This is the second one I've posted in twenty-four hours. Another scene I'd felt a curiosity about, and very much in line with Gap Filler # 1. This is a bit of silliness, more than anything. :-)
The next update shall come in a few days. As always, comments are most appreciated!
The wind had whipped my cheeks as I’d followed Richie and Mo onto the roof, Billy Preston comin’ up behind me. Steppin’ out into the grey London afternoon, I’d pulled me heavy wool coat ‘round me tightly as I’d stepped over cables and had gone ‘bout duckin’ under a metal beam, the sound of my boot heels knockin’ as they’d connected with the floor. I’d felt the movement under me feet as Paulie’d gone ‘bout jumping straight up and down on the wooden planks of the roof, as if testin’ that they wouldn’t give halfway through what’d been our first live performance in two and a half years.
Dark hair movin’ this way and that over me face, I’d pulled the strap of my guitar over my shoulder as I’d moved to stand closest to the amp by Ringo and Billy Preston, the callused pads of me fingers fittin’ comfortably over the frets, strummin’ each string with my thumb on one hand, while I’d tuned it the other. “I should’ve brought a scarf,” I’d said out loud to meself miserably as I’d felt the cold January wind all the way to me bones.
“You doin’ ok, Liz?” I’d heard Billy ask me in that warm American way of his. I’d overheard Richie yellin’ somethin’ at Mal ‘bout his kit bein’ in the wrong place or sommat.
“I’m alright, thanks. How are you, Billy? It’s bloody freezin’ up here!” I’d laughed as I’d looked over my shoulder at him.
Billy had laughed, “Doin’ good, honey. Doin’ real good.”
“Well whatever’s got ya feelin’ that good you’ve gotta stop holdin’ out on, mate.” He’d chuckled loudly, a big smile coverin’ his face. Exchangin’ a grin with Richie who’d looked quite dapper and flash Mo’s red coast, I’d waited for Paulie to count us in. George’d caught my eye for a second before sendin’ me the flash of a smile seconds from where he’d been off to the other side. I’d winked at him just as I’d caught Paulie’s foot start tappin’ against the wooden planks.
“1..2...3...4!” And we’d gone straight into Get Back. My fingers had dug into the frets, and I’d felt the strong vibrations of the music comin’ from the amp against the back of me legs. With each slide of my hand up the neck of the guitar, my entire body had moved, shoulders dippin’ with each downward movement – as much ‘cos of the music as tryin’ to not freeze to death up there. I’d watched the back of Paul’s head movin’ this way and that as he’d sung, his voice soarin’ over into the cold mornin’ ear, the cuff of his shirt bright against his black suit. I’d tried not to giggle as I’d instantly remembered havin’ watched him do that countless times before, shakin’ his moptop – that wasn’t quite a moptop anymore, he looked more like a mountain man than anythin’ – for the prepubescent girls who’d come to hear us play durin’ our first tour of the states.
Within minutes of startin’ the impromptu set atop the roof of our Saville Row offices, I’d looked out onto the London skyline, and saw the growin’ number of people who’d climbed to the top of their own roofs all ‘round, tryin’ to catch a look of us up there: John in that fur coat big enough that you’d almost worry it wasn’t set to open up its claws to gobble ye up, brown hair loos ‘round his shoulder, granny specs hangin’ off the end of his nose, Paulie lookin’ quite put together in a button up and black suit, my George with his longish black hair in a black coat that’d make anyone confuse him for one of those massive black bears I’d heard roamed through the states from the back – if it hadn’t been for the pea green trouser he’d currently been sportin’, Richie in Mo’s red coat, and then me in and old wool coat and my favourite tweed trousers. Gone had been the days of wearin’ matchin’ polyester suits!
When we’d decided to take to the roof, the plan had been to play ‘til the constables arrived to shut us down. “We’ve got to stick it to ‘em,” John had said before he’d taken a drag of his cigarettes. He’d recently been busted for possession of hash, and whatever opinion he’d had of ‘em had soured considerably. Little had I known then that less than two months later George would get busted for dope at our house in Esher while I’d been away visitin’ me dad.
After havin’ been unable to come up with a venue we could perform the blasted thing at – Paulie wantin’ to hit a small club, John goin’ on ‘bout playin’ at a loony bin, and Richie bein’ emphatically opposed to leavin’ Britain, we’d arrived at an impasse and decided to just have it off on top of the Apple headquarters. I’d gathered we’d have continued playin’ until the bloody cows came home, or until one of us got fed up with standin’ about in the bloody cold, until the fuckin’ law made an appearance.
We’d played a few songs of our set a few times over, as the documentary of the thing had shown, movin’ from Get Back to Don’t Let Me Down, to I’ve Got a Feeling where I’d joined John in playin’ the wicked descendin’ guitar rift (which he'd almost throttled Paulie over when we'd rehearsed it time and time again), after Paul’d had his chance to scream into his mic the way he’d loved to. Even though I’d particularly hated bein’ up there in the bleedin’ cold, even with all my spazin’ body movements that weren’t anything like the mad dancey thing Georgie’d had goin’ on, I’d had a rollickin’ good time playin’ bluesy music up there with ‘em.
When I’d looked out onto the skyline again, I’d seen that the number of people who’d been standin’ of their roofs watchin’ us play had grown considerably. I’d felt a wee shiver of pride at that, let me tell ye. Durin’ a brief break before Dig A Pony, I’d stolen a drag of Richie’s fag, feelin’ the nicotine coursin’ deliciously through my bloody as I’d exhaled the smoke the French way, gettin’ a laugh off of Billy in the process.
At some point I’d looked over me shoulder, and had seen that Mal had returned with two bobbies in tow who’d hovered near the doorway and then oddly enough moved nearer to the amp close to me. As soon as we’d caught sight of ‘em, I’d seen a few nervous grins bein’ tossed ‘round and we’d gone back into another round off Get Back. I hadn’t given a shit really, set on enjoyin’ meself even with I’d heard John and George’s amp cuttin’ out before they’d gotten back to it, from the smiles that covered their faces sayin’ loud and clear that they didn’t give a shit either.
Paulie'd started changin’ the words halfway through, uncarin’ with that shit-eatin’ cherubic smile on his face, goin’ on ‘bout ‘Loretta’ gettin’ arrested and the like. It’d been easy to forget while we’d played on top of that bloody freezin’ roof all the fuckin’ ugliness that’d been spreadin’ around us since we’d started recordin’ and bein’ hounded by the fuckin’ camera crew. For almost forty-five minutes it’d been like the old days, and I hadn’t known just how much I’d missed the days where we’d done nothin’ but take the mickey out of each other, let each other have it, and just sit ‘round playin’ our music.
As Richie’d rattled off an endin’ on his kit, the music had come to a finish and John had approached the mic to give one of his classic tongue-in-cheek lines. I’d heard the loud cheers and clappin’ as I’d pulled the strap off of my shoulder, I’d leaned over towards Richie again and had taken another drag of his cigarette before returnin’ it to him, both of us turnin’ to look at the constables still hoverin’ around.
“Just so ya know, I ain’t payin’ to get ya out,” I’d said to Paul, lookin’ over at the two bobbies Mal was talkin’ to, when he’d come over to give us a bit of a one-armed hug. He’d played at givin’ me a stricken look before turnin’ to Billy.
“My own flesh and blood, I tell you!”
“Families are always the worst,” Billy had laughed agreeably, a wry smile on his face, “I feel for you, man.”
“He’ll be ok, Billy. Paul’s quite pretty ya know, I’m sure he’ll find hisself a nice boyfriend in no time!! I’m sure they won’t mind the small furry animal currently takin’ residence on his face!” I’d laughed at the grimace that had covered my brother’s face while both Billy and Richie’d started laughin’ hard enough to hack up a lung.
“You’re a nasty piece of a work, did I ever tell you that?” Paul had asked with a shake of his head, but I’d heard in the humour in his voice. He’d soon thereafter gone off to join up with Mal; by the look of things, we’d obviously not been in danger of bein’ arrested and dragged off on the back of a black lorry. Much as John may’ve wanted that.
Less than a minute later, I’d been attacked by what I’d thought be a vicious black animal that I’d realised a split second later had only been George’s arm which he’d come to wrap tightly ‘bout me shoulders. Bloody hell, he’d been so warm, and havin’ been the leech of warmth anyone could’ve told you I was (especially Paulie whom I’d exploited without remorse durin’ our young days), I’d turned into him, and wrapped me arms tight 'round his waist while he'd pulled the black monstrosity over us. I’d been of mind to ask him if he hadn’t walked into a taxidermists’ shop for a laugh and was goin’ around callin’ it a coat.
“We should’ve gone to bloody Bermuda. What I wouldn’t give for a half coconut shell filled with rum, wee umbrella hangin’ around!” I’d felt rather than seen the exasperated shake of his head.
“You were great!” I’d heard George call to Billy, feelin’ the words vibratin’ in his throat.
“You were too, man! You and your missus were brilliant.” I’d felt George’s laughter against the tip of my nose which’d I’d buried in his collar bone. Minutes later I’d heard him tellin’ Billy and Richie he’d see ‘em both inside and just as he’d been set to move me from my comfortable position, I’d muttered loudly, “I’m cold, Georgie. Have a heart for your poor, poor wife.”
“You bloody heat leech. I should leave ya to freeze yer arse off as you deserve for usin’ me so!” Instead of followin’ through on the cruelty of his words, he’d continued to hold me tightly and then muttered, “Right.” He’d tapped the edge of my right boot with one of his Chuck Taylors.
“What’re you on about?” I’d muttered, unable to see any of the outside world for his thick black coat.
“Well if we’re goin’ to get back inside, and since ye’ve decided to use me person as your personal heat machine, you’d best walk backwards or else we’ll be here all day and you know Paul won’t take too kindly to that.”
And so ignorin’ the laughter that we brought on us, me probably lookin’ like a daft git, I’d walked backwards with him directin’ my movement, “Right leg – watch your step – now left, mind you don't step on me toes.” Eventually we’d made it over to the door, somehow avoidin’ me endin’ up with any serious injuries, and sharin’ a giggle with each step as he threatened to let me fall over me feet, I’d finally unwrapped my arms once we’d crossed the doorway.
“Daft girl,” George had whispered into my ear before he’d let me go. I’d just been ‘bout to wrespond with somethin’ terribly witty when John had moved past, lookin’ at both of us with a playful smile on his face.
“Get a move on, children. Musn’t keep Macca waiting!” He’d turned on his heel headed down the corridor with a maniacal laugh and his black-haired shadow had followed without a word. George had wrapped an arm ‘round my shoulders and together we’d headed downstairs, leavin’ the rooftop behind. None of us had known the favourite that scene would become, but I’d known as we’d reached the foot of the stairs and had been about to return to the studio where I’d caught sight of Paul sittin’ at the piano with Linda’s daughter, Heather, that for the first time in a long time, it’d been really great to play like that with ‘em again.
Little had we known it would be very last time either, but bein’ as it’d been, we’d definitely gone out with a bang.