Monday, April 23, 2012

Part Two
By Steve Ludwig

Before I begin this second of two installments, may I mention a couple things? First, Paul Goresh never considered himself a "personal photographer" of John Lennon. That's how I  would think of him. Paul always considered himself simply a Beatles fan who was lucky enough to have taken pictures of John Lennon. Also, I want to thank Paul for allowing this Beatles fan to live vicariously through him.
Paul has many, many photos and memories of his times with John Lennon, and he's always been kind enough to share some of those with me. I'm forever grateful to him for that. Paul once told me he may eventually publish a book about those times. So out of respect for Paul and any future plans he may have in the literary field, I certainly don't want to tell any stories that he could surely tell better than I ever could.
Instead, I'll share with you a couple answers that Paul gave to me of questions I asked him. Then I'd like to relay an experience that still brings chills to my spine when I think of it.
So I ask you -- If you had the opportunity, what might you ask Paul Goresh about John?
One of the first questions I ever asked Paul was, How could a Beatles fan act normal around John Lennon?
Paul told me he never quite mastered it. In fact, early on, John used to catch him staring at him as he and Paul would walk the streets of New York near the Dakota Building. 
"You have to stop thinking of me as a Beatle," John told him. "I'm just a guy."
Uh, sure, John, just a guy who was one-half of the greatest songwriting team of the 20th Century! Just a guy who was in the Beatles!!!
Lennon went on to explain to Paul that he, John, found himself in awe of some of his musical idols, and that he understood. 
"But I'm not a Beatle anymore," Lennon would always insist.
While Paul never got the hang of thinking of John as "just a guy," he did learn to control it.
I asked Paul, almost reluctantly, what kind of a guy John was. I didn't want to hear that one of my heroes was a creep.
I'll never forget Paul's answer: "Even if John weren't a Beatle, I'd want him for a friend."
He said John was one of the nicest, kindest, most down-to-earth people he'd ever met. Whew, what a relief that was to hear, and so great to hear it!
He also told me that not once while John was in Paul's company, did John ever display any type of ego. He would never walk with a bodyguard, nor would he ever turn down a request from a fan on the street for an autograph. (Unfortunately, we know where that got poorJohn...)
Of course, I'd ask my share of dumb questions, the kind only Beatlemaniacs would want to know the answer to. One of them was, "What kind of handshake did John have?"
Paul described it as a "guy's handshake," firm, friendly.
October 16, 1992, found Goresh and me at Madison Square Garden attending the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert. In celebration of Super Bob's 30 years in music were some of the all-time greats of the music business: Eric Clapton, Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, Tom Petty, The Band, Roger McGuinn, even Dylan himself...the list went on and on. But as great as all of them were, Paul and I were there for one performer -- George Harrison! Making a rare appearance in concert was the Quiet Beatle himself.
Before the show began, Paul was lining up shots and angles with his camera. Suddenly he grinned at me.
"You know what camera this is?"
I knew.
You'll recall from my last blog the picture of John Lennon on the front page of the NY Daily News, December 10, 1980. Well, this was the camera that took that picture!
Its historical significance, at least in Beatledom, is incalculable.
"Wow!" I took a few seconds before I asked, "Can I hold it?"
Paul smiled again, took the strap from around his neck, and handed me the camera.
I recall thinking, I shouldn't be holding this. This should be in some museum case somewhere. But George was coming onstage later, so Paul wanted to use his "Beatle camera." The very one I now held in my hands.
I carefully handed it back to Paul, convinced I was not worthy of holding it for more than just a few seconds.

I hope that Paul Goresh does get around to writing that book. If he does, take my word for it, you'll read some incredible stories and see some fantastic photos.

I have a radio show! It's fun and relaxed, and it's called STEVE LUDWIG'S CLASSIC POP CULTURE at Thanks, everybody!


On next week's blog, I'll tell the story of how my book-reading went this coming Friday, April 27, at Gizzi's Cafe, 16 W. 8th St., NYC. WHAT BOOK, you might ask? If you enjoyed reading this blog, would you be so kind as to consider buying my first book, SEE YOU IN CCU: A LIGHTHEARTED TALE OF MY OPEN-HEART SURGERY ?
You can find all the ordering info at CCUBOOK.COM.


Until next time, thanks for everything,
Steve Ludwig

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