Wingspan signing session, May 7th 2001

    Berlin is 750 kilometres from my place (Leuven) so I left on Saturday evening at 7 pm for an 8 hour trip. I slept for 4.5 hours during a stop so I arrived in Berlin at 7:30am. I was the first fan there to start the queue, but not for long as within a few hours I was joined by half a dozen other fans. The signing session was in a large building called 'Adagio Club' on the Marlene-Dietrich-Platze, near the Potsdamer Platze. Nothing special happened on Sunday, but at around midnight Mark Hamilton came to check the place out. I was told he stood about 1 meter from me but I was already asleep on the pavement. Anyway he wished us a good night...I slept relatively well until 3 am when some workers came to change an announcement poster for the signing session from '1 more day to go' to 'today'. I happened to sleep on that very piece of pavement they needed to install their ladder, argh :-) I guess we were about 16 fans to spend the night outside.

Let it dry a bit, Paul added after blowing some air over the booklet

    On Monday, the big day, Geoff Baker (who was spotted at around 7 am already), came over to us to say hallo. When he went back to the Grand Hyatt Hotel (across the square) I followed him, and found out he was to guide a group of about 20 people into the Adagio Club. When they crossed the square again, I made it look like I was part of the group and I was able to sneak into the building. Within a few seconds I found myself into the press conference room. Since I arrived a few hours too early in the Walhalla I tried to make myself as 'invisible' as possible by sitting in a dark corner of the press conference room. Nobody asked me anything for over 1,5 hours: I guess the English crew thought I was German and vice versa :-) At one point I heard someone say: Paul will arrive in 5 minutes, YAY! By that time the first journalists came into the beautifully decorated conference room. But they were sent out after 5 minutes by a German speaking guy. Apparently they were too early. Not wanting to be 'disguised' I followed the journalists. Wrong move as I had to show an arm wrist, which I obviously didn't have. I was told by a lady from the security crew to get my accreditation at the Hyatt Hotel. Grrr. I went back outside and rejoined the waiting queue. I found out that Paul had already arrived (he was 25 minutes early), gave some autographs and then went in real soon...

Welcome to Paul McCartney's signing session. As possibly lots of fans will want an autograph today, please respect the following rules: Paul McCartney will only sign his new album 'WINGSPAN - HITS AND HISTORY'. Please understand that no other albums, pictures, fan postcards or fan articles can be signed. Booklets of 'WINSPAN - HITS AND HISTORY' will be distributed for free though. Since time is limited everyone can only have 1 autograph. Personal belongings like bags, camera's must be handed over for security reasons. You'll get them back at the exit. We thank you for your understanding The Marlene-Dietrich-Platze when I arrived... noch 2 tage (2 more days) This was mondaymorning, few fans were waiting...
    Announcement in German

    Before the fans got the opportunity to get an autograph, the press people formed a queue to get THEIR autograph first. A pretty weird scene was that, the press taking pictures of themselves! Anyway, I took a few pictures before handing over one of my cameras to a friend (Yes, a well prepared Macca-fan takes more than 1 camera with him, just in case). I tried to give the other camera to Mark Hamilton or a lady that didn't stop yelling at us, but they all refused. I guess I'll have a good picture with Paul McCartney next time :-) When it was my turn, I told Paul I wanted to give him a poem written by a friend of mine. I told him some things about this friend and then he asked me where I was from. I told him I live in Belgium. Then he wanted to know *where* in Belgium. I told him I'm from Leuven and that Ringo Starr said during his concert in 1998 that it was the most beautiful place he ever played (that was on the 'old market'). Although I showed Paul my business card he asked how to write my name (tijl) and I spelled it for him. We shook hands and that was it. During the signing session I shouted at Paul 'give her a kiss' when he was signing for a girl. He looked a bit puzzled at me, then he wetted his lips with his tongue and gave the girl a FERM kiss straight on her mouth. She looked like she was very happy (and that's an understatement) and everyone had to laugh. After about 45 minutes Paul was really looking tired, and he said to Geoff, "gimme two more people and that's it". I feel sorry for that poor guy that just missed his meeting with Paul.

this is the square where it all took place...
    The Marlene-Dietrich-Platze, near the Potsdam Platze and the famous Brandenburg Tower (this is a scanned postcard...)

Paul looking amazed at our friend Naoto Paul talking to Christian, while John Hammel and Geoff Baker are chatting somewhat and Mark Hamilton is watching Paul any idea who this girl is?
Paul and Cathi, a young german fan Paul somewhat looks like a cartoon here don't ya think? Paul acted really natural at this point
    Puhlease, do *click* on these pictures, they're pretty large actually...

Click with your left mouse button on all these pictures Look at Paul McCartney's shoes, they look...euh... comfortable hehe One could clearly see Paul got tired by the end of the session
    Some of the pictures don't do Paul McCartney right: he wŕs really goodlooking and not as pale as some of da pics might suggest...

    After the signing session I ran outside to park my car a few blocks further, then I ran back to the square. I arrived just in time to see Paul and Heather leave in a Merc. I took some pictures and ran back to my car, some 300 meters further. I saw Paul's car at the first intersection. As I had to wait for the red light and they were escorted by Police on motorcycles I lost them right away. I had a look at Tempelhof airport, but I guess they were already in their plane by that time. I went back to the Marlčne-Dietrich-Platze to pick up some left behind leaflets and then I drove back to Belgium. I was home at 3 am at night.

Yep, it *was* pretty hot in there These are all clickable images
    (every picture on this page can be clicked to enlarge)

Paul McCartney talking to Tijl Paul McCartney reading a poem Paul writing the autograph
    Paul McCarntey in conversation with Tijl (Thank you Ingo for taking these pictures)

Paul and Heather Mills leaving the building, followed by Mark Hamilton Was it really that sunny Heather?
Paul refusing gently to sign an album Paul and Heather in their car, one must have pretty much nerve to grab Paul's hand like that, I wouldn't dare it for sure...

The trip to Berlin was well worth all the effort and I hope to see you all on one of the coming events,
P.S. Please e-mail me whenever you like!

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