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Author Topic: Magic Alex  (Read 1860 times)

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Bruno

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Magic Alex
« on: December 23, 2004, 09:47:04 PM »

Birth name:John Alexis Mardas

Nickname: Magic Alex

Trade mark:The "Nothing Box"; a sealed cube with randomly-blinking lights.

Quote: "Hello, I'm Alexis. I would like to say hello to all my friends around the world and to all the girls around the world and to all the electronic people around the world. This is Apple Electronics."


Trivia

    Applied for roughly 100 British patents, for the items he produced or developed while working for the Beatles; was turned down for every one when it was shown that he had invented nothing, but had only made modified versions of already-patented products. It also transpired that, while passing himself off as an "electronics engineer", in truth he was little more than a TV repairman with a gift of gab.

    Had a brief affair with Cynthia Lennon, after she learned of husband John's relationship with Yoko Ono; last visited her to break the news that John planned to sue *her* for divorce (and custody of son Julian Lennon), on grounds of adultery.

    Made a poor impression on Beatles producer George Martin, who knew full well the limitations of Abbey Road's recording equipment without having to hear "These people are so out of date," when Mardas visited the studio. Despite his boasts to be designing a revolutionary new recording studio, to feature both a 72-track recording deck (when four- and eight-track were still the norm) and sonic screens (to eliminate the need for soundproofing), Martin couldn't help but notice Mardas studied Abbey Road's methods as closely as possible during his visits, while still mocking their "obsoleteness" - and Martin had the last laugh, when the Alex-designed Apple Studio (located in the basement at Savile Row) proved to be an unworkable joke, with no innovations and many obvious technical shortcomings, and "Magic Alex" was told to disappear.

    Accompanied the Beatles to India for their stay with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi; was the one who suggested the Maharishi had been trying to seduce Mia Farrow and other women at the camp, leading to the Beatles' breaking ties with him.

    Was nicknamed "Magic Alex" by John Lennon, who was amazed by the electronic gimmicks and toys he seemed to endlessly produce. Similarly impressed the other Beatles, who leased him a laboratory, named him head of Apple Electronics, and counted on his ideas to help make Apple a financial success, through commercial products based on his creations.

    Greek by birth; became acquainted with the Beatles (introduced to them by Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones) when they considered buying or leasing an island off the Grecian coast to move to, claiming he had family in the Greek government who could help them.

    Shared a flat in London with Jenny Boyd, during the late 1960s; they lived as "brother and sister", and were dating other people.

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strawb3rryfi3ldsfor3ver

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Re: Magic Alex
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2004, 02:10:38 AM »

I remember reading about him from the book -- the Beatles Anthology! Wasn't he the one with the...flat little wall speakers in the 60's? He installed them into the Abbey Road studios -- didn't work very well?

o_____o It sucks not remembering stuff. XD
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Indica

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Re: Magic Alex
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2005, 02:32:10 AM »

Wonder what happened to Magic Alex
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SieLiebtDich

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Re: Magic Alex
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2005, 12:43:11 AM »

[quote by=IndicaWalrus link=Blah.pl?b=fifths,m=1103838424,s=2 date=1104978730]Wonder what happened to Magic Alex[/quote]

yeah, I also wonder... provably pc knows?  :)
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Wayne L.

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Re: Magic Alex
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2005, 05:24:45 PM »

Magic Alex was a trip mentally & intellectually during his days working at Apple but John was naive at the time believing in this joker.  
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Lenny Pane

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Re: Magic Alex
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2005, 07:31:06 PM »

i remember seeing him on the anthology lol .. my first impressions of him were,  he's a sandwhich short of a picnic type of guy .. :P
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Bobber

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Re: Magic Alex
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2005, 03:37:34 PM »


Biography
The mysterious Alex Mardas, often known as "Magic Alex," does not have any solid credit tying him to the production of any record, and was not a musician. Nevertheless, he deserves a place in history as one of the most colorful characters of the many that drifted into the Beatles' orbit. For a brief time he was head of Apple Electronics, though none of his off-the-wall inventions really took hold with the public. If for nothing else, though, he was the guy behind one of the most priceless anecdotes behind the dark days of the Beatles' gradual dissolution in 1969.

Mardas' background is shady, with even in his age in dispute; some accounts have him in his early 20s when he met the Beatles in 1967, others in his late 20s. For certain, however, he was Greek, and working in London as a television repairman for Olympic Electronics, where he was known as Yanni Mardas (though he was known to the Beatles as John Alexis Mardas, or Magic Alex). Through a mutual friend, he met John Dunbar, whoseIndica Gallery put on various contemporary art exhibitions (including one by Yoko Ono, spurring the first meeting between her and John Lennon in late 1966). Dunbar was also Marianne Faithfull's ex-husband, which gave Mardas the connections to do lighting on the Rolling Stones' spring 1967 European tour, incorporating spotlights that were supposed to change color and rhythm with the music. "Magic Alex" Mardas shared a flat with Dunbar, which led him to meet Lennon, who had been a friend of Dunbar's for a while.

Paul McCartney, in Barry Miles' book Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now, remembers that shortly afterward Lennon introduced Mardas to him as "my new guru." Lennon was taken by Mardas' fanciful electronic inventions, particularly a box with lights that flashed on and off without repeating patterns, which Lennon could be entertained by for long periods as he tried to guess which lights would flash next. Mardas had other ideas that were just as useless for most people, but far less achievable, like a force field of colored air to keep onlookers from seeing into buildings, and making a flying saucer. Some of his ideas, actually, would eventually come into use, like telephones that could dial a number with spoken instructions and display the numbers of incoming calls.

None of this would have had any impact on the Beatles' music, except that Mardas had highly impractical ideas for futuristic equipment that could be used in their recording sessions, and as head of Apple Electronics he became part of the general directional and financial chaos that plagued Apple. Mardas had insinuated himself into their private lives as well, urging them to relocate to a Greek island, an idea the Beatles considered seriously enough to make a collective excursion to Greece in mid-1967. Jenny Boyd, Mick Fleetwood's first wife and George Harrison's sister-in-law, remembered that while Lennon and Harrison were studying with the Maharishi in India in 1968, Mardas helped spread rumors about the Indian guru that led the Beatles to leave before their course of study had been completed. That was also the perspective of Lennon's first wife, Cynthia Lennon. When the Lennons divorced in 1969, John actually threatened to sue Cynthia for her brief fling of adultery with Mardas, a ridiculous position considering that Lennon had committed adultery far, far more often than she had.

Mardas went too far, and got into conflict with the Beatles' longtime producer George Martin, when he heavily criticized EMI's studio equipment as inadequate, and built a 16-track recording studio for them at Apple's offices (though he'd apparently boasted that he could put together a 72-track one). His idea of a 16-track studio, as it turned out, involved putting 16 small speakers around the room, which had to be disposed of and replaced by the standard two required for stereo sound. More seriously, he had neglected to put in connecting ports between the control room and the studio, which made it impossible to connect the studio mikes to the mixing desk. The studio was also not adequately soundproofed.

When the Beatles tried to use it for the first time on January 20, 1969, the results were so patently inadequate that George Martin immediately called EMI's Abbey Road studio for sufficient replacement equipment. As engineer Dave Harries recalled in The Beatles Recording Sessions, "The mixing console was made of bits of wood and an old oscilloscope. It looked like the control panel of a B-52 bomber. They actually tried a session on this desk, they did a take, but when they played back the tape it was all hum and hiss." The mixing console, according to engineer/producer Geoff Emerick, was sold as scrap to a secondhand electronics shop for a mere five pounds.

The Beatles were able to resume recording with standard equipment at Apple's studios a couple of days later, but Mardas' days in the group's inner circle had come to an end. He was removed from Apple and nothing's been heard from him since. If he ever is located, he'd certainly make a hell of an entertaining guest speaker at a Beatles fan convention.
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raxo

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Re: Magic Alex
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2005, 03:59:13 PM »

Quote from: Bobber
... If he ever is located, he'd certainly make a hell of an entertaining guest speaker at a Beatles fan convention.
 

 :)

Good reading, Bobber. The guys considered the idea of the Greek island seriously enough to make a collective excursion to Greece ( yeah ) and they were thinking of inviting Bob Dylan too so his children and theirs could study together and the island would be divided in four sides: each one to one of the guys. Very Hippy!.
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Re: Magic Alex
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2005, 04:41:59 AM »

He had a pretty influential blues band in the early 60s, didn't he? I think he's taking the dirt nap.
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Re: Magic Alex
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2005, 02:02:04 AM »

Sorry. I got him mixed up with Alexis Korner.
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