McCartney, Twin Peaks, and the Queen


As I mentioned in the last entry, I’ve been devouring the DVDs of Twin Peaks, and today I reached the bonus features. A lot of cool facts and factoids there, but I was especially struck by one anecdote related by composer Angelo Badalamenti. It has the whiff of being perhaps apocryphal, but it’s at least true enough to be repeated here.

According to Badalamenti, he was hired to do an arrangement for Paul McCartney. As he was rehearsing the orchestra, McCartney pulled him aside and told him the story of a great disappointment in the ex-Beatle’s career.

Paul, it seems, had been invited to perform for the Queen of England at a birthday celebration at Buckingham Palace. He was asked to prepare 35 minutes of his best music, and so he rehearsed his band and was quite excited about the gig. Just before he was scheduled to go on, he was greeted by the queen, and the dialogue between them (as related by Badalamenti) went like this:

Queen: Oh Mr. McCartney, it was just so lovely to see you tonight.

Paul: Well, your highness, I am so delighted that you invited me to help celebrate your birthday. And I’m now going to perform for you 35 minutes of my best works.

Queen: Oh, Mr. McCartney, I’m sorry, but I can’t stay.

Paul: (crushed) But your highness….

Queen: Mr. McCartney, don’t you see? It’s five minutes of eight. I must go upstairs and watch Twin Peaks.

Catching up

I’ve been mainlining Twin Peaks this week after after stumbling upon a very reasonably priced copy of the complete boxed set. That may be part of what attracted me to the following news story on Reuters, which sounds like something Special Agent Cooper could really sink his teeth into:

Goat detained over armed robbery

LAGOS (Reuters) – Police in Nigeria are holding a goat on suspicion of attempted armed robbery.

Vigilantes took the black and white beast to the police saying it was an armed robber who had used black magic to transform himself into a goat to escape arrest after trying to steal a Mazda 323.

“The group of vigilante men came to report that while they were on patrol they saw some hoodlums attempting to rob a car. They pursued them. However one of them escaped while the other turned into a goat,” Kwara state police spokesman Tunde Mohammed told Reuters by telephone.

“We cannot confirm the story, but the goat is in our custody. We cannot base our information on something mystical. It is something that has to be proved scientifically, that a human being turned into a goat,” he said.

The linchpin sentence here, of course, is “We cannot confirm the story, but the goat is in our custody.” In other words, we are not completely buying the idea that one of the thieves transformed himself into a goat to evade capture, but we are holding on to the goat just in case. This displays a laudable combination of skepticism and open-mindedness that American law enforcement would do well to emulate.

Somehow this reminds me of my other favorite news story of the week, the increasingly entertaining spectacle surrounding the increasingly bizarre Rod Blagojevich. Everywhere you turn these days, B-Rod is there — reading poetry, comparing himself to Gandhi and Mandela, holding a press conference surrounded by an army of the disabled and disadvantaged, or launching into an extended, incomprehensible metaphor involving cowboys. He’s like some freakish combination of Richard Nixon, Muhammad Ali, and Colonel Kurtz. Big ups to Blago for standing up and creating this sideshow instead of slinking off into exile with his tail between legs. (Click here to read a lengthy appreciation by San Francisco’s own Phil Bronstein.)

If he ever does get convicted of anything, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him change into an animal to make his escape. Probably not a goat, though; maybe an otter, a fox, something like that. Or perhaps we’ll discover that he’s been possessed all this time by a “Bob”-like spirit (hidden in his hair, natch), who will abandon his host and leave behind the real Rod Blagojevich, shaken and wondering what the hell happened.

The headline said…


Bin Laden Challenges Obama in Tape.” And since I had just seen a news story about Obama’s love of basketball and plan to put an indoor court in the White House, just for a moment I thought OBL had challenged BHO to a game of one-on-one.

This would be an interesting matchup. Obama has the skills, the experience, and a sweet shooting touch, while I don’t know if Osama has ever touched a basketball before. But Bin Laden is a big guy with a long wingspan, and say what you will about him, I imagine he’s a pretty tenacious competitor. He’s not going to be afraid to bang underneath or to give a hard foul. Add Marv Albert as announcer and you have the makings of a great pay-per-view attraction.

R.I.P. Ricardo Montalban


I am saddened to learn of the death yesterday of Ricardo Montalban, by all accounts a class act. William Shatner was probably not at his bedside in a Starfleet uniform, and his last words were probably not “From hell’s heart, I stab at thee. For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee.” But I prefer to picture it that way.

And considering his diverse and accomplished career, he’d probably be annoyed at my fantasy of him walking through the gates of heaven saying “Smiles, everyone, smiles!” But still — I prefer to picture it that way.