Today Paul McCartney sat down for an interview that would later be broadcast on a BBC TV show called Scene at 6:30. The episode, which focused on the burgeoning counterculture, was subtitled “It’s So Far Out It’s Straight Down.” This is an early example of what would become a common 60s genre, where the media tries and fails to explain to a confused and frightened older generation just what the hell the kids are up to now. Have a look:

And here’s a longer clip of Paul’s interview:

Paul, let’s be honest, is not exactly the most articulate spokesman for his generation. He speaks in vague generalities and seems to be repeatedly trying to explain a point that eludes him every time. But to be fair, he’s clearly on the right side — that of, like, personal freedom and all that good stuff — which makes me feel bad for recently implying that Paul was something of a reactionary. In truth, he was a complicated case at this point in time — writing a rooty-tooty number like “When I’m 64” one day, turning around and letting loose with the whacked-out psychedelic experiment “Carnival of Light” the next. In a sense he is not so far from Syd Barrett, who can also be heard in “It’s So Far Out It’s Straight Down”; Syd, too, mixed a twee side with his explorations at the frontiers of mind expansion, but he always will be cooler (maybe because he flamed out so quickly).

If this were a Beatles biopic, while Paul’s wearing a suit and talking politely if somewhat incoherently into a TV camera, John would be sitting in front of a piano at home plunking out the melody to “A Day in the Life” (which will be the subject of tomorrow’s post). That’s probably not how it happened, but it makes a good segue.

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