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no position to avoid the ear-perforating sound. "It's 23 years since the shoot and, to tell you the truth, what I can remember most about it today is the earth-shattering noise," he says. "It's only a very small cinema at the ICA and Wings produced quite a sound. They had what I gather was a typical live rig, and I seem to remember trying to film them through the projection port at one stage, just to get away from the front of stage. We were at the ICA only one day but I couldn't hear well for at least two weeks afterwards." Club Sandwich 74
            Wearing a fashionable (honest, it was) woollen tank-top, shod in sneakers and fingering a four-string Rickenbacker bass, Paul brought 'Lucille' to end in his customary rave manner, and then led the band into 'The Mess', one of the more obscure, certainly the most disjointed, of McCartney song releases. (No studio version has ever been issued, and the world has to thank a live recording taped in Holland and released on the B-side of the 'My Love' single for knowing it.) This ICA rehearsal version didn't get very far before Paul brought it to a shuddering halt, though. "Wait a minute, wait a minute," he urged fellow Wings members. "Let's all c-o-o-l down a little. We're all a little excited and it's a bit too fast. Let's just sit back...and forget them." ("Them", here, meant the film cameras - Paul was instructing Wings to imagine that the film crew wasn't present and play it like they had the day before.) Several takes of 'The Mess' were captured on film during this day, not all of them complete, and not without further positive encouragement from Paul to the band that they could "do it better".
            New songs? Wings were full of them at this time, Paul having decided to leave out the small matter of some 200+ Beatles recordings from his repertoire in order to, a) not re-tread old ground, and, b) give the new band a chance to build a canon of its own with which to blast the concert audiences. 'Seaside Woman' was very new, Linda having been inspired to compose her first song during the McCartneys' pre-Christmas 1971 holiday in Jamaica. Only three years earlier she had been a New York-based photographer, now she was composer, singer and keyboardist in a hot rock combo - and, in the ICA footage at least, looking surprisingly at ease in her new guise. The available film includes two takes of 'Seaside Woman', possibly the only time that a band performance of it has been shot.
            Not that the ICA film is always so eventful. Being a rehearsal session, there's plenty of between-songs idleness, long shots of cigarettes being pulled and Cokes being drunk, roadies moving amps and drums and some fairly shaky camera work as Phil Mottram, moving as he filmed, bumped into people and pieces of equipment. There's a brief jam session at one point featuring Denny Laine picking at his guitar whilst lying flat on the floor, Linda shaking a tambourine and Paul playing the drums, but, truth be told, it doesn't amount to much.
            But there are other surprises too: 'Bip Bop', a nice enough track from the Wild Life album which even Paul has since admitted he "didn't really finish off", comes across well in the ICA film, and there are some newly-arranged backing "oh-oh-oh"s behind Paul's lead vocal on 'Wild Life', in which, also, Paul deliberately sings the word "aminals" at one point, as he did on the record.
            Perhaps the most interesting bit of the film occurs near the end, though, as Paul leads the band into a rehearsal of'My Love'. Familiar to us again now following its popular revival on the New World Tour, the song is all of 22 years old, having been first issued in 1973. In 1972, then, using great powers of deduction, it must have been minus one, and was therefore something of a work-in-progress. Paul has since told the story of how, in the studio recording, with an orchestra waiting to strike up, guitarist Henry suddenly asked if he could change the long-arranged solo, duly going on to produce a stirring piece of playing that graced this already graceful McCartney ballad. The ICA film proves what the instrumental break originally sounded like. In fact, this February 1972 performance was one of Henry's first ever stabs at the number, which explains why, in the film, Paul can be seen asking him, before they started, "How do you feel on 'My Love'?" The answer is that Henry coped OK, sort of.. .but there's little doubt that the studio version worked much better.
            After about 85 minutes of film, including a rough-n-ready version of 'Blue Moon Of Kentucky', done again by Paul in the Unplugged show of 1991, and a brief jam of 'Maybellene', the day's rehearsal was over. Gentleman McCartney helped his wife down off the high stage, looked into Phil Mottram's camera and mugged "It's been very nice being filmed today...thank you very much for having us."
            That said, the members of Wings went their separate ways until the morrow. Phil Mottram and Dick Spicer dismantled their equipment and went home, and the film, once it had been synced up, was consigned to the MPL vault for safe keeping. Roughly-produced papers stuck inside the film cans prove that someone has since viewed the material with an eye to its creative use, but this was evidently a long time ago because the notes are typed, with indentations made on the paper, and the machines that did this disappeared from modern offices some years ago.
            With the exception of a very brief extract from the performance of 'Lucille' that was included in the 1978 TV special Wings Over The World and the 1986 programme The Paul McCartney Special, the ICA footage remains unseen. It deserves better and maybe, just maybe, one day, it will reap those desserts.