Lennon and McCartney - the 60th anniversary

A brace of Beatles

It's 60 years since John Lennon and Paul McCartney met each other. On July 6th 1957, at St Peter's church fete in Liverpool, the 15 year-old McCartney watched the 16 year-old Lennon play with his band The Quarrymen. He soon joined the group himself, and nothing was ever the same again. Here are eight facts about the pair's relationship:

Lennon and McCartney - the 60th anniversary

1. Lennon impressed McCartney at the fete by changing the song lyrics to include references to the vicar.

2. Boys at the Liverpool Institute (attended by McCartney) weren't allowed to visit the next door art college, where Lennon was a student - so Macca attached his blazer badge only with pins, allowing him to remove and reattach it when he entered and left the college.

3. They had a rule in their early songwriting days that if they couldn't remember a song the next day, it wasn't good enough. If they could, they wrote it in a notebook. Macca still owns the book.

4. The pair once visited the restaurant Elaine's in New York. The normally-fierce Elaine was so charmed that, as they couldn't find anything on the menu they liked, she let them call out for pizza.     

5. Lennon used to get annoyed whenever he walked into the Palm Court at New York's Plaza Hotel, as the string quartet would strike up ‘Yesterday' - which was entirely McCartney's work.

6. Similarly Macca got annoyed when lack of space on his iPad screen meant the display read: ‘Hey Jude by John Lennon and ...' It's another song written solely by him.

7. The last time the two saw each other was on April 25th 1976. The previous night they'd watched TV at Lennon's New York apartment, seeing ‘Saturday Night Live' host Lorne Michaels offer $3000 for the Beatles to reform. They thought about getting a cab to the studio as a joke - but decided they were too tired.

8. The day after Lennon's murder, McCartney insisted on carrying on with his work at a London recording studio. Staring out of the window at one point, he saw a van drive past. On its side was written ‘Lennon's Furnishings'.







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Rubik's Cube

A Rubik’s cube has more combinations than light travels inches in a century. This is my favourite illustration of how a very small number of factors can produce an absurdly complicated situation. A silly little toy, with only three squares in each of its three dimensions. How can that get complicated? Well, as anyone who's ever tried to solve one just by guessing will tell you, it gets very complicated. The number of possible combinations is 43,252,003,274,489,856,000. Forget billions - that's 43 quintillion and change. (In fact the cube's manufacturers just said ‘billions' in their advertising, figuring that no one would know what a quintillion was. It's a billion billion.) The number of inches light travels in a century, meanwhile, is a mere 37,165,049,856,000,000,000. Or thereabouts.