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Paul McCartney the life, by Philip Norman

It’s cold! What happened? It was sweltering and then it wasn’t. I was riding home from U of T at 9.15 last night when I got so cold, I parked my bike at the Y and took a nice warm cab the rest of the way, looking out at people shivering in shirtsleeves and shorts.

Friends have been making good use of my garden: a stunning butterfly, Wayson and his Little Prince colouring book, my son who barbecued us a wonderful meal, and now Nettie, who has made an office and is promoting her film on the chilly deck.

I’m proud to say that this morning, I finished the new Macca biography, Paul McCartney the Life, by Philip Norman, which is over 800 pages long! I did skim many parts, not that interested in the convoluted business disasters of Apple. What comes through most clearly is that this decent, flawed man never stops making music, even when his life is falling apart. After losing Linda, in the midst of his vicious divorce proceedings from wife #2, he wrote and recorded CD’s, not to mention his classical compositions, his investment in the Liverpool school of the arts where he teaches songwriting every year, his other charities, his warm family relations.

What you do not see, after the demise of the Beatles, is men friends. This is a man who loves and needs a woman, as he says, to be backstage every night when the show ends, saying, “That was wonderful, darling.” He had this with Linda because she was on stage too. Hope it’s working out with Nancy. It can’t be easy being married to a workaholic, driven, tireless, brilliant, world-renowned icon.

The book has just received an embarrassingly snarky, mean-spirited review in the NYT, which should know better. It’s a pop biography, not Proust, but it’s thorough and well written, and for those of us who need our Macca fix, it shows the trajectory of this storied life from beginning to last year. Time to get out the CD’s and listen again, now knowing more about how and when they were made. A phenomenon, a genius, the most successful songwriter in history. But to me he’s just Paul, my great love since February 1964, when I was 13 and he a grand old 21.



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I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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