I met Norman once in 1989 or 1990.
I got his number from the phone book and just called to say that I was in Liverpool from NYC doing research for a book. I asked if I could possibly interview him about his Beatles' days. He was so surprised and self deprecating on the phone and said it was impossible. But I persisted saying that it was really important for my project to meet with him. He finally agreed to see me, but only if I would be his guest at a charity show for kids he would be attending that very evening.
I arranged to meet up with Mr. Chapman at a working men's club somewhere in Anfield later that night. Perhaps I took a taxi to the address he gave me because I seem to remember the cab driver questioning the advisability of being in that area, at that time of night. The club was not easy to find, but eventually I got there, and the doorman had been expecting me.
He bought me into a large darkened smoky room that was a cross between a theater and a pub. Then I was presented to a table of about four or five nicely dressed men in their late forties. Norman Chapman, the biggest of the bunch, stood up, shook my hand, and introduced me to his table of friends saying, "This guy has come all the way from New York City just to interview me for his book."
That got a great laugh from his friends and sort of broke the ice. He immediately asked me what I wanted to drink, and I said, "the same as you, please." I seem to recall that he wound up ordering about half a dozen pints of 'mild,'a type of beer that I had never had before.
The rest of the evening, except for the surprise of watching Ken Dodd on stage, is a bit of a blur, I'm afraid. He brought me there strictly for entertainment value. He really did not want to be the center of attention; that was my role, as far as he and his friends were concerned. And I was happy to play along with the lark.
I had a great time that night. Everything Mr. Harry said in the above post was true. He was a gentle giant, wearing glasses and a long, very un-Beatles looking leather overcoat. A real sweetheart and gentleman. Mr. Chapman completely played down his role as temporary pre-Hamburg Beatles member and reveled in his role as host.
It was a once in a lifetime event for me. Unfortunately, the book did not get finished.