Sunday, March 3, 2013

Paul and his Swedish fans

I love this fan story written by Swedish fan, Carl Hallberg.   He met Paul in 1982 and wrote about it in the July 1982 issue of "With  a Little Help from my friends" fanzine.   All of the stories of the fans meeting Paul in the early 1980's are so pleasant.  What a time to have met the man!   

Carl with his friend, Pat 4-23-82

My girlfriend Inger and I arrived in London on April 19 (1982) and could not resist the temptation to pay a visit to MPL at Soho Square first thing.  What a change since the last time I was there, more than six years ago!  Outside MPL there was not a fan, not a McCartney, nothing, until after half an hour the well-known sound of “Coming Up” came nearer, yes, at last another McCartney fan.  And a very nice one too.  She told us Paul probably was due to come back from the USA any day now.
Well, Tuesday came and went and still nothing outside MPL or Air studios.  Then suddenly at about 2pm on Wednesday out of nowhere, suddenly Linda came out of a car outside MPL.  I went directly up to her and said, “Hello, Linda, I met you six years ago.”  And the women goes, “Yeah, I remember, I recognize you, from Sweden!”  And she stretched her hand out to shake mine.  I was so totally surprised by this that she actually remembered me after spending about 10 minutes with me six years earlier.  What a memory!  Anyway I asked Linda where Paul was and was told that Paul had gone right up to Scotland for a few days to write songs but was due in London next week.  So no Paul this week, I thought.  But I was so wrong.  

We went over to MPL again on Thursday, and saw Linda again waving through the window.  On Thursday night we watched “Top of the Pops” on the hotel TV and saw the video of “Ebony and Ivory” for the very first time. It was beautiful and gave us even more inspiration.   “We must meet him this time!”

Friday came and at lunch time we strolled around Soho Square and suddenly three McCartney fans came up to us and asked if we were the Swedish Paul fans.  No use to deny that.  The girl we’d met at the beginning of the week was kind enough to send her friends to tell us that Paul had arrived back in London and was now for sure at Air Studios!

We waited and waited outside Air and sure enough, around 7pm came Paul’s two roadies out and fetched Paul’s car, and now we knew Paul McCartney would be out any minute.  I felt a bit nervous now  but suddenly there he was right in front of me, and the nervousness completely went away.  It felt like meeting an old, really close friend, a real warm feeling (not strange after being a Beatle fan for 19 years; we both became Beatle fans in October 1963 when the Beatles first toured Sweden).  I had prepared myself for this meeting, so, after saying hello and explaining we were from Sweden, I showed Paul and big photo showing my friend Stefan and Rune who met Paul in mid-March, six weeks earlier, during an interview with George Martin for Swedish radio, and asked Paul, “Well Paul, do you remember these guys?”  Paul studied the photograph carefully and said, “Oh, sure, I remember them,” with a smile like “Oh how could I ever forget them?”  He quickly added, looking right into my face, “That talked quite good English, but their Swedish was beautiful, fantastic, just like the natives, wow!”

Both Paul and I laughed, and suddenly he picked up a pen from his pocket and signed “Paul McCartney” all over the photograph, without me even asking for it, just like that!  Inger asked for a “quick photo” and Paul said, “Sure” and looked up while he signed for a girl from Luxemburg.   I followed Paul to the car and we waved as the car drove away.  This was my first real meeting with Paul, though I’ve seen both the Beatles and Wings live in concert before. 

He was really nice, friendly and very funny, a sort of humorous twinkle in the eyes all the time.  Ohyes, the eyes, both Inger and I  thought he had a very special color, a kind of mixture of brown and gray eyes.  Anyway we were very happy having met Paul and talked to him, but we wanted more of McCartney.   So we spent the weekend hoping Paul would return to Air on Monday as we had to leave for Sweden Wednesday morning, so we only had two more days and we wanted to see as much of Paul as possible of course.

Monday, April 26 came and that day was the release date for Paul’s new album.  Everywhere in the shops, radio, TV, “Ebony and Ivory” was heard, and now the new album.  There was a kind of McCartney magic feeling everywhere, exactly the right week to be in London.  Around 1:00pm, I went to Air again, asked a doorman there if Paul was recording again, but he did not know, Paul was not booked in advance anyway, so…and suddenly the man says, “Well, here he is!” and sure enough, I turned around and Paul comes up half-dancing not walking like an average man, no, half-jumping, half-dancing, music all through the body, smiling “Hello again” recognizing me from the Friday meeting.  I was so totally taken by surprise I could not watch the man jumping to the lift and say “Hello, nice to see you Paul.”  Well, now I knew Paul was there, and what comes in must come out, so I decided I must try to get a copy of the new album and hopefully get it signed.  At 4:30I finally managed to get the album, at last it was out in the shops.  

Around 5, Linda and James arrived at Air.  James was a sight, complete with a Batman suit, with Batman dark glasses mask! 

Around 7, Paul came out.  Linda and James went straight away to the car, but Paul stopped and talked and was in a great mood again.  I showed Paul and “Tug of War” album and said, “I just managed to get hold of the new album.”  Paul jokingly took a step back  when he saw the cover and said, “What kind of record is that?” looking at me with a shocked look and he face full of distaste.  “well, it’s actually your record, Paul,” I said, “Your new album,” in a school-mast type of voice. “Oh,” Paul said, “my record??”  “Yes, would you like to sign it?”  “Well, if it’s my record, sure,” said Paul looking very proud and happy again.

Oh, Paul was really hamming it up, full of charm and humor, that man!

Monday night was also the night Paul got kissed by a young girl fan.  There were only Inger, me and two or three girls there.  She suddenly kissed him very near his mouth, perhaps it was meant to be on the cheek, anyway, Paul took it really cool, held his hand on his cheek and said, “Oh oh,” looking all around, and cried out, “Did you see that, did you see that? With an expression like this was the first time he’d ever got kissed in his life!

Tuesday April 27 was our last day in London and we caught Paul and Linda arriving together at Air promptly at 1:00, but we just watched them from a distance, saving the encounter for the evening.  Our last meeting with Paul was also the longest and best one.

Just before 7pm, Paul and Linda came out arm-in-arm, very slowly, very relaxed, and very friendly indeed.  I went directly up to Paul and said, “Well, this is our last night in London, we have to go home to Sweden tomorrow, so we just want to say goodbye for this time.”  Paul tilted his head to the side looking like a lost little puppy, and said, “Do you have to go back? Oh why?”  “Well, you know…” I said, and Paul took over, “Well, then, have a wonderful trip home and have a beautiful journey.”  Paul and I shook hands, then Paul turned around, stretched out his hand to Inger, and shook hands with her as well, and repeated the well-wishes.  He looked like he really meant what he said, he was so touchingly nice to us.  Then I suddenly remembered the interview that Swedish TV did in 1976 with Paul and Linda, where they suddenly started to mention Jarl Kulle.  Well, Jarl Kulle is a well-known actor in Sweden, and I have been wondering since that interview how on earth Paul and Linda knew of him.  So to test them, I said, “I just have one thing to tell you now.”  Paul just looked at me and Linda said, “What?” I just said loud and clear, “Jarl Kulle!”  They laughed, especially Linda, and then they asked me how I knew that they knew of this Swedish actor. I told them all about the TV interview and now I wanted to know the story relating to Sweden’s actor.

They told me Jarl Kulle had been in a cast in London around 1976 acting in English with a neat Swedish accent.  They thought he was a “really good actor but of course also the name just stuck” in their minds.  Jarl Kulle sounded so very strange, but most of all so funny, that they just used to say “Jarl Julle!?!?!” without any special reason now and then in those days, and that’s what happened in that TV interview as well!  At last the secret was out.

Well, after this pleasant conversation, Paul and Linda again wished us both a nice trip home and waved goodbye as their car drove away.  After this beautiful encounter, we went out to dinner to celebrate.  It’s not every day you’re discussing Swedish actors with Paul McCartney, is it?
During our conversation, a London friend of ours took a few photos.  They’re so nice to have afterwards.  I must add that Paul wears his success and fame very well indeed.
To sum it up:  Paul was extremely funny and nice all the times we saw him, looking good, and so was Linda.  Certainly a week to remember!

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