul sing “Gimme Some Truth.”
LJ: I also can’t believe they rejected “Gimme Some Truth.”
LIZ: “Let’s just do ‘One After 909’ instead.”
LJ: “This song we deemed not good enough when we were 17-years-old.”
LIZ: They made some weird moves.
LJ: But I kind of like “One After 909.”
LIZ: It’s a bop.
LJ: I never press forward on “One After 909.” But I’m never like, “Ooh, you know what my vibe is right now?”
LIZ: I wish “Dig It” went on for like 10 more minutes. I like the part where they're kind of like doing “Dig It” and John is just saying the names of the Beatles songs for fucking ever.
LJ: I love that part. It’s the songs that are on Let It Be. They should’ve just put that on the album as track one. That’s a good idea, Laura. It would’ve been Sgt. Pepper kind of vibe, like we're introducing the album you’re listening to.
LIZ: Do we have any closing remarks?
LJ: I think Paul McCartney was in the right the whole time. Except...in the first one, when there’s that phone conversation with him and John, I feel like John makes some solid anti-Paul points. He’s talking about how Paul is a bit of a control freak and asking everyone to play things the way he wants them to be played, and Paul needs to chill and let George play the way George wants to play.
LIZ: The part between George and Paul that’s such a big moment in the movie Let It Be, where Paul's like, “I feel like I'm annoying you” and George says “You don’t annoy me anymore” – in the context of this movie, it didn’t seem that dramatic. It just seemed like a conversation they were having.
LJ: I think it’s weird that George says “You don't annoy me anymore.”
LIZ: I like it. I would like to say it to somebody someday.
LJ: It’s really passive-aggressive.
LIZ: Yeah - that’s why I like it. It reminds me of Don Draper telling Ginsberg, “I don’t think about you at all.”
LJ: I feel like...it’s mean. I put that in my little pouch of times when I feel George is being spiritually bankrupt and he needs to come off his high horse and be a little more loving.
LJ: Can’t have it both ways, George. Do you want to be passive aggressive, or do you want to love God and see God in Paul McCartney and love him? Which is it?
LIZ: I wonder if they were ever bros.
LJ: Like in the future?
LIZ: Yeah, future bros. Like in 1987. They don’t seem like they’re all about each other in the Anthology stuff.
LJ: They’re maybe the ones who have the least in common of the whole Beatles. I feel George likes Paul less than Paul likes George. That’s too bad, George. Because I think Paul’s pretty great.
LJ: I think we should pick a Spirit Beatles Song for 2022. And we have to really commit to it.
LIZ: Well for as much as this movie made me not want to hear “Two of Us” again for a very long time, it made me love “The Long and Winding Road” more than I ever did before. I’m not picking that, but I love when Mal is helping Paul with the lyrics and Paul says something like “There's enough obstacles without putting them in the song.” I thought that was a good point.
LJ: I forgot to say the most important thing of all, which is it’s the coolest thing of all time when he says “To wander aimlessly is very unswinging.” Can we have that be the name of the post? I want that to be the name of everything I ever do. I want to put that on my gravestone. And Paul’s gravestone.
LJ: I’m torn between between “Here Comes the Sun” and “I Me Mine” for my Spirit Beatles Song. I’ve just been in a negative place lately so I feel like “Here Comes the Sun” could be a good vibe for me. Can I have both of them?
LIZ: Yes. I’ll allow it.
LIZ: I don’t know mine. “You Know My Name, Look Up the Number.”
LJ: That’s really bad. What about “The Word”?
LIZ: That doesn’t resonate. I’ve been into “The Ballad of John & Yoko” lately.
LJ: Oh, pick that. You seem to be in a healthy relationship, it’s a good vibe. You like John more than you did before you watched Get Back. Oh and it’s an A-side with your new favorite, “Old Brown Shoe”! That’s your vibe. You’re that whole single. And I’m the two sides of George Harrison as my 2022 life concept. Finally, after all these years, I’ve realized how much I love Paul McCartney. But it’s not time for me to fully embody that love. Though I do feel like, in my heart, I am the John Lennon of Strawberry Fields Whatever, forever. That’s the biggest realization that I had from watching Get Back. These are my closing statements: in the context of us, I’ll always be the John. But in the world, I am not a John anymore. And that’s crazy, but I just have to love it about myself and accept it. I’m not the weird rebel who’s trying to make things be fucked up, I’m the person who’s trying to make everything go smoothly for everybody else. And that’s kind of beautiful. I might not even be the Paul. I might be the Glyn Johns. I’m a big deal in other arenas of my life.
LIZ: What a nice revelation. I don’t know who I’ll be. Maybe Heather McCartney.
LJ: You can be Linda. Let’s have a year of being sub-Beatles and then we’ll go back to being Beatles when we reconvene in 2023.
LIZ: Perfect. That's it.