TEN YEARS OF THE PATRICK SWAYZE AND LISA NIEMI FANCLUB
A PERSONAL VIEW
The year 2000 is a special Anniversary year for us - not only is it Patrick and Lisa's
Silver Wedding Anniversary year, it is also the Tenth Anniversary of our Fan Club. At
the beginning of this year, we asked one of the original members of the Club to write
us her memories of the club over the last ten years specially to share with you in this
Hello! My name is Miriam. I'm from Germany and a member of this fanclub since its
beginning in 1990. Because of our Jubilee this year Margaret asked me to write an
article about the fanclub. So here are my experiences with this club and with being
a Patrick Swayze Fan for more than ten years.
For me everything began with reading an announcement in a cinema magazine that a new
Patrick Swayze Fanclub was founded. At this time I considered myself as a fan for more
than 4 years. I was fascinated by him since I saw North and South on German television.
I remember, that I never planned to see that programme, but I walked through our living
room when my parents were watching the first scene. That was the scene with Brett and Ashton
and the bird's egg, and in the very next moment he appeared. I never left the living room,
but was held captive for the rest of the episode. Naturally I watched the complete series after
that and after the first 6 episodes, I couldn't wait to see the sequel. Everything about the
series was fascinating for me. I was 12 years old and at that time we were reading all those
girl magazines at school and there were a lot of articles about the whole series and all its
actors. I devoured everything I could find and as time went by my interest changed from the
whole series to just this one guy. The stories about him were like reading a book in which
everything could happen: there was love and friendship, but also problems and misfortune.
Like in a good book, after a short time I had the feeling I would know Patrick Swayze very
Patrick as Orry Main and Lesley-Anne Down
as Madeline Fabray in North and South
(Click for larger image)
After North and South came Dirty Dancing and that didn't help to get rid of my
fascination for him. Wow, this man was not only a perfect Southern gentleman,
but also a talented dancer, whose attraction nobody could escape. At that time,
about 1988, I started to look out for a fanclub to meet people who had the same
feelings as I have, when they saw Patrick laugh or dance or simply walk through
a scene. In 1990 I found the announcement about the fanclub and so I wrote to Susanne
Nieman and Ingrid Erkens who were the founders. It happened to be that both lived close to
my home. Okay, at that time, 80 kms (50 miles) wasn't so close for me, but I visited them
nevertheless. We spent a nice day watching Patrick interviews on TV and looking through our
collections. In the end I entered the newly born fanclub.
Cover of the August 1990 magazine
(Click for larger image)
The first magazine appeared in August 1990, it was still written with a typewriter and was mostly about Ghost, a
Patrick movie which was soon to come to German cinemas. At that time the club was called Patrick Swayze and Lisa
Niemi Fanclub and was managed by Susanne, Ingrid and Simone Begasse. The second edition of the club magazine came
out only two months later in October 1990. I had a great time enjoying the new club and talking and writing to my new won friends.
A short time later, the message reached us, that a new very big cinema complex was soon to be opened in Cologne and
that a lot of "stars" were expected to attend. Patrick was one of them. Naturally a lot of members of the club decided
to go. For me that was a fascinating day: meeting a lot of people that I didn't know before, but with whom I got along
really well. Also ages differed from 12 to about 70, we had one thing in common that brought us all together: the love
of Patrick Swayze. Everything was so easy with Patrick connecting us. After that I really can say "Patrick brings people
together". (That sounds like a bad commercial slogan, but it is true.)
So we had a fun day; we all watched the pre-premiere of Ghost and we had this little group of people that could never stop
talking about all the great Patrick movies that we have seen. There was only one thing missing: Patrick himself. In fact,
nobody famous was there. Everything was a fake to get people's attention to the new cinema. I guess a lot of people were
disappointed, me included, but on the other hand I wouldn't miss that day. I had a good time and that was all that counted.
Shortly after that event, a change in the fanclub leadership appeared. After only two magazines, Susanne and Ingrid skipped
out of the leadership and Simone Begasse, Marianne Zimmer and Silke Niepman took over. The first issue they brought out
appeared in June 1991. At that time the fanclub had 35 members and the change in management was seen strongly in the new
design of the magazine. It was now computer written and covered a lot of features including a Fleamarket, a page with
photos that one could buy and a place where everybody could place an advert to find penpals or people to swap things
with. The June 1991 issue had articles about Point Break and City of Joy with on-the-set pictures from both these
Patrick movies and also a feature about Lisa on German TV called "Super Force is with her" about the futuristic series
in which Lisa took the recurring lead role of Policewoman Carla Frost.
After only two magazines Marianne left the leadership and one issue later Silke left also. So there was only Simone left, who
took over most of the work with the club. She got help from Anne Müller and together they brought the fanclub on in the following
years. During that period of time a lot of good things happened to the club: First it became a member of the NAFC (National
Association of Fan Clubs) and then it became officially sanctioned by Patrick and Lisa.
Another good thing that happened to the club and its members was Patrick's visit to Germany in September of 1992: Patrick came
to Cologne from 23rd to 25th September to attend the Cologne Film Festival. On the 23rd September, "City of Joy" was shown in
the presence of Patrick Swayze AND the fanclub had tickets to that event. About 10 members took the chance and went to Cologne
to see Patrick in person. I guess I was the person with the shortest journey, but the others came from all over Germany. I came
to know the others in a coffee shop, where we could talk only about the pictures we have seen minutes before: a video of Patrick
arriving in Cologne. So, this time he was really there. He was in Cologne and we would really see him. Can you imagine how excited
We later checked out the cinema where City of Joy was shown that evening. There we had a lot of luck. We talked to some reporters
who told us, where Patrick was at that moment. Of course we went there and had luck again. Patrick was in a press-conference, but
a nice reporter took us inside. I couldn't believe my eyes, there he was, sitting just in front of me, smiling at us. We took some
photos and I guess the others enjoyed every second as much as I did. We joined the conference only for about 5 mintues, but that
was enough to hold our adrenaline high for the rest of the day. Topics changed from, will we really meet him to what did he wear,
what did he say. Oh, we were all so excited!
In the evening we went to the premiere of City of Joy and saw him again. He was sitting about 20 rows behind us and so every now
and then somebody turned their gaze from the screen to the row behind us, where Patrick was sitting, eating popcorn and enjoying
his movie. City of Joy is an absolutely fabulous movie, but with Patrick at your back, it is almost impossible to concentrate
on the story!
After the movie Patrick went on the stage and gave an interview and we were hanging on every word he said. Unfortunately the
time was much too short and then he was gone again. What stayed for me that day was the memory, some photos and a long friendship
with a girl from Leipzig that I met that day. Together we went to the USA, two years later to walk in Patrick's footsteps, but that
is another story. In the following years, everything with the fanclub went on like before. Simone was still the President and did
a great job in bringing the club further. In July 1993 she got the chance to meet Patrick again and she also got the chance to meet
Lisa, and Patrick's mom Patsy.
Simone and a Fan Club member with
in New York on 28th July 1993
(Click for larger image)
The meeting happened in New York, where Lisa played on Broadway in "The Will Rogers Follies". Simone and a friend
(another fanclub member) went to see the show and had arranged a meeting with Lisa after the show. Luckily for both,
Patrick was also there. At this time our fanclub became Officially Sanctioned by Patrick and Lisa for the first time.
Our fanclub became the Official fanclub for the whole of Europe, while there was still another fanclub for the USA
(run by Mr Clay). So this was the starting point for the great connection between Patrick, Lisa and the Fanclub.
In November 1995 I got my second chance to meet Patrick Swayze. This time not together with the Official Fanclub, but
with a small group of English fans called "Letterlinks". Sue, who was the creator of that group arranged tickets for
the European premiere of "To Wong Foo.." in London. Of course, I decided to go. I had a friend living in England, so
it was affordable for me and in the end it was really worth it. Again I saw a movie together with Patrick in a cinema.
I also saw him walking through a crowd of fans leaving Planet Hollywood after the After-Premiere Party and..... I got
my personal autograph from him.
The morning after the premiere I went to his hotel, but he had already left the building. So I went shopping but decided
that evening to go again. And the second time I was more lucky. When I reached the hotel for the second time that day,
I was told, that he had not returned yet. So I waited and he really came, only 15 minutes later. So I got my autograph
and a personal picture of Patrick and me, which is still hanging on my wall. Unfortunately I was too confused to talk
to him. Try to speak a different language when your all-time hero is standing before you! For me it was impossible.
But hey, it was wonderful to hold him in my arms. Thanks again Patrick for that photo. It still means a lot to me.
Miriam with her "all-time hero"
Patrick in London
(Click for larger image)
I wasn't the only one walking on clouds that day. Our Official Fanclub Europe had tickets for the premiere, the after-premiere
party and also the chance to meet Patrick and to interview Patrick's personal assistant Rosi Hygate. Because Simone had no time
to go, Margaret Howden represented the Official Fanclub. She did a wonderful interview with Rosi which you can read in the July
1996 magazine (English version) or September 1996 if you want the German language version. If you haven't read it yet, go for it!
It is really great!!
Fanclub-life went on like before until the middle of 1996. In this time the club became more and more International. Starting with
only German fans in 1990, the club now had fans all over Europe. Then, Simone fell in love and married her husband, changed her job
and so had a lot to do in her private life - and therefore asked our friend Margaret Howden for help. She was interested in doing
the fanclub work and after a time working together with Simone (since the end of 1994), she took over the whole work. That was in
1996. So the Fanclub leadership moved for the first time away from Germany to Britain. Margaret brought a lot of changes to the
club. For example she created the Updates and Newsflashes, which I think a lot of us enjoy. She also changed the design of the
magazine to the way it is now and later created the Fanclub webpage together with Ann-Christin.
Margaret was in good contact with Patrick's and Lisa's assistant Rosi, who gave us a lot of up-to-date information, which made
being a member of the fanclub even more special. In 1998 Margaret and Joan Leighton, who was the President of the American Patrick
Fanclub (Perfectly Patrick) were invited by Patrick and Lisa to visit them at their ranch. I guess that was a very special day for
both and a nice reward for all their work with the clubs. You can read the wonderful story that Margaret wrote in the April 1998
and August 1998 issues of the Fanclub magazine.
In December 1998 the American fanclub was closed and disbanded and Patrick and Lisa asked Margaret to make our club their Official
International Fan Club to look after all of the fans world-wide. Fortunately the close contact with Patrick and Lisa never stopped,
although Rosi Hygate stopped working for them. At first we got our information directly from Patrick and Lisa and later their new
assistant Sheree took over. So I guess we have to thank all of them for sharing all the information with us and taking the time
to care for us. And I think I can speak for all of us, when I say how much we appreciate that. It makes being a member of this
club so special.
So thanks for that Patrick, Lisa and Sheree and another big Thanks goes to Margaret for the great work she is doing with the club.
I really can say, after 10 years the club is at its very top now.
Thanks, Miriam for helping us celebrate our 10th Anniversary
with your article - it seems just like yesterday.....................