Monday, November 12, 2012

England July 1986 (part 1)

This story is written by German fan, Petra Zeitz about her and her friend took a trip to England in the summer of 1986 and had many, many Beatle encounters.   It was published in the fanzine, "With a Little Help from my friends" in issue # 55.  I will post more of her story tomorrow.

Paul at MPL on July 8, 1986.  Photo by Petra

My friend Katja and I arrived in London on July 5th.  It was foggy and raining heavily.  What a way to start your summer holiday!  Little did we know that this was going to be our greatest stay in England ever!  After the usual “sight-seeing” (Abbey Road, Apple, etc.) we went to MPL.  The offices were being redecorated and two workers were painting the windows on the first floor.  They laughed at us watching them in the rain but said, “Come back on Tuesday.  He will be in. “We didn’t really believe them, but there seemed to be some hope for the next week. 

On Monday we went to MPL early in the morning but found out that Paul wasn’t going to come that day.  It was still raining in London and we spent the day hanging around some cafes and restaurants. 
Tuesday we me our friends at MPL at 9 am.  It was nice to see the whole “gang” again.  There was Sheri, Liz, and Lianne from the USA, Mikoko from Japan, Sabine from Germany and some others.  The weather was dry!  Just a perfect day for Paul to come!

By 12:00 our hopes were fading and by 12:30 we were about to leave, but suddenly Liz screamed, “There he is!”  None of us had seen the blue Mercedes coming around the corner.  Paul and Linda were in it, but I didn’t even see Linda.  Paul jumped out of the car. I was desperately trying to find my camera and a photo I wanted Paul to sign.  I found the things, turned around, and found myself standing right in front of him!  What a thrill!  His hair was very long again (Even longer than in the “Press” video).  He was wearing a grey suit and a yellow tie.  Soon he was surrounded by fans.  Linda had stayed in the car and Sabine asked Paul, “Where’s Lin?”  Paul looked for the car but it had already left.  “Eh…she had to go somewhere else!” he said.  As usual he had to sign many autographs and looked into our camera for pictures.  “I’m in a hurry as always!  Just a quick one!”  Paul kept chatting while writing autographs.   “Where are you from?” He looked at Liz, who said, “California.”  “Oh, California Dreaming!” he said.  Sheri gave him a book to sign and said, “Do it nice please!”  Paul looked at her kind of surprised, “I always do it nice!”  Then a construction worker with a very dirty apron appeared and held the apron up as if he wanted Paul to sign that too.  Paul pointed at it and shouting, “No, I’m not going to do this!”  We all laughed.  Then Paul told us again that he was late and went in.  He greeted the receptionists and went up the stairs.

To us it all seemed like a dream.  We couldn’t believe it, especially those of us who had seen him for the first time.  Mikoko went to the nearest phone box to call her family in Japan!

About an hour later John Hammel came back with the blue Mercedes.  Linda wasn’t in it anymore.  John parked the car in front of the MPL entrance and got out.  As we were watching him we didn’t see Paul coming down the stairs.  He popped his head out the door asking John, “Have you got the car down there?”  John gave him a sign and Paul came out, saying, “I’m late as usual, I’m in a hurry.”  Some people were still trying to get autographs.  Paul said, “I’m just going to do two!”  He counted loud as he signed, “One…two… how many did I say I’d do?  Three?  Four? Actually!”  After doing the fourth autograph, he waved goodbye to us and got into the waiting car.  Then he was off. 

Katja and I spent the rest of the week either waiting at MPL, HandMade Films, or Ringo’s London office.  No success.

For the second week we had booked a bed and breakfast place in Sussex.  Katja had never seen Paul’s farm and she wanted desperately to see it.  We knew Paul didn’t like fans to come to his place, so we wanted to be very careful that he wouldn’t see us anywhere.  After the hectic week in London it was nice to be in the quiet little village where Paul lives.

The first morning we started very early.  We reached Paul’s farm at the time we were sure the McCartney’s were all asleep.  We took some photos of the “Waterfall” gate and the pool house.  It’s a very idyllic place.  After breakfast we decided to have a walk around the village.  Katja went past the local school when she heard a very familiar voice behind her, “Hey Jackie, where are you going?  I’ll take the car down…”  She turned around and saw Paul standing in the middle of the street talking to friends.  She tried not to look at him but looked down so that he didn’t recognize her.  And he didn’t.  He was too busy talking to the people at the school.  Linda had stayed in the car.  It was another blue Mercedes, but not the one with the MPL number plate.  Paul was driving on his own.  He had jogging trousers on and was wearing a shirt.  Later that day Katja and I were sitting in a cafe house when Paul, Linda and James came by in the same car.  Paul had obviously picked the boy up from school.  Again they couldn’t see us.  James was telling them about something and they were all laughing.  They looked like a very happy family. 

The Paul we saw in Peasmarch wasn’t the same Paul we met in London.  He just looked like a happy family man, not at all like a “pop star.”  The local people treated him like anybody else and it as fun to watch him taking James to school every morning.  He always played with the other kids, joked and talked to the other mothers.  In fact he was the only daddy among a crowd of mothers.
On Saturday there was the annual village fete.  It was mainly for kids and took place on the meadow near the school.  Katja and I had a look around.  There were some funny competitions.  When I passed the raffle table, somebody said, “This bottle of champagne was donated by Paul McCartney.  It’s very special.”  Of course we both bought a book of raffle tickets (unfortunately we didn’t win the bottle).  A lovely old man asked us if we could help them fold the raffle tickets and we agreed to do it.  Just when we were sitting there folding tickets, Linda, Stella and James arrived.  Linda looked very good in casual clothes.  She greeted some of her friends and talked to the people at the raffle table.  James was holding her hand.  The old man said to us, “That’s Paul McCartney’s wife and his son.  He’s very like his father.”  Really, James looks so much like Paul – every expression on his little face is like his dad.  He looks much cuter than in pictures.  James was wearing a blue jogging suit and a t-shirt saying, “My Dad went to London and All I got was this lousy shirt!”  Stella went around the place with a friend.  She has ginger hair and doesn’t look like Paul at all.  Linda left soon leaving the kids at the fete.  She kissed them both goodbye.  We secretly watched the two Macca kids till they left too.  James always hung by his sister’s arm.  He was fascinated by some of the games for children.  Stella and her friend always had to join him. 

That was our last day in Sussex and on Sunday we went back to London.  Monday morning we were back at MPL – where else?  Soho Square is definitely our favorite place in London!  We were told that we had missed Paul twice last week, but we’d had some great experiences too so we were too upset about it. 

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