• Philip Bryer

My Night with Paul McCartney


I'm aware that this makes it two Beatles-related posts in a row, and I promised we wouldn't be all about music, and these are not fan pages. However, it was almost 5 years ago to the day, it's an extremely happy memory, and I'm entitled...

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Well, how about that? The opening bid turned out to be the winning bid.

Barely a week before Xmas too, with things to do and stuff to organise and snow belting down like we’re in Fargo, yah, but as Basil Fawlty once said, piece of cake – now for the tricky bit. After all, it’s Paul McCartney at Hammersmith and as Mrs Bryer is someone who still spins around three times and spits at the mere mention of Jane Asher, I think we can swing it. However, Sandra, is something of a worrier.

Who is this bloke? She asked. He’s on eBay – I looked up his feedback, and he seems alright, apparently he bought 4 tickets and 2 friends can’t make it and, er, he seems to have sold a few tickets in the past. Probably got some unreliable and ungrateful friends.

Got train tickets for Saturday morning and booked a South Ken. hotel. 2AM Saturday, and I’m peering out of our bedroom window at Ski-bloody-Sunday and thinking how great it would be if by some miracle that we got there, and I could turn to her there in the future and say, “We made it”. We’re up early, me on the internet, Sandra on the phone, fretting that we’re going nowhere, but it seems the train is on schedule.

“Have you phoned the taxi firm?” she asks. I have, but I got patched through to someone else who knows zip and there’s 6 inches on the ground and no gritters but at least the train’s delayed. “Are you going to try again?” She asks. Done, got someone, we’re booked in. “We might be booked in,” she says, “but is anyone going to turn up?” We have a brief exchange of views about Sandra’s need to have something to worry about, but the taxi man came and we slipped and slid along and there we were on the platform when this train came into view through the snowstorm, as if from Siberia, its windows draped with thick streaks of ice, every other door frozen shut, and then one of her earrings fell off as she took her scarf off and I trod on it, but, but, we had made it this far, and as long as we're moving forward there's still hope.

Arranged to meet my supplier in a Hammersmith pub and he showed up and we swapped envelopes. Since the early morning worries, Sandra had been concerned that the train would break down, the underground would fail, the tout wouldn’t show, that he’d sell us forgeries – and when each worry was dispelled another would be seamlessly slotted in. I didn’t mention the one that had been nagging at me all day, that the show would be cancelled. By the way, as I’d forgotten my deodorant I struck out on one of the most keenly anticipated evenings of my life with a generous squirt of Femresh under each armpit.

There we were at the entrance, people’s tickets being pinged by the man with the hologram reader, and it was our turn, and he pulled the trigger, and nothing, and again nothing, and I’m screaming inside, come on, come on, 200 miles, 15 hours, come on, mate, come on, and we got the red light or the green light and in you go and we stood by the sound man’s desk and Magical Mystery Tour opened the show, the roof of the Hammersmith Odeon disappeared somewhere over the English Channel, and I turned to Sandra and said, “We made it, bloody hell, we made it, bloody hell it’s Paul McCartney.” The adversity made it all the more sweet. Nothing more to worry about. Except, well, here’s a few words from Sandra:

“Yes, I’ll admit that I worry, and all of what my husband says is true, but what he didn’t know, was that on the day after, in the taxi home from the station, my overriding worry, my clenched-fist fear, was that a lorry would have hit the ice, skidded off the road and into our house, and we’d be coming home to a pile of rubble. I suppose it beats losing a leg though.”

#PaulMcCartney #Hammersmith #eBay #MagicalMysteryTour

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