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"I think he is a very good songwriter"
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Wednesday, 21 March, 2001, 20:38 GMT
Poetic McCartney takes a bow
Adrian Mitchell, Willy Russell, Sir Paul McCartney and Tom Pickard
Sir Paul on stage on Wednesday night
Sir Paul McCartney has made his debut as a performance poet in his home city of Liverpool.

The former Beatle was reading excerpts from his first anthology, Blackbird Singing, in front of an audience of 400 at the city's Everyman Theatre.

Earlier, he was mobbed by fans as he signed copied of his anthology.

Sir Paul McCartney meets fans in Liverpool
Sir Paul meets his fans
He admitted to a dose of first night nerves before the performance, alongside playwright Willy Russell, the Blackbird singing's editor Adrian Mitchell, and Newcastle poet Tom Pickard.

"I'm just going to wing as usual. I am used to standing with a guitar in front of me, so we will see. I am going to be naked."

A crowd of around 3,000 fans queued for signed copies of Blackbird Singing at a city centre book seller earlier on Wednesday.

Some fans braved the bitter cold for hours to secure their places at the head of the signing queue.

Sir Paul took up writing eight years ago following the death of a friend but has never before performed them in public.

I lost my wife
She lost her life
Until then
The luxury
Of no responsibility
Chopper wouldn't
Fall that night
As, clenched inside a glove
We sucked
Each others energy

A poem by Sir Paul McCartney

Cavern Club

Sir Paul, whose wife Linda died in 1998, declined invitations to read at the Royal National Theatre in London and at the Los Angeles Festival in favour of Merseyside.

In December 1999, he returned for a solo gig at the Cavern Club in Liverpool where his career with The Beatles took off.

He said: "The only time I ever wrote a poem at school was to try and get one published in the school magazine.

"I entered it and it was rejected - so after that I got into writing songs instead."

An overcome fan
A fan is overcome meeting his idol

It was in 1993 that he was inspired to try his hand again after his close friend Ivan Vaughan died.

Vaughan introduced Sir Paul to John Lennon.

"Ivan was my best friend from my school days and when he died that started me off writing poetry.

"Instead of writing a song I felt that this was the time to write a poem. It felt appropriate."

Sir Paul will deliver another reading in New York in April.

I'm just one of those people who jumps into black holes and does things like this

Sir Paul McCartney
He said: "I'm interested to hear what people think of my poetry. But I don't take me very seriously.

"If we get some giggles I don't mind.

"I'm just one of those people who jumps into black holes and does things like this."

He already has a fan in Kate Byrlska, 33, who flew from Poland to queue for the book signing, arriving at 0530GMT on Tuesday for the Wednesday lunchtime appearance.

She said: "I love Paul McCartney - I cannot stop shaking and can't wait to see him.

"It began snowing last night and it was very cold - the same as my home country.

"I've looked at his poems and some of them are very moving."

Sir Paul has also been painting for the past 20 years, but only went public with an exhibition in Germany in May 1999 followed by shows in London and New York.

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See also:

29 Sep 00 | Entertainment
McCartney art makes UK debut
22 Nov 00 | Entertainment
McCartney richest man in rock
27 Jan 00 | Entertainment
Sir Paul praises Linda's 'goodness'
30 Apr 99 | Entertainment
Sir Paul gets arty
15 Feb 01 | Entertainment
McCartney bares soul in US film
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