Akeroyd Collection


Cory Arcangel, I Don't Want to Spoil the Party, 2007

In this short video of just 1 minute 13 seconds, the footage is taken from The Beatles' 1st US press conference at JFK airport in 1964. Specific extracts from the conference, that focus on The Beatles' appearance and ability, have been selected to form this montage. Combined, these particular fragments emphasize an antagonistic relationship between the press and the band. One reporter asking if they can actually sing, with John Lennon immediately quipping, ‘No.. we’d need money first. They are asked if any of them are bald under those wigs, to which Paul McCartney replies ‘We are all bald’- John Lennon adding ‘deaf and dumb, too’. ‘Would you ever consider a haircut at all?’ comes another question. ‘I had one yesterday’ George Harrison retorts. More questions ensue: ‘Are you for real’? The footage is bookended by scenes of their fans crying, screaming and chasing their limousines. The atmosphere is hostile and frantic. The tension between the fanatical adoration of fans and the casting of moral judgement by a suspicious, combative press engenders a palpable sense of unease. This is heightened by Cory Arcangel’s sinister addition of a laser porter, focussed between Paul McCartney’s eyes through the duration of the conference, turning unease into a sense of real danger.

MediumSingle-channel video
Duration1 minute 13 seconds
Editionof 5