Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Early Beatle maniac!

A big thank you goes out to blog reader, Andrea R., who sent me this magazine article from Yeah! Magazine (1995) which has a story about an early Liverpool Beatles fan who was crazy about our George! Thanks Andrea for sharing this story you found in the magazine. I am sure everyone will enjoy it as much as I have!

Like the song says, there's nothing a Fab Four fan wouldn't do to
grab a Beatles keepsake, and some of the trophies were really
personal from toast to toilet paper as LOUISE OSWALD discovered

"...Susan was particular about her memorabilia. Only the most obscure
and personal trivia would do Paul McCartney's cigarette butts,
threads from George's jeans or fluff from under his bed Now a 48-
year-old mother of two, Susan explains: "You have to put yourself in
the mind of a 15-year-old girl. We were very protective of The
Beatles But when Please Please Me was released, they were catapulted
to stardom. So I concentrated on collecting parts of their everyday
life that would only mean something to me, things so minor that they
would never miss them. I couldn't believe it when Christie's said my
scrapbooks could make me a lot of money. How could anyone else
possibly appreciate that I'd been on my hands and knees combing the
carpet under in George's bedroom while his mum washed up downstairs?"
For Susan, Beatlemania set in when she took a job in the office of a
Liverpool department store in 1962. A colleague asked her to Cavern
Club one lunchtime to watch a new local band.
Susan recalls: "We walked into the club almost gagging on the smell
of disinfectant from the toilets. My friend said the guitarist was a
friend from art college and would I like to meet him. So I was
introduced. `This is John Lennon,' she said. He shook my hand and it
was like a bolt of lightning down to my toes. He was truly awesome
even though he was just a local musician at the time. I heard them
play A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues. It's still my favourite. I wafted
out of there and thought `That's it. I'm gonna follow those boys'. I
was smitten."
Susan became a regular at the lunchtime gigs and joined forces with a
group of other girls to call themselves the Cement Mixers. "The name
didn't mean anything but the boys would know it was us if we made a
song request during their set. George used to sing Three Cool Cats so
I bought a china cat and sent it up to the stage as The Cement Mixer.
George sang the tune for me and I thought `He's so nice.' An ex-
neighbour of his told me he was very caring towards his mum but I
thought she must be a really lonely old lady." So, armed with flowers
and some chocolates, Susan dropped by for a visit.
"George's parents, Louise and Harry, turned out to be a very lively
couple who taught ballroom dancing," said Susan.
"Mrs Harrison opened the door and said `Ooh, you're a Beatles fan.
Come in,' and she called upstairs to George's dad, `Harold! There's a
fan of our George's here.' There was no slamming the door in your
"Once, Louise let me sit in the front of George's Ford Anglia. I
asked if I could wash the car. `Are you soft?' she shrieked. `Well, I
suppose so, if you really want to. You can come back on Sunday and do
"During that week I had a letter from George who was touring in
Germany. I tore it open to find he'd written tongue-in-cheek
instructions on how to wash his car you know, use plenty of soapy
water and then dump the dirty water over Paul's shiny Ford Classic."
For the next two years, Susan divided her time between work, the
Cavern and the Harrison household.
She says: "I'd ask if I could go to the loo and Louise would
say, `Oh, I know you. You'll be stealing the toilet paper next.' And
of course I was! I've still got a few leaves of lilac roll in a book
somewhere. George's mum would even let me rummage around in his room
when he was away. I can't imagine what he would have said if he'd
found out. I figured his jeans might have been taken in as it was the
fashion. So I snipped threads from the inside leg. Strangely enough,
I never saw George in his own home. I had a crush on him, of course,
but I was 15 and he was 19 and back then you'd never dream a boy of
that age would look twice at someone like me. George's mum worked
flat out trying to answer all his fan mail and I helped her type the
letters. On his 21st birthday their living room was crammed with Post
Office bags.
"But we were real friends, as well. I got tickets to see The Beatles
in Manchester and asked if she wanted to come.
"We went on the train and she had this huge pile of sandwiches. I
said we'd never eat them all. `Oh, they're for the boys,' she
announced. `They never get out once they're on playing.' It was then
that I thought, `Oh my god, don't tell me we're going backstage.' And
there they were, in the dressing room eating jelly babies. Perfect
for my book, I thought."
Susan also admits to ransacking one of the band's tour vans.
"It was unlocked and the next thing we knew, we were helping
"We took some pink shirts they wore but had to return them the next
night because they still had solid gold cufflinks in the sleeves. But
George let me keep one of his T-shirts. I chopped it up and handed it
out to some other fans and saved a corner for my scrapbook."
The dozen scrapbooks were safely stored until Susan, her husband
Gordon, and their two children moved to Perthshire in 1992.
"We moved into a cottage that needed a lot of spending on it so I
thought I'd see if I could get anything for George's letter. I sent
Christie's a photocopy. They told me I'd get at least 800 pounds and
begged me for anything else they could sell.
"When I mentioned the scrapbooks, I knew I was on a winner. I went to
the auction and I had such a lump in my throat when a Spanish man
paid 1,300 pounds for nine of them.
"I've still got a letter from George's dad and, of course, the toilet
paper. To be honest, it doesn't matter that the books are gone. I
remember every scrap as though it were yesterday"
Another Fab Four fanatic was sales executive Sue Pringle.
Paul McCartney was the particular Beatle of her dreams but being too
polite cost her the ultimate souvenir the first guitar Paul ever
Now 41, and a mother of two, Sue explains: "Every night on my way
home from junior school my best friend Christine and I would call at
Paul's home at 21 Forthlin Road in Garston, a Liverpool suburb.
"Paul's dad would usher us into the parlour and give us lemonade and
biscuits. Then we'd sit there in awe while he proudly told us stuff
like, `Our Paul's in Germany our Paul's in the studio our Paul's in
"He used to let me hold Paul's acoustic guitar that always rested
against the wall and once, when I was strumming it, he said, `Go on,
you're such a big fan, why not take the guitar. Paul's got a new one
and doesn't play it any more.'
"But I'd been brought up to be polite and decline such gifts so I
found myself saying, 'No, thank you very much' even though I knew it
was the very guitar Paul used when he wrote all the early Beatles
"Now, of course, I realize I must have been mad - that guitar would
have been worth a fortune."

(From YEAH! magazine, November 19, 1995)


  1. Wow -- what a fantastic story!!! I sure wish I could have known Louise! Thanks for posting!

  2. One of my teachers showed me her collection of stuff in about 1981, she used to go to the Cavern and had loads of original autographs and photos. She had albums like this, with bits of thread stuck in with sellotape, from under George's bed and a piece of pork pie Paul had given, still stuck in the book.

    Her name was Mrs Sidwell and said the Beatles called her Laughing Annie. I wonder if they knew each other!

  3. BTW, someone on LJ turned this up, and I'm pretty sure it must be the same girl. It's George's actual letter to Susan with directions for washing his car. The best part are his directions of what to do with the dirty water!