Pattie Boyd: George Harrison Eric Clapton and Me-The exhibition

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This May, Pattie will bring her compelling and entertaining life story to audiences. In London from 5th May – 2nd June 2018 at The Blender Gallery, Paddington

 Entitled George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Me; An Evening with Pattie Boyd.  Boyd will share memories, film footage and personal photographs of life in the“rock-ocracy” of the Sixties that included The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin,Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd.

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 Pattie Boyd was both muse and wife to Clapton, to George Harrison before him and no stranger to drug and booze-fuelled partying.

But there was little danger of failing memory for her. She kept a record of the wild years – portraits and reportage style snaps taken with a Polaroid and, later, on a Hasselblad.

. “I took endless photos,” she says. “It was something to do, otherwise you could feel a bit spare.” This is an extract from SMH.com.au by Jane Wheatley

The museum hosting the show—”George, Eric, and Me,” opening to the public on May 6th, is Liverpool’s aptly-named The Beatles Story. From the selection of images released in advance of the opening, it’s plain to see that Ms. Boyd was an integral part of their stellar run, and much else besides.

She met George Harrison on the set of A Hard Day’s Night – she played a schoolgirl – and they married when she was 21. They moved into Friar Park, a gothic pile in Hampshire where the Beatles came to record, friends drove from London to stay and she threw herself into decorating, cooking and entertaining.

She was, she says, blissfully in love but often lonely: wives and girlfriends were not allowed on tour and Harrison was frequently absent. After the Beatles had discovered the Maharishi Yogi and they all went to India to learn meditation, Harrison returned gripped by eastern mysticism. “He chanted a lot,” she recalls, “it’s difficult to talk to someone who’s chanting.”

He had also discovered that he was attractive to women: “He was famous, good-looking, had tonnes of money and flash cars – what a combo. Girls were offering themselves everywhere and he loved it. To come home to old wifey must have been a bit dull.”

Eric Clapton had been a frequent visitor to Friar Park, laying siege to Boyd and, famously, playing a guitar “duel” with Harrison in the kitchen: she was the putative prize. “It was John Hurt [the actor]who described it as a duel,” she says, “and he was so on the button. I sensed it but I hadn’t formulated it.”

She was attracted to Clapton, by then a rock deity   but determined to stay in her marriage. Her parents had split up when she was 10, her stepfather was a cruel and unusual man who tyrannised the family and left her mother for another woman: “As a child I always thought I would do anything to avoid divorce.”

“He didn’t want us to be together, it was a life of rejection” – Clapton had made good on his threat to take heroin if he couldn’t have her. It would be four years before they got together.

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“John Lennon was quite volatile, you never knew what he would say next. He was a pretty sexy guy actually.”

Boyd and Clapton married in 1979: “I was madly passionate about him,” she says. “We lived at Hurtwood Edge, I was in my 30s and ready to have babies;  but never arrived.

Clapton, meanwhile, had replaced heroin with alcohol and was drinking heroically. Boyd joined him on tour where he and the band would have girls to their rooms after the show. Cruellest of all, two of his extra-marital relationships produced babies: a daughter Ruth and two years later a son, Conor, who would die, aged four, in a fall from the window of his mother’s New York apartment. Boyd and Clapton divorced in 1988.

Asked once who was the great love of her life, Boyd nominated Harrison: “I think he always loved me … Eric loves himself. She admits now: “In both my marriages I had neglected myself, and got lost in a big cloud of fame, I got lost in their lives.”

She remained friends with Harrison until his death from cancer in 2001 and has stayed in touch with Clapton, many years sober and married with three more children. Last year she accompanied him to the launch of a documentary about him, A Life in 12 Bars, in which she features, naturally. “He rang me and said, ‘It’s a bit raw Pattie, I hope you’ll be OK.’ I said, ‘I’ll be fine Eric. I’m a grown-up now.”

 

 

 

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