What does Nicolaus Copernicus have to do with our next episode? Stay tuned to find out.
No pressure, but I was wondering if there was an ETA on future eps? Love this podcast!Our Tumblr asks
Hello Listener, thank you so much for reaching out to us!
Phoebe and Diana are hard at work on the next installments of the Break-up series.
We’re hoping to post Episode Three by the end of this week! Stay tuned and thanks for listening!
– the AKOM crew
Your podcast is fantastic, it seriously gives me life. 😘 I just read this interesting tidbit about a man named Alastair (can’t remember surname) who was a friend/employee of Paul’s after he broke up with Jane, and that Paul would often go to his house for emotional support. He said that while Paul was very close with the Beatles, Paul said he couldn’t go to them because he couldn’t show them weakness. Dying to hear your thoughts on this dynamic and if it played in the breakup at all.Our Tumblr Asks
Why thank you! We love hearing we are making people happy! We are about to drop a couple more episodes so we hope you find them equally entertaining.
The Alistair Taylor anecdote was very revealing and indicative of some of the dynamics within the Beatles. Paul, in particular, has mentioned that they were “Northern Men” and as such did not overtly express their emotions with other men. This seems slightly counter-intuitive for a group that sang “All You Need Is Love” — but apparently that was the case when they were not playing music.
We will be examining this dynamic in our next few episodes because it really comes into play around the breakup of the Beatles. We have pondered why, for example, John, George, and Ringo weren’t more sensitive to Paul around the break-up, knowing what we know now (that it was hard on him emotionally) and yet they treated him like he was Teflon. We think this probably reflects Paul’s outward behavior at the time — that he was fine and strong. Similarly, to us, John’s actions seem obviously highly emotional, yet Paul seems to have taken them at face value (or at least partially believed them), but this again suggests that to Paul, John looked strong and determined. Certainly the entire Authorship has been unable to crack John’s code, so clearly his behavior and actions are not all that obvious to some men!
Anyway, thank you for raising this issue and please stay tuned for our upcoming episodes!
– Diana and the AKOM crew
One of the points that I’m most thankful to you for making, about what the traditional narrative gets wrong, is about how John sees Paul so differently from how the jean jackets see him or think John sees him. That’s a topic that makes me say “yes finally” every time you touch on it. You’ve also done a great job analyzing the songs which is such a strangely under-explored area. Anyways, all the breakup stuff is so important but sad, it makes me want to listen to some happy early-beatle stuffOur Tumblr asks
We agree that highlighting how John saw Paul, based on his own words, is critically important for getting to a more nuanced view of their dynamic, and a more realistic view of the narrative as a whole. Correcting this issue is important because John’s POV has been so misconstrued by the Beatles authorship. They seem to have projected their opinions of Paul onto John, or they have taken John’s tantrum-filled words of the early 70s and imagined this is how he always felt about Paul, which he himself said it wasn’t!
Time and again, John provided us with insight into how he saw Paul, which is: strong, powerful, gifted, brilliant, tough, driven, obstinate and infinitely talented and attractive (as we mentioned, John was the one that referred to Paul as looking like a “God” in LIB!) We can also infer, based on things that John has said later that he sometimes felt unloved by Paul (or not loved enough), and used by Paul. He also repeatedly complained of Paul’s insensitivity, which hurt him deeply. But probably the highest measure of John’s esteem for Paul was that he saw him as his only true competitor, a view he held until his death.
Yet this has gone largely ignored by authors — perhaps because it doesn’t conform to their preferred narrative? Or else they can’t see beyond John’s bravado, which sometimes obscures his more honest, vulnerable moments.
Because post-Beatles John could be so critical of Paul (a right he felt was EXCLUSIVELY his), Jean Jackets erroneously assume he held Paul in low esteem rather than understanding that John held him to the highest possible standards. So while the Jean Jackets position John as acting from a position of indifference and strength, in reality, he has said time and again that he saw Paul as a powerful and “extraordinary” man who was his true partner and a metaphorical spouse— one he also suspected of not loving him enough and potentially using him for his own gain. And while we don’t believe the latter, we know that John was highly paranoid so HE might have believed this. All important to keep in mind when examining his actions. And disinterested in Paul is the last thing he was!
And while the breakup is a depressing topic, we find it is less tragic and more human when we go through it in detail—as we are doing. And perhaps one aspect that is less depressing is that they seem to have remained obsessed with each other. In other words, although the band broke up, their love for and interest in each other never died. We are tracing this story—all their drama seems to have been a series of reactions, games, moves, and countermoves.
Anyway, thank you for your note! We hope you will stay with us throughout the series and we promise to keep it really interesting. In fact, we will be dropping a few more episodes very soon—episodes we are very excited about. So please stay tuned!!
Diana and Akom
Everyone’s asks are super deep but I just wanna throw out there that the joking assertion that John’s sex tape was to detract from his lack of material was pure comedy gold and I loved it.Our Tumblr asks
Hello! We’re so glad you’re enjoying the show and that you’re enjoying the humorous aspects as well! 🙂 Thank you so much for this ask – it brought a smile to our faces!
– Thalia and the AKOM crew
I enjoy the show. Just as it is dangerous to overestimate any individual Beatle, I do think that it is equally dangerous to over romanticize John & Paul’s relationship and justify behaviors on the basis of some supernatural closeness. Close as they were there is also evidence of significant dysfunction. Do you believe John or Paul or both were emotionally manipulative/unhealthy dependence (see Attachment theory)? Would you all be willing to explore the more unsavory aspects of their friendship?Our Tumblr asks
Hi! Thanks very much for the ask! Glad you are enjoying the show.
First of all I think there is probably some level of emotional manipulation and/or dependence in every long-term relationship, so John & Paul aren’t necessarily unique in this regard. And despite whatever their various inter-personal issues or problems were, it’s undeniable that Lennon & McCartney were also one of the most prolific and successful creative partnerships in the history of modern popular culture. So, there’s that.
It’s our contention that Paul and John both believed in their spiritual (“supernatural”) connection and we believe this is an under-explored area of analysis. Their closeness doesn’t mean that their behaviors were always positive, but what it does suggest to us is that their behaviors are often linked, and the traditional narrative does not necessarily take this into account. Our goal with AKOM is to inspire deeper reflection on under-reported issues like these.
But yes, to your point, it definitely appears they had their fair share of dysfunction, and we discussed a few of these issues in our most recent episode. The next episodes in our break-up series also push many of these issues to the forefront, and we’ll be discussing them as they arise.
Diana and I have planned a future episode in which we unpack more of the problem areas in the Lennon/McCartney partnership and try to get underneath some of their lasting resentments.
Lastly, while I agree that it’s not helpful to over-romanticize John & Paul’s relationship, it can be tricky because John and Paul were both so prone to romanticize it themselves (especially after the break-up). In that respect, it’s sometimes a difficult balancing act to empathize with them from their respective POVs while simultaneously trying to get to the truth of what was actually going on. They were/are both, at the end of the day, artists who primarily wrote and sang (often collaboratively) about love. How much of this romanticism and its accompanying behavior (i.e. unrealistic expectations, justification/forgiveness of various harmful behaviors) created problems in their personal relationship is a fascinating study in and of itself.
Thanks for listening and we hope you enjoy the rest of our Break-Up Series!
– Phoebe and the AKOM Crew
“I think John attaches so much meaning to telepathy: he and Paul are so special that they have this incredible ability to read each other in a way that other people can’t. But if they stop being able to do this, what does this say to John?” -If I Ran Ep 2, Pt 1
“In a nutshell, we believe this was all a high-stakes game of chase that spun out of control, the end-game was never to end the Beatles or for Lennon/McCartney to separate as a creative partnership….” - If I ran away from you: Ep 1, pt. 1
“The traditional story claims John said, “I want a divorce” in Sept ’69 and that’s what spelled the end of L/M,: because John wanted out. It is a defining moment, but not in the way it’s framed. I think IF it was the end, it was because that was when Paul disengaged.“If I Ran Ep 1
“The correction to the narrative needs to come from both sides; we believe John was much more invested than is traditionally assumed, and Paul has much more power than he is traditionally credited with.”-If I Ran Away from You Ep 2
Listener feedback is valuable to us, and we love it when
someone takes the time to reach out and engage us in conversation!
This listener offers several compelling and interesting counter-points to the previous listener-letter’s assertion that the imbalances regarding McCartney’s critical reputation (and fandom toxicity regarding McCartney in general) have been redressed. We don’t agree that they have, and this listener has made many similar observations.
Please feel free to email us at akompodcast at gmail dot
com, send us an ask, or a Tumblr message.
We love hearing from you!
Thank you guys so much for all of your hard work on this podcast! I’ve had an absolute blast listening to all the episodes, and I’m sure there are many who look
forward to it just as much as I do. My letter is partially in response to
another listener’s letter (the one who stressed that the jean-jacket narrative
is no longer as prevalent as it once was).
I really loved your response, and I simply wanted to express that, whatever their
experience with the Beatles’ narrative might’ve been, mine has been the exact
opposite. I’m pretty young and my parents never really listened to the Beatles.
I knew about the Beatles and Paul McCartney, but I was so naive to their story
that it never really clicked that Paul was even in the Beatles until I became
immersed in their lore (I had never even heard of George Harrison. Whoops,
sorry Georgie). So, I was as blank a slate as they come.
I’ve been absolutely devouring Beatles media for the past three months. And being a Paul fan in 2019? Still really difficult due to the toxicity of the fandom. Obscure books about John Lennon or the group as a whole are far easier to track down than Paul books.
It took an embarrassingly long time to discover that Paul even had an authorized
semi-autobiography. (The cringeworthy lack of attention toward Ringo and George hasn’t escaped my notice, either. Their legacy has been seriously neglected) And a lot of the books I’ve managed to get my hands on tend to take unprovoked jabs at Paul’s legacy: two of the “Paul books” I’ve bought recently were prefaced, essentially, with “I’ve never liked Paul because I resented the way
the women in my life so obviously enjoyed him.” Both the Norman and Clayson
biographies began this way, and it just seemed so unnecessary.
Now I have to do extensive research before purchase to avoid wasting money on books that disdain Paul for qualities outside of his control. It was baffling that these men thought, despite their personal jealousies, that they were qualified to not only write biographies but to include their personal issues in the preface
without having their legitimacy questioned. I’d never seen anything like it.
When books or media praise him, the majority of it seems to be for his appearance. Even Cynthia Lennon, bless her old lady heart (loved her book John, by the way, read it ‘cause you guys recommended it), when it came to describing each Beatle in an interview, described a man who had been a true friend to her for decades as ‘Pretty… so, so pretty.’ The other three Beatles consistently get remarks as to their wit and talent, but few people, even some of his close friends, seem to get past Paul’s looks.
To the untrained, twenty-something eye, Paul comes across as something of an adorable, grandad figure, kind of oddly amorphous in his legacy, rather than the musical genius and powerhouse he actually is. When I started to seek out his music, I was shocked at all the familiar melodies that I’d heard hundreds of times
before without ever knowing the artist. His music feels really fresh and
relevant to me, not at all dated, a huge contrast to the affable, aging persona
I’ve been fed by the media.
Paul is my favorite Beatle, but I’m not looking for media that overtly glorifies Paul in relation to his former bandmates. I just want to have historically factual,
fair media that pays respect to the people who have shaped my life and
occasionally comforted me with their art. And I don’t want to feel like I
should have to be ashamed of my enjoyment just because a group of men found my appreciation vapid and aggravating, for one reason or another.
That’s why I’ve so thoroughly enjoyed the AKOM podcast: it feels like, in a room full of toxic men screaming at the top of their lungs about nothing at all and
demanding it become truth, that women (and other varying genders) can still
bravely sit down amidst it all, have tea, and breathe some sanity into the
stupidity. Thanks again!
Thank you for your wonderful letter. We appreciate the feedback. We love long letters and certainly understand having a lot to say on the subject!
We have had very similar experiences to yours and agree:
“Paul comes across as something of an
adorable, grandad figure, kind of oddly amorphous in his legacy, rather than
the musical genius and powerhouse he actually is.”
This bothers us as well. Paul does not get the artistic credit he deserves.
Paul himself has shown frustration with the label “the cute
Beatle” —can you imagine having written some of the world’s most famous songs and being labeled “cute” while you partner is labeled “smart” or “intellectual”
or “genius”? It must be hugely frustrating. Perhaps so much so that he has
taken to giving HIMSELF the label of genius recently! We’re all for it!
Unfortunately, it a label and bias that exists. Problem is, Paul is cute and
charming! But he is also deep and complex and brilliant and sexy, yet so many
writers and observers aren’t able to see beyond the surface-level read of him.
This hasn’t always been the case though, when we examine contemporaneous
reviews of the Beatles, we find that in the 60s Paul’s genius was taken more
seriously by some (yes, he had the label “the cute Beatle” but his talents were
also taken seriously, especially in the UK); the break-up seems to have altered
his critical evaluation.
You said: “When I started to seek out his music, I was shocked at all the familiar melodies that I’d heard hundreds of times before without ever knowing the artist.”
We are thrilled that you have discovered them. I felt this
way about Paul’s solo work as well—I had been led to believe, by
critics, that Paul’s solo music wasn’t up to par with his Beatles work, so
approached it with trepidation. What a pleasure it was finding out they were so
very wrong. Paul’s post-Beatles work is a joy to explore. It is a treasure
chest of incredible music.
“His music feels
really fresh and relevant to me, not at all dated, a huge contrast to the
affable, aging persona I’ve been fed by the media.”
Exactly, and Paul’s post-Beatles story is very romantic and
relevant as well. Paul’s post-Beatles period hasn’t been significantly
romanticized or mythologized….yet.
The McCartneys themselves do a good job of it, but it hasn’t
taken hold in the popular imagination. Based on Paul’s “persona” as
it is portrayed in popular culture, one would think Paul spent his entire
post-break-up career pining for the Beatles and writing sub-standard but
commercially popular music rather than having inspired a whole other music
genre and created a goldmine of incredible music.
“Paul is my favorite
Beatle, but I’m not looking for media that overtly glorify Paul in relation to
his former bandmates. I just want to have historically factual, fair media that
pays respect to the people who have shaped my life and occasionally comforted
me with their art.”
Wouldn’t that be lovely! But it’s tough to find. It seems some of these biases
are so deeply ingrained and embedded in the Beatles story that it colors the
view of everything Paul-related. For example, what is this so-called “granny
music”? This isn’t even a thing! It’s not a genre, yet Paul’s music is
continually given this label. It’s time to stop letting John’s labels, which
were given in a fit of anger and defensiveness, define Paul and Paul’s music.
Again, there are some deep underlying assumptions in this fandom that need to
“And I don’t want to
feel like I should have to be ashamed of my enjoyment just because a group of
men found my appreciation vapid and aggravating, for one reason or another. That’s why I’ve so thoroughly enjoyed the
AKOM podcast: it feels like, in a room full of toxic men screaming at the top
of their lungs about nothing at all and demanding it become truth, that women
(and other varying genders) can still bravely sit down amidst it all, have tea,
and breathe some sanity into the stupidity. “
Ha! Well, we are thrilled to have inspired enjoyment and
relaxation with a good cup of tea! We understand the pleasure of not wanting to
constantly throw your cup at the speaker!
“Can’t wait for the next episode!!”
We hope you have enjoyed our latest episodes on the Break-up and LIB. We think we managed to challenge some deeply held believes and assumptions with our analysis.
Thanks again for the letter, we really enjoyed it! Please
continue to share your thoughts if you are inspired!
Diana and the AKOM Crew
Hello Listeners, if you are on Facebook, we have started a Facebook Group to utilize as a forum! It’s a place for our listeners to discuss the topics covered on our show and offer suggestions for future topics! We would love to have more interaction with our listeners and foster dynamic, interesting, and intelligent discussions, so please join us!
Hi there Anon asker! 🙂 We had to redact most of your ask not to reveal spoilers, but we wanted you to know we see you and we’re glad you liked it! 🙂 Thanks for reaching out to us, because we love to hear from our listeners!
A sentence in the first (I think) episode of your podcast really stuck out to me: “It’s not about kissing Paul’s ass, it’s about advocating for him”. YES!!!Our Tumblr asks
Hi and thank you so much for this! 🙂 We’re really glad you’re enjoying the show! And yes, we simply strive to talk about Paul in a different way than has become the norm, which is to give him the props he deserves!
I adore your podcast!!! Right now I’m listening to “If I ran away from you – Episode 1 Part 2” and I love with your interpretation of Hey Jude and of how Paul’s new relationship with Linda fits in the song! I never thought of that and it really makes sense!Our Tumblr asks
Thank you so much! 🙂 “Hey Jude” is a complicated song chock-full of layers. I love Phoebe and Diana’s analysis of it as well! Paul had so much going on in his life during that time and I love that they could see that “Hey Jude” is an amalgamation of everything he was facing!