The Nothing is Real discussion group has announced the death of one of its most compelling contributors, Apollo C. Vermouth. This announcement also contained the revelation that the member who called himself Apollo C. Vermouth was Beatles confidant and former Apple President Neil Aspinall, who died on March 23, 2008.
If true, this would be the most staggering revelation in Beatles history.
Hints from Apollo will be the subject of several future posts, but right now I want to try to absorb this most peculiar twist in the investigation.
Since the announcement, I have attempted to research Apollo as much as possible from the material available. The evidence is confusing because much of it consists of recycled posts and quotes from personal messages. It is difficult to get a handle on the chronology. So, if any of my information is inaccurate, please help me to sort it all out.
Apollo contributed messages to both The King Is Naked and Nothing Is Real. Unlike Iamaphoney, Apollo's personality remained consistent throughout all the posts that I have read, except one. The one exception is this revealing verse:
Once upon a long ago, lived four young lads I'm sure you know. The other three, you know them two. You'll know me better when this is through. Before the band was on the run, a natures child followed the sun. And soon the four became a three, a list of clues for those to see. A story told in fine detail, to keep the loonies on the trail. A coin, a sheep, a favored son, were welcomed guest when the day was done. Now, those days are gone, the stories told, in rivers of ash, and urns of gold. A final hint to all of those, who refuse to see the Emporer's clothes.
It doesn't exactly shine with credibility, although it's interesting. To suggest Neil Aspinall wrote this would turn most gullible person into a skeptic. But if you read every post you can get by Apollo and then come back to this, it doesn't look quite as silly anymore. Putting the identity issue on hold for a few moments, let's look at some of the things he said in his posts.
He used a polite style of writing often beginning with the words "Pardon the intrusion." He would usually follow with gentle suggestions for how to understand the clues left by the Beatles ever since Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Yes, he clearly excluded "Help" "Rubber Soul" "Yesterday and Today" and "Revolver" from the list of albums containing clues. He also indicated that clues have continued to the present day, although most clues after Pepper were telling us to look back to Pepper. He frequently peppered his posts with allusions to Beatles/Solo lyrics.
I have not found any instance of him claiming to be Neil Aspinall, but he did clearly indicate that he was an insider who knew the secret. He referred to himself as a musician and castle keep. He talked as if he participated in the repeated attempts to get the eventual clearance to include Karlheinz Stockhausen on the cover of Sgt. Pepper.
He would sometimes sound like one of us wondering out loud the meaning of a lyric or photo, but more often he would reveal little hints in a controlled way as if he already knew all of the answers. He made much of the Beatles frequent references to Edgar Allan Poe, and like everything else, it all kept pointing back at Sgt. Pepper.
He attempted to be a voice of reason informing people that investigations of the CIA, Outer Space theories and Don Knotts were a waste of time and he seemed exasperated when people would either ignore his posts or derail them into convoluted conspiracy theories involving the Illuminati. He held strongly to his contention that the clues were right there for all to see and was fond of the phrase "There's nothing you can SEE that isn't SHOWN."
Apollo's observations were impressive. He suggested putting a vertical mirror on Diana Dors' elbow years before felipegcs shared that discovery with the Paul Is Dead/Paul Is Alive discussion group.
Some of his posts were met with hostility. He was apparently banned from TKIN, although I have been told that it doesn't take much to be banned from there. He got flak from NIR as well. In these discussion groups, there are so many people writing cryptic things and claiming to be insiders, it is no surprise to find some resistance and skepticism. Some of Apollo's claims were difficult to swallow. For example, he said that a vertical mirror on Diana Dors elbow on Pepper would reveal a walrus. This would be strong support for his contention that all subsequent albums point back to Pepper. There is no denying that the official Anthology seems to be telling us to put a mirror in the exact spot, but does it really look like a walrus?
He talked of the significance of Billy Pepper and the Pepperpots and was challenged by the son of Bill Shepherd. He was also accused of getting his facts wrong when he wrote that Tara Browne had no wife. His identity of course was taken from the pseudonym Paul McCartney used when he produced a single by the Bonzo Doo Dah Dog Band. But one of the posts I read from Apollo referred to them as the "Bozo Dog Band."
But overall, his observations and hints were prophetic. Prophets are defined by the results of their insights and Apollo's seemed to be pretty strong. Every road I have investigated has taken me back to Sgt. Pepper. He knew his stuff! However, I think even those who believe he might be Neil would understand what a leap of faith it would be for someone in my position to uncritically accept this whole story without any questions. We have been told that a member of NIR who posted under the name Apollo C. Vermouth died. Do we accept this based on the fact that some members said that his personal messages abruptly stopped? And if we believe that do we take another gigantic leap of faith that the person was really a Beatles insider? And if we believe that, do we leap again to accept that this Beatles insider knew the truth behind this mystery? And if we accept that do we go even further to believe that the person was actually Neil Aspinall? And if we believe that, do we also believe that Neil Aspinall was telling the truth about there being a real Beatles mystery with real clues that can be solved if we look closely enough?
There are some things in the posts by Apollo that create some questions for me. There are several English words and phrases like "Pardon the intrusion" and "arse." He sometimes used the word "me" instead of "my." He would use phrases like "C'mon mate" and would call a person "lad." I was surprised that an Englishman would make "alot" one word, but I am not an expert on European English and it could have been just a typo anyway. There were frequent misspellings, which are not uncommon in correspondences on the web, but I have to admit "galient kniight" seemed dubious.
We have some evidence that a person did die, but I have no way of confirming that as a proven fact. We have the posts from Apollo C. Vermouth that I think have significant substance to them, but I can't guarantee that I am any closer to the answers than I was before I read all of them. And even if this guy had lots of credibility, that doesn't make him Neil.
On the face of it, the entire notion that Neil Aspinall would be participating in not one but two Paul Is Dead discussion groups is beyond belief. But, I cannot dismiss it out of hand because two of the brightest and most respected individuals in Nothing Is Real are acting like they believe it. I'm not sure that these two individuals would give me the time of day, but they have graciously allowed me to listen in as they gave others the time of day and I have gained many insights from that experience. If they are thinking it might have been Neil, I don't know what to think. They have been forthcoming with lots of valuable information, but I suspect there is more that they have not yet revealed.
Interestingly, these two individuals that are suggesting that Apollo was really Neil have been dismissive of Iamaphoney ever since his videos started picking up steam and increasing traffic to Nothing Is Real. As a long time Beatles fan and researcher, I couldn't figure out how they felt so certain that Iamaphoney had nothing to offer. There has been no mention of Apollo ever telling them anything one way or the other specifically about Iamaphoney, and I find that surprising. Apollo never talked about Iamaphoney that I am aware of, but the two NIR people who were so taken by Apollo seemed pretty skeptical about all things related to the Rotten Apple series. With Apollo they were just the opposite. The thought crossed my mind that this whole Neil thing could be a ploy to give Iamaphoney the knockout punch and get him out of their PID world forever, but I don't believe that. As I said, I have a bunch of respect for these two people. I have asked a general question or two and have received satisfactory answers. Maybe they will allow me to probe further at some point, but for now, I believe that they are grieving for a friend.
One thing that you may be asking is "Where does this leave Iamaphoney?" Well, I can always dream that Apollo has given us Neil's version and Iamaphoney has given us Mal's version, but that would be impossible, right? Someone at NIR pointed out the interesting coincidence that Neil Aspinall would call himself Apollo when another Neil A. (Armstrong) became famous by going to the moon on a spacecraft called Apollo. That event was in Geoff Emerick's book "Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles." Geoff ran home to see the moon landing coverage after finishing the session for the song "Come Together." If you think Iamaphoney is out of the loop on this, I suggest you watch the last few seconds of Rotten Apple 31.
Apollo C. Vermouth stopped communicating abruptly after sending the following message to some members of NIR. (I was not one of the 12, but one of those two respected individuals decided to share it with the group). Apollo quotes Shakespeare in his final message.
On January 30, 2008, Apollo C. Vermouth sent the following note to a dozen NIR members:
IF I MAY INTRUDE, ONE LAST TIME...
I FIND MYSELF QUOTING THIS MORE OFTEN, AS OF LATE..."LIFE'S BUT A WALKING SHADOW. A POOR PLAYER THAT STRUTS AND FRETS HIS HOUR UPON THE STAGE, AND THEN IS HEARD NO MORE. IT IS A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT. FULL OF SOUND AND FURY,SIGNIFYING NOTHING"...........
FADE THIS SWAN TO BLACK....
LOVE FROM PAUL...
APOLLO C VERMOUTH