By Bill Harry
John Lennon was delighted when I began to publish his work in Mersey Beat. He loved to see it in print. John would regularly visit the Mersey Beat office, helping out, answering the phone. Steve Day remembers a time he was in the office and saw John come bounding up the stairs, leap over our counter and begin throwing papers in the air!
We had a classified advertisements section on page two each issue which cost 4d per word. When he could, John would dig in his pockets to find some money to place ads which were his personal messages and private jokes. In the August 17 1961 issue, the adverts he took out were:
"HOT LIPS, missed you Friday, RED NOSE."
"RED NOSE, missed you Friday, HOT LIPS."
"ACCRINGTON welcomes HOT LIPS AND RED NOSE."
"Whistling Jock Lennon wishes to contact HOT NOSE."
RED SCUNTHORPE wishes to jock HOT ACCRINGTON."
Accrington and Scunthorpe were towns in Lancashire whose names were often the butt of jokes for Liverpudlians - and Accrington even had a football club called Accrington Stanley. John refers to himself as Jock Lennon - and he was to refer to himself by this name several years later in a Beatles Fan Club message.
His adverts in the issue of September 14 1961 read:
"HEAR BOB WOOLER SING with the Beatles at Aintree Institute."
"HEAR BOB BEATLE at the Woolerstute."
"WANTED! Talented rock for newly formed."
Bob Wooler was the Cavern disc jockey who had also introduced the Beatles on numerous other local stages apart from the Cavern. Bob reckoned that he'd introduced the Beatles on almost 400 occasions. With this advert, John made Bob the only other person mentioned in print as a Beatle, apart from the real Beatles themselves. The Aintree Institute was one of the venues where Bob had introduced them. The other advt was a skit on the typical advert musicians placed in Mersey Beat at the time.
His December 14 1961 adverts read:
"Happy XMAS - Jurgen."
"Hello from Norman Lennon Vollmer."
"FROLICHE FUSSBODEN - Herr Vollmer."
"GOOD MORNING, Jurgrow, from George."
In Hamburg Jurgen Vollmer had become one of the small group of Beatles friends. When John and Paul
traveled to Paris it was Jurgen who gave them a 'Beatle cut.' John actually came into the office and paid for a subscription to Mersey Beat for Jurgen, but although Jurgen received his copies, he didn't see these particular classifieds and was surprised when John told him about them in 1982. Paul McCartney had brought photographs taken by Jurgen for me to use in Mersey Beat.
At the meeting with John in 1972 Jurgen was to point out that "Froliche Fussboden - Herr Vollmer" translates into the
nonsense line "Happy Floor - Mister Vollmer."
John took out no more classifieds, although people believed that his hand was responsible for one which read:
"BUT, ON SALE - Chord formations of flute, oboe, and against harpsichord form. Underlead, playfullode - TWUGGER."
However, this particular advertisement, equally as perplexing as any John had paid for, was taken out by Johnny Gustafson of the Big Three.