Congratulations to Paul McCartney on reaching 70. I love Macca. What an inspiration to us all. He wrote some of the finest song lyrics of all time and has been consistently working, singing and brightening up our lives around the globe.
He has been non-stop busy too during those legendary seven decades. He is looking good. I love his passion for his vegetarian lifestyle, kindness to animals, travelling around the world, working with new young artists, championing what he believes in. And through it all, retaining such a strong sense of identity and pride for his Liverpool roots.
My dad came from Liverpool and this really meant a lot to us growing up in our family. When we were kids, we grew up in a lovely upside-down wooden house on the edge of a riverbank. The living rooms were upstairs, the bedrooms downstairs. There was a little pontoon at the end of the garden jutting out into the river for the boats to tie up. Dad named our house ‘Pier Head’ after the famous Pier Head in Liverpool city.
I went to Liverpool years later and had a look around and wondered what it was like when dad was growing up there. I remember a story he told us about his dad taking him to the docks in Liverpool, when he was just 16 years old. His dad told him to get on the boat, and left leaving him to set sail on a cargo boat heading to Australia. His dad told him it was to give him some ‘worldly experience’ and make him a man. All alone, aged 16, thrown in at the deep end in the terrifying dregs of the salty pecking order. This always struck me as hard and incredibly harsh thing to do to your sixteen year old son and I will never forget his descriptions of the conditions on board. In the first 24 hours on the ship, it was die or survive with the harder-than-nails crew. He got into a fight with a man tattooed with hate across his right fist. He bluffed his way through, breaking a beer bottle to reveal jagged glass to protect himself from the tough guy he refused to get a drink for and had just enough bravado to get through it. He lived to tell the tale. It was there that he learnt how to survive. His first job was scrubbing the green putrid meat with bleach to make it edible for the crew. He ended up from there as an officer in the Navy – I guess it all worked out somehow. A world of adventure from Liverpool docks and ‘Pier Head’ to here.
Paul McCartney has had an extraordinary life so worth celebrating. I am celebrating today and feel blessed to have come across this amazing man along the way from being neighbours – and listening to a lot of fab Beatles tracks.
One year, Paul McCartney gave me a fresh rose from his Sussex garden – on his birthday in fact – and I still have it. It still smells good after being pressed. Makes me happy every time I see it.
Happy Birthday, Paul.