The Plastic Ono Band’s “Cold Turkey” was released in Europe today (it had come out four days previously in the U.S.). The cover art (that’s the French version above) was rather ghoulish, befitting both the season and the subject matter.

Although apparently there is some dispute about the latter. Says the Wikipedia:

Lennon’s personal assistant in the late 1970s, Fred Seaman, claimed… that Lennon confided in him that the song was actually about a severe case of food poisoning suffered by John and Yoko after eating Christmas leftovers “cold turkey.” Lennon thought people would laugh at him if they knew the truth about the song’s origin, so he said it was inspired by his recent heroin withdrawal.

This seems dubious, not least because the song had been recorded in September, and there’s no indication that it had been sitting around for any length of time before that. But I am amused by the idea of Lennon writing a song about eating spoiled leftovers, then pretending it was about heroin to protect his street cred.

Meanwhile, the Apple press office had started sending reporters up to Paul’s farm in Scotland so they could witness his vertical orientation with their own eyes. Today it was the BBC’s Chris Drake, who elicited from Paul this statement:

If the conclusion you reach is that I’m dead, then you’re wrong, because I’m alive and living in Scotland.

But the rumors of Paul’s death proved damnably hard to squelch, prompting this exchange recounted in The Longest Cocktail Party:

The House Hippie: It’s still going on.

The Debonair Drug Aficionado: But it has to drown itself sooner or later. I mean it just can’t go on like this. I can’t believe [Detroit DJ and Paul-is-dead-theory promoter] Russ Gibbs. He comes in here and makes a a half-hearted apology for his part in the pop guignol and as soon as he sees how civil a reception he’s receiving he drops the apologies and starts in with his requests for interviews with the other Beatles, the ones who are still alive and well and kicking around this building.

THH: There’s so little else going on in the world at the moment, that Life magazine sent a team up to Paul’s farm in Scotland and it’s this week’s cover story.

TDDA: And that’s the heart of the matter… he hasn’t given any interviews for almost a year now and there was no way his public could get to him as he stepped further and further back and away from it all. They couldn’t accept that. They didn’t think it was right he was taking so much time out for self-reflection. So they said, “All right, you’re dead! You don’t really exist anymore. You’re just an amorphous memory now of someone who once played electric bass with The Beatles pop group from Liverpool….” The demented public gets very ornery when it’s denied its meat….

So as the calls keep coming, that leads us into our next and hopefully final statement: “Paul McCartney is alive. He says so. His wife says so, his children show he is. The recent photos confirm it, the new songs make it concrete and the very fact that he is alive should be enough…”

If that doesn’t work then we’ll start our own rumor that the public is dead from the neck up and they’ve been using a stand-in facsimile of a brain for the past three and a half years and then sit back and see who denies it.