October 18th, 2010

reading

Weekend Reading: Rock Stars, Spies and Detectives

Girls! Whatever you do, don’t marry a rock star. Even better, don’t marry two. Pattie Boyd,


Getty Images Pattie Boyd in 1964

as recounted in Wonderful Today by Pattie Boyd with Penny Junor, spent first her childhood and then two marriages with controlling people who she felt didn’t love her enough and eventually abandoned her. Naturally what everyone wants to know is, what was it like being married to George Harrison? Great at first, then not so good when he started spending most of his time in his recording studio or chanting for hours on end, is the answer. Poor little lonely rich girl in her great big house! Then Eric Clapton became obsessed with her and she eventually left George for him, a decision she later questioned.

For a person who inspired Something, Layla and Wonderful Tonight, Pattie doesn’t seem very interested in music. She says herself that when she first met the Beatles (on the set of A Hard Day’s Night) she’d never listened to their records. WAGs were not allowed to tour with the Beatles but later she’d stand in the wings at Clapton’s concerts, feeling proud. When she wasn’t worrying about whether he’d be able to stand up, that is. Honestly, it’s a miracle (and jolly unfair) that the self-destructive genius is still alive. I suppose people react differently to wealth and fame and in Eric’s case it seems to have divorced him completely from reality. When Pattie left him and found herself alone for the first time in years, she claims not to have known that she had to buy a television licence, or how to tax her car. Well, duh. Then she felt poor (not too poor to buy a beach in Sri Lanka or travel all over the world when she fancied) and useless, until she turned herself back into being Pattie Boyd rather than Mrs Harrison or Mrs Clapton.

A strange book. The ‘London in the sixties’ pages could have been cut and pasted from any other book about the era. Considering the life she led, it could have been a lot more interesting. The story awaits another writer, preferably one who really appreciates the music.
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