Sunday, February 23, 2014

A brief encounter of the McCartney kind

Photo by Laura Dever

I always enjoy hearing about how kind one of the Beatles were to a group fans.  I am sure it gets to be annoying at times to always have a group of people waiting for you to leave so they can ask for autographs and take photos, but Paul really shows time and time again his kindness. 

This story by Laura Dever from 1986 is from issue #56 of With a Little Help From my Friends.

A brief encounter of the McCartney kind (October 16, 1986)
By Laura Dever

I had tried for year to meet Paul McCartney.  Doing his 1976 American tour, I knitted him and Linda each scarves with the Wings logo and their names on each end.  I never met them during that tour or on two subsequent trips to London in 1977 and 1984.  It wa with great hope and determination that I sat listening to “Silly Love Songs” and “Maybe I’m Amazed” on the airline radio system as my plane took off to London on October 3, 1986.  I looked upon the songs as a good omen for my two-week trip.

The first Wednesday I was there (October 8) my friend Heli and I went to MPL, having been told that that was Paul’s regular day.  We arrived at 10:00a.m., having also been told he was an early-bird.   We waited around there for 30 minutes and decided to leave, seeing no activity or fans.  We continued our plans and went to Liverpool the next day.  I vowed to return next Wednesday, though Heli would be gone, to try again.

I arrived at MPL on Thursday, October 16 at around noon to find a group waiting.  Though we were not really expecting him, it was decided that he would be in either that day or the next day since he had not been in since Monday, October 6.  We saw some of his management and some television crews going in.  The prospects looked good for his coming.  I had caught a cold from standing out there the day before and felt terrible.  I was also freezing, as I had not worn my coat, thinking it was warmer that it was.  I was not about to leave; so I went to get a cup of hot soup and returned to wait.  At about 2:15pm, Trevor came out of MPL and told us that Paul was coming in a few minutes and to let him pass, as he was late.  To this we all agreed, and planned to say “You’re late Paul?”  in union (a plan that fell apart when he came).  His car came around the corner.  I had stationed myself by the door to get a picture.  He got out of the car at the corner and stopped for a brief time to sign autographs and pose for “quick photies.”  I moved down there with the scarves in my hand and ended up right in front of Paul!  He must have noticed the scarves in my hands because he stopped dead in his tracks and looked straight into my eyes.  I stood there for a moment looking back into those warm, beautiful hazel eyes of his with my mouth hanging open, trying to decide if I should give him the scarves then or when he came out.  He then moved on and stopped to pose with two fans at the door. I snapped a quick picture even though I didn’t have time to focus the camera with the scarves In my hands.  Paul went in for the interview for two hours while we patiently waited outside.  The crowd of 15 grew to a crowd of 32.

We saw the car come back, and his driver went into MPL and talked on the phone with a rather hopeless look on his face.  I stationed myself at the door in front to give him the scarves, get a better picture and possibly an autograph.  When Paul came back out he said, “Guess what?  I’m in a hurry!”  The crowd pushed me back.  I focused my camera and took a picture through the scaffolding around the building and headed towards the car to intercept him there to give him my scarves and the note.  The crowd moved with him, as he signed tow autographs and posed for picture.  As one of his crew was clearing me away to make as aisle, I desperately cried, “Paul!!”  He stopped dead in his tracks again.  “Paul, I made these for you,” I explained, as he looked me directly in the eyes.

“Is that for me?”  He asked.

“Yes, and there’s one for Linda too.”  I replied, trying to speak.  He took the scarves from my hand, looked at them, and got a thrilled look on his face and smiled at me, again looking straight into my eyes and said, “Oh!  Thanks a lot!”  Suddenly the cold weather, the hunger and the misery of my cold disappeared with the warmth and sincerity of his smile and gaze as he seemed to start to lean down towards me.  A guy from Mexico then asked him to pose for a picture. “Oh, this guy’s from Mexico.  We’ve got to get a picture!”  Paul obliged, posing briefly.  He then shouted “Arriba!” and got into the car and was off.

We all went crazy and hugged each other as if we had known each other for years and exchanged addresses.  I must have had the dumbest smile of my face as I walked down Oxford Street and rode the tube back to Victoria Station, but I didn’t care.  A dream had been fulfilled.


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