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Old Aug 21, 2007, 07:31 PM   #7
I am the Paulrus
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Join Date: Aug 14, 2003
Location: Here, There, and Everywhere
Posts: 2,203

I stayed friendly with George, too.

Indeed, the first Christmas after I'd left him, in 1974, just as Eric and I were sitting down to lunch, George burst in, uninvited. He had some wine and Christmas pudding with us. I couldn't believe how friendly he and Eric were towards each other.

The sad thing was, I realised later, he wasn't doing anything on Christmas Day and must have been lonely.

Not long afterwards he met Olivia Arias, who was to become his second wife, and from then on things were easier.

We didn't speak on the phone much, but we saw each other from time to time at parties.

He had become almost an older brother to me, someone to whom I could say anything. Every now and again he would send a little present - a tree for the garden or an ornament - and he invited Rod and me to his son Dhani's 18th birthday dinner, saying we had to be there: we were family.

One Christmas, we were at a lunch party given by Ringo and his wife Barbara.

Everyone was there, including George and Olivia, and Eric with a new girlfriend, Melia McEnery, a young, pretty American.

Eric was being unfriendly - I don't think he liked Rod, and Rod found him boring. We were at a table with Roger Taylor of Queen, and Mike Rutherford of Genesis.

I sat next to George and said: "God, George, Eric's being so weird, he can hardly say hello to me."

We had a good laugh, and when Eric and Melia were leaving, George said: "Eric, bye, man. Aren't you going to say goodbye to Pattie?"

It was as if in giving up drugs and alcohol, Eric had become a different person. Maybe he had always been shy, the alcohol a prop. He wasn't the vivacious man I'd known.

A few months later I heard George had cancer of the throat and then he was stabbed at his home by an intruder. George had heard glass breaking in the middle of the night. He woke Olivia and told her he was going to investigate. She tried to stop him but he insisted.

A man had smashed a window and come up the stairs holding a knife. George met him and there was a fight. Then Olivia appeared, picked up a lamp and hit the intruder over the head. George had been stabbed in the chest.

Eventually the police arrived and grabbed the man. He was a schizophrenic in his 30s with a thing about The Beatles.

George's lung was punctured but he was in hospital for only a few days. But I think the trauma had a much more lasting effect and weakened his body's ability to fight the cancer, and he went on to develop it in his lungs.

He died on November 29, 2001, a little less than two years after the attack.

I burst into tears when I heard he had died; I felt completely bereft. I couldn't bear the thought of a world without George.

When I left him for Eric, he had said that if things didn't work out, I could always come to him. It was such a selfless, loving thing to say.

Now that sense of security had gone. At the end I hadn't grasped how ill he was as I hadn't seen him for a few months. The last time had been at my cottage: he had phoned to say he was coming to Sussex to visit Ringo and Barbara and wanted to see me - I think he was curious to know where I was living. I was so glad we'd had that last meeting.

I think I'll miss George for the rest of my life. I would have incredibly vivid dreams that he was alive. Then I would wake up and the reality would wash over me.

I regret allowing myself to be seduced by Eric and wish I had been stronger. I believed marriage was for ever, and when things were going wrong between George and me I should have gritted my teeth and worked through them.

And I wish I'd known I didn't have to be a doormat and allow both husbands to be so flagrantly faithless.

But if I had resisted Eric, I would never have known that incredible passion. I would never have been the inspiration for those beautiful songs Layla and Wonderful Tonight.

I accept that I paid a high price, but it was in proportion to the depth of the love he and I shared. I loved George deeply, too, but we were younger and it was a gentler love.

I don't regret leaving Eric. All I regret is that I had to. It was painful beyond belief, but if I had stayed, Eric might have drunk himself to death.

In October 2006, Bill Wyman was 70. He had a huge party at Ronnie Scott's and he took over the club. It was full of faces from the Sixties: all were friends, all looked as fabulous as they had 50 years ago.

Given my life over again, I wouldn't change anything.

I loved everything that went with rock 'n' roll. I loved being at the heart of such creativity and being young in such an exciting era. I have known some amazing people and had some unforgettable experiences.

Our generation really did lead a revolution: as teenagers we refused to conform and we're still refusing to do what's expected of us, still breaking the mould, still doing everything it takes to keep age at bay.

One day we might have to give in to sensible shoes - but don't hold your breath.
"Excuse me, do you mind not farting while I'm saving the world?" -The 9th Doctor, DOCTOR WHO episode "World War Three"
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