Final night of the tour:
Regional press news - this story published 19 February 2000
My fish and chip supper with The Beatles
Derek Adams, a former journalist on The Sentinel, Stoke, and the Derby Evening Telegraph, has a special reason to remember Beatlemania from the Swinging Sixties. Here he recalls the night in 1963 when he shared a fish and chip supper with the Fab Four ....and the prediction he made about their futures.
Were you part of Beatlemania in the Swinging Sixties, the Bygones section of the Derby Evening Telegraph recently asked.
Part of them! I actually shared a fish and chips supper with the four lads in 1963 and recall John Lennon making chip sandwiches, Paul McCartney pouring tomato sauce over everything he ate, George Harrison drinking his hot tea direct from a saucer and Ringo Starr mistakenly shaking sugar on his chips instead of salt.
The Fab Four had earlier appeared for a one night two-house gig at the Gaumont Cinema, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, and as a junior reporter with the Stoke-on-Trent Evening Sentinel (a sister paper of the Derby Evening Telegraph for whom I later worked) I was sent along to review the whole programme for the paper's Out and About section.
Helen Shapiro was billed as the star of the show. The Beatles were the third act down on the official programme.
I had certainly heard of Helen Shapiro. The name The Beatles was somewhat vague to me.I watched both 'houses' from the wings adjoining the stage at the Gaumont and recall The Beatles larking around and pushing each other before they actually appeared before the screaming hordes that had solidly packed the venue.
When they finished their act they were all bathed in perspiration and both John and Paul dunked their heads beneath the dressing room's cold water tap.
We chatted in the dressing room for about three-quarters-of-an-hour, which included the official interval, while girls screamed at the dressing room window from the outside pavement below us.
Ringo actually chucked a glass of water through the open dressing room window to the delight of the screamers.
Following the second 'house' I was just about to leave the Gaumont at 11.30pm when John Lennon said to me: "Hey Wack, where can we get some fish and chips at this time of night and without the fans leering and screaming at us?"
I knew of a fish and chip shop in an area known as Etruria, near Hanley, where you could sit at tables in the back of the shop. It also served bread and butter and tea.
It was arranged that The Beatles follow my car in their Transit van and that we all dine together. I too had not eaten throughout that eventful evening.
The meal lasted about an hour amid much laughter and joking and the occasional chip being rescued from someone's cup of tea.
The overnight digs for The Beatles was with a theatrical landlady who lived at 6 Adventure Place, Hanley. The property is still there today.
When the bill arrived for the meal there was much arguing among The Beatles on who would foot the bill.
John said he had paid for a meal for all of them the night before and Paul and George said something similar about other evenings. Ringo eventually coughed up.
We eventually said our good nights and off trundled The Beatles in their van. I returned to my lonely bed-sitter in an area known as Basford.
Oh yes, that review ...
My piece that appeared in the Out and About section of the Evening Sentinel read along these lines: "A pleasant boy band typical of many others of this time but who could just make the very competitive pop scene if only they could make another hit record".
'Tis true, I tell you!