Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Crackerbox Palace visit

Another fan story from Friar Park in the late 1970's! This one is from veteran Beatles meeter and photographer, George Tebbens (I have no idea who this fellow is, but his name appears a lot in the 1970's-1980's as taking photos and meeting the Beatles). His story took place in early December 1978 and it was published in "The Write Thing" magazine in the Jan/Feb 1979 issue (he wasted no time sharing his good fortune with other fans, that is for sure!)

arrived in London on the morning of December 7 and went straight to St. John's Wood where my friends (neither of whom knew I was coming) were staying. But they weren't in. So there could only be two places they'd be, right? Wrong! Dropped by Abbey Road and found out Paul finished recording earlier in the week, so I decided to go by the house and still no one was around. By then I thought I'd bum around London. At 6 I was back at the hotel and only had to wait a short while for my friend Char to get in. When she saw me she was certainly surprised, but immediately told me Eric Clapton was playing his last concert of the tour that evening in Guildford (about an hour 1/2 train ride from London). She wanted to go because she thought George Harrison might be there, but no one would go with her. But when she saw me, she knew if there was any possibility of seeing George on my first day in England, I'd go. After saying yes, I started having second thoughts, I'd been up for the past 24 hours and the rain was pouring down. But second thoughts of being tired don't last long so we were on our way.

Finally we were at Guildford, but a little late and couldn't get in. Bribes, sneaking, lieing and begging didn't work, so we waited outside the stage door. During the last encore the crowd noise got louder than anytime during the show. As the show ended, Eric's car was moved away from the crowd at the stage door and we followed it. On the way we saw this most unusual car with OM stickers on it. Yep! George's Porsche! Nearly frozen, wet and dead we waited and it paid off, we got to see George. That's it, just see him. We talked to a couple of fans who told us that George and Elton John joined Eric for the encore. Had we known for sure, somehow we would have gotten in.

Back in London after 6 hours getting there form Guildford (due to famous British train strikes) Char, and 2 other friends and I planned our next trek. We thought we'd go to Friar Park on Saturday December 9. The weather was remarkably good, sunny and no rain! We were there abqotu an hour just standing at the entrance gate waiting fo rthe famous Porshe to roll down the hill,l when to our surprise George was just coming in, heading back from town. He looked as though he was going to drive past us, so I held out some photos and Circus magazine with the photos of him in it that I took at the 33 1/3 part in '76. It worked. He stopped. I gave him a bunch of photos I'd taken and asked for an autograph. He obliged and as he was signing he asked where we were from and why we were there. We told him we'd come over just to see him and he seemed really pleased. At that point I asked if he'd be touring, he said, "I don't think so right now, cause it's a hassle getting a band together." So I told his we'd (anyone who likes his music) would appreciate just hearing him alone on an acoustic guitar. He then laughed, and said, "Really?" Kind of like he didn't imagine something like that would please a crowd. We asked about the album and he said it would be out around his birthday. We also asked him what song he'd down with Eric, and he said, "I don't know... Going down the Road, or something like that." He asked us if we were there. We said yea, but outside. he told us he's sorry we missed it. not as sorry as we were!! He really looked better than he has in years. His hair is much shorter, but not as short as in '75 at Paul party in L.A.

He seemed to be as excited about meeting a group of fans as we were in seeing him. He didn't just rush off, but posed, smiled, answered our questions and let us take pictures of him.

After he left, I took one more look at Crackerbox Palace and saw Olivia walking Dhani in a buggy. To get a better look we walked down to the middle house, but she kept going down towards the gate. Sure enough she came out. She was hesitant at first but turned out to be real friendly. I asked how Dhani's name was pronounced, she said "It's Donny only spelled differently." She said, "I wish I knew you were coming, I'd have asked you to bring some Pampers!" She said we could take a picture but without flash, as we shot she said, "Dhani, you can't have a picture taken with a dummy (pacifier) in your mouth." Then we said goodbye, wished them a Merry Christmas and were off. Another shot in the dark (horse) paid off.

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