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