Paul the Octopus died yesterday. As the news spread of his passing, many folks spread jokes on Facebook and Twitter about using his carcass for a good batch of Calamari. Calamari is prepared from squid in most regions, as my dad pointed out.
Whether it was just chance, or Paul was really an “oracle Octopus”, the prediction record of the eight-legged creature was more accurate than many two-legged self-proclaimed psychics.
Paul’s predictions were designed so that he was presented with two boxes containing food in the form of a mussel, each box marked on the outside with the flag of a national football team in an upcoming match. His choice of which mussel to eat first was taken as indicating his prediction of a win for the country whose flag was on that box. These predictions were correct in four of Germany’s six Euro 2008 matches, and in all seven of their matches in the 2010 World Cup. He also correctly selected a win for Spain against the Netherlands in the World Cup Final on 11 July by eating the mussel in the box with the Spanish flag on it. His “predictions” were 100% (8/8) correct for the 2010 World Cup and 86% (12/14) correct overall. – Wikipedia
Anyway, when I heard of his passing, my mind shifted to The Beatles. I don’t know why my mind works this way, but it does. I started hearing “Octopus’s Garden” from the Abbey Road album in my head. The song was conceived while Ringo Starr was presented squid instead of fish,while on Peter Sellers’ boat in 1968. Later that day, as a related bit of trivia, the captain of the boat told him that octopuses “travel along the sea bed picking up stones and shiny objects with which to build gardens”.
I would say that I’m glad that Ringo’s order was flubbed that day. Call it synchronicity, or fate, if you’d like.
So, from there, I made a connection to the “Paul is Dead” rumour that circulated after the release of Abbey Road. According to fans, there was a plethora of evidence to support the rumor that Paul McCartney was killed in a car accident. One could hear messages like “I buried Paul” if the album was played backwards. There was even evidence from the album cover itself that were said to support these claims.
According to fans, McCartney had secretly been replaced by a look-alike Paul. Paul the Octopus has already been replaced by a look-alike octopus, also named Paul, but it is not a secret. However, in a strange twist, according to a Chinese film maker, there are assertions that Paul the Octopus died back in July, but his death was kept secret. He was replaced by a body double for the last three months. Read about the new “Paul is Dead” conspiracy theory at The Daily Mail.
“Paul is Dead” and it feels a little like Déjà vu.
Whether Paul the Octopus chose a great day to die, or it was chosen for him, yesterday’s date was very significant in Beatles history.
These are some of the things that The Beatles were up to on October 26th throughout the years, according to The Beatles Place.
1960 – The Beatles perform at the Kaiserkeller Club, Grosse Freiheit, Hamburg, West Germany.
1961 – The Beatles perform a lunchtime show at the Cavern Club, Liverpool.
1962 – The Beatles perform a lunchtime show at the Cavern Club, Liverpool. That night they perform at Public Hall, Preston, Lancashire, 30 miles northwest of Liverpool. Also appearing at this “Rock & Beat Spectacular” are Mike Berry, The Outlaws, and The Syd Munson Orchestra.
1963 – The Beatles perform at the Kungliga Tennishallen, Stockholm, Sweden. They play for two “houses.” The Beatles are second on the bill to the audience’s favorite, Joey Dee & the Starlighters although George Harrison is almost dragged off of the stage by enthusiastic fans.
1964 – The Beatles in the recording studio, Studio Two, EMI’s Abbey Road Studios, London. More recording for the “Beatles For Sale” album. Another break from their British tour spent in the studio. More recording for the “Beatles For Sale” album: “Honey Don’t” (5 takes); “What You’re Doing” (7 takes). They also record “Another Beatles Christmas Record,” to be mailed in December as a flexi-disc to Beatles Fan Club members.
1965 – The Beatles receive their M.B.E. medals from Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. The media give extensive coverage to the event, with The Beatles conducting a press conference at the Saville Theatre (where they will film the video clip for “Hello Goodbye” in late 1967). According to John Lennon, The Beatles smoked marijuana in one of the palace bathrooms to calm their nerves. None of the other Beatles has confirmed this.
Whether you loved Paul the Octopus or not, a creature is dead. Play Abbey Road, if you’ve got it. Or simply enjoy a good song from Abbey Road about an octopus, written as a result of a mixed-up lunch order.