Still cool after all these years May 8 2003
Chris Brown, Daily Post
ALTHOUGH he is approaching 61 and his hair-roots speak of experience,
Sir Paul McCartney has regained his place as a true rocker with
gruelling tours of the USA and UK.
There were years of stodgy, middle of the road, ballads which peaked
with the 1984 number 3 chart hit The Frog Chorus: We All Stand
Together. But Sir Paul is enjoying a renaissance today, with everyone
from teenagers to pensioners clamouring for tickets for his Kings
But wait a moment. Doesn't Sir Paul give thumbs up every five
minutes? When he sings Jet it's impossible to put Alan Partridge's
interpretation of the song out of your mind.
Yet despite all this Sir Paul manages to pull off the near
impossible: He is cool. But how does he manage it?
NME writer Paul McNamee reviewed Sir Paul's Birmingham concert for
the music magazine.
He thinks the enduring appeal of the Beatles and the band's extensive
back catalogue has resulted in some die-hard fans, with new ones
discovering McCartney all the time.
"The truth is that Sir Paul is still cool with our readers because of
The Beatles. These songs are still great now and Macca has the skill
to be able to pull it off.
"I think that it might have been a little different if John Lennon
was alive today.
"I'm not saying that Macca is grateful that he's dead just that the
fans want to see these songs performed and this will probably be your
final chance. Helter Skelter and Hello Goodbye have just stood the
test of time.
"He might not look much like a rock star any more but when he sings
Can't Buy Me Love it is just as it was 30 years ago - incredible."
Sir Paul's look while on stage is an unusual one. He has been seen
wearing the classic early 60's Beatles cut suit but yet underneath
there is bright red long sleeve t-shirt. In Birmingham the suit
jacket was a radiant rouge coupled with black trousers.
It's a distinctive look but not one that is conventionally stylish.
Nick Smith knows about making pop stars look cool. He is a fashion
designer who has styled Geri Halliwell and So Solid Crew.
"Paul is a star because of where he came from and what he has
achieved. His style was never very revolutionary - even in the 60s,"
"HE DOESN'T really dress his age - which would be woolly jumpers and
slippers. He is a middle of the road dresser in a sort of reaction to
all his markets. He tries to appeal to as many people as
possible. "His music isn't cutting edge now and neither is his image.
But people don't care - he is an icon and doesn't need to brand
himself like the one hit wonders that come out today. They don't
really know who they are and so have to build up an image and cling
to it. Paul has already shown people what he can do and doesn't need
to worry about what he wears or looks like.
"At the end of the day it comes down to his music and people will
think he's cool as long as they still like his tunes."
But what would the designer do to change Sir Paul's look?
"If I had him in front of me," Nick adds. "I don't think I would
change much about him. I'd maybe make him a bit more hip with a
trilby hat or subtle designer jewellery. I'd dress him with
The McCartney legacy still reverberates around the city. Business,
tourists and locals all feel proud that he came from Liverpool.
Every year 250,000 people arrive for the Mathew Street Festival to
celebrate what he and three of his friends managed to achieve thirty
JOHN MacCarfray, uses The Beatles in corporate training. Workers
answer a questionnaire to find out which one of the Fab Four they
most resemble and how that links to the office environment. Needless
to say he has got his tickets for the King's Dock show.
"I think that his coolness comes from how natural he is," he
explains. Despite everything that he has achieved he comes across as
being just a really normal person.
"People connect to that. His music is still very relevant to people
from all walks of life.
"In our course Paul is the person who is able to read the situation
the best. When you listen to his most recent stuff it still applies
to everyday life."
Whether you think it is only because of The Beatles, Sir Paul's
humanistic touch or the fact that he is cool simply because he is
Macca appears to be irrelevant.
For 30,000 people in a big tent in Liverpool next month this will be
one of the most important nights of their lives. The rest of the
world will just have to huff enviously and say, "I didn't want to go