05 December 2013

"There was a twinkle and a kind of mischief about her"

Paul McCartney gives an in-depth interview to Mojo Magazine in its November 2013 issue, to promote his New album and rake over some of the many facets of his musical career. One of the first things he discusses with interviewer Pat Gilbert in a 'secluded retreat' in the Hamptons on Long Island is the ongoing issue of story-tellers reinventing his life and the lives of the other Beatles based on 'legend and hearsay' despite not being witnesses to the real events, including the free-wheeling 2009 Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy and how the original script treated John's Aunt Mimi:

I mean, when Sam Taylor-Wood made the film Nowhere Boy [about John's early life]. I know her, she's a good friend of [daughters] Stella's and Mary's. I love what she does, but she came round to my house with the script of Nowhere Boy and was talking to me about it. I'm saying, "OK, cool, tell me about it." John cruel, wicked... and I was, "Woah, woah, wait a minute! That's not what I saw! No, you weren't there Sam, the guy who wrote this wasn't there, so this is based on legend and hearsay and some facts about John's Aunt Mimi". But I was there and I'd walk up from my house, the couple of miles to John's house, go in there and knock on the window: "Hey, Mimi", and there was a twinkle and a kind of mischief about her. "John! Your little friend's here!" And she'd go, "Ooooh, look at you," we'd have this thing going but because she was an elder. I couldn't take the piss but I'd go, "Hey, what are you talking about? Little friend! I'm as tall as him!" So I always thought she was quite cool and as I said to Sam, "Oh no, no, no, wait a minute, you're going to really miss who she was". Maybe in the story she's got to be the strict one who has to bring John up, but what I saw of her she was a very nice woman who John loved, no doubt about it, but like any parent, any guardian would get pissed at. 
But the point I'm making is I said, "No Sam, you're really going to miss it," and she said, "That's much better," so Mimi's character in the film is much better. She was a fun character.  
In the film again John and his mates jump on the top of a bus and he never did that. Sam said, "Ah yes but it's a great scene," so I have to go, "You know what Sam? Let's get an agreement. It's a film. This is not a life, it's a film. This is not the reality, it's a film of the reality". 
- Paul McCartney, 'Don't Look Back in Anger', Mojo, November 2013 

See also:
MusicJohn Lennon - Watching the Wheels (1980)
Books: The John Lennon Letters review, 13 October 2012
Music: Paul McCartney in Hyde Park, 4 July 2010
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