She got to hold his hand

Hamil­ton man­i­curist fixed Paul McCart­ney’s nails and got a nice tip — two tick­ets to his Thurs­day night con­cert

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - GRA­HAM ROCK­ING­HAM grock­ing­ham@thes­pec.com 905-526-3331 | @Rock­atTheSpec

If you’re a gui­tar strum­mer and bass picker like Paul McCart­ney, the con­di­tion of your fin­ger­nails can be pretty im­por­tant. One cracked nail and “Black­bird” can take a nose dive.

So he makes a habit of book­ing a man­i­curist back­stage for each show. On Thurs­day night at FirstOn­tario Cen­tre, that man­i­curist was Shel­ley Mor­ley, a 50-year-old east Moun­tain res­i­dent who works at Joseph’s Coif­fures in Jack­son Square.

She must have done a good job be­cause at the end of her 30-minute ap­point­ment in McCart­ney’s dress­ing room, Mor­ley was pre­sented with two free tick­ets on the floor for that even­ing’s per­for­mance.

Mor­ley, a long­time Bea­tles fan, ar­rived at McCart­ney’s large dress­ing room about two hours be­fore the start of the per­for­mance. She dressed ap­pro­pri­ately for the oc­ca­sion.

“I had a Bea­tles shirt on and, as soon as I walked in, he looked at me and said, ‘Ah, that’s a nice shirt.’ He al­ways has that lit­tle el­e­ment of hu­mour about him … He leaned out and shook my hand and I said, ‘It’s a plea­sure to meet you.’ He was quite gra­cious.”

McCart­ney wears an acrylic false nail on the in­dex fin­ger of his left hand, his strum­ming hand. He was con­cerned about it.

“He showed me and said, ‘I don’t know if it’s lift­ing here or a lit­tle bit of a crack. I’ve no­ticed that when I rub my thumb on it, it’s jagged,’” Mor­ley said. “So I fixed it and pro­ceeded to make sure all his other nails were done and I filed them all down. He wanted them done a lit­tle shorter.”

While she worked on his nails, McCart­ney, 74, munched on a hand­ful of nuts, chat­ted with a pub­li­cist about new pho­to­graphs and watched “Fam­ily Feud” on tele­vi­sion. When Sir Paul was done, Mor­ley also gave his man­ager a man­i­cure.

At the end of it all she was pre­sented with an en­ve­lope. In­side were two tick­ets, a nice tip worth sev­eral hun­dred dol­lars. Mor­ley had al­ways wanted to see McCart­ney but could never af­ford the steep ticket price for good seats. It was a dream come true.

“I im­me­di­ately called my daugh­ter, Chloe,” Mor­ley said. “She’s 18 and she’s a Bea­tles fan. Iron­i­cally, I named her Chloe be­cause I like (Paul’s de­signer daugh­ter) Stella McCart­ney’s cloth­ing line. It’s called Chloe.” (The Mor­leys also have a cat named Jude.)

Mother and daugh­ter made the show, and loved it, of course.

Mor­ley’s ticket stubs and back­stage pass are her only sou­venirs of the ex­pe­ri­ence. Her con­tract specif­i­cally said no pho­tos, no au­to­graphs. Still, her meet­ing with McCart­ney will al­ways be spe­cial.

“This is the best thing that has hap­pened to me since the birth of my daugh­ter,” Mor­ley says.

One of the high­lights of the con­cert was McCart­ney’s per­for­mance of “Mull of Kin­tyre,” backed by the Ar­gyll and Suther­land High­landers of Canada pipe band. The Hamil­ton-based re­serve band was con­tacted by the con­cert pro­mot­ers about six weeks ago about join­ing McCart­ney on stage. They prac­tised the num­ber sev­eral times since, but didn’t get a chance to re­hearse with the exBea­tle un­til less than three hours be­fore show­time.

The tricky part was syn­chro­niz­ing the band’s en­trance on cue in the mid­dle of the song from two sides of the stage. They had to walk up stairs while play­ing to get to the stage.

Pipe Ma­jor Scott Balin­son said McCart­ney was highly in­volved in al­most ev­ery as­pect of the stage di­rec­tions.

“He spoke on just about every­thing: where the peo­ple were to be placed, the cues, the fin­ish­ing touches, when he would ac­knowl­edge us,” Balin­son said. “He warned us there would be a lit­tle bit of a pause for the ap­plause and that he would give us a thumbs-up for our de­par­ture.”

BARRY GRAY, THE HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR

Shel­ley Mor­ley and daugh­ter Chloe, 18, with their cat Jude. Shel­ley gave Paul McCart­ney a man­i­cure be­fore his con­cert in Hamil­ton Thurs­day.

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