When I was teenager I used to chase after pop singers who visited New Zealand. Nowadays, of course, fans probably want a lot more than autographs from a star, but we were quite naive in the nineteen-sixties.
Airports, concerts, hotels - my friends and I always managed to find ways to get to the singers. To meet Britain's king of rock'n'roll - Cliff Richard, surprised you there, huh? - we climbed seven stories up the outside fire escape of Wellington's Hotel St George. We bought a charm for Helen Shapiro's bracelet and that got us in to see her. By ringing up the local paper and pretending to be who we weren't, we found out plane arrival times.
I won Tom Jones and Herman's Hermits in a contest. After meeting The Beach Boys, I sent their father information about how the boys were doing on the NZ music charts and he sent me records and autographed photos as a way of thanks. Gerry Marsden from Gerry and the Pacemakers saw me for about the third time in one day and rudely muttered, "Oh, no, not you again..."
Sadly, the time came when I made the decision that I was too old to hunt down singers.
I vowed to be "finished with all that", that the very next music act that came to New Zealand would not have me chasing after it for autographs. I was tired of so many flash-in-the-pan groups that within a short time usually disappeared without trace.
I told my friends, "I'm not going to run after this new group, The Rolling Stones -"
And I didn't. And I've regretted it ever since...