Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Greek Street Gang (part 3)

After he shoots the little boy.  March 15
Jimmy hamming it up for my movie camera.  March 16.  Photo by Silvia Purbs

Jo poses with Joe English

More of the continuing story of Barb, Jo, Silvia, Shelia and Cathy.   This time we get to find out why Barb titled the story, "The Greek Street Gang."  

On Tuesday we asked him if he’d had a nice anniversary and he thanked me for the card and flowers (We’d left them at his house on Sunday and didn’t disturb him on this one day off).  He was in a very relaxed and comfortable mood.  It seemed kind of funny to me that all of us fans were standing in front of him almost in a line and all taking pictures and he didn’t mind at all.  He and Linda just stood there and posed and talked and kidded around.  One of the girls had her baby son along dressed in a cowboy outfit and Paul said, “I like your suit, I’m going to get one like that!”  The little boy took out his toy gun and “shot” Paul.  Straight-faced Paul pointed his finger at him and shot him back saying “Too late.  I shot you first.”  Then he laughed.

We seemed to be waiting longer than usual for him to come on Wednesday, probably because it was freezing cold and even four layers of clothing and two pairs of socks and boots didn’t seem to help.  I was keeping my eyes peeled this time.  We used to joke about everyone coming down the street; little old ladies with grey hair, nuns, Indians in turbans, anything exotic.  “We know it’s you Paul, can’t fool us in that disguise.”  “Very effective, Paul, the grey beard and the cane are a nice touch.”  You become increasingly odd as the hours go by.

I had rented a movie camera for this day.  Paul had always been so friendly and stayed out for so long I thought we could easily use up a three min. film of his arrival.  I wanted to catch him coming down the block this time so I could film that too.  Then we spotted the by now familiar pink Mini and I was all ready for him this time.  But when the car got up to the gate just Linda was in it.  Dave Simpson, a London fan, asked her where Paul was.  “I’m not going to tell you, ha ha”, she laughed.  We thought that was a little uncalled for.  So I took film of her.  And then when Denny came I filmed him and got some interesting footage of him giving Jo a beautiful double-take.  When Jimmy came I filmed him trying to park his car and managing to scrape someone else’s car trying to park into the crowded lot.  He looked very embarrassed and sheepish and put his finger to his lips mimicking that none of us should say anything to anyone.  A few days earlier I had asked him if I could take his picture, adding that he looked so nice in his red jacket, and he had just said, “No” very abruptly.  So I thought, O.K. I’m not going to ask again, I just won’t have any pictures of him.

So here he was coming up to me all smiles.  I probably had a very leery look on my face.  (We always joke that fans are extreme masochists and expect to get treated like shit, and don’t really know how to handle friendliness.  There’s an element of truth in that joke.)

Jimmy really surprised me by patting me on the shoulder and saying, “You can take all the pictures you want,” And he proceeded to strike several cute poses, did a little dance and made motions at the movie camera.  I filmed it all but I had a hard time believing it all.  (I found out later that he’d had a run-in with the police about speeding that day he’d been so grouchy and his license had been taken away for a few days).

Back at the gate, still waiting for Paul to show up, I saw Trevor come out and I tried to look harmless.  I think ‘ole jolly Trev eats fans for snacks and I didn’t want to be his dessert.  He was motioning for someone to come up to him.  I looked around, please, lord, say it’s not me.  I was sure he didn’t want to talk to me.  He has as much affection for me as I have for him.  But there wasn’t anyone else behind me so I finally got the message and went up to him.  Everyone else held their breath for me.  (I thought for sure he wants to smash my movie camera).  Instead he asked me if I wanted Jimmy’s watchband.  He looked just as mean and nasty as ever.  I said, no, not really, but I’ll ask if any of the others want it.  Trevor growled and jabbed a finger and me, “He wants YOU to have it.”  Ok Ok.  I didn’t argue this was Trevor being friendly; I wasn’t going to push my luck.  Jimmy had broken his old watchband and decided to make a present of it to me probably to make up for that one moment of grouchiness.  Pretty nice guy.  I’d see that it got a good home.

When I went back to my friends they all wanted to know what Trevor was hollering at me about.  They’d heard the YOU part come across loud and clear.

Later the woman who works in the canteen there came out and told us, “If you’re waiting for Paul, he’s in there already.”  Oh, good we’ve waited for three hours in the cold and Linda couldn’t even tell us that simple fact and save us from ourselves.  We told the lady that, and she said it figures.  There was no love lost between her and Linda, she says that when Paul stops to talk to her Linda acts jealous and pulls him away every time.  (And this woman looks like someone’s friendly grandmom!)  We found out that Paul had been inside since noon.

I still had the movie camera with me on Thursday determined to try again.  That must have been a jinx because he didn’t come at all on this day.

Chuck it all in then.  We’d spend Friday taking care of other business matters.  One of our errands was to personally pick up tons of copies of all the books and magazines the club was selling through the Feb. newsletter.

We didn’t have to worry about being presentable, since there would be no one to present ourselves to.  We didn’t even mind when we got rained on.  One of our business deals was with Sue of the Wings Fun Club.  Fortunately for un- as the case may be her headquarters is in the McCartney Production office on Greek Street.  I’ve been there many times and Paul has never been around, so Jo and I felt safe in showing up in our wretchedly messy state.  Sue and I talked about the new “Club Sandwich” and how Paul planned the new layout and wanted to be the editor of it.  He picked out which drawings to use from the fans’ art section and Sue couldn’t figure out why he vetoed certain really brilliant painting of himself in favor of the rather crude drawings he actually selected (for those of you who receive the Fun Club’s newsletters you may also be wondering who Paul thinks is represented by the fan’s drawing of a horse’s ass with a head stuck on and a Wings sign on its back.  We have our theories!)

Anyway I paid her for 50 copies of “Linda’s Pix for ‘76” and said we’d pick them up before cloing time and she could bundle them up for us.

After a whole day of tramping around in the rain we returned at about quarter to six.  We were totally wrinkled and disheveled by this time, but this was just going to be a quick pick-up.  They’d tied the books together in 2 packages of 25 each.  Sue seemed in a hurry to have us leave with them.  So we struggled down the stairs and plopped them on the floor, gasping.  They were the most unkindly, things a ninety-pound weakling ever tried to pick up.  As we stood there dazed and wondering how we were going to get them even a step further we were suddenly joined by Jimmy McCulloch.  He wanted to know if he could help us with the books.  I said yes, and started to drag half of them outside to the sidewalk, expecting him to follow with the others.  He must have thought we were arriving and not departing, because he started up the stairs.  That left Jo and I standing there conspicuously in the doorway without a clue how we were going to get any farther.  We tried to haul the books to the nearest busy street so we could catch a cab back to our hotel, but we made it only as far as across the street.  We decided the only thing to do was go back up to the office and tell Sue they were too heavy for us to manage and pay her extra to mail them back to the States.  Just as we were going to go back upstairs Brian Brolly passed us and gave us a very suspicious glare as if we were just loitering in the McCartney Productions doorway expecting someone to show up.  We felt very stupid, we were just trying to take care of business in a mature adult manner and we still ended up lurking around like the typical fans we were every other day at EMI!  Can’t even manage to pass as a real person once a week.  To top it all off, because we get ourselves any further in one direction or the other who should come driving by the street looking for a parking place but Denny and Joe English in one car and Paul and Linda in their Mini!!

And we were in his doorway!  He’d think we’d been waiting there for him to show up, trailing him on his one day off.  Besides that we looked a mess, and besides that how would be explain the 50 copies of “Linda’s Pix.”  Jo didn’t want Denny to know she worked for a fan club of all things.  Only one sensible thing to do in a situation like that – hide!  The only place was the Mexican Restaurant next door, La Cucaracha.  We could watch everything behind the giant menu in the window.  We knew we were probably being ridiculous but there didn’t seem to be any other choice at the moment.  I called Silvia to help us carry the books somewhere and by the time she came the meeting must have been over because Denny and Joe were across the street in the pub.

Stowing our books with the kind restaurant people (who surely wrote us off as typical eccentric Americano gringos), we spent the rest of the evening in the pub too.  If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.  And finally did get all 50 of the books to our hotel by taxi.

Thinking about it later we realized we had had several clues of Paul’s impending arrival and should have taken advantage of them.  While we were still up in his office there’d been two phone calls.  The first was from Mike McGear and the second was from George Harrison.  His secretary didn’t seem to believe that it was THE George Harrison so we thought it was a prank too.  But they must have both called his house and found out he was due in his office and here they were tipping us off and we were too thick to catch on. 


  1. These are the type of people William Shatner was talking about when he shouted, "Get a life!" Honestly! Aren't there more productive things to do than stalk pop stars? It would be reasonable to make the effort to meet Paul once, but to hang out several days in a row around his office and home? It's called stalking. No wonder George, John, and Ringo turned so nasty toward the fans.

  2. I don't think of it as stalking at all. I think it sounds like fun! These girls needed photos and stories for their fan club newsletter, so they were trying to report what is currently going on with Paul (well current at that time). On the days when he didn't record, they did not bother him. They just waited for him to come into the studio and greeted him. No harm in that. Then after he went in, they left. Paul seemed to enjoy the attention. If he didn't, I bet they wouldn't have bothered.

  3. How old was Silvia Purbs at that time?