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8 Things You Might Not Know About Paul McCartney

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Whether with The Beatles, Wings or solo, Paul McCartney has given us scores of classic songs that will live on through the ages, as long as music is enjoyed. Here are a few things you may not have known about Sir Paul McCartney, "The Cute One."

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1. He twice failed auditions to be a choir boy. Yes, the world's most popular singer flunked his choir boy auditions—not once, but twice. Paul claims that he deliberately tried to fail one of the auditions, because he didn't want to be a choir boy.

And yes, let's be fair—despite the two rejections, Paul did eventually become a choir boy at his church.

2. His voice cracked in his debut as a Beatle. Paul McCartney officially played his first gig as a member of The Quarrymen (the group that evolved into The Beatles) on October 18, 1957. The concert took place at the Conservative Club, and for Paul's first solo, he was (naturally) a bit nervous. His voice kept cracking, much to the gleeful delight and derisive laughter of bandmate John Lennon.

3. He was jailed in 1960 after lighting a condom on fire.

In 1960, The Beatles were playing in Hamburg, Germany, but after local complaints, the band was told to leave the country.

Paul and bandmate Pete Best were packing in a dark room and lit a condom to get some light. Accused of trying to set the building on fire, they were arrested by the local police and spent a few hours in jail before heading back to England.


4. He's an accomplished painter. In the past two decades, Paul has had over 70 of his paintings exhibited at the walker art gallery in his hometown of Liverpool.

5. Paul played to what's believed to be the largest paid audience in recorded history. In 1989, Paul played a solo concert to a crowd of 350,000-plus in Brazil.

6. He witnessed the 9/11 attacks. On September 11, 2001, Paul was on an airplane in New York City. He looked out the window and saw one of the planes crash into the Twin Towers. Paul said that after he got off the plane, he went right to a bar to get a drink.

7. Paul is an honorary detective with the NYPD. Paul was made an honorary detective by the NYPD after giving a charity concert for 9/11.

8. His first instrument was not a guitar. The first musical instrument Paul played was the trumpet. His first trumpet was a gift from his dad for his 14th birthday. But Paul soon traded the trumpet for a guitar. You can't sing while playing the trumpet.


Eddie Deezen has appeared in over 30 motion pictures, including Grease, WarGames, 1941, and The Polar Express. He's also been featured in several TV shows, including Magnum PI, The Facts of Life, and The Gong Show. And he's done thousands of voice-overs for radio and cartoons, such as Dexter's Laboratory and Family Guy. Eddie is a self-confessed Beatles nut and has read over 600 books on The Fab Four. This month, he'll be contributing a handful of Beatles stories to mentalfloss.com. Make him feel welcome!

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Noriyuki Saitoh
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Art
Japanese Artist Crafts Intricate Insects Using Bamboo
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Noriyuki Saitoh

Not everyone finds insects beautiful. Some people think of them as scary, disturbing, or downright disgusting. But when Japanese artist Noriyuki Saitoh looks at a discarded cicada shell or a feeding praying mantis, he sees inspiration for his next creation.

Saitoh’s sculptures, spotted over at Colossal, are crafted by hand from bamboo. He uses the natural material to make some incredibly lifelike pieces. In one example, three wasps perch on a piece of honeycomb. In another, two mating dragonflies create a heart shape with their abdomens.

The figures he creates aren’t meant to be exact replicas of real insects. Rather, Saitoh starts his process with a list of dimensions and allows room for creativity when fine-tuning the appearances. The sense of movement and level of detail he puts into each sculpture is what makes them look so convincing.

You can browse the artist’s work on his website or follow him on social media for more stunning samples from his portfolio.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

[h/t Colossal]

All images courtesy of Noriyuki Saitoh.

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History
P.G. Wodehouse's Exile from England
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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

You don’t get more British than Jeeves and Wooster. The P.G. Wodehouse characters are practically synonymous with elevenses and Pimm’s. But in 1947, their creator left England for the U.S. and never looked back.

Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, better known as P.G., was living in northern France and working on his latest Jeeves and Wooster novel, Joy in the Morning, when the Nazis came knocking. They occupied his estate for a period of time before shipping him off to an internment camp in Germany, which he later said he found pretty pleasant:

“Everybody seems to think a German internment camp must be a sort of torture chamber. It was really perfectly normal and ordinary. The camp had an extraordinarily nice commander, and we did all sorts of things, you know. We played cricket, that sort of thing. Of course, I was writing all the time.”

Wodehouse was there for 11 months before being suddenly released to a hotel in Berlin where a man from the German foreign office named Werner Plack was waiting to meet him. Wodehouse was somewhat acquainted with Plack from a stint in Hollywood, so finding him waiting didn't seem out of the ordinary. Plack advised Wodehouse to use his time in the internment camp to his advantage, and suggested writing a radio series about his experiences to be broadcast in America.

As Plack probably suspected, Wodehouse’s natural writing style meant that his broadcasts were light-hearted affairs about playing cricket and writing novels, This didn’t sit too well with the British, who believed Wodehouse was trying to downplay the horrors of the war. The writer was shocked when MI5 subjected him to questioning about the “propaganda” he wrote for the Germans. "I thought that people, hearing the talks, would admire me for having kept cheerful under difficult conditions," he told them in 1944. "I would like to conclude by saying that I never had any intention of assisting the enemy and that I have suffered a great deal of mental pain as the result of my action."

Wodehouse's contemporary George Orwell came to his aid, penning a 1945 an essay called “In Defense of P.G. Wodehouse." Sadly, it didn’t do much to sway public opinion. Though MI5 ultimately decided not to prosecute, it seemed that British citizens had already made up their minds, with some bookstores and libraries even removing all Wodehouse material from their shelves. Seeing the writing on the wall, the author and his wife packed up all of their belongings and moved to New York in 1947. They never went back to England.

But that’s not to say Wodehouse didn’t want to. In 1973, at the age of 91, he expressed interest in returning. “I’d certainly like to, but at my age it’s awfully difficult to get a move on. But I’d like to go back for a visit in the spring. They all seem to want me to go back. The trouble is that I’ve never flown. I suppose that would solve everything."

Unfortunately, he died of a heart attack before he could make the trip. But the author bore no ill will toward his native country. When The Paris Review interviewed Wodehouse in 1973, they asked if he resented the way he was treated by the English. “Oh, no, no, no. Nothing of that sort. The whole thing seems to have blown over now,” he said.  He was right—the Queen bestowed Wodehouse with a knighthood two months before his death, showing that all was forgiven.

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