Below is an article printed in the London Daily Mail this week, it’s always nice to reflect on Linda, i don’t care what anyone says but in my entire life she was one of the most impressive people I’ve ever met, but it wasn’t because of an in your face presence, it was totally the opposite. I’ve been lucky enough to meet a heap of famous people so my impressions of Linda aren’t just me being blinded by meeting a ‘celebrity’ in the article the author states the following .. “Although not conventionally glamorous, her face seeped a distant beauty and serenity, which somehow eluded the camera.” how true, I’ve never been able to fully explain it but when you were around Linda she exuded this ‘vibe’, an aura that was just so lovely and tangible, a real and true kindness shone through and that’s without even mentioning the outward kindness i saw her display over and over and in no way was it for show.
I remember one day in Sydney when Linda arrived for a sound check there was a little boy called Dylan standing their with his mum and dad, Linda spotted him and made her way over to him stooping down so she wasn’t really standing over him and started a conversation with him, his mum and dad explained that he was veggie and it was his choice and he talked away to her and Linda listened and chatted back. I have a distinct memory of later on in the afternoon Brian Riddle Paul’s security guy coming out the back and walking over to this boy with an arm full of stuff, vege cook book, one of Linda’s photo books all inscribed and autographed by Linda and Paul. You couldn’t help but be won over by this kind ‘vibe’ .. the aura i keep mentioning.
My dear sweet darling friend Joanna who went around Australia with me and two other friends wont mind me telling this story I’m sure, when Joanna started out on the tour with us Jo had maybe a little bit of an ambivalent feeling towards Linda, she didn’t dislike her but she wasn’t as warm towards seeing Linda as we were. Jo will confirm this but i can pretty much say that within minutes, if not seconds of her being ‘Linda-zapped’ after her first encounter with Linda Jo fell in love with this amazing woman just as we had done, i think it would be fair to say that if anyone so much as made a snide comment about Linda after this Jo would have glassed them, such was the power of the beauty Linda radiated.
One final thing while I’m rambling, i always have been and always will be first and foremost a McCartney fan, no apologise from me .. that’s how it is. When the McCartney’s came to Australia in 1993 and i decided to follow the tour through Australia and New Zealand i had a realisation just before the tour started ‘I’ve spent all this money, invested all this time and emotion into the McCartney’s .. what if they don’t live up to my expectations!!??’ i had always loved Linda, always been a fan i knew from the word go she was special, i knew she didnt care what others thought about her, her musical talent, her fashion, her style etc etc, she didnt care she was there to have fun, and thats what it’s all about, it’s not brain surgery, so it was a pretty valid and real concern to have, you spend years dreaming of this moment. Let me say that it payed off one hundred fold especially with Linda, meeting her taught me so much, more about myself and those around me than anything else, actually it was an invaluable investment.
The one TRUE Lady Macca
She fought like a tiger for her family’s privacy. She didn’t give a damn about money. And she ALWAYS put Paul first.
In a heartfelt tribute, one of Linda’s longest standing friends reveals why Heather will never measure up to her
Bleary-eyed and dishevelled, his pig-tailed, pink-clad daughter in his arms, Paul McCartney cut a crushedlooking figure in London this week as he and three-year-old Beatrice waved her mother goodbye, before heading off to snatch a little quality time alone.
To claim that Heather Mills and the estranged Beatle have called a truce after months of wretched rivalry might be pushing it.
Truces in divorce are usually little more than cosmetic.
Of course, it was never meant to be like this. At 64 — the age at which, as Sir Paul wrote, “You can knit a sweater by the fireside, Sunday mornings go for a ride” — he ought to be putting his feet up a bit, oughtn’t he?
Not doing extortionate legal battle with an Other Half more than 20 years his junior.
I’ve often wondered what Linda — his wife of 30 years who died of breast and secondary liver cancer in April 1998 — would have thought of Heather.
She would probably be spitting blood. And I say this with modest authority, having got to know her rather well two decades ago.
I met her in the summer of 1987, in Great Ormond Street Hospital, at the opening of some facilities. Linda was a patron, hence her presence. I was covering the event for the Mail, hence mine.
In my eighth month of pregnancy with my first child, Mia, I was standing at the front of a throng of journalists when she arrived. Spotting my bump, she made a beeline for me and introduced herself.
Then, perceiving my anxiety among so many frail children, she announced: “You’re coming with me.” Hand in hand we walked the wards together, sharing the only sodden tissue we had left.
I felt honoured. Lady McCartney — she gained the title when Paul was knighted in 1997 — usually had no time for the Press.
She fiercely guarded the privacy of her family, always putting her husband and children first. She was the polar opposite of Heather Mills.
As we walked round the wards, she wanted to know all about my pregnancy, plans for the birth, other people’s babies, did I know so-and-so, I really must meet this one or that one; she was the ultimate Earth Mother on overdrive.
Linda fascinated me. She had no reason to bother keeping in touch, and yet she did so. I was often invited to interview her at home and at her office, and we always enjoyed a laugh. She never forgot to ask me to launches and openings, welcoming me with open arms.
When her vegetarian cookbook, Home Cooking, was published, she sent me a copy, inscribed: “To Lesley-Ann and lovely Mia, stay veggie! Love Linda.” The dots of all her “i’s” were drawn as hearts. This was her trademark.
* (special note) On the autographs etc i got from Linda all the “i’s” were indeed dotted with hearts. Greg.
A few years later, when Paul received his knighthood, she gave him a beautiful silver pocket watch inscribed in her own handwriting. There were hearts and kisses engraved all over that, too.
For a woman who’d had a privileged start in life — her New York upbringing had been distinctly upper-crust compared with Paul’s humble beginnings in Liverpool — I sometimes wondered what had rendered her so ordinary.
She was as down-to-earth as a root vegetable (organic, of course). Not that she looked it. Although not conventionally glamorous, her face seeped a distant beauty and serenity, which somehow eluded the camera.
When I joined her in June 1991 for lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe in Piccadilly, her trim body and luminous skin were testament to clean living. Nothing about her suggested “rock wife” — no Spandex pants, peroxide hair, vertiginous heels. Heaven forbid.
In the floaty silk blue-and-green dress and low-heeled courts she’d worn to Great Ormond Street that first day we met, that plain preppy who’d married the world’s most eligible batchelor looked anything but threatening.
Whenever I’d visited her at home, she’d worn chunky-knit sweaters, sometimes over a tired old cotton dress. She seemed to hang on to her clothes for ever.
When she went out, she was usually dressed in battered waistcoats and ancient jeans. If she wore leather cowboy boots — against her animal cruelty principles — they were “at least 100 years old and at least second hand”.
I bumped into Linda again in California, in November 1989. I was staying in Los Angeles, at Raquel Welch’s house.
Paul and Linda were at the Four Seasons Hotel, in the middle of the McCartney World Tour — his first concerts since the Manhattan murder of John Lennon in 1980, and his first shows in America for 13 years. You can imagine the buzz.
Our encounter took place in the Four Seasons lobby — I was there to meet an old Fleet Street pal, Geoff Baker, who was working for McCartney as tour publicist.
He would go on to become Paul’s right-hand man for many years — before Heather had him ousted.
Linda was wearing tatty cut-offs and a stained white T-shirt. Her calves were unshaven, she did not wear any make-up and a shampoo seemed overdue. Among the designer Barbies in that swanky fivestar space, she looked delicious.
“How’s baby Mia, why didn’t you bring her, what are you doing for the rest of the day?” inquired Linda, smacking me a great big kiss.
To the last question, I admitted that I had nothing planned.
“Why don’t you go up to the pool and hang out?” she suggested. “Spend the day, order anything you like — charge it to Paul. Here, this is the room number. Just put it all down to him.” She took great delight in the gentle subterfuge.
There I was, on the pool terrace at one of the finest hotels in Hollywood, ordering champagne and all-day lunch on Paul McCartney’s bill and calling my friends in England on the pre-mobile plug-in phone the pool attendant had fetched me, to regale them with tales of “guess what I’m doing and where I am!”.
The fact that Linda — gutsy and relentless — took such pleasure from a little mischief, that she had such a cheeky side, could be deceptive.
She was the first to admit that she ruled the Macca roost, that she was the strong one, that Paul was often in awe of her, that she never held back when she felt he needed a good ticking-off.
That same year I remember sitting with Linda, her friend the writer Carla Lane, Carla’s mother, Paul’s brother Mike and photographer Terry O’Neill at rehearsals in Liverpool for Paul’s debut classical work, The Liverpool Oratorio.
Linda reminisced about The Beatles’ break-up. She revealed that she alone had nursed him through it, and through his falling-out with Lennon, which nearly caused him a nervous breakdown.
“I calmed him down after all the Beatles madness,” she told me. “He used to thank me all the time for ‘putting the sense back into his life’. He still does.
“All we really want now is to grow old together. We actually look forward to it. We’ll stay in bed all day, eat dinner, make love.”
Linda knew it was she who gave Paul confidence and repaired his selfesteem – though she didn’t take any credit for that, it’s just the way it was. She said she couldn’t imagine him being with another woman, if anything happened to her.
She was matter-of-fact about this. She wasn’t saying that Paul shouldn’t marry again, but simply that she couldn’t imagine him doing so.
She told me she’d got Paul to live a simple home life, get back to basics, respect family traditions like birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas, to settle on a proper set of values.
She had even taught him to bake. There was always a birthday cake around, and bread was his speciality. Yet she admitted that Paul usually got his way about “the big stuff”.
I recall having a cuppa with Linda in a back room at Paul’s MPL offices in Soho, dunking HobNob biscuits.
I was making wedding plans. Linda was delighted – she never liked the idea of me struggling as a single parent with a full-time job.
She had been there herself, with her eldest daughter Heather – who was six years old when Linda met Paul.
She told me that at her wedding in March 1969, Paul’s fans had spat at her and called her names on the steps of Marylebone Register Office (where I got married myself), before breaking into his St John’s Wood house and stealing her pictures.
Linda, a professional photographer, had shot them herself. But she hadn’t let it rile her.
“I got used to all the slagging off years ago,” she said.
“It doesn’t bother me in the slightest. If they’re crucifying me, they’re leaving someone else alone, right? What’s new? You become immune to it, you know?
“In the early days I was so blindly in love with Paul that I missed most of it anyway. Or else I just shrugged it off. I’ve always rubbed people up the wrong way.
“Even teachers when I was at school used to get on my case. I assumed it was my face – I always had this long, stern look.”
“I still love Paul as dearly, of course, if not more than ever. We have never stopped fancying each other, not in all these years. Paul says that’s the key to our marriage, that’s what makes us tick. I hope so.
“I rather like the idea of being a sexy old lady! I’m older and wiser now, and my eyes are more open to the world.
“I can understand why stuff’s been levelled against me down the years. But Paul and I and the people who count, we know what’s what. That’s more than good enough for me.”
Once, in 1995, in her cluttered, homely kitchen in Sussex, among the heaps of baskets, bottles, colourful pottery and fragrant home-made loaves, we sat with huge cups of tea, discussing the possibility of me writing Linda’s autobiography.
I wanted to call the book Mac The Wife. She seemed delighted by the title and said she’d talk it through with Paul.
At the time, I didn’t realise – and I’m not sure she did either – that the cancer diagnosis was only months away. That was the last time I saw her.
It was a saddened Linda who called me two or three days later, to say that Paul didn’t want her to do it. She never told me why and we never got round to discussing it again.
We vanished into our own busy schedules. I got married, had another baby, became pregnant with a third.
Linda, meanwhile, battled valiantly with cancer and travelled to and from New York for treatment, and to the McCartney ranch in Arizona, where she died. I hadn’t seen her for about three years when she passed away on April 17, 1998.
Only years later, when I bumped into Geoff Baker after Paul and Heather had sacked him, did I discover why the book was rejected.
“It was Paul, bless him, being the control freak,” Geoff revealed. “You know what he’s like. There’s too much going on in his head. He gets a bit confused sometimes, loses sight of what counts, you know?
I thought a lot about Linda on the fateful day Paul married Heather in Ireland, in June 2002. I’d run into Geoff about a week before, in the garden of some mutual friends in Henley-on-Thames.
Geoff, usually a cool character, was severely agitated. “It’s a f*****g disaster, this wedding,” he blurted.
“He shouldn’t be doing it, but it’s gone too far for him to get out of it. All anyone can do now is watch it fall apart.”
Last year, when I read that Paul had started divorce proceedings, I thought of Linda. I wondered, with sadness, what she’d make of it all.
I remembered her smudgy smiles, the squiggly hearts she drew everywhere, her tideless kindness.
I thought about Paul, crying like a baby in Geoff Baker’s arms after he lost her. Geoff once told me that Paul had cried every day for two years.
Paul adored “Lin” to the end of her life, with every fibre of his being. Of course he did. There wasn’t ever going to be room for someone new.
After she died, I wrote to him to express my deep sorrow. He replied that it gave him great comfort to know that Linda and I had been friends.
The worst mistake he made was racing to replace her. It was an impossible task. Heather had noticed the chink in his armour and rushed into his broken heart. Then she broke it some more.