The Beatles toured Australia in 1964. A couple of months before their arrive, Binny Lum made an interview in London with George, John and Ringo.
Here’s the interview and the transcript, courtesy of NFSA.
BL: I don’t expect anyone to believe this but I am actually with The Beatles.
JL: With the Beatles.
BL: In London.
JL: In London.
BL: This is my first trip to London.
GH: Do you like it?
BL: I certainly do. (accent) John
JL: Yes, Bernice?
BL: (laughs) John – you’ve written this book.
RS: It’s my book.
JL: Oh, that’s Ringo’s copy but I wrote it (unclear).
BL: (laughs) And tell me about this please John, because it says, “In His Own Write.” And this means quite something.
GH: He writed it himself you see.
JL: Wroted it. It’s wroted it it’s very higgorant. It’s comin’ out in Australia soon so get your copies or place your orders. So otherwise it’s meant to be funny, you see? It’s sort of some people say it’s funny. Some people say it’s rubbish but place your orders anyway.
GH: It’s funny rubbish. Funny rubbish.
JL: Very good. That’s George speaking.
GH: This is George speaking.
JL: That’s George.
GH: This is my first trip to London.
JL: Tha t’s rude that, George.
BL: Well, tell me your impressions of London, George.
GH: Yeah, well it’s very nice, you know? I thought there’d be more.
RS: It’s not as hot as Sydney.
GH: Yeah, it’s not as hot as Sydney but Dave was pretty cool, wasn’t he?
JL: Yeah, and Arthur is very hot I believe.
BL: Oh, Ringo I’ve just realised.
RS: Yeah, that’s me.
BL: I’ve got to show you something.
RS: It’s marvellous. I was looking at her actually.
GH: Yeah? Well, tell me what it is.
BL: I’m showing Ringo, yes.
JL: Chewing gum.
RS: What does it mean?
BL: It’s a dragon.
RS: Oh, yes. Oh, there it is now, yes.
GH: Where? There?
RS: Can’t you see it Georgie?
JL: They’re looking at the ring on Bernice’s hand at the moment. It’s a sort of green dragon
RS: It’s funny looking.
JL: on a gold thingy
RS: It’s like a dragon.
JL: on her left hand, the second finger from the little one. Have you got the picture cobber?
RS: What’s with all them charms you got on?
GH: Dragon? That’s not a dragon.
BL: What darling?
RS: You’ve got the charms, you know, around your neck.
BL: Around my neck. I haven’t got any charms
GH: That’s called a sweater.
RS: What do you call them?
JL: I call them you know Eric, Arthur, Bernice. (Altogether): Bernice. (laughs)
JL: Let’s get on with the interview then.
BL: I’ll tell you something. I haven’t any charms around my neck but Ringo is trying to get something placed somewhere. Now, what is it Ringo?
RS: I don’t know what they call the little green idols you wear.
JL: (accent) There’s a little yellow idol to the north of Kathmandu! (laughs) I give up!
BL: (laughs) I don’t. I’m having a ball. Now, tell me something.
JL: Time’s up. (laughs)
BL: How do you people manage to live? You cannot walk anywhere without people trying to tear you apart.
GH: Well, it’s like this Bernice
JL: That’s George speaking.
GH: (singing) ‘You’re up in an…(singing altogether) …aeroplane. You’re up in an airplane. You’re up in an aeroplane. You’re up in an airplane. You’re up in an aeroplane…”
RS: So that’s what (unclear) that’s about any of it that’s roughly my way.
GH: And that’s how yeah. I mean otherwise we could never carry on, could we?
(singing altogether) ‘We could never walk down the street before. We could never walk down the street before. We could never walk down the street before
down the street down the street before…
GH: (singing) ‘Anything that you do
RS: Well that’s without echo chambers but
GH: (singing) If there’s anything that we can do
JL: Don’t be put off. We’re only joking cobbers. It is rather funny.
BL: Oh, you’re with it now.
JL: Cobbers. Hey? ‘Hello cobber.’ That’s all I can say. Don’t be lookin’ at me.
BL: (laughs) You’ve written everything.
JL: Written everythin’?
BL: (laughs) The thing that I’ve loved about the interviews I’ve heard with you two is the way you have sent everybody skyhigh
RS: There’s three of us. Three of us.
JL: Oh, we don’t take much notice of Ringo (laughs)
BL: Well well Paul isn’t here at the moment but Paul said ‘Hi’ on his way well, he didn’t say ‘hi’. What’d he say? He said
RS: That’s roughly
BL: Yes, he did.
RS: what he would say.
RS: Something like that. I can’t
BL: Ringo! You’re being beautifully talkative tonight. Someone told me you’d only say ‘yep’ and ‘nope’.
RS: Well, that’s I’m learnin’, you see?
GH: Tell him
RS: They’re tellin’ and showin’ they’re teaching me more words now.
GH: Say the bits of the bourgeois
RS: Which one? (pseudo London accent) ‘There you go. Hiding behind a smokescreen of bourgeois clichés.’
GH: That’s his line (unclear)
RS: ‘I don’t go messing about with your tape recorder, do I?’
GH: You know he’s (unclear)
JL: Why? Why? Why?
GH: Why, John ?
RS: I mean I’m talkin’, aren’t I? Don’t stop me now. Watch this boy move.
(Altogether singing) ‘Tie me kangaroo down sport. Tie me kangaroo down. Oh! Tie me kangaroo down, sport. Tie me kangaroo down.’
RS: (singing) ‘Hold me did jeridoo, blue.’
JL: All right. All right. All right.
RS: I know ’em all. (singing) ‘Didjeridoo wobble wobble’
JL: (singing) ‘Tie me kangaroo down altogether now’ Have you told them about Rolf Harris’s going standing for parliament here?
BL: No. What happened
JL: Rolf Harris your your mate from Australia is standing for parliament over here and we hope he gets in.
RS: Yes. He’s a nice lad. We were on a show together. Do you know Rolf? You must know Rolf Harris?
BL: I’ve met Rolf.
RS: Yes. Well, there you go.
JL: I’m only lying of course but it’s a nice way to get Rolf in the story, you know?
BL: Now, what’s Rolf ever done to deserve this?
JL: Oh, he’s a great ballypool (sp?) buddy of ours and we know what that means.
RS: He was on our Christmas show too.
JL: At Christmas, you know.
BL: Do you always do Christmas shows at Christmas?
RS: Well, no.
JL: We try and keep them seasonal.
GH: I mean last year we did an Easter show at Christmas.
JL: But it didn’t go down with people with
GH: You know they just didn’t get the hot cross buns instead of the snow.
GH: But apart from that we’re quite normal.
JL: Well, Bernice
BL: Tell me something now. You’ve written a number and I met the two lads who are singing it.
RS: Oh, yes.
JL: Oh, Peter and Go Go?
JL: Oh, yes well, that number’s very old. We wrote that when we were teenage school buddies. Paul and I, that is. Paul’s not here. He said ‘hi’ or ‘hello’ but lucky
I’m here to tell you about it. It’s Big Head talkin’. It’s John. I’ll hand you over to George Pinhead (laughs)
GH: Yeah Pinhead.
JL: (singing) ‘Tie me kangaroo down sport. Tie me kangaroo down.’
BL: (laughs) George isn’t writing any new numbers at the moment.
GH: Oh, well now don’t you believe it. Don’t you believe it. In fact don’t believe it. I’m not writing any new numbers at the moment.
RS: Well, I was (unclear)
BL: (laughs) Well, I apparently we’re not getting any new numbers at the moment.
JL: There are seven or eight new numbers from a film we’re making at the present time (accent) to be serious for a moment (laughs). We’ve just written seven or eight. I’ve forgotten whether it’s seven or eight, you see, but it’s about that. And they’re all new.
RS: Something like that.
JL: And I don’t know when our when does our new single go out in Australia?
GH: I don’t know. I don’t think it should go out for a bit do you see, John? Cos there’s a lot of all around at the moment.
JL: Yes, I know it is.
GH: I see ‘Bowl over Ben Gabby’ is still is going
JL: He means ‘Rollover Beethoven’, cobbers. He has trouble saying his own records ’cause he’s shy.
GH: It’s number one though John.
JL: Is it big head?
RS: George is number one.
JL: The film. I’ve just mentioned the film. There’s somebody waving a bit of paper with ‘film’ on. And
we just mentioned that, haven’t we? Didn’t I just say we wrote eight numbers for the film?
BL: The title of it
RS: Well, they haven’t
GH: It’s called ‘John Lennon Mania’.
JL: No that’she’s just trying to be funny. It’s ‘George Harrison Lunacy’.
RS: They haven’t got a title.
BL: What’s it called Ringo?
RS: ‘John in his own film’. Laugh a bit louder please. We can’t tell if you’re laughing
RS: unless you actually make a noise. It’s only a radio. It’s not T.V. Sittin’ there grinnin’. (laughs)
BL: Come on now. How many how many
GH: (singing) ‘Come on here’
RS: Are you from the BBC?
BL: Oh oh
GH: The ABC is a bit
JL: The ABC?
BL: It isn’t actually, you know?
RS: That’s chewing gum in that.
JL: No? Well, it could be. It could be an alphabet or it could be a set of blocks depending on which country you come from.
BL: If you come over to our country you’ll find it’s the government station.
RS: Yeah? What a governor? Governor station.
JL: The governor station, man.
BL: But we have a heck of a lot of commercial stations.
RS: Yeah, that’s a good thing. They’ve just got a new one in Britain on a boat, hanging outside the fence somewhere
BL: (laughs) (unclear) we heard about that
JL: We can’t even get it on the radio.
GH: It’s meant to be the new commercial station I can’t find it anywhere.
RS: It’s so commercial, isn’t it, John?
GH: It’s on
RS: We’ve missed it.
JL: 1-9-9. I can’t find it. I can’t find any of it.
BL: Tell me something. Did you sort your differences out with all the kids who wanted to get in on the film and some were getting paid and
GH: Actually that was nothing to do with us.
RS: No. That wasn’t us.
GH: They had a big strike but we didn’t even notice.
RS: No. We didn’t notice.
GH: Which shows that the people who went on strike weren’t really needed were they, hey? I mean we didn’t miss ’em. We carried on regardless.
JL: No, but his own press man just walks in and he says, “What do you think of that? What do you think about the strike?” And he said, “What strike?” And he said, “They’ve all been on strike.” But we never saw it, you see because
GH: Because we was the healthy workers.
RS: Would you like a cigarette, madam?
BL: Ringo? I ought to take that.
RS: You don’t smoke you like (unclear)
BL: (laughs) How did you guess?
JL: Thank you, Ringo.
RS: You can always tell how you don’t smoke when you try and pick up the pack with your knee.
RS: Would you like one, sir?
JL: That’s not it sounds nasty that, Ringo.
RS: Oh, no.
BL: He doesn’t. He’s talking. This is what fascinates me. If you’ve been warned somebody doesn’t talk and they talk, it’s fascinating.
RS: I found where my mouth is at last.
GH: (singing) ‘Don’t shoot me pet dingo Ringo.’
BL: You’re giving me one for Sydney.
BL: Ringo thank you.
RS: That’s all right.
GH: (singing) ‘Please don’t shoot me pet dingo.”
RS: Any time.
JL: I like it.
GH: (singing) “Don’t shoot me pet dingo Ringo.”
JL: (singing) Dingo Ringo.
GH: “Don’t shoot me pet dingo Ringo.” Altogether now
RS: Go on. Well so much for the chorus.
GH: Like in altogether now means sort of
RS: We all join in.
GH: Both of me together.
RS: All of you.
GH: With mighty heart and lung
RS: (singing) ‘I take all of you’.
JL: We might sound as though we’ve had some but we don’t.
GH: No. We’re just naturally bored.
RS: Could we ask some questions then?
RS: Hello Bernice.
BL: Hello, Ringo.
RS: (laughs) we’re clicking now.
GH: Well ..’I was braised in the rainbake by an ol’ mama lion around 1943’ (Altogether laughing)
RS: What was that?
GH: That’s Sixteen Tons, haven’t you heard it? (singing) well I was raised in the canebrake by an ol’ mama lion’
JL: I thought you said ..’braised in the rainbake by an ol’ mama lion around 1943?’
GH: Well, it’s the Liverpool sound.
RS: Yeah, well it’s George in his own voice.
JL: It is it’s George on his own ‘bike’. Well, go on Bernice.
BL: Fellas’ how far away from London is Liverpool? Now come on. Tell me.
RS: Two hundred miles roughly.
GH: As the
JL: As the crow barks.
RS: That’s one of John’s you see? We daren’t say it.
JL: When they see where they stopped and let me say it, ’cause it’s one of mine.
BL: You’ve got them well trained.
GH: Just in case you laughed. If you laughed and I’d said it, you see? And then John would be most annoyed because it was his gag.
GH: You see?
JL: Not that I don’t like George (laughs) look (banging)
RS: That’s fighting.
BL: And tell me, what’s your reaction to everybody wearing Beatle wigs?
RS: I haven’t seen any.
JL: Well, this is
RS: It’s 200 miles anyway Liverpool from London.
BL: As the wind flies.
RS: Well, I don’t know about that.
JL: Yeah, well it’s very nice. I mean
RS: Yeah. Well, you know you get a plane or a train or you drive up.
GH: But if you come down any Sunday at
GH: about 3.00 p.m.
RS: Tuesday afternoon is the best because we’re definitely in then.
JL: Thursday or Friday is the best.
RS: That’s for John (unclear)
JL: About half past Tuesday you catch me. Any lunchtime or midnight session. We’re always there, aren’t we?
GH: Yeah. So if you want to come down there and if you
RS: Yeah, don’t forget. Pop in.
GH: We’re always there.
RS: Any day.
JL: Brad’s the name.
RS: Especially Tuesday. That’s the
JL: (accent) Brad’s the fame. Brad’s from Muttenhaus (sp?). Brad’s for Huthorpe (sp?). Brad’s for me and you, cobber. (laughs)
BL: (laughs) Well, if any of you people believe this
RS: They’d never believe you. They never will.
BL: They won’t. I know that Ringo.
RS: You know? Do you know
GH: Do you know do you know Ringo was an Aborigine?
RS: (laughs) What’s
BL: No. Tell me about this, George.
GH: We found him. He was a bald Aborigine
GH: and he was cycling
RS: (laughs) before we met
GH: Yeah. He was cycling round
RS: I was the (unclear)
GH: the eclipse of Wales, wasn’t he?
JL: Oh aye he was.
GH: With a bone through his tooth and we saw him sort of
RS: From afar.
GH: passing percussive persuasions through the bongos.
RS: There you go hiding behind a smokescreen of bourgeois clichés.
GH: Without doubt so we found him there and he fitted into the group, you see? But since then we’ve cleaned him up a bit and growed his hair and mighty mass
RS: You’re not going to change the basic rugged concept of my personality are you? (laughs)
BL: That’s Ringo’s personality.
GH: No that’s another we’re doing lines from the film, you see?
RS: (unclear) every line from the film is
GH: You can see what a boring film it’s going to be with all the other rubbish in it.
JL: At the moment we’re flicking our ash
RS: Ash on the carpet.
JL: on Brian Epstein’s carpet. That’s our manager. We don’t care
RS: (unclear) He’s not here at the moment. We bought it.
BL: Hey, tell me kids. Have they written a script for you?
RS: Brian no.
GH: Yes, but
RS: Alun Owen wrote the script.
GH: Alun Owen the fellow that writes plays about Liverpool
BL: But they don’t
GH: and Ireland and that.
JL: He writes many plays.
GH: He put down a script.
JL: And music halls (laughs)
GH: So that’s they let them loose a bit. You know we changed a lot of it.
JL: Did you hear that listeners? (unclear)
GH: We’ve got a basic
JL: Did you hear that listeners?
RS: (unclear) that the script.
JL: Oh, you’ve always got a joke. Go on.
GH: He writes many plagues and music halls.
JL: Oh, there’s an English joke for you.
GH: Have we run out of tape?
RS: No. Keep going. Plenty there.
RS: How long is this show on?
RS: Oh, we’ve just run over two hours.
GH: There’s another actor actress.
JL: It’s somebody knocking at the door saying are we in the middle of as if you go can’t see the tape.
GH: No. It’s all right.
JL: The car’s come. The car’s come. Well cobbers
GH: We have to leave.
JL: we’d just like to say goodbye but before we go we’d just like to say
GH: Say bye’
JL: (singing) ‘Altogether now tie me kangaroo down sport. Tie me kangaroo down.’ Come on, Bernice
(singing altogether) Tie me kangaroo down sport. Tie me kangaroo down
JL: (singing) ‘Cobber’
GH: Goodbye. See you soon.
RS: Yeah, thanks a lot for comin’ in, hey? And don’t forget any Tuesday.
JL: And we’ll see you all. We’re comin’ there in 19 19th of June I think.
RS: No. The 12th I wrote today.
JL: Oh, well it might have been the 12th or it might
GH: You’re getting mixed up but it’s in the (unclear)
JL: It’s some time at the end of June and we’re comin’ out. So I hope you’ll all come and see us.
GH: Yeah. Buy the book. Remember that. You mightn’t like it but there’s a
JL: Oh, thanks for buying all our records and making them all the big hits and thank you.
GH: Yes, thank you. Yes. Thank you. Thank you.
JL: Oh, and in fact here it is we’ll be if you live in Adelaide we’ll be playing there on June the 12th or the 13th. Melbourne the 15th, 16th
RS: 15th, 16th, 17th.
JL: shut up.
RS: I’m helpin’.
JL: OK. Well, don’t butt in. Don’t butt in.
RS: (unclear) the mike.
GH: OK. Don’t be hiding behind a bourgeois
JL: Anyway anyway, we’re going to Sydney Sydney Sydney flyin’ to Auckland Auckland Auckland, Christchurch Christchurch
RS: There’s no need to swear.
JL: or then we go in other plane at Christchurch or ‘Duindin’ ‘Dunny Din’ (Dunedin) or something. Wellington. Wellington again.
GH: ‘Dunny Din’.
JL: Fly to Brisbane.
GH: Brisbane. Brisbane.
JL: Who’s got the ball?
GH: In fact I think we’re going to New Zealand as well.
RS: That’s not in Australia though.
JL: No. But it’s sort of just
RS: You realise that.
JL: off the when I took in geography it was just sort of the things that were what they reefs reeves reefs.
JL: Reefs. Yeah they got ‘reefers’ all off the west coast haven’t they? You know off the pardon?
GH: Hey the only thing I remembered wasn’t it all sort of Russia hanging over the top of Australia
RS: No, that’s
JL: Oh, I missed that though.
RS: That’s ah Singapore.
JL: OK. If you like.
(singing altogether) ‘Tie me kangaroo down sport. Tie me kangaroo’
JL: Oh, we’d better go now.
(Altogether) Happy Christmas!
RS: It’s not Christmas. You know? That was last year.
BL: (laughs) Fellas before you go please.
JL: OK. What have you got?
BL: An autograph book (unclear)
BL: Or my guestbook must be safely here somewhere.
VOICE: What do you want?
BL: The piece of paper on the floor.
Binny Lum was a popular figure in Melbourne and country Victoria for many years. She worked in radio from 1934 to 1984.
Thanks to NFSA (National Film and Sound Archive of Australia)