Special Edition: John and Paul
A Brief Note On Something To Look Forward To
We’re approaching the two-year anniversary of The Ruffian’s paid tier, which roughly coincides with the date I signed a deal for a new book.
In fact, The Ruffian is deeply intertwined with John and Paul: A Love Story In Songs. The book sprang from a long piece that I wrote about McCartney on here, back in 2020, as kind of lockdown project. It went so insanely and unexpectedly viral that I started to think, huh, what if…? I’d already been thinking, vaguely, of a book about the two of them, but it was the response to that piece that suddenly made it seem viable.
What was striking about it is that people who didn’t know much about the Beatles found the piece fascinating, and people who knew an awful lot - more than me - judged it to be saying something new. I got a similar response to my piece on Peter Jackson’s Get Back, also published on here. All of which made me more confident that I could add something new and valuable to the already copious Beatles literature.
I’m now in the last stages of writing John and Paul and I’m pretty pleased with how it’s turning out. It’s been a massive undertaking. Without income from The Ruffian’s paid tier, I simply wouldn’t have had enough time to do this story justice. So thank you, in particular, paid subscribers. (This is not intended as passive-aggressive shade thrown at free subscribers, it just sounds that way).
All being well, John and Paul will be published around October next year. Yes, that’s right, just as the world is quaking at the prospect of a second Trump presidency and craving distraction. It’s like we planned it.
I know many of you have subscription renewals coming up, and that others are considering going paid. If you’re interested in this book and its topic, here is yet another reason to take out a sub. Paid subscribers will get exclusive John and Paul-related content in 2024. I’m not sure what it will be yet - it could be material I couldn’t fit into the book, it could be thoughts on the writing of it, it might even be pre-publication extracts, we’ll see, but it will be good.
And for those who have a Founding Member/God Tier subscription (i.e. £72 per year) I can promise a signed copy before publication, on request.
Meanwhile, those of you with a New York Times subscription can read a preview of some of the book’s themes. I was delighted to be asked to write a guest essay on the new Beatles release, Now and Then, for Sunday’s paper. Of course, I looked at it from the perspective of J&P:
A funny thing about writing for the NYT (as I discovered - this is my debut!) is that the house style is to give everyone their honorific - hence “Mr Lennon and Mr McCartney”. I’m thinking about renaming my book now (joke).
The response to this article - on social media, via email, and in the comments - has been wonderful. The Beatles mean so much to so many. Here’s one of my favourite responses, from Mr Charles Kelley of New Hampshire:
I was nine years old and in 4th grade, recovering from the Kennedy assassination, when the Beatle’s took hold of my life in a way nothing else has ever done before of since. Even now at 69 years old, I find myself no less in thrall, devouring Peter Jackson’s "Get Back” as well as Paul McCartney’s 3-2-1 conversations as the latest supplement to my collection of Beatle’s recordings and memories.
This life long attachment has always been a mystery to me. There are many artists whose music I love passionately, but who have never taken hold of the deepest parts of me in this way. Why the Beatles?
To say that your essay was an “aha” moment would be an understatement and trite. But thinking about their music as the expression of a love story, one formed in music and grounded in the kind of deep and vibrant friendship we all yearn for for in life, helped me understand why the Beatles were vital to my life in 1964, and continue to be vital in my life in 2023. The love story you tell is the key that has unlocked the door for me.
Thank you so very much.
In the NYT article I didn’t really get into what I think about the song itself. I’ve put my thoughts on it below the fold...
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