Letter writing is a lost art, which is a real shame considering how unreliable Hotmail turned out to be. But back in the heady days of the 1980s, letters were in, Prince was alive, and Paul McCartney needed some cash for his then-inchoate Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.

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The following handwritten plea, which spans two pages in McCartney’s orderly scrawl, fetched $14,822 at Boston’s RR Auction:

Dear Princely person,

Hi there! I know how hard it is to always be getting letters that ask for some favour or another, so it was not easy for me to accept the job of Lead Patron for a Performing Arts School to be located in my home town, Liverpool. But, you guessed it! I did agree to do it, so now I’m writing to “friends and all good people” to try and interest them in the scheme. The story started just after the inner-city riots in Liverpool a few years ago. A friend suggested that “what the city needs is a “Fame” School.”

I liked the idea as a possible positive focus for local and overseas kids, but it was only later when I went back to my own old school that was in ruins, that I thought by locating a Performing Arts Centre there we could save the 1825 building in the process. So..... (phew!) We’re now well on our way, as the enclosed info shows, but there’s still a lot to be done. Now the hard part. A donation from you would be a great boost to the project, and I know your involvement in some way, would be a thrill for everyone concerned. Hope you didn’t mind me writing this, it’s so long since I’ve written letters I feel like I’m back at school myself.

Anyway, one of these days you’ll have to come and teach a class some moves!! Who knows, it may turn out to be something special for thousands of future kids. Thanks for looking at this.

Cheers, & love

Paul (McCartney)

“Paul (McCartney).” You know—Paul! I was in a band you’ve probably heard of, but I don’t want to be presumptuous. We were only OK!

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For its part, the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts opened in 1996 and still seems to be bopping along just fine. We reached out to the school to find out if Prince did, in fact, make a donation, and whether he ended up teaching a class. I will not rest until I know what he taught, but my sincere hope is that it was something at which only Prince truly excelled, like “Slaying at Ping-Pong: A Brief History of Crushed Velvet” or “Purple: Color or Mindset?”

Image via the Liverpool Echo.