McCartney's Poem for TFF
of how he met Sir Paul
Liverpool - where else to
meet Paul McCartney?
Paul's old class mate and TFF Associate, Jonathan
Power introduced me to Paul McCartney in Liverpool
at an informal reception. It was held at what used to be their
school, now the Liverpool
Institute for Performing Arts and we were there to celebrate
that Jonathan had written Amnesty International's 40th Anniversary
book. This happy event for "righting wrongs and writing songs"
gave me an opportunity to meet Paul and tell him about TFF and
get straight to the matter: would he consider making a donation
in support of our work for peace?
While I was probably the only one with such a wish that day,
I was certainly not the only one who wanted to shake hands and
talk with him. In the last minutes before Paul was to leave, Jonathan
brought us together and we got about three minutes leaning on
a paino in a corner. I introduced myself and TFF, telegram style,
our work in the Balkans, Georgia, Burundi, alternative defence,
strong support for the values of the UN and... got a lot said
to this man who listened very attentively, also with his eyes,
and simultaneously made you feel comfortable. Here I was talking
with perhaps the most important music maker of our times, a celebrity
- and he appears so pleasant, joking, boyish and so easy to deal
We both visited Gandhi
Well, to round up my - well-prepared, haiku-like - introduction
I emphasised that we wanted to contribute to a world in which
we deal with our conflicts with ever less violence and that our
main inspiration was Gandhi.
"Gandhi," Paul cut in, "that's great! You know, we have just
been to India and I was so moved when I sat in his house in Bombay,
and..." It was my turn to interrupt him as I had just been on
my 9-week travel In
Gandhi's Footsteps and thus wanted to know when Paul had been
there. It clicked, we talked more, and I gave him a couple of
TFF publications and said, kind of apologetically, that he did
not have to read them..."But I will," he said firmly.
The Beatles in Hamburg 1961
"Oh one more thing, Paul. You see, my dear wife and co-founder
Christina has an old Beatles record. She doesn't know that I took
it with me and she would be so happy if..." and I pulled it out.
He said he had never seen it before and asked his assistant who
had also not seen it. Signed there and then, "To Christina. Love
Paul McCartney." For the discophiles, it is "The Beatles in
Hamburg. Recorded in Hamburg 1961. Featuing Tony Sheridan &
Guests." (tip stereo).
A money and poetry donation
- by coincidence related to September 11
A couple of months later, Paul sent a cheque. He asked that we
did not make the sum public. But I think I can say it was big
enough to help us through some very difficult months - the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs had withdrawn its organisational support for
the foundation the year before - and it has been spent
and in exactly the ways Paul suggests in his poem above.
We were moved even more by the poem Paul had written specifically
for TFF. Somehow our meeting must have been on his mind and he
liked what he read. It's the most poetic way of saying why we
need donations, and Paul had understood that on the spot. He wanted
to help us, to contributed to peace and nonviolence in a special,
very personal, way. That was really touching.
And there is more to it. He dictated this poem over his mobile
phone from New York to his London office the day before he was
supposed to fly home - on the 11th of September 2001.
Sir Paul accepted to become an Honorary Friend of TFF in 2002
and we made it public at the event of his concerts in Copenhagen
and Stockholm in early May 2003.
Many many thanks, Paul. Thank you, Jonathan, for bringing us
together. Yes, and thank you, Mohandas, for having inspired all
three of us...
inspired by Paul McCartney and make a donation to TFF
av Pauls dikt till svenska vid Christina Spännar
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© TFF &
the authors 2003