Togetherness Weekender  11-13th November 2005 Cala Gran, Fleetwood
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I met up with William Bell in the hotel at 10am Saturday morning.He'd arrived Friday midday after a delayed flight and had slept through until shortly before I'd arrived to collect him.
I'd left a note saying we could go out to eat on the Friday evening but sleep was more important than food. 'You had any breakfast'? I asked...'Lunch will be OK' came the reply.

We had to be at the Gala Gran by 10.45 for the soundcheck. I called Mike, the security guy responsible for Mr B's safety, and told him we were on our way.So... off I set for the start or 2 glorious soul-filled days. Snake Davis and the group were ready and waiting and, professional as they are, were ready to go having practised the songs weeks before.William said a few 'hi's'..then off we went..90 minutes of mesmorising moments with only short breaks to check minor details.The last two tracks to do were 'Man In The Street' and 'Easy Comin' Out`'..both which William had not done live in years.The verses were a distant memory..'I wrote it as well' laughed William..So he was over to the CD player, headset on and wrote down the lyrics. Back onstage Snake and the guys went into 'Man In The Street again with William reading from the paper he'd wrote them on.. then jokingly hiding it in his suit.After a satisfying further 30 minutes it was over...12 tracks had been practised and perfected...some fans had finally arrived after their late Friday night.. and the usual signing of records and photos etc. took place.Bobby Patterson has also arrived for his soundcheck. It was now 1pm so lunch was most definately wished for...as William had not eaten since getting off the plane..24 hours ago!! I asked him if he wanted to try the best Fish And Chips in the whole area and he readily agreed. It meant a 20 minute drive.. but was worth it to ensure no greasy mound of un-edables. He even said the US should learn how to do their 'fries' like that.The waitress insisted he signed the guest book and we walked out into the sunshine feeling a lot better. Back to his hotel.. he said he needed to learn the lyrics. We arranged to meet at the hotel again at 6pm ..go out for a meal......

I had asked William if he liked spicy food.. and his eyes lit up. I had pre-tested a few restaurants over the few days before he arrived and had found a small Thai with a real friendly owner where the food is cooked freshly and with a lot o' love!. We decided on two different curries and shared them with a bottle of Aussie Chardonnay/Semillion. William loved the food.. and we chatted about old times, memories and about everything that came into conversation. We got on at once..the love of our music....and this guy is a real gentleman. Back to the hotel at 8pm and he wanted to rest until I collected him at 11pm. I went back to my mum's house(she lives in Fleetowood) and returned at the set time.A quick call to Mike and off we were again...he met us at the door of the Cala Gran and led us into the VIP lounge. Tea and lemon awaited William..oil the voice.. altho the curry had helped there...Bobby Patterson came in..sneezing.. he was due on about 12.15.The three of us chatted until Bobby had to go onstage and William had to change..into a cool blue check suit...

William Bell and Bobby Patterson                 Soul Groupies                             William And Mike

Shortly before 1am Mike was back..'Mr Bell..please put your right hand on my right shoulder as we go through the packed hall...do not remove it or I will think you are in trouble'. I was to follow to cover our backs.
Now.. I remembered this procedure 3 years ago with Phillip Mitchell.. who is a tall guy..and 
William managed it as well. I'm just sorry I missed Bobby Patterson going in.cos you ain't the 
tallest Bobby!!!..maybe he just grabbed hold of a leg!
Backstage for a short time.. then we could hear the introduction from Richard Searling and then William was out front..and into a memorable hour. Highlights.. well..'Private Number' with one of the female vocalists( a red haired Irish girl with a super voice)..'Tribute To A King'..' I Forgot To Be Your Lover'... yes yes.. this was a Northern Soul weekender..but as someone jokingly said later..some folks learned about real soul tonight. I, for one, loved the slow stuff..he even did 'You Don't Miss Your Water'..and of course 'Happy'...finishing up with Trying To Love Two' which he makes into a tribute to other artists.. doing small cameos of Marvin, Otis and Sam Cooke.He had the audience in his palms now...he came back for an encore continuing with the 'Trying' rhythm and broke into 'Stand By Me'. This was a suprise to me.. as they hadn't practised the variations at the soundcheck..but these musicians are real professional and a nod or a wink and they can adapt.
VIP Lounge Signing Autogramms                                                           Tired but 'Happy'

Backstage there were hugs, backslapping, kisses and smiles everywhere. Mike arrived and the three musketeers fought our way back to the VIP room. A quick change back into dry clothes and then the fans were allowed in for autogramms and photos. We left the hall about 3.30... I told him I would be awake about midday if he needed me..and a happy pair said goodnight.

William and Barry                                                                            Mum And William

I awoke about 11.30 and jogged the streets to fight off the tiredness. I called the hotel to ask if he had been seen..no sir..nothing yet. I went off to the Cala Gran to meet up with a few people.. and got to see Bobby Patterson doing his afternoon show..of his most recent material. Back at my mum's I called the Hotel..still no sign they said..so I asked them to put me through to his room.'William'..you still alive man'?.. he laughed.. 'yeh'.... 'and I'm hungry...can we go to that Thai again?'
Thai Beach is the restaurant in Bispham...Now, I thought he was gonna just eat moderately as up to now..well...but he was feeling real good.. we had a Chicken and Corn Soup.. followed by two house recomendations as  main courses and some coconut rice..followed by a Thai Dessert  and all this accompanied by a bottle of Semiliion/Sauvignon Blanc from Australia.. and some Green Tea..all delicious.. and we chatted.. we nattered.. as the Lancastrians say. I suggested a visit to the Cala Gran..telling him there was a winding-down 60's evening in the large hall and he agreed it would be good to go. I asked him if he would mind saying Hi to my mum...'would love to' he said.. so a quick stop.. I didn't  tell her we were coming...so you can imagaine my 81 years old mum.. still caring about her appearance but not being given the chance to put on the make-up..sorry mum!! We wandered into the Cala Gran about 8.30 and stayed an hour. My guess is he shook about 100 hands.. and about half wanted photos.. but it was real layed-back.. and you could feel the response from these fans...they had seen a legend producing a great performance. Kev Roberts was about to DJ.. and thanked me for bringing him in for a short visit..and we got William on stage to thank eveyone.. and to introduce the next record 'Happy'..if you ever need a night job William....!
Back at the hotel.. it was plans for the next day...pick up at 9.30.. then off the airport. 
His flight left Monday midday.
On the way to the airport...I showed him a sign...WELCOME TO LANCASHIRE..WHERE EVERYONE MATTERS..which someone had changed to say...WHERE EVERYONE NATTERS .... they must have meant us..cos we did a lot of that!
Arrived at the airport..hugs and handshakes and he was gone..and I was driving back to Fleetwood.. saying..I spent a weekend with one of my heros.. William Bell.
Two days later I was back in Germany..next day I had a cold...thanks Bobby P!  and I had those marvelous memories of a guy who is a true professional, a star, a gentleman..and a friend!
Thanks William..unforgetable.!


       40 years difference between photos...no help from the surgeon said William..now 66 years old

BELL TRIVIA        -           Did You Know?

William is left-handed

His favourite food is Sushi(searches wherever he visits for restaurants)

He has never taken drugs(altho readily available back in the 60's..he insisted his backing
groups be drug free or they would be fired

He has a great sense of humour.. understanding especially the British kind

Wears dark glasses when performing to protect his eyes against stage lighting