+44 (0)1428 653727 sales@johnnicholsons.com

Paul McCartney has no desire to write an autobiography, I understand. However, a new broadcast interview does provide further insights into the endlessly fascinating subject of The Beatles. Despite the long-held view that it was Macca who pulled the plug on the Fab Four – the result of his announcement during an interview at the beginning of the 1970s – he now reveals that all he was doing was finally letting slip what had been decided some time before. According to Sir Paul, it was John Lennon who called time on the band as he sought pastures new with Yoko Ono. The other bandmates, including McCartney, had wanted to carry on.

Setting the record straight provides some of the most newsworthy stories, and auctions are often the catalyst for this.

The latest example is the decision by Al Capone’s descendants to consign 174 personal items for auction. Ageing themselves, his grandchildren wish to divest themselves of these important artefacts, firstly so at least some of them can go to public institutions, secondly because they are concerned about wildfires near their homes and thirdly because it creates an opportunity for revising the public opinion of Chicago’s most notorious gangster.

A letter from Capone, written to his son while languishing in Alcatraz, shows his touching human side, argues his granddaughter. “These are not the words or ideas of a man who is a ruthless gangster. These are the words of a loving father,” she told The Guardian.

Maybe, but sadism and sentimentality in the same person are not mutually exclusive, as many a tyrant has shown. Capone may have been cuddly with some, but the Roaring Twenties Capo had a public reputation that was richly deserved.