Today marked the beginning of one of the more amusing episodes in Beatles history: their quixotic quest to find a Greek island on which they could live together in Utopian splendor. The idea, apparently, was John’s:

We’re all going to live there, perhaps forever, just coming home for visits. Or it might just be six months a year. It’ll be fantastic, all on our own on this island. There [will be] some little houses which we’ll do up and knock together and live communally.

This is interesting in light of the fact that John was already kind of sick of being a Beatle … perhaps he thought it would be different on a private island, away from the pressures of the outside world? And of course, it would be a fantastic place to take drugs, complete with orchards, a dome of iron and glass, meditation areas, recording and painting studios, and a go-kart track.

John may not have come up with the idea entirely on his own. During this period he was much under the influence of Alexis “Magic Alex” Mardas, the Greek TV repairman and pseudo-scientist whom John had recently introduced to the other Beatles as his “new guru.” According to Bob Spitz,

Taking advantage of John’s susceptible condition and deepest anxieties, Alex concocted … mystical enthusiasms designed to tantalize his new disciple. He was working on a telephone, he said, that responded to voice recognition and identified incoming callers. There was a substance he was secretly developing that would enable him to build a force field around their homes, another that prevented anyone from rear-ending a car, an X-ray camera, invisible beams, wallpaper speakers. “Magic Alex invented invisible paint,” according to Ringo.

It was on this particular Wednesday that the four Beatles reconvened after some time apart to discuss the Magical Mystery Tour project, and the possibility of taking a trip to Greece to look for an island to buy came up. Them being who they were, both of these things did indeed come to pass, though neither one of them turned out to be quite what was hoped.

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