Here is one man’s impression of life in music way back in the day. The man’s name is Colin Cleave. He used to operate Revival Records in Victoria St/K Rd Auckland.He is a mine of information abut music. Here is an extract about MR LEE GRANT. Excuse the typos…. please let us know if you see any glaring mistakes in punctuation/grammar/spelling. I like his style what do you think?
The T.V.N.Z. studio’ at the top of Shortland Street was in a windowless brick building. It gave the impression approaching it that it held many secrets. But it certainly held many dreams, Many budding entertainers, Pop Stars and musicians career’s were born there. As we approached the main door of the building, Di Gadwallader was coming out.
“who are you boy’s looking for’ she asked suspiciously.
‘ David Gapes’ said Greg, lying with confidence.
‘He’s in Australia and will not be back until next week’ Di Cadwallader said as she stood in the grand wood paneled doorway.
‘Oh, thanks’ said Greg, then we both turned and walked away looking no doubt very dejected.
‘The bitch, she sprung us’ said Greg.
‘Well what did you say that for? we haven’t even meet David Gapes
‘ I thought it might impress her if she thought we were there to see the head of Radio Haurai. said Greg.
Di Cadwallader called out to us from her car that she had walked over to. ‘I see you boys around alot ,are you fan’s of Lees?’ she asked
‘Yes we are, we have all his records and go to all his concerts and we follow Sandy Edmonds too’. We exitiedly revealed.
‘Sandy will be a big Star one day, she works so hard and is a beautiful person’ said Di.
‘I love ‘Daylight Saving time’ her new single I said
‘ Yes its going to be a smash for her. I’m just waiting for Lee to come out of the studio and we are going from here to do a show at Auckland Girls Grammar School would you boys like to come with us?
‘Yes” we both answered in unison,.ecstatically.
Soon we would both be in the same car as Mr Lee Grant. We had mostly only seen him on a stage or on T.V. before he was probably the most famous person in New Zealand at that time.
When he came out of the doors of the T.V.N.Z. building, it was a surreal image he was tall, dark and wearing a black short fur coat with the high collar turned up over a three piece suit with his trade mark high collared shirt and tie which was tied like a cravat. Lee walked quickly over to the car.
‘Lee these boys are coming with us to watch the gig at the Girls School hall’ announced Di.
‘Great, it should be a gas guys’ Lee said
We piled into his two door, two tone, triumph Herald, car.
‘ Haven’t I seen you guys around before? asked Lee .as soon as we climbed into the back of the car. ‘Oh yes , and are members of your fan club’ Greg blurted out instantly.
‘ So you know Tina and Jan then? who run Lee’s fan club asked Di.
‘Yes we are in touch regularly, especially as they run the Fan club from Wellington so we can give them news from Auckland and they put it in the news letters for the fans all over N.Z. They said that Dina Rigg is now an honary member of the fan club’ I said
‘Yes thats right and Lee is going to be on the Roy Orbison, Walker Brothers, Yardbirds show soon said Di.
‘Farout’ thats great, ‘The Walker Brothers, wow! we are huge fans , especially of Scott Walker’s .. also The Yardbirds’ I said.
‘So am I said Lee., don’t know about the big O though’
‘ Yeah he’s real boring, just stands infront of the microphone wearing his horn rimmed spec’s , plays his guitar and sings, he never moves. said Greg.
‘But what a voice, said Di ,he doesn’t need to move, he’s magic ,a voice thats soars, a great song writer, he’s a legend in his life time. And you Mr Lee Grant are going to be on his show’ Di said in a very biting voice.
We instantly froze not wanting to go against anyone’s opinion. I broke the momentary silence by saying ‘ I think Scott Walker is going to be bigger than Elvis, he’s got the most amazing voice. ‘Make It Easy On Yourself’ knocked the Rolling Stones ‘s ‘Satisfaction’ of the top of the charts ‘
I said trying to impress Lee and Di with my currant Pop music knowledge.’
‘ ‘Yes, but there’s three of the Walkers so it’s going to be intersting to see how he manages , their hits up untill this year have been prolific.. he’s got a unique voice ,yes but he’ll never have the universal appeal that Elvis has, his personality is to dark.
Lee do you know where we are going ? is this the correct way to the school? .We have to be there by eight thirty’ said Di.
‘So I have plenty of time’ said Lee
“No, its gone eight already, now are you sure your on the right road ?
‘Well I thought that I was, but I lost concentration while listening to what you were saying about the Big O and I think I missed a turn off. Lee looked at us in the revision mirror sitting in ther back seat and winked.
‘Oh for goodness sake I’ll have to look at the map. We have twenty minutes to find the place.’ said Di in an exasperated sounding voice.
‘Only ,Twenty four hours from Tulsa’ Lee sang the line from Gene Pitney’s song..
‘Well we might as well be twenty four hours from tulsa if we are not going in the right direction Di said
‘I have seen Gene Pitney both times that he has been here, he’s just amazing’ I said
‘I took Lee to see Gene, he was just blown away, weren’t you Lee?
‘ Yes he is absolutely, incredidable’
‘Lee sing the ending to ‘I’m gonna be strong’ for the boys’
‘Not while I’m driving, I can’t’ said Lee.
‘Yeah ,okay I just wanted them to hear’ then Di turmed and faced us ‘ Lee has got a three and a half octave vocal range and can sing an even higher ending to that hit of Pitney’s she said proudly.
After looking at the map Di said,
‘We are on the right road but there’s a left at these next lights ‘.
We pulled up at the traffic lights on our left was a block of shops with a dairy on the corner..
‘Look, Lee’s on the cover of the Woman Weekly’ said Greg excitedly. Lee’s face was staring back at us from one of the magazine bill boards outside the shop.
‘Good national coverage again, that’s great ..that ‘s the third national magazine in the last two months that have put Lee on the front cover’ Di said in a very satisfied voice.
‘Its Mr Lee Grant, its him, its him, Lee Grant Look’
We all turned to see a car which had pulled up in the lane next to us, girls were srceaming hystericaly, Lee waved to them and that sent them into an absolute frenzy.
Looking at them from the backseat of the car, I couldn’t help but imagine how excited they must have felt, seeing their pop idol only a few feet away . And here was I sitting in his car feeling quite .chuffed .and trying to look so cool.
The lights turned green, Lee drove forward and the girls car kept level with us.
‘Slow down and let them get ahead of us’ said Di
‘ Oh, no, Lee exclaimed as the girls car slowed down to keep level with us. By now all their car windows were down and the girls were all screaming and waving madly, they seemed even more hysterical no one appeared to be watching the road.
‘This could be a problem, speed up and loose them’
I slowed down hoping that they would go in front, if I speed up they might follow us said Lee.
‘Thats all we need a car load of squealing , frenzied girls
following us’ said Di in an irritated voice.
‘But their fans what’s the worst that could happen? asked Lee.
‘Look just lose them , we don’t want them following us to the show and gate crashing it, that would be so embarrassing.
Turn left up here at the last minute and we’ll see if we are going to have a problem with them or not.’ Di said
The car was behind us now, Lee suddenly turned left and the car behind went straight ahead it didn’t have time to follow us.
‘Excellent!, we have lost them. Now do a u-turn , their bound to realize where they have lost us and they might be turning around and coming back into this street and we are going to be on the other side of the street ready to pull out back on the main road Di said
‘Doesn’t look like they’re comin back’, your plan worked Di , I said.
Great stuff,. Okay Lee turn out onto the main road and lets get to that show, we’ve wasted enough time over this. Said Di
Lee pulls out and drives along the main road. .
‘Hey, this is like a bit like a James Bond movie’ said Greg
‘ Or, a scene out of ‘The Advengers’ Greg,’ said Di,
‘Emma Peel we need you here, now !‘ added Lee
‘There they are!’ I exclaimed. And there was the girls car parked on the side of the road as we drove past Quickly they pulled out and followed us.
‘Their behind us already ‘Lee said. Looks like were not gonna lose them.’
‘Oh!, stop the car Lee pull over now said Di. And the car following stoped directly behind us.
‘Right, I’ll deal with this now’ Di said as she opened the car door to get out
‘What are you going to do? shouted Lee at her in an alarmed voice. ‘Maybe she thinks she’s Emma Peel , I hope she’s not gonna scare them‘ he said to us as Di walked towards the fans in the car behind us.
‘Nah!, she’ll probably only going to let down their tyres’ I added to try and relieve Lee’s concerns with a humorous remark.
“Or chuck their car key’s away’ said Greg
‘She’ll probably hit them with her hand bag’ Lee added.
Greg and my eyes meet, we had often joked and made up stories about ‘The Cad’ as we called Di Cadwallader. She always seemed to have her hand bag with her, it was small enough to carry a brick, infact we often said that maybe she had a gun or a brick in it. But the ever present handbag completed her business woman -image. We were of course completely wrong Di was very friendly which we didn’t expect. But how she was going to handle this situation we had no idea.
‘What can you see’ Lee asked
‘She’s standing at the drivers door talking to them’ I answered and it all seems quite amicable so far from here’.
‘Okay lets go’, said Di as she got back into the car ‘thats sorted. I told them where we are going and their welcome to follow us but they must not come with us ,once we are there. And they may be able to buy tickets at the front of the hall.’
‘See guys what a fab manager I’ve got, everyones happy, Di dissolves another hassle , your a beaut. Di. said Lee .
Yeah, well I’ve got to agree Di had smoothed the waters in this situation. Lee obviously repected her heaps and she certainly got the job done.
‘Lee, will you be singing ‘Maria’ at the show we are going to tonight’? I asked .as Lee pulled back out onto the main road
‘Yes he will’ Instantly answered Di
‘He always sings ‘Maria.’ Lee’s voice is just made for that song. Even though P.J.Proby has releast it as a single, it has not been the smash hit that ‘Somewhere’ was for him, that song has become Proby’s., Lee would’nt touch it, but ‘Maria’ is just taylor made for Lee.
‘I love it when you hold on to that second to last high note in Maria’ said Greg’.
‘Thanks.’. .said Lee
“ And tonight Lee your going to have about a thousand girls there’ Di. said.
‘And screaming’ I emphersized
‘Yeah Lee it wouldn’t even matter if you hit a bum note tonight no one will hear it probably said Greg buoyantly.
‘ Lets hope there is lots of screaming as we havn’t had a reheasal or a sound check, so I might be screaming too” Lee said jokingly.
‘What concerns me is security, said Di, especially at a gig like this, the organizers have absolutely no idea about Lee’s popularity. He gets Beatle type receptions everywhere now. Getting backstage is our first problem when we get there. said DI.
We pulled into the school entrance, playing fields were on either side of the long and straight driveway. Further ahead we could see the school buildings and the large new school hall . There was a large crowd of girls waiting outside the front entrance and a smaller group waiting by the stage door entrance at the rear side of the hall.
“ Look just what I thought no security’ said Di we cannot pull up at the front and if we drive down the side those fans are going to chase us to the stage door and join the others’ and then you’re really going to get mobbed..
‘Well where am I going to go’ asked Lee anxiously
‘ You are going to get mobbed Lee where ever you go, so lets drive straight to the stage door entrance and step on it because their watching the car now or you’ll never make it inside the hall in one piece to do the show. Quick hurry up.’
‘But the fans wouldn’t actually hurt Lee would they’ I asked.
‘No not intentionally, but on Lee’s 22 nd birthday last year at the St. Heliers R.S.A. he ended up at Auckland Hospital from the mauling he received. The hysteria gets out of control especially where there’s no security’ answered Di.
Wow! , farout!, I thought this is Beatlemania stuff and I’m going to be right in the middle of it. And it was, as Lee sped up towards the stage door entrance the fans at the front of the hall started running towards the side entrance actually chasing our car.. As we approached we could hear the girls screaming and see them holding their hands up to their faces and presumably saying to each other something like ‘here he comes’
‘Now you boys must try and shield Lee from the moment that we stop the car until we get backstage.’
‘Lee, Lee, Lee they screamed as hands and faces started covering the windows of the car. As we stuggeled out of the car the fans rushed Lee and backed off Di as she gave off the vibes of ‘don’t mess with me’ . Greg, Di and I flanked Lee as we moved towards the stage door, we were pushed and shoved as we escorted Lee to the enterance. I felt on cloud nine as we were experiencing something that I’d only seen in the movies or on T.V. before This was a group of hysterical fans mobbing their idol and I was part of his team !
‘ ‘Are you all right Lee?’ Di asked when we got inside the backstage area.
“ Yeah, they were mainly pulling at and feeling my coat, it all happened so fast. Just listen to them in the hall It must be a full house’. Lee said as he took his coat off and handed it to me .
‘Wear it until I come off stage will you, otherwise it’ll get pinched for sure’ asked Lee. I couldn’t wait to put it on. Wow! me standing backstage wearing Mr Lee Grant’s black short haired mink coat. I hoped someone might see me. Lee looked every inch a Pop star in his mod tailored silver three piece suit.and wearing smooth pointed toed black beatle boots.
‘I think I’ll throw my tie into the audience, I generally loosen it during ‘land of a thousand dances’ depending on how close I am to the crowd ‘ Said Lee enthusiasically.
The chant ‘we want Lee’ started. The teachers from the school who organised the event knew that they had a situation here, that they were probably not going to be able to control.
‘This is just amazing, we had no idea, I’m flabbergasted,’ ‘said one of the concert organizers to Di.
‘Well this is to be expected, but I am very concerned about Lee’s safety said Di.
‘ Oh Miss Cadwallader don’t worry we will look after Lee’ said the school Principal.
‘ Look you may be head of the school but you have no control at all here tonight.. You have over a thousand hytesrical girls out their, anything can happen.
Now be sure when Lee finishes on stage, do not turn the hall lights on until we are all outside in the car. There will be no encore, that’s when we will make a run for it’. Di said in a business like tone .
‘Oh please!, Miss Cadwallader we haven’t got Elvis Presley here tonight, the girls will be hoping for an encore.
‘ Yeah I would like to do an encore, if they want one’ said Lee.
“ Lee!” said Di sounding exasperated “well don’t say I didn’t warn you, I just hope you can get from here to the car in one piece.” Di stormed off towards a door that led into the hall’.
The lights to the entire hall were turned off . Lee started to sing unaccompanied the beginning of ‘Maria’ from behind the curtain which was drawn across the stage.
Immediately the screaming started., the atmosphere was electric. The quality of Lee voice was instantly apparent, its richness filled the whole hall and coming out of the darkness made it even more magical, the fans knew he was there but couldn’t see him yet, as he slowly sang ‘the most beautiful sound I have ever heard, Maria, Maria’ and on the last Maria, the curtains slowly parted and a spot light was on his head and shoulders. When the curtains fully opened the band started up and the whole stage exploded in light. The audience just erupted and left their seats and rushed to the front of the hall. Fortunately the stage was high enough off the ground so none of the girls at the front climbed up on the stage.
By this time Di was backstage again standing beside me, . We were both standing in the ‘wings’ . Behind the huge curtain on the side of the stage.
‘There’s likely to be mayhem here tonight, Di said anxiously.
Greg was standing on the opposite side of the stage watching Lee also as he started to sing his hit ‘Thanks To You’ the floor at the front the stage was a mass of elbows and waving arms as the fans crowded the front of the hall, there was no isle left in the hall it was wall to wall frenzied fans.
‘Thanks To You’ was currantly No 1 in the charts, Lee had the audience in the palm of his hand, it was so interesing for me to watch his show from the side of the stage in a similar position to him and see the reactions of the audience. .
Often while singing Lee would point and wave to his fans, it was as if an electrical currant was leaving his fingers and giving the fans a buzz, they literally jumped and screamed in response.
‘Oh, he is popular isn’t he?, it is almost like we have the Beatles here tonight, said the flustered Headmaster to Di, he continued,
‘But I did tell the girls before the concert, no screaming and they are to stay in their seats or I’ll close the concert down.’
‘Yes, I understand your concerns, but this is 1967. Said Di
‘We are no longer in the 1940’s, the youth of today do not want to hear the same music that their parents listened to or sit in their seats in silence and only applaud at the end of each song like their parents did.’
Di replied in a straightforward but diplomatic way,
‘Don’t even think about trying to make the girls sit down and if you threaten to close the show you’ll have a riot on your hands, believe me.’
‘Yes, Miss Cadwallader I do, now, some of the parents tried to warn me. They said I’d never get Mr Lee Grant to play at a school hall anyway, so it was like a feather in my cap when you accepted the booking. The girls who wanted Lee were quite ecstatic ‘ said the Head now sounding genuinely astonished and now listening intently to Di.
‘Coming here appealed to me because it was not late hours, it didn’t involve local promoters and was for Lee’s young fans’ Di.said .
Lee had started the song ‘Land Of A Thousand Dances’
He choose not to copy the raunchy original by soul man Wilson Picket instead of the more English sounding version by The Walker Brothers, where they subsituted Na Na Na with La La La and took it up a key, gave it a lusher sound and took it at a slightly slower pace. This suited not only Lee’s voice but also his classy mod image.
.Half way through the song Lee loosened his tie then took it off and threw it into the audience, instantly there was a great surge of eager hands to try and catch it as if it was a basket ball.
Several girls started fighting, the two that ended up with the tie refused to give up their prize. Both girls were pulled to the isle at the side of the hall by the teachers each girl determind and oblivious to everything around them now apart from getting the tie. It was a very wide mod tie no doubt made of silk or a similar fabric that could stand the strain of being yanked violently.
The lights were dimmed as Lee launched into a huge ballad
‘You don’t have to say you love me’ a massive currant hit of Dusty Springfield’s. The dramatic instrumental intro. almost demands attention. It certainly calmed the fans and held them captivated. At one point in the song Lee fell down to his knees singing:-
‘left alone with just a memory
life seems dead and so unreal
all thats left is loneliness
there’s nothing left to feel’
He slowly stands to his feet, looking up and he sings:-
‘ You don’t have to say you love me
‘ just be close at hand.’
‘ Believe me’
‘ Believe me’
Immediately the song reached its cresendo the stage filled with darkness, the curtains closed and Lee was gone off the stage.
The audience was left in an absolute frenzy, they screamed and stamped for more. Lee’s stage prescence was just incredible, the theatre he added to his show made his live act quite an event
Lee wiped his face with a towel after washing it in the sink backstage in his dressing room,
‘What a knockout show Lee’ I said
‘Yeah Lee you were brillant’ added Greg.
The screaming and chanting ‘ more, more, more, was almost deafening.
‘Lee there’s a couple of girls I’d like you to meet’ said Di
“Oh, Di, I’ve just come off the stage” said Lee
‘This will only take a minute, it’s the two girls who fought over your tie, I want them to realise you just an ordinary human being , like anyone else..
‘What me!, okay, bring them in then said Lee and then we’d better make a run for it before the fans start leaving the hall.’
The two girls entered the dressing room, Di introduced them to Lee. Their hands coved theyr’e mouths and their eyes were the size of pennys.
‘So which one of you ladies ended up with my tie then?’ asked Lee.
The girls looked all embarrassed and looked at Di who said. ‘Neither…. but what I have for you both is a photo of Lee .’ Di took two promo pictures out of her satchel.
‘I’ll sign them for you and then you must excuse us as we have to make a run for it.’ Said Lee.
The two girls eyes never left Lee as he autographed their photo’s, they left Lee’s dressing room hugging the photo’s.
They never noticed Greg or I once. And here was me still wearing Lee’s coat thinking that I looked so important.
Looking from the rear window of Lee’s small sports car as we were leaving the hall, I saw a scene that I’d only observed before in newspapers or in magazines.
Over a hundred girls were running after the car. As they followed many were screaming, waving their arms and crying out for Lee. It was like dozens of Sandie Shaws, Twiggys and Dusty Springfields were chasing our car.
Immediately the lyrics from the ‘Small Faces’ song
‘Itchycoo Park’ came into my head. They matched perfectly to these images that I was witnessing. The lyric’s never made any sense to me before, but now the repitition and simplicity along with the music’s raw energy and exitment made it was perfect for this moment.
A true revelation of teenagers in 1967, yes change was definitely happening and this was a small example of how the young people of today were reacting to new social and muscial change.
I turned around from looking out the rear window and looked towards the front of the car my head was now buzzing with ‘the happening’ behind me and to add to the exitment of the moment, as if that wasn’t enough alone, sitting infront of me in the car was Mr Lee Grant and Di Cadwallader.
‘Phew! that was brill.’ said Lee as we cleared the school gates and headed off down the main road.
‘We’ll drop you guy’s back into town, okay? asked Di
‘That’ll be great, thanks alot’ replied Greg.
‘Thanks so much for bringing us to the show, it was just fabulous I said.
‘ Your welcome, something for you to pass on to Tina and Jan for the fan club newsletter said Di.
‘ So what was the story with the two girls and my tie ?’ asked Lee. ‘Didn’t they say that neither of them got the tie?’
‘Oh yes that was a drama and a half, the stupid Headmaster was about to throw them out of the hall and even then they still wouldn’t give up the tie.
I told them that which ever one doesn’t get to keep the tie can come backstage after the show and meet you. Instantly they both droped the tie. The Head had no idea how to handle those two girls they were nearly hysterical. He was quite annoyied with me, he told me that he was trying to implement some disipline and that I wasn’t helping.
I had to point out that he wasn’t even able to get the tie back and would have had two very rebellious students for a long time. I told him that he could auction off the tie and raise funds for the school or something.
Now both those young girls have got a photo each and a night to remember for a long time.’
I saw Di in a whole new light now. Tonight she has made so many people extremely happy. Not only was she obviously a sharp business women but kind and generous. Not only to the fans who were following us before the concert and to the two girls fighting over lee’s tie , not to mention Greg and I .
‘ Now lets hope the girls who followed us to the concert don’t try and follow us now.’ said Di.
‘ Well a car did come off of the school driveway shortly after us,I noticed them in the rear vision mirror and now they have caught us up.’ Lee answered.
‘Maybe it’s the cops’ exclamed Greg putting on his cloak and dagger voice.
‘Don’t be stupid, why would they be following us’ I said.
‘ They might think that we have some school girls in the car’’
‘Thats the sort of publicity that we don’t want. It would
stop Lee’s career in it’s tracks.’ Di lowerd her voice and continued ‘but we are going to get some press from tonights show. Hopefully it should be very favorable.’
‘Imagine’ said Greg ‘ on the front page ‘ Mr Lee Grant mobbed.’
‘Mr Lee Grant maina’ I added
‘’Pop Star Mr Lee Grant bound for International success’ added Di.
‘ Mr Lee Grant’s manager stops fighting fans’ suggested Lee. We all laughted and Di asked
‘Is that car still behind us?’
‘’Its hard to see. but I think its
still them , there’s headlights behind us and I know no-one has overtaken us’ said Lee.
‘There’s a Garage and General store up ahead so pull in there and get some gas, that will put a spanner in their works if they are following us ‘ said Di.
We pulled into the Garage the car following slowed down and parked on the road infront of the Garage.
‘Well , now we know, there definitely following us ‘ said Di
‘ But, what the fuck for?’ said Lee sounding frustrated. It was the first time I had heard Lee swear or seen him rattled.
‘Yes sir?’ asked the garage attentant, doing a double take when he realized who was serving ?
‘Two gallons of super thanks’ answered Lee
‘Hey, your Mr Lee Grant. wow!, wait till I tell the girls in at the desk. ‘
The excited attendant put the pump in the car to fill and then ran insde the station, obviously to tell the other staff. I couldn’t help notice he never even gave Lee a chance to say whether or not he was Mr Lee Grant
‘Oh here we go!. Come on Di, hurry up where are you when we need you’ said Lee looking over at the car that was following us. I notice Di seemed to be engrossed in conversation over there.
‘ Is it okay if the girls at the desk come out and get your autograph?’ asked the elated attendant now back at the car.
’Sure but what would your Boss say about all his staff being out here?’ I’ll come in because I’ve got to pay for the gas anyway said Lee
‘Oh! Wow! you’ll come in yourself, that’ll blow their minds, great! he runs off back inside the station, ignoring other cars who had pulled in for pertrol. The car behind us blasted its horn.in frustration, letting the attendent know that they are waiting for service.
‘Now if Di where here she would not let me go into pay for the gas. She’ll be furious. Just watch her come over when I get out of the car, you guy’s come too, c’mon’ said Lee.
Greg and I quickly got out of the car.to walk in to the service station’s shop with Lee. The people in the car behind us which had just honked it’s horn must have realised something was happening in the car infront of them as they would have seen the exited attendent running back and forth from our car. They hastily left their car when they saw Lee and hurried over to Lee for an autograph, The girls from the new looking white Zephor Zodiac car in the next lane also and rushed up to him.
Three girls returning to their car after paying for their gas, recognised Lee and quickly joined the commotion. By now after only leaving the car for a mimute Lee could not move he was completey surrounded, Intermittant screams sounded as other people noticed Lee. He signed autograhs as people were touching his hair running their hands over his coat feeling his arms, touching his back and shoulders. .Greg and I stood by and just watched in utter amazment. The woman from the Zephor car who was standing beside me told me that she had just come from taking her daugther and her friend’s to Lee’s concert at their school,
‘My girls are simply delirious after seeing his show and now seeing him in person like this will be just the icing on the cake. ‘That long haired coat he’s wearing, is it really black mink?’ she asked eagerly.
‘Oh Yes!, I exclaimed sounding like ‘of course’, but I didn’t know if it was actully real or not many people wondered
‘I’d love to touch it, but I’m old enough to be his mother’ she said. And she did look old enough to be his Mum too, especially trying to look young and trenty in her denium jeans and tee shirt, no adults I knew wore jeans. Except my Grandfather on his farm, but her’s were tight hippsters like young people were wearing and she must have been 40 years old.
I remembered a band member saying what a wanker he thought Lee Grant was and he would stand near Lee one night with a cigarette and ‘if that coat’s nylon it’ll go up like a rocket, his carry on is way over the top, what bloke wears a fur coat? I ask you!.’
Di had said that the coat was part of the marketing strategy ‘ It looks classy, Lee looks brilliant in it. You want to run your fingers through it as its so luxurious and the average person doesn’t get to see a real mink coat, let alone feel one, it gives Lee’s fans a perfect reason to touch him, its totally his image, perfect!’ she said.
And it was all happening now before our eyes.
‘ Is that your Zephor? I asked
‘ Yes, its my husband’s he calls it his baby, even though we have two teenagers’ she said proudly, drawing on her cigarette she continued
‘ I just love seeing the Zephors on ‘Z Cars’ on tele, I reckon that their just too groovy for Police cars.’
I could see Di now marching back towards our car with someone from the car that had been following us.
. I thought now I might get to see another side of Di now, as Lee’s presence had brought the whole petrol station to a stand still.They walked over directly to Greg and I
‘How did this happen, what’s Lee doing out of the car?’ Di asked In an accusing voice,a bossy school teacher attitude now revealing itself. I’d susspected it was there.
‘Lee was just on his way inside to pay for the petrol when all these people started approaching him and it just grew and grew.’ said Greg.
“Yes well that should have been obvious to him, okay let’s go inside and pay for the petrol and then try and get Lee back into the car and leave here hopefully in one piece. Lee just doesn’t realize what’s happening to him now he simply cannot appear in public any more, without causing this hysteria and I think that’s great” said Di as she smiled and walked into the garage.
‘Are you boys Musicians of Lee Grants?’ asked the woman who had joined Di from the other car.
‘No’ answered Greg immediately. ‘Are you from the car thats been following us?
‘No, I haven’t been exactly following you’ she answered
‘ Okay, well tailing us then?’ asked Greg in his sharp witted way. I knew Greg, he relished in this sort of verbal situation.
Unfortunatly she didn’t have time to reply as Di said.
‘ This is Toni Lester a journalist from the Auckland Star, she’s doing a feature on Lee. Di said introducing us to her.
‘These boys are from Lee’s fan club and they go to all Lee’s show’s, don’t you?’
We nodded and smiled, as Di approached the counter.
“What! the bloodly hell is going on here, what’s happening out on the forcourt, there’s people and cars everywhere, nobody is getting served?
A fat Man who obviously was the boss appeared in the doorway he looked like a Walt Disney creation, tall very fat, bald his neck hanging over his shirt collar, stomach hanging over his belt as he walked towards the counter his hefty-rubbery figure woobled as he walked in towards the counter.
“ Its Mr Lee Grant, he called in for petrol”, said the exited but nervous clerk from behind the counter,”he was coming in here to pay us for his gas but other customers noticed him the moment he got out of his car and he couldn’t get any further’
‘I don’t care who it is, get those punters out there served. Well? Start moving!.’ he yelled at one of the forcourt attendents.
“But Sir” said the attendant “most of the cars are empty, the people are all crowded around Lee Grant”
“I hope he comes in here” said one of the girls from behind the counter. enthusiastically.
“No he won’t be, I’m here to pay for his gas and then we’ll have to try and move on” said Di.
“Oh could I come out and get his autograph before you go” asked the very exited girl behind the counter.
“No you certainly carn’t” cut in the ‘fat man’. “he has bought the place to a stand still, the sooner he is outta here the better.” Turning to Di he said “Look lady I don’t want my business disrupted like this, so will you and your pop star please move on so I can start seving my customers”
I held my breath at this point, watching Di turn from the counter her face was tight and her eyes were suddenly filled with anger. The fat man doesn’t know what he’s in for here I thought.
“Listen buster” she said raising her voice slightly.
“ Its your customers that are holding us up and at the moment they seem quite happy. Have you had any complaints yet? No ,so we will take as long as it takes.” Di walked away from the counter and towards the door.
“If you don’t make a move I’ll call the Police and have them move you on.” said the ‘fat Man’ his face now red with fury as he relised that this woman was not intimidated by him.
“ Oh, do” said Di as she turned around around from walking out the door and faced him. ‘The publicity would be great. I haven’t introduced you , have I , to Toni Lester who’s from the Auckland Star she’s writing a feature on Lee, covering tonights concert and Lee’s movements tonight’
I saw the flickering of panic on ‘the fat man’s’ face as he looked at Toni Lester.
‘Oh yes if the police were called it would put my story on the front page Toni said eyeballing ‘the fat man’ who was now half smiling with a panicked expression. What a great team Di and toni made, a force to be reckoned with I thought, my business woman that Greg said didn’t exist. The fat man tried to calm the waters of the potentally explosive situation that he had created. First he gave a cheesy smile at Di and Toni revealing a gold tooth that took away his Walt Disney appearance and made him look like the rat with a gold tooth that he obviously was.
‘Now ladies, lets try and make this into a win win situation for us all, he said clasping his chubby fingers togeather ‘if you could move your car and Mr Lee Grant could sign autographs over to one side of the forecourt or even in here if he wanted and then I can get people waiting for petrol served, now what do you say ? I’m sure you’ll both agree it’s just good business ladies’
he said in a patronizing voice with an impending doom expression on his face.
‘Can I use your phone?’ Di asked the girl behind the counter while ignoring the fat man. The sales girl predictably looked straight at her boss.
‘Of course, do you need the phone book? asked the curious fat man.
No thanks, said Di turning towards Toni and asking ‘Do you know a photograher who could be here soon?’
‘Like how soon? asked a puzzeled Toni.
‘ Before the police arrive’
‘But I’m not calling the police
you said you were
that was only if you didn’t move your car
well I ‘m not moving my car. Di looked defiantly at him .
your just looking for free publicity, more for your story I know your game lady. Look I’ve got enough problems here at the moment without this stupid pop star artilce in the paper rubbish. Why don’t you go and write an artilce on the change over problems we retailers are having with decimal currency. Anyway they would probaby give a serious topic to a man.
With that comment I knew that he was doomed. Here were two woman who were breaking that sexist mould set by men like him
‘ So now you’ve got to cope with adding in tens, that would be challanging, for a man’ ‘said Di with biting sarcasm.