Monday, April 21, 2014

5,000 ways to torture a fan

Photo taken by Joy K.

I enjoy all of the stories I post about fans meeting one of the Beatles, the stories of the fans who met the guys in the 1960's are always the most special.   I know that I have posted part of this story in the past, but I now have the entire story, so I will post it.   It is from the fanzine, "with a little help from my friends" and from the July 1985 issue.  It was written by Joy K. 

5,000 ways to torture a fan
By Joy K.

England – 1968
That man can have you eating out of the palm of his hand.  Whom, you might well ask?  Paul.   Simple as that.  Let me start at the beginning.

1968 was my second trip to London, and I went along with Pat S., Pat K., Sandy M. and Nancy S.  It was the first trip for them, so I was a “veteran” so to speak.  I made the trip two years before in April 1966, but this time—no family!  In 1966 it was a bit rare to see any Americans over there, but in ’68 everybody and his brother was there –it was rare to see anyone English!

Let me get back to Paul.  Seeing as how the first time I met the man on April 13, 1966 at Emi, when the background of “Paperback Writer” was being recorded, and seeing as I could not open my mouth to say anything and instead did a cheerleader proud by doing the splits when I first saw him.  Well I made up my mind that this time I was going to talk to them and not act like a fool.

One of the first times in 1968 I saw Paul, we were waiting outside his house when the gate opened and Mike McCartney ran out trying to catch Eddie, the little Yorkshire that Paul had who had made a beeline outside as soon as the door had opened.   The ole brain said, “Yo! That’s Mike!” and all was right with the world.  But I didn’t expect to see George there!  He bopped through the gates and into a waiting taxi, apparently having spent the night at Paul’s after a late session at EMI.  Freaked my little socks off, that did, seeing George at Paul’s house!  Seeing these Beatles is traumatic enough but even worse when it’s totally unexpected.  And who should follow him into the cab?   Francie Schwartz!  A fan approached the car, unable to speak any English, babbled at George in her native French.  Much to everybody’s amazement, George answered her back in French!  Whoa, was I impressed! (By the way, Mike did catch Eddie).

After all that excitement, we still had to wait for Paul, so you have to entertain yourself when passing long hours waiting for these Beatles.  I was very pleased with myself because I suddenly discovered I could talk – that’s very important when trying to make a good impression on Beatles, you know.  This feat is particularly overwhelming considering in 1966 at EMI I was frozen like a statue.  So when I found out my mouth was in working order this year, I figured this has to be progress.  This revelation was short-lived, however when Paul finally bopped out, the first thing out of my mouth was a very loud “Paul!!”  This made him jump about three feet straight up in the air!  He looked right at me, all wide-eyed “What?” he said.  Don’t ask me how my mouth managed to ask this, but it did, “Can I kiss you?”  God, not only was I learning how to talk, I was getting downright dangerous.  The crowd was waited with baited breath for his answer.  Meantime, I’m still not believing the question that came out of my mouth. “Nah,” he finally answered, “it’d be too embarrassing….”  I didn’t push the subject.  God help me if he would’ve said “Sure!”  He actually looked disappointed that I didn’t try to coax him, the little bugger!    Alas, I’m a chicken at heart.   When Paul realized I wasn’t going to jump him he stopped with the torture and got into the car, waiting to take him wherever. 

Another time, a British girl I’d met at Paul’s told me over a dinner that Paul loves to listen on his intercom to what the fans are saying about him.  After she said that, I almost reached across the table and choked her!  The reason?  Paul had done just that with a conversation which I was a party to:  One time while waiting at Paul’s, Sandy (or maybe it was Nancy) said she had to go to the “john” and I had a horrible thought (this conversation by the way was taking place right by Paul’s gate at the intercom)—it made me think of Lennon, so I asked her to say “bathroom.”  (can you picture Paul’s face during this exciting little exchange?).  After a short while the conversation got interesting and took a new turn towards Paul’s bedroom and devious guesses as to what it must look like and a chat along those lines (I won’t’ elaborate further since this is a family newsletter, but I’m sure you get the general idea).  Anyway while we were deep into this little discussion, a loud “click” emitted from the intercom.  Nancy looked at Sandy and me and we looked at her and then we all stared at the gate.  Sure enough, before too long, we heard the front door open and shut and we proceeded to back away from the gate.  Lo and behold, Rose proceeded to unlock the gate.  Nancy and Sandy were on one side of the driveway and I alone was on the other.  All of a sudden Paul’s car was there and the driver’s side was facing me.  Paul had the hugest smile on his face!  The blood proceeded to drain from my face and return like Niagara Falls and my eyes must’ve been a mile wide.  He heard that whole conversation!    So, leaving us with the knowledge that he’d heard everything, he smugly drove off, very pleased with himself no doubt.  I stood in the middle of Cavendish Avenue, pointed at the departing Paul, and groaned, “Oh my God—he heard us!  He heard us!”  So you can see why I wanted to chock my English friend when she casually made mention that Paul likes to listen to what the fans say about him by deliberately leaving his intercom on.

Then there was the time an English lady and her daughter were waiting with us at Paul’s and when he bopped out he struck up a conversation with her about how she likes living in the States and how long she’s been away from England.  Meantime, her daughter is frozen solid.  This woman also had a movie camera and wanted to film Paul.  Here’s the scene” there are about 20 fans, this woman, the movie camera, and Paul.  The man clicked into action, his face a picture of sweetness and little boy shyness.  The woman fell for it, hook, line and sinker, much to Paul’s absolute glee.  “come on Paul,” she said, very much coaxing him, “Smile!”

Paul looking down, pouting, “I can’t smile…”  “Come on Paul, smile,” she pleaded, encouraging him.  “I can’t…” still looking down, still doing his sky act, every once in a while glancing up at her and melting her with this ol’ big brown eyes.   This went on for some time.  Torture!   God, did he MILK this whole thing.  “Come on Paul…”   All of a sudden he looked up with the sweetest, most heart melting smile pasted on his conniving little face, and needless to say it had exactly the effect he wanted it to have.  All of us witnessed this exchange would’ve made the Mormon Tabernacle Choir proud as we sang in unison the 20-part harmony “Awwwwwwww…..”

It goes without saying that Paul ate this up with a large soup ladle.  Not only had he done a number of his poor sweet innocent lady, he’d zapped the rest of us suckers who should have known better in the process!!  Of course, this made Paul all the happier as he watched us all turn into a pile of Jell-O.   Peter Brown, who was waiting patiently nearby during Paul’s little routine, finally said, “C’mon Paul, we’re late”—something like that anyway and Paul, no doubt in a great mood now, got into the car and off he went to go bother someone else.

Late night sessions at the Abbey Road Studios were great fun –many times we froze our buns off and tried to entertain ourselves through the long hours as best as we could.  One session didn’t end until way after midnight, long after the trains had stopped running.  Paul was already home by the time the few of us arrived at 7 Cavendish.  While we waited hopefully outside his gate, one girl realized she’d left her camera at EMI.  Her friends went back with her to look for it, leaving me completely by myself.  It was around 3 or 4 in the morning and the street was quiet and deserted and spooky!  I pressed myself against the wall trying not to be obvious.  When the girls returned, one of them decided to be brave and ring the buzzer on the intercom.  Paul answered, and the girl who’d pushed the buzzer was so shocked hearing his voice that she was only able to utter strange noises, like “uhhhhh…..uhhhh….”  I imagine Paul found this most amusing.  I know I sure did because I cracked up, although I didn’t exactly volunteer to take over either.  Finally Paul said, “You girls should be in bed.”  You can imagine the looks on our faces at THAT!  The walk back down Cavendish when we left was definitely on shaky legs that time!

But then he’s a pro, that man, when it comes to torturing the fans!

1 comment:

  1. This is priceless! I probably read it before, but I couldn't remember. Joy has been a friend forever, a lovely friend - she still sends me "regular" mail! That's why WALHFMF was always my fave fanzine, I would sit at home reading it when it came in the mail and laugh my head off at stories like this one. Thanks for posting, Sara! Now I can be a "normal" 62-year-old and start working... Teenager mode off.