Sunday, 18 November 2012

American Girl Meets British Boy Part 4: Liverpool is in our Ears and in our Eyes.

To read the earlier entries, click these links:

After our hectic arrival in Liverpool in Part 3, We awoke the next morning to muffled shout of "Row!"

We got up and opened the window to see a rowing club in session on the water, the wind was bitterly cold and rain was drizzling down.

Erica was dumbfounded how those boys could be out there in this weather. Since it was December and we were a little further north now, the Texan girl, who was used to blazing hot temperatures in the summer and lukewarm winters was suddenly out of her element.

Of course, Erica had come quite prepared for this eventuality but when you're there it is quite different. Her teeny-tiny nosey was red and she was constantly chilled to the bone. She gratefully drank her morning cup of tea and we headed for a continental breakfast of cereal and toast with various Marmalades and Jams.

By the time we got out of the hotel the rain was pissing down and we decided to forgo the cost of a taxi and sprint to the Beatles Story Museum in Albert Dock.....

The Beatles story is a must see on any trip to Liverpool
The Beatles story museum tells the story of the Beatles from their humble childhood years right through to their meetings and formation to their respective solo careers. It's a must for any Beatles fan to tour. I will write a more in-depth review of our visit in a later blog.

After our visit we decided to head to Mathew Street....

Mathew Street proudly proclaims itself the birthplace of The Beatles.

We wandered up the cobblestoned street, marvelling and wondering what this place must have been like in 1960. I could almost feel the thump of the beat beneath my feet as we stood and let the rain drizzle on us. We planned to lunch at the Grapes pub but first we walked quickly up the street to....

The Cavern Club! Unfortunately, the Beatles weren't playing that lunchtime or nighttime :-(

The Cavern is one of those places that is considered almost holy to Beatles fans. This club was where they ushered in a new era for civilization, Liverpool was screaming about the Beatles while the rest of the UK was idly tapping their feet to The Shadows and Cliff Richard.

The Stairwell....

The famous mural on the stage....

Erica had such a great time she got up and rocked out on the stage like her hero John Lennon did so many years ago....

We stayed for a little while but there was nothing going on there until the evening. We ascended the stairs with a promise to return and Erica got her picture taken with John Lennon.....

He was pretty stoned too.
We decided to take a walk down to the Grapes and have some lunch....

The Grapes, for those not familiar with it, is a pub the Beatles used to hang out in before and after their gigs at the Cavern, there's also a famous picture taken of them sitting in there.....

And is largely unchanged to this day, except for the wallpaper and all the Beatles memorabilia.......

Erica sat where John was sitting and I sat where Paul was sitting. Pete and George didn't get any takers! We had a delicious lunch there and they serve excellent food. Erica tried her first ever Bangers and Mash washed down with a pint of Cider.....

And I had chicken and chips....

Which you can't see cause I ate it all! HA!

After our lunch we rushed as fast as our speeding boots could carry us to get on the National Trust bus to John & Paul's houses. Now, photography is forbidden INSIDE the houses but we got some great shots of the outside.

251 Menlove Avenue. The house John Lennon grew up in.
Going into Lennon's house was an UNBELIEVABLE experience. Especially as the National Trust have restored it to it's 1950's glory. We stood in the hallway and I half-expected a teenage John Lennon to come to the top of the stairs and ask "Who the fucking hell are you lot?!" and his Auntie Mimi to be in the kitchen cooking something.

The caretaker showed us round and we were told not to sit on the furniture and they told the stories about them that we'd heard many times before but here we were, actually THERE in the kitchen where John had eaten many a bacon butty and in the front room where he'd sat and played his harmonica his Uncle George gave him, probably doing Mimi's head in.

Then we were taken upstairs and shown the bathroom where John bathed after coming home late at night and then finally we were shown to that one room that had the Lennon stamp all over it. His bedroom.

Standing there in the front bedroom, you can't help but wonder what John would think all these years later. If he had been allowed to live until death had taken him naturally would he have come back here to see his house restored to how he remembered it?

I imagined him giving us a guided tour and standing in his bedroom telling us "You know, I had many a wank over Brigitte Bardot in here".

The caretaker allowed us a few minutes to look around by ourselves and we stayed in John's bedroom and Erica, even though it probably wasn't ACTUALLY his bed, sat down on it. I joined her. I thought about Lennon listening to his radio here on cool summer nights. Playing his guitar with George and Paul downstairs. So much history.

I got up and went over to his window which looked out onto Menlove Avenue and there were about 30 people standing by the gate taking pictures of the house and probably me looking out the window. I flashed them a peace sign and then flipped them off which earned me a smack from Erica who had become familiar with the tradition of sticking two fingers up.

These people had all come from the "Magical History Tour" bus. We came downstairs and marvelled at the back door that Mimi would make George Harrison come through because of his weird dress sense. We went to the front porch and sang a few bars of 'Blue Moon' like Lennon & McCartney had done so many years ago.

Then it was time to get back on the bus, I was by now carrying Erica as she had passed out from all the Fangirling. We got on the bus and headed over to Forthlin road....

20 Forthlin Road. The house Paul McCartney spent his teenage years in.

20 Forthlin road was another great experience. This is the house where Lennon and McCartney wrote so many of their early songs together and demoed rough versions for McCartney's father Jim. Again, no photography of any kind allowed in the house. I hear John, the tour guide, is no longer with the National Trust which is sad as he was a very good guide and likeable fellow.

Again we had the guided tour and then were allowed to look around on our own. My favourite part was the living room. Just thinking how many times the young John and Paul would sit with their notepads and guitars playing and smoking Typhoo Tea from Jim McCartney's pipe.

John & Paul work on 'I Saw Her Standing There' in the living room at 20 Forthlin Road

 Also we got to look out the window from where Paul's brother Mike took the famous shot of Paul sitting in the garden that now adorns the cover of Macca's 2005 album Chaos and Creation in The Backyard.

Also being in the backyard of 20 Forthlin Road was purely magical as THIS was taken there...

After the tour was over we got back on the bus and just sat in silence. We couldn't believe we had been in the houses of musical gods. We visited a few more places after that on whistle-stop tours before boarding our train and heading back to my house.....

Liverpool Town Hall, Where the Beatles famously greeted fans on the Balcony on their triumphant return to Liverpool in 1964 and John performed a Nazi salute.

The Eleanor Rigby statue

At the Beatles shop.

Art College where John Lennon and Stuart Sutcliffe attended

Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes


We came back for a quick visit in the dark before we left!
And that's it for this adventure! We hope you all enjoyed it, Those who are still reading it? Anyone? More adventures will undoubtedly follow soon! So stay tuned to this blog!

1 comment:

  1. I'll definitely make sure that if I ever get the chance to visit England, I'm heading there first. The Beatles were my first official fave rock band. I'll make sure to see all those lovely Beatles locations, including the story museum, the Cavern Club. And omg, that food looks so good. Gotta remember to try some authentic English food there if I ever go :D


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