Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How to save money when you are in London

Here is a story from an obvious Paul lover from Austria who met Paul outside of MPL and Air studios in 1982.    Let me say that if I was waiting for Paul to leave a studio, and Ringo came out, I sure would have talked to Ringo and I would not have been worried about missing on seeing Paul.  Anyhow...the time of the early 1980's when Paul was going in and out of Air studios is one of my favorite Paul eras.   

This story was from the October 1982 (issue #40) of With a Little Help From my Friends.

How to Save money when you are in London
By Karin Gattermayr

This is the story of my first meeting with Mr. Paul McCartney.  It happened in the last days of August  1982.  We (Linda, a friend of mine, Mike from the Paul McC club in Germany, Thomas—another friend, Rainer, Jorge, Eva-Maria and Mrs. Brunner, from Beatles Information Center in Germany and I) went to Liverpool for the Beatles convention at the Adelphi Hotel.  We had a table there to sell things of our club during the two days of the convention and a two-day magical history tour with the one and only Bob Wooler.  On our way home to Germany, Linda and I left the party to stay for a few days in London.  Not without any reason – Linda had gotten the message from Doylene (of the McC Observer) that Paul was supposed to be at Air Studios from 1st September on, and I got the same message for Pat.  Here is the story that happened to us in London on Tuesday, 31 August, Wednesday, 1st September, Thursday, 2nd September, and Friday 3rd September.  About the title – I saved a lot of money because I spent most of my time standing around at Oxford Street #214!

The first time I saw Paul was on Tuesday, August 31 when we decided not to go to Henley-on-Thames.  Linda and I had decided on the day before to go to Henley on Tuesday, to be at Air on Wednesday, to go to Rye on Thursday, and to hang around MPL on Friday, as we had been planning.  I was going to my aunt’s house in Orrington, near London, and Linda went shopping in London. My aunt wasn’t home, so I got onto the train again and went back to London Town.  I thought I would go shopping but I wanted to visit MPL first, so I left the underground at Tottenham Court Road and slowly walked down Oxford Street to Soho Square.  When I arrived, there were a lot (7-8) of young boys and girls, wearing Paul buttons.  I slowly walked down the street and then I heard a voice, “Karin, have you got my message? HE is here!  I got his autograph!” (Linda had left a message for me at the hotel).  I was so shocked that I had to sit down near her on a little stone wall in the park.  Linda tried to write down the order of the photos in her album because she wanted to give it to Paul.  In the meantime she showed his autograph to me.  It looked great, but I just couldn’t believe it at that time Paul was there.   I tried to cover my fears (would he just rush by in a hurry or stop and speak to us; what would it be like to talk to the man you’ve waited for fall your life; would I be able to say one simple word?) by being very student (If he doesn’t come out soon, I’ll leave because I’ll catch a cold”).   Suddenly there was a movement in the office and we crossed the street, not wanting to miss anything.  In the meantime a big limo had parked in front of MPL.  A few minutes later, three men entered the reception and talked there.   One of the secretaries was with them.  It took me some time to realize that one of them was George Martin and the other was the one I’ve waited for a few years of my life—Paul McCartney!

When Paul realized we were standing in front of MPL, he waved at us and really gave us the eye.  I think I turned into a statue.  I really don’t know if I waved back or what I was doing during those seconds.  Then Paul walked upstairs to the first floor and George M. came out.  He really was more than just nice.  He signed records, postcards, and the stuff we brought with us.  He told us that he and Paul would be at Air again as of the 1st of September for mixing the new Macca LP which should be out at Christmastime!  Then he went to his car, posed for photos inside the car, and then was gone.
We carried on waiting for Paul.  He looked so different from what I expected him to look like.  You know all those photos in the past few months, but he looked even better than in those.  He was so young!   I couldn’t believe my eyes!  I never would’ve recognized him if I would have seen him somewhere else.  All I can remember is that he was wearing a brown leather jacket and that his hair was very short.  When he left MPL, he seemed to be waiting for us.  He laughed and started to sign autographs.  I don’t know why but I was standing very near to him, and whenever he signed something, I could feel him move.  When he signed one for the boys, the boy said, “Another one, please,” and Paul said, “What’s wrong, isn’t that one good enough?”  That was the moment that it really hit me -- Paul was right beside me, talking, laughing, breathing – just there!

When it was my turn to give him my messy-looking “Take it Away” single to sign that I’d been carrying around for some time, I was very surprised to hear my voice, saying, “Excuse me, but did you ever get the photo album I sent for your birthday?”  He looked at me for a moment, touched my hand (he touched my hand!  I’ll never wash it again!  I can remember his soft warm touch….), and said, ‘I think so dear, but I can’t remember properly when, because there’s so much mail coming in!”  I nearly dropped the autographed record when he spoke to me and touched me.  This was the happiest moment I my whole life!  My brain wasn’t working properly from that time on and therefore my memory of the net few minutes is very dim.  Only when Linda got him with her lot of presents, I remember him saying, “You shouldn’t waste your money, spend it on yourself,” and the photo album he wanted to use for his stamps –stupid man!

The next thing I remember was when he jumped into his car with a few byes and see-you’s.  Then I seemed to wake up from my dream again.  He was gone, but the memory was kept in my heart.  I spent the evening with my aunt and her family, listening to “Tug of War” again and again, and in the night, I stood up again and again to look if his autograph on the record was still there.

On Wednesday we (Linda, Carol, a U.S. girl and some English girls) met at Air at 12:00.  Paul kept us waiting the whole afternoon – that means he didn’t appear, and neither did George Martin.  We went home a bit disappointed, but we had seen him the day before, and that was enough…for a while.
I joined my friends at Air on Thursday at about 4:00.  Carol and some other girls had seen him going in, and he was “not in a very good mood” they told me, but we kept on waiting.  During the afternoon a lot of people went in and out, and suddenly, I thought that the man coming out was familiar to me.  He stopped outside the door, looking right and left, when I said to Carol, “that’s Ringo!”  Then he passed by, leaving us staring at him with open mouths.  Ringo was joined by Barbara and two men.  Two of the girls followed him to the other side of the street and talked to him, but I was afraid I’d miss Paul if I’d left and followed Ringo.  But I can say that I was really shocked.  I’ve been to England 15 times without seeing anyone,  then suddenly I’d seen Paul, Ringo, Barbara Bach and George Martin!

Paul came out much later.  Carol and I saw him first again.  This time I was standing in front of him and just stared, with my photo album to be autographed.  When he signed it, he looked at me and grinned.  I was wearing my “Ebony and Ivory” outfit – he must’ve realized that I was waiting for him again!  He signed my book with my pen (I haven’t used it since then!)  When he first noticed the photo in the book, the same as on the back of the “Secret Friend” single, he said, “Yeah, that’s me!”  And silly fool that I was, my answer was “yes!”  After chatting more, he said that he had to go now, but we begged him for another photo.  So he posed for it, but as he’s a very quick moving person, he jumped around after the photo and nearly jumped into a man holding an ice cream cone!  It looked so funny, the man trying to save his ice cream and Paul trying not to crash into it.  Paul said “sorry” and he was off again.  But I had seen him another time –a great feeling.

Friday was our last day in London.  I was with my aunt in the morning, doing a cone for James to be filled with sweets (an Austrian tradition, to give kids a “sweet start” in school).  I reached Air (and Linda and Carol) at 12:15.  We expected Paul to come at 1:00.  At 1:15 the car (number MPL 900) appeared and Paul got out.  Linda wanted to give him a bootleg she’d bought in Liverpool to sign.  He nearly did it, then realizing what kind of record it was, he turned to her and said, “What’s THAT?”  She said, “A bootleg of yours.  Would you sign it please?”  “No, not this one!”  She later asked him if he wanted to have the record, but he said no.  We were told that he was collecting his own bootlegs.  He talked to us some more, posed for photos again, til the moment a lot of young girls recognized him and blocked his way.  He didn’t seem to appreciate the crowd around him, so he headed for the studio.  George martin had gone in 20 minutes before him, with his bike.  Even if he wasn’t in a good mood and he’d hurried into the building, I love him a lot.  The way he looks, his willingness most other times to pose for photos, his way of walking, and just the way he smiles and looks at you ca take your breath away.  Anyway, he left us waiting there til half past 7 when we found out that he used the exit at the back of the building to leave.  Most of the people waiting for him were angry but I couldn’t be.  He’d been so nice before, why should we bother him if he didn’t want us to?  I was happy enough to have seen him 3 times in those 4 days and I appreciate it more than anything else in my life. 

So, whenever you’re in London and you’re trying to save some money, then stay in front of Oxford Street #214, and if you’re as lucky as I was, you’ll catch him and maybe have the same great experiences as I had.

1 comment:

  1. Ha! Cute stories, and yeah, good point about not following Ringo! Especially after you've already seen and met Paul!!!

    Thanks, Sara!