I love the tube. In a psycho-geographic, body-poetic way, it’s the guts of London - but it’s also just a fascinating transport system to read about. It’s old and evocative and full of history, and each tube station or underground line has its own quirky secrets to discover. Piccadilly Circus isn’t my favourite station, but its circular station concourse (and lack of a surface-level ticket hall) makes it unique.
It also appears, oddly, in the incredibly weird music video for ‘Press’, by Paul McCartney. A textbook slice of directionless pop from the ex-Beatle, ‘Press’ wasn’t a hit at the time, and its plodding production does it no favours to modern ears. The music video, however, is simultaneously hilarious and terrifying. I’ll let the (remarkably off-Style Guide) Wiki entry describe it:
McCartney is seen walking boldly, proudly and with supreme confidence around the station, elegantly catching a tube train and speaking with excited members of the general public on their own level.
Yes. And if you turn off the music, it looks like he’s muttering to himself while harassing his fellow travelers.
I like to think that Linda’s holding the camera, and that this is just what passed for a weekend lark for the Maccas back when Paul's mullet was in full effect. Of course, there are flashes of Bond Street and Charing Cross, among others, in there - but on the Wikipedia page for Piccadilly Circus, it says the following:
...the station is a popular pilgrimage site for McCartney fans keen to reenact the video, that is now regarded as one of music video's defining moments, known amongst fans as 'McPressing'. In 2006 a total of 76 Brazilian fans 'McPressed' at the same time, breaking the previous record by 11 people set by Oxford Brookes University students in 1991.
As much as I’d love this to be true, I can’t seem to find any reference to ‘McPressing’, or the Oxford Brookes and Brazilian flashmobs anywhere online.
That means one thing. This is our chance to make a mark. Let’s get McPressing, people. Who’s in?