When Andy met a Beatle, a Bond girl, and Dame Edna
Andy Cade (Art Director, Musician & Lecturer) reminisces on working with Ringo, Barbara Bach, Dame Edna
In 1990 my wife Lizzie came home from the Gym in Barnes saying she’d befriended some girls at the aqua class who she’d thought ‘may have something to do with the Beatles’. Turned out to be Pattie Boyd/Harrison/Clapton, Nicole Winwood (Stevie’s ex) and Chrissie Wood (Ronnie’s ex). Pattie lived in Hammersmith and we lived in neighbouring Putney, which led to a couple years of socialising; picnics in Fulham Palace Gardens and one night turning up to surprise former ‘Small Faces’ and ‘Humble Pie’ legend Steve Marriot and his ‘Packet of Three’ playing at The Half Moon, our Putney local. Me, Lizzie and the three ‘rock chicks’. I had to pinch myself.
Pattie was lovely by the way. Full of fun, and radiated happiness. She was in the process of re-inventing herself as a photographer, and I designed her business card at a ‘friends’ rate.
This led to me creating a logo etc for a new charity she was involved with called SHARP (Self Help Addiction Recovery Programme) to help people weane themselves off chemical dependency; like the Betty Ford Clinic in Hollywood. They were raising money to equip a disused chapel in London to offer the programme to the public at more affordable than Betty not very affordable rates. I showed my initial ideas to Pattie at her riverside flat in Hammersmith; (the original artwork for the Layla record hanging on the wall, along with John Lennon’s doodly drawings of the fab four and Yoko) which she OK’d and gave me the nod to work them up. I was invited to present the finals to Ringo and Barbara Bach (sponsors of the SHARP charity) and the committee, in their suite at London’s Hyde Park Hotel. Pattie gave me the heads up that Ringo and Barbara had been having art lessons at their home in – Menton – and may be tabling some ideas alongside mine. No pressure then!
Naturally I made sure I was the first to arrive for the 9am meeting and heard myself telling the concierge ‘My name’s Andy Cade and I have an appointment with Ringo Starr…’ which seemed astonishingly surreal. A phone call and a lift ride later I was knocking on Ringo’s hotel room door which, unsurprisingly was opened by…Ringo! ‘Come in. Come in. Barbara’s just fixing herself up. She’ll join us in a sec.’ A nod toward the en suite as he shook my hand! Bloody hell! I’m touching a Beatle. ‘Do you take milk’ as he pours a coffee?’ There’s no-one else in the room! …he’s talking to me! The phone rings ‘Yeah. Yeah. (no ironic third Yeah.) Send ’em up. Send ’em up.’ Ringo turns to me (to me!) ‘There’s some girls in reception come to see us. I told him send them up. It’s like the old days.’
Moments later I’m the centre of attention in a hotel room with a Beatle, a Bond girl, Pattie Clapton, a posh barrister and a couple of Sloane Rangers in velvet frocks who are all there to judge my work. Some presentation! Just about controlling my essential tremor I showed my designs for SHARP. The room goes quiet. What are they thinking? After a long pause Ringo breaks the silence.
‘Well. It looks pretty sharp to me.’
Phew. I love you Ringo. I really do.
I left them to their committee business and took my leave in a flurry of air kisses and pats on the back. ‘See you later, Andy.’
That night Lizzie and I were guests at the SHARP Gala Fundraising dinner in the Palm Room at the Astoria Hotel – my reward for the pro-bono creative work. Ringo was MC and Dame Edna donated a bill-topping performance. The audience included Sarah Ferguson; prior to her toe-sucking scandal, Billy Connolly and Elton John; I kept my arms folded during the auction. HELLO! magazine was covering the event and we managed to hi jack photographer Terry O’Neill’s lighting set up to snap the attached photo of me with Ringo, Barbara and Dame Edna who was quick to catch and is seen graciously pointing to my artwork, pinned to Barbara’s dress.
Friends of SHARP
October 1990 – Pattie Boyd, Baroness Fiona Thyssen, Brian Clarke, and Barbara Bach were among the 350 celebrities who partied with Dame Edna Everage (aka Barry Humphries) in the Palm Court of the London Waldorf Hotel raising $58,000 forSHARP. Pattie circulated around the reception after dinner taking snapshots. Dame Edna and Master of illusion Simon Drake entertained. Other guests included: Ringo Starr, Lulu, Elton John, Cathy McGowan, Anthony Hopkins and Lionel Bart. Sarah, the Duchess of York, also popped in to mingle with the Friends of SHARP.
Photo from Hello! magazine’s November 3, 1990 issue 126. Source of scan is the Forever Pattie Boyd group at Yahoo!
Another brush with the world of music was in the mid ’70s when I blagged my way in to designing the programme, promo and merchandising materials for Todd Rundgren’s UTOPIA tour of the UK. I was, and still am a complete Todd nerd, so was thrilled to be invited to the band rehearsals at Shepperton Studios. Todd was managed by Albert Grossman (who was also Bob Dylan’s manager), and can be seen in ‘Don’t Look Back’ the movie of Dylan’s 1965 tour of the UK wheeler dealing for Dylan in a sports jacket and tie and cavalry twills. When I met him 10 years later at Bearsville Records’ London office he was sporting a mink coat, jeans and sneakers with his hair in a pony tail!
So, I got to tour with Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, selling my designs for the T shirts, buttons and programmes at the shows, and rooming with the truck driver, who I never met; by the time I got back from the shows he was back at the venue doing the load out and on his way to the next one. I later did similar work for Gallagher & Lyle.
I found it an exciting but strangely unsettling world…guys who keep baseball bats in the boot of the Jag to safeguard their assets – bags of Tee shirts, cash and merchandise. The experience blew away some of the romance of the front of house audience experience; like seeing the kitchen of a top restaurant or behind the scenes at Covent Garden. Once you see how the trick is done the magic has gone.
Ironically Todd Rundgren is currently touring as part of Ringo’s All Star Band.
Keith Kerslake’s response
I am totally blown away. The only competition I can offer is that tomorrow Don McLean gets on the boat, unfortunately it’s not Mr American Pie but he of Crackerjack fame.
My brushes with celebrity have been few and far between and certainly not on your level. You should write those stories up for the mag, they really fly.
The cold is almost over, back to singing tonight. It’s always good to have a few nights off, but tonight is Blues Brothers with the band so I have to be there come what may.
By the way, I once was doing a Blues Bros gig and I met DAN AYKROYD’ S SCHOOLTEACHER !!! Take that, Mr celebrity name dropper!!!!!
And I once saw the bass player from Hawkwind playing CRICKET!
And I once played piano on West Country tv and got £30 for it SO THERE!
Right, time to go and gnash my teeth…………….
My teeth are gnashed to the bone, will I ever regain my self esteem?????
If I try to assassinate Ronald Reagan will that impress you enough?
Andy Cade is an Art Director, Musician and Lecturer in Creative Advertising. He has spent most of his life as an Art Director working within his own Creative Consultancy before being asked to lecture on the subject at Kingston University and Southampton Solent University. He also works as a musician in the sing a long group ‘Baz & Dave’ who have a famous residency at The Coach & Horse pub in Soho, London.