020 – Polythene Pam – Roma!

Original version recorded July 25-30, 1969.

Ukulele version recorded June 18, 2011


Stiletto : Vocals

Katana: Guitar

Armada: Drums

Beretta: Bass

Calavera: Keys



David Barratt: Ukulele


Produced by David Barratt at The Abattoir Of Good Taste , Brooklyn.


Written by John Lennon

Credited to Lennon & McCartney





The Beatles didn’t really do sex. Out of the 185 songs they wrote between 1962 and 1970, only a handful refer to the nitty gritty of copulation. "Polythene Pam" is one of the few exceptions. The most Punk Rock song of the entire Beatles catalog. I love the way Lennon attacks the guitar. All six strings sound as though they are about to break. The song is only one minute and twelve seconds long, and about 30 seconds of that is taken up with a guitar solo. It has a rushed, quickie against the wall feel to it which is exactly what Lennon wanted. 


In 1980, John Lennon said about "Polythene Pam": 


"That was me, remembering a little event with a woman in Jersey, and a man who was England’s answer to Allen Ginsberg…I met him when we were on tour and he took me back to his apartment and I had a girl and he had one he wanted me to meet. He said she dressed up in polythene, which she did. She didn’t wear jack boots and kilts, I just sort of elaborated. Perverted sex in a polythene bag." 


The song is sung in a very strong Liverpudlian "Scouse" accent,  which Lennon did not naturally have. John was always pretending he wasn’t middle class. I particularly like the way he sings “Guyurl".


The name "Polythene Pam" came from the nickname of an early Beatles fan from the Cavern Club days named Pat Hodgett (now Dawson), who would often eat polythene. She became known as "Polythene Pat". She said in an interview, "I used to eat polythene all the time. I’d tie it in knots and then eat it. Sometimes I even used to burn it and then eat it when it got cold."


On the album Abbey Road, the song is linked with the previous song "Mean Mr. Mustard" musically, as the two run together without pause. The two songs are also linked narratively, since "Mean Mr. Mustard" mentions that the title character Mustard has a sister named Pam. The song "Her Majesty" was originally set between "Mean Mr. Mustard" and "Polythene Pam", which would have worked so much better than the post script it became.


The Ukulele version is performed by the decadent and beautiful Roma. They will be playing at the Highline Ballroom this Friday, July 1 at 10:30 pm. Be there.





Roma! Roma! Roma! Ma che cos’é? One guy who sings. Four girls who play.


Muses. Furies. Lovers. Assassins. Fallen angels holding up a mirror to mankind, reminding us of all that has been forgotten – especially The Velvet Underground, Joseph Moncure March, Federico Fellini, Lauren Bacall, and Marcello Mastroianni.

Roma is love! Roma is sex! Roma is life! Roma is death! 


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