Posts filed under ‘Liverpool’
Today is the 68th anniversary of the birth of one of my favourite artists, John Lennon. I cannot even begin to describe how much he and his music influenced me and how much his presence is missed.
This year I was lucky enough to visit his hometown, Liverpool, as I mentioned in June. It was amazing to wander around his old stomping grounds, see his childhood home, kiss the ground of the church hall where he met Paul McCartney, etc.
So, to celebrate good ole Johnny’s birthday, I’ve been listening to his music and watching funny clips all morning. It’s put me in such a good mood that I’d like to share the love with all my friends in the blogosphere!
This first video is from a bizarre 1964 Swedish press conference. John is presenting his book “In His Own Write” along with his four friends George Parasol, Ringo Stone and Paul McCharmly. The interviewer is clueless and John and George are quite yummy, don’t you think?
The next one is one of my favourite solo songs, “Nobody Told Me“. It’s a fun video featuring John, Yoko, Sean Lennon (happy birthday to you, too!), a Canadian flag and Jack Palance (?).
So, what are your favourite John Lennon songs? What do you think he would be doing today if he were alive?
When I was in Liverpool last week my friend Val asked me if I remembered our “Master Plan”. I had no idea what she was talking about so she jogged my memory. We were major Beatle freaks in high school and way back in 1989, when we were about to leave for our school trip to Paris, we came up with a brilliant idea. We were going to have one free day in Paris where we could do anything we wanted. So we planned to go to the nearest train station, hop on a train to Calais, take the ferry to Dover and catch a train to Liverpool to finally make our pilgrimage to Beatleland! Then we were going to head back to Paris that night, hopefully before our teachers found out. Perfect plan, eh? Needless to say we didn’t follow through with our Master Plan and I think I ended up meeting my husband on my free day instead. Ah, destiny plays funny tricks sometimes!
It took me almost 20 years but I finally fulfilled my dream of seeing Liverpool. Since it is European Capital of Culture this year, I thought it would be the perfect time to visit. And of course there was the mother of all concerts, PAUL MCCARTNEY AT ANFIELD, that I wrote about in my previous post.
Liverpool truly is a wonderful city and the people were so warm, funny and helpful. And of course, there’s THAT accent. OMG! Now, I’m a sucker for English accents in general but hearing those unmistakably musical and adenoidal Scouse tones sent me into a tizzy!! I could go on and on but I think I’ll show you a few highlights instead. Pictures are courtesy of my pal Sue:
Here’s a view of Liver Building and the Town Hall as seen from Albert Dock. Albert Dock also houses the Liverpool Tate which has a very interesting Klimt exhibition going on right now.
Local treats! The sugar mice and the pink chocolate pigs look particularly inviting.
Bad Statues in Liverpool: variations on a theme
Bad statue No. 1: a “gargoyle” of Paul McCartney outside the Hard Day’s Night hotel. With that mullet he looks more like KC of Sunshine fame.
Bad statue No. 2: that’s me sniffing the statue of John “gianthead” Lennon on Mathew Street. My friend Val looks on in disgust.
Bad statue No. 3: Arthur Dooley’s famous statue celebrating the “Four Lads Who Shook the World”. I have to admit it gave me the creeps. I’ve seen cheerier statues in cemeteries. It depicts a sort of Madonna holding four cherubs who are supposed to represent the Beatles. The mysterious thing is that Baby Paul went missing in 1975. Luckily they found him and only need some mud to put that cherub back up there. Read here for the bizarre story.
Of course, I went on the Magical Mystery Tour and visited all the Beatle sites, from John, Paul, George and Ringo’s childhood homes to Strawberry Field and Penny Lane. I was in heaven!
The Cavern: before and after
Me and Sue about to enter the Cavern Club, a recreation of the place the Beatles cut their musical teeth in Liverpool. The new Cavern occupies 75% of the site of the original club.
Me and Val dancing to the Scissor Sisters (?!?!) inside the Cavern. Note the way the blue circles under my eyes match with the top. I planned that.
As you can see, we had a blast! There’s so much more I didn’t see (the Cathedral, the Pier Head, FACT, Sefton Park, etc.) so I will definitely go back to Liverpool. Who’s coming with me???
“I don’t know what to say. Every time I come up to Liverpool, all the memories come flooding back.” Sir Paul McCartney, Anfield Stadium, Liverpool, 1 June 2008
Well, Paul wasn’t the only one overwhelmed by the experience at Anfield. I’ve seen a few concerts over the years, The Stones, Bowie, Foo Fighters, Santana, the Who, to name a few. But last week’s Liverpool Sound concert in celebration of the city as European Capital of Culture was mindblowingly special. I mean, the fact I was seeing Paul McCartney perform in his hometown was incredible for me. As I mentioned in previous posts, I’m a huge Beatles fan so I just had to see him in Liverpool. But to see a musical genius at work was thrilling. He truly is going through his second renaissance. His voice was great, he played the bass, mandolin, piano and ukelele and he had a warm and easy rapport with the audience, telling stories as if he were sitting by the fireplace with old friends. You could also see how moved he was by playing in front of his fellow Scousers. It must have been incredible for the boy from Speke to see 36,000 of his people all there for him, singing his songs at the top of their voices.
It was also an historic moment for me personally as I was able to meet up with two of my best friends, one who lives in NY state and the other in Toronto. The stars must have aligned right on time because for all three of us to meet in Liverpool just for the weekend was a cosmic event. I never would have imagined when I proposed going to the concert as a lark in January that it would have actually happened. And I’m so happy it did!!
It’s hard for me to pick my favourite moments but one highlight has got to be Paul’s tribute to his old schoolmate George Harrison. It nearly moved me to tears:
I can’t tell you how touching it was to hear him sing George’s song. It was as if Paul was sending his old pal a message from home. And we all joined in, singing our hearts out. Major goosebump time.
Another great moment was when Dave Grohl (one of my faves!) joined Sir Paul onstage for an electrifying rendition of Band on the Run:
Ah, grungy Wings! Gotta love it. And gotta laugh at my friend’s description of Grohl as a modern-day Jacques Brel. His face not his singing, bien sûr.
Anyway, fantastic concert, wonderful man. Paul, I’m not single but if you’re ever in Milan and want to go out for a kickass vegetarian risotto, call me.
So much more to say about my visit to Liverpool. I loved the city and the people! Will tell more in the coming days.
Do you believe in the power of music? I sure do even if my musical background leaves little to be desired. I grew up listening to the painful sounds of Malayalam movie music and easy listening stations. Christopher Cross anyone? My piano career never went further than a halting version of the Mexican Hat Dance. My first taste of musical freedom arrived in the form of a cat (and no it’s not an acid flashback). I got a cat-shaped radio when I was 10 and I could finally listen to the stations of my choice. The world of 80s music soon opened up to me and I was listening to everything from Michael Jackson to Duran Duran.
In high school I was in a bit of a musical haze. Hard rock and so-called preppy music didn’t appeal to me. Then one day I saw the documentary “The Compleat Beatles” and it literally blew my mind away. Could sounds like that truly exist? How could such energy, genius and beauty be concentrated in one group? It was the start of a love affair that continues to this day. And today is very special for me because I will be making my first “pilgrimage” to Liverpool to see Sir Paul McCartney’s homecoming concert in celebration of “Liverpool Capital of Culture”. Tonight, when I touch down at John Lennon International Airport I’m sure I’ll be more than a little emotional. I will also be meeting up with two of my best friends from elementary and high school who are flying in from North America. How cool is that?
So of course, here are a couple of videos to help kick off this very special weekend. The first needs no introduction.
The second, Maybe I’m Amazed, is one of Paul McCartney’s most beautiful love songs. And it’s a sweet video to boot.
So, what are your favourite Beatle songs and which music changed your life? I’d love to know.
Have a fab weekend everyone!