Tuesday, March 18, 2008

May Pang's Book

Got May Pang's "Instamatic Karma". When I first opened the Amazon box, I thought, "Hmmm...kinda slim." But I did get it for 2/3rds the price since I pre-ordered, so I plunged ahead hoping for some new, candid shots.

My initial reaction was lukewarm, but after a week or so, I'm liking it more. It's got some great stuff:

The first one that caught my eye was a shot of J&P by the pool in LA. Paul is in his short-lived "second mustache" period. Remember that? It's not a great pic. Paul is covering his eyes from the sun, and John's face is obscured by a hat. But there's some interesting body language. Paul seems very relaxed while John appears a bit uptight. Legs crossed, hands covering his head. John being the introspective one, I imagine him wondering "How should I be with this guy? Friend, partner, enemy, prick...? All the above. And we came from nothing together and experienced something other people can only dream of. But it's weird hanging out with him."

While Paul, the regular fella, is probably just wondering when they're gonna jam and smoke some weed.

There's a happy pic of Ringo and Paul at the piano, reminiscent of the Let it be scene where they play a diddy together.

Another great one is a close-up of the document that officially dissolved the Beatles. Paul's signature is on top, followed by George, and Ringo's appears to be signed RStarkey. John is signing (he's on the "e" in "Lennon") and in another second the Beatles will be officially disbanded. He signed it while on vacation at Disney World. Ironic that the Beatles would end in the "happiest place on earth" which was created by a man who had as much of an impact on modern culture as the Beatles did.

There are some shots of John and friends in Calico, which is an old mining town between LA and Vegas. I actually went there as a kid (about seven years before John's visit) and loved it.

The funniest one was taken at Caesars Palace. It's one of those corny shots that gets taken by one of those photographers who cruise dining rooms and shows, trying to talk people into having their pciture taken. May still has them in the fake leather holder with a worn Caesars Palace logo.

But my favorite is one that doesn't have any people in it. It's inside Tower Records in LA, and shows a display promoting Walls and Bridges. The cool part is that it shows the record rack, and how Tower put the Beatles and solo Beatles records all in the same area.

You can see multiple copies of The Beatles Story and the American A Hard Day's Night (both long out of print in any format). Wish I could go inside that pic and grab a handful.

The Paul section is next to the Beatles' and has lots of Band on the Runs and Rams on hand, but the Wild Life section is mighty slim. George is next with racks full of his first three albums, then comes John's stuff, which you can't really see as it's at the edge of the pic.

It reminded me of how popular their solo albums were at the time (and records in general). Ram was three years old by then, but they must have 40 copies! And it's interesting to see the store's Beatles' pecking order circa 1974: Beatles/Paul/George/John/(and I assume) Ringo last. I wonder how many Sentimental Journeys they had in stock?

Get the book. Even though it's skinny, there are some cool things in there. Good job, May!


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