Grumpy Old Men, Adult Contemporary Edition
This week we had Supermodel Sh-t and of course we are always interested in Girl Sh-t and Boy Sh-t and Sibling Sh-t. But Aging-Rockstars-Who-Transitioned-To-Adult-Contemporary Sh-t? I’ll take it!
The setup: in 2002, Phil asked Paul for an autograph. It went downhill from there, and I don’t know if Paul was actually mocking him or if Phil – who readily admits he is insecure and wants to be liked – took offense from a simple chat, but here is one side of the story:
“I’ve got to preface this by saying McCartney was one of my heroes,” he says, when prodded. “But he has this thing when he’s talking to you, where he makes you feel …[putting on a condescending Scouse accent] ‘I know this must be hard for you, because I’m a Beatle. I’m Paul McCartney and it must be very hard for you to actually be holding a conversation with me.’ I met him when I was working at the Buckingham Palace party at the palace thing back in 2002. McCartney came up with Heather Mills and I had a first edition of The Beatles by Hunter Davies and I said, ‘Hey Paul, do you mind signing this for me?’ And he said, ‘Oh Heather, our little Phil’s a bit of a Beatles fan.’ And I thought, ‘You f*ck, you f*ck.’ Never forgot it.”
Now everyone is calling this a feud. I’m not sure if it can be considered a feud – it seems pretty one-sided and I doubt that Paul will respond. Basically, Phil got snubbed and has carried a grudge for 14 years. That’s amazing, but in the context of the interview the story is even better.
Unfortunately, there is a paywall (but if you have a minute to sign up for the free articles, I highly recommend it) because Phil is a High Class Curmudgeon. These days he sulks around his Miami mansion (once owned by JLo), complaining about the humidity and fussing over the photographer moving his patio furniture. It’s been years since his last hit, and he knows he was never a hip musician like McCartney (Lainey: before he started accepting invitations to play at anything) or Mick; as the writer points out, Phil’s catalogue is “music for minicab drivers.” He doesn’t have the kitsch appeal of Rick Astley or the stamina and showmanship of Elton John. Noel Gallagher called him the anti-Christ. (Oh relax, Noel.)
Putting aside music, Phil actually has a few things in common with his floppy haired nemesis. According to this article, “he is reportedly one of only three artists to have sold more than 100m records both as a solo artist and as part of a band (the others being Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney).” Coincidentally, Paul also feuded with MJ.
Phil also had a massive divorce settlement, the biggest in Britain at the time, with his ex Orianne (with whom he has now reconciled, hence his move to JLo’s former home). In 2008, Paul paid his ex Heather Mills £24.3m; that same year Phil and Orianne finalized their divorce for £25m.
Speaking of Heather Mills, she was present at this (alleged) snubbing. And I know it would be easy to blame her because of her reputation for being awful, but come on. Is it that hard to imagine Paul McCartney taking the piss out of Su-su-sussudio guy? That he would snicker as Phil pulled out his first edition book for signing? It’s Paul McCartney. Paul McCartney has been extremely famous for most of his life. Not just famous but unanimously revered and worshiped. Have you ever tried to tell someone you don’t like The Beatles? Good luck. (Lainey: it’s actually worse when you tell them you’re not that big on the Rolling Stones. You comin’ for me now?)
And I wonder if that’s what annoys Phil. Not just Paul’s TONE (because obviously, there was a tone!) but that Paul is into his seventies and still gets to be the rock star adored by Dave Grohl, the one who makes the crowd lose their sh-t at secret shows, the one who collaborates with Kanye and Rihanna. Meanwhile, Phil is plagued with physical ailments and his music is like a warm blanket you only use when you are alone because it has holes and the pattern is really ugly.
But it’s 2016 – why not Phil? We are in the era of the musical comeback! (Or at least the era of Vegas residencies.) Is he due for an Against All Odds (see what I did there?!) renaissance?
He’s working on a tour and was eager to collaborate with Adele, who has called him “such a genius” (TAKE THAT PAUL). He seems ready to take on more projects and as the writer notes, the only time he “cracks a proper smile” during the interview is when he’s talking sh-t about Paul McCartney. Maybe he’s ready to be back in the mix. Behind the treacly Disney songs and ballads, Phil will cut a bitch. Su-su-sussudio that mother-cker. Phil Collins is actually kind of fun. Who knew?