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Memories of The Beatles in York
AS a teenager living at a York pub in the early 1960s, Gill Thompson had a unique opportunity to meet some of the biggest rock and pop stars of the 20th century.
The Edinburgh Arms in Fishergate, run by her parents, Merrik and Muriel Bousfield, was just across the road from the Rialto.
Legendary bands such as The Beatles performed at the Rialto in the early days of their rise to worldwide fame – and after performing would stay at the Edinburgh Arms overnight.
Now, following the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four’s first performance at the Rialto, she has told of her experiences in meeting them – and given her verdict on the music legends.
Mrs Thompson, who now lives in Woodthorpe and is aged 65, said Paul McCartney and George Harrison were “lovely”. She said: “They didn’t know us from Adam but they still found time to say hello and ‘are you coming along tonight?”
But her impression of the other two Beatles, John Lennon and Ringo Starr, were not so favourable. “John was just rude,” she said. “Things were completely different then and people didn’t generally use the F-word but John did and I was very taken aback. And Ringo was a bit of a nonentity really, wasn’t he?”
She says other legends staying at the pub included The Rolling Stones and Roy Orbison. She did not like Mick Jagger’s language any more than Lennon’s but her biggest memory is of discovering bandmate Brian Jones slept with his hat on.
“We didn’t have tea-making facilities in the bedrooms in those days and so I went up to give him a cup of tea in the morning,” she said. “I knocked on the door and found him in bed with his hat on.”
She said most of the stars were just on their way up when they came to York, but Roy Orbison was already a very big name. “He was absolutely gorgeous.”
Mrs Thompson said she lived at the pub from 1958 to 1967. “I was ten when we arrived and 19 when we left after my mother died.”
She still has a memento of her meetings with the stars – an autograph book full of their signatures.
• SUZY Brown from York was a 15-year-old college student when her mother queued all day with “a chair and a flask” to make sure she got tickets to see The Beatles.
A huge fan before the show, Suzy said she went on to be an avid collector of Beatles memorabilia, after catching the Fab Four’s last ever show in York in November 1963.
She said: “It was very noisy and we just screamed. I understand they stopped doing live shows because they couldn’t hear themselves play.
“But screaming was what you just did - everybody did it.
“By then they were huge – 1963 was when they really took off. They were big and everybody was talking about them.”
Suzy, now 64, still has her ticket from that night at the Rialto along with lots of other items including fan club magazines, original singles and even a roll of Beatles wallpaper.
She admits, however, losing interest in the boys during their the Sgt Pepper period, and recently gave a lot her memorabilia to her son on his 30th birthday.
“Dare I say it, I’m not a fan now. I actually prefer Rod Stewart and Simply Red.”