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Sir Paul McCartney: Fame 'is a weight I'm happy to carry'

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Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney speaks to Today programme presenter Sarah Montague about his campaign Meat Free Monday and fame.

The campaign is being promoted through a new mobile phone application that allows users to read books, short stories and essays, including articles written by Sir Paul.

Sir Paul told the Today programme that the idea for Meat Free Monday came came about "with the UN saying that livestock is a bigger demon to global warning than the whole of the transport industry put together. This wasn't coming from a vegetarian society but the UN".

"So I wrote to Gordon Brown, the heads of countries and asked them what they thought of the idea. Since then it has caught on.... It's not a veggie idea, it's a planet idea."

While the campaign is taking hold on mobile phones, Sir Paul admits he prefers to read "actual books", "I'm not really techie at all and never have been".

Sir Paul reflected on song-writing today and whether some of The Beatles' classics would be as popular nowadays. "Those songs weren't about the time they were written, they were nostalgic," he said

"Penny Lane was about my childhood, Strawberry Fields was about John's childhood, Eleanor Rigby was about my childhood - meeting old ladies on the housing estate where I lived."

"I'm sure plenty of kids out there are writing very good things about out society," he added.

Sir Paul is highly involved in education in his home-town of Liverpool, and his newly re-furbished performing arts school has been very successful: "There is a great resurgence and rebuilding of Liverpool - its greater than its been for many years."

A young lad on one of the centre's projects described how he didn't realise he could have so much fun when there wasn't a victim, Sir Paul described how the comment was "chilling".

"To people like me it's like, oh my God. It would be easier to say I wish it was like it was when I was a kid, but things can't stay the same, times move.

"What was great was when you had one telephone under the stairs and when you weren't in, you weren't in and there wasn't even an answering machine. That was great. Now nobody has any time."

On his worldwide fame, Sir Paul commented that when the Beatles started out, "you were looking to be famous via being very talented, and working hard and coming up through the ranks."

"Now what's sold to them is they'll have security, a limo, it's this sort of modern package that I think is a little bit scary. I for one don't like all of that. I don't like limos."

He described fame as "a weight that I'm happy to carry."

"Fame can get pretty annoying but now I have rules, I've finally grown up and finally realised I've got rights. I'm happy to talk to people on a one to one human basis but the minute they turn me into this celebrity that I'm pretending not to be for that minute, I sort of say no, I'm not going to do that," he added.

"I will just go shopping or go to the movies on my own, and I like that. It is very much a balancing part of my life."


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