As it happens, I was just reading about how Secretary of State Rex Tillerson waited until the last minute to confirm his attendance at a conference in Bonn, Germany, resulting in the American delegation staying at a third-rate hotel 20 miles out of town. This is what happens when you put amateurs in charge.

Likewise — and I promise you this is the only time I’ll make this comparison — when The Beatles impulsively decided to start filming Magical Mystery Tour, they failed to take into account that if you want to book a movie studio, you really need to do so more than a few days in advance. Notes Bob Spitz,

The Beatles had intended to spend another week filming sequences on a set at Shepperton Studios, outside the city, but in their haste to get under way they’d forgotten to book stage time there or anywhere else. Every soundstage within fifty miles was already reserved, many of them by Stanley Kubrick, who was in production making 2001: A Space Odyssey.

This is how they ended up filming at an abandoned air station in Maidstone, Kent all week.

It was at times like this that the absence of Brian Epstein’s organizational acumen was most acutely felt. Would he have been able to save Magical Mystery Tour, or even stop it from happening in the first place? Hard to say; the boys at this point were a group of beautiful young monsters with egos hugely inflated by all their success (with the possible exception of Ringo). Nobody could tell them much of anything, I don’t think.

The MMT debacle provided a necessary corrective to this hubris. Going to India probably helped a little too. But humility is hard, even for us regular people; how much harder for a Beatle?

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