Friday, October 29, 2010

The First Fan

Late October 1960

Now entering the story is the person who has to be allowed the title "World's First Beatle Fan".  His name is Klaus Voormann.  Klaus started life in the city of Berlin and had moved to Hamburg to study commercial art at an art school there.  He is a talented artist and left school to pursue a career in art.  Klaus is of a milleu that was light years away from the working class Beatles, let alone the denizens of the Reeperbahn club scene.  He is what we would call continental in style and outlook.  He and his friends are deeply influenced by the art and culture whose center is in Paris.

Klaus is something of a loner and took up the habit of wandering around Hamburg to walk away his troubles.  One fateful day, after an argument with his on-and-off girlfriend, Astrid Kirchherr, he goes for a long walk to clear his head.  I'll let him take up the story from there.

"I found myself drifting toward the Reeperbahn in the notorious St Pauli district.  I slipped into a cinema but didn't stay long.  The film was awful.  At the corner of the Grosse Freiheit I stopped to buy some chips and hung around for a minute, watching the bouncers trying to attract customers to the bars and striptease clubs...  I heard vague strains of rock'n'roll coming from a  nearby cellar.  'Hey, did they do this too on the Reeperbahn?'  It sounded live and damned good...  On reaching the sunken steps, I checked myself.  'Klaus, hesitate now and it will never happen.'  With resolve, I descended the shadowy stairwell into the Kaiserkeller."

It wasn't the Beatles whose sound has lured Klaus down the steps, but Rory Storm and the Hurricanes.  During the break, he ordered a beer and waited for the next band to come on.

"So, the band had made ready.  The guitars were tuned and the music box fell silent.  And then...'For goodness sake, I've got the hippy, hippy shake!'  I almost fell from my chair.  It was totally incredible!... Now the only question was if I should hang on until the band came back on stage, or run home to tell Astrid what had happened to me.  I decided on the second option.  After this incident I had totally forgotten our quarrel."

Klaus, of the millions who came after you, you recognized the magic first of all.

quotes from Hamburg Days by Klaus Voormann and Astrid Kirchherr

No comments:

Post a Comment