Liverpool: If I Were Local I'd Probably Hate the Beatles . . .
The main city library in Liverpool England is stunning. It is an absolutely magnificent working piece of public art and service.
But did I mention the Beatles?
I feel somehow a traitor to my generation, but I have to admit that I am not a huge Beatles fan. I mean, I love them (yeah yeah yeah) -- I've cried my river to Yesterday and marched in my share of protests to Imagine -- but I'm definitely not a capital letter FAN. Joe definitely is.
I think I knew this before our trip to Liverpool, but I didn’t KNOW it know it, you know? I think I needed to SEE it to know it.
And boy did I see it.
Because there we were sitting on the Magical Mystery Tour Bus in Liverpool with about 50 other people clearly over the age of 50 (and two teenagers, god bless their parent-pleasing hearts) and there was Joe with his ear-to-ear grin for the whole two hours, belting out the most obscure Beatles tunes I had ever never heard.
The Beatle bus was the one and only organized tour of our three months abroad. But after watching Joe gleefully bounce off the bus to pay homage to Penny Lane, Eleanor Rigby, the gate to Strawberry Fields and the childhood homes of John, Paul and George, I think I’m going to suggest a 100 percent bus tour vacation next time.
What a hoot!
I wanted to howl with laughter every time the music on the bus stopped. As if cued by the clapper, the whole herd would tromp down the aisle and shuttle en masse down the sidewalk to see some house, school or other sacred Beattles site.
As soon as they cleared the bus steps, out came the selfie sticks and cheesy smiles, the clicks and retakes, and those few awkward attempts to make pinch-the-famous-tourist-attraction photos (see "the pinch" photo example).
Two minutes later, the pack would troop, teary-eyed and oddly fulfilled, back to the bus to resume the sing-along.
You’d think two hours of that would quench any fan’s thirst.
But no. Joe is an UBER fan.
Which is why we also spent three hours wandering through The Beatles Story, an interactive museum that allows you to walk through the band’s every iteration before moving on the each member’s post-band musical exploits, life scandals and/or death. When I say walk through, I mean it literally. The museum is a series of detailed reproductions of major landmarks including the Cavern Club, Apple recording studio, the music shop where the bandmates purchased their first instruments, and band manager Brian Epstein’s messy newspaper office.
Speaking of the Cavern Club, our hotel was conveniently located two blocks from the club. (This was pure luck since I had never heard of the the club.) Unbeknownst to me, the initial flame of Beatlemania was fanned here during 292 Beatles appearances between 1961 and 1963. The Cavern has been played by a lot of big names since then: The Who, Queen, Donovan, even Adele has played this tiny stage. I don't know much about them either.
Joe was like a toe-tapping pig in poop as he squeezed into the crowded belowground Cavern. In fact, he spent some part of three of our four nights in Liverpool there, spiritedly dancing and singing his favorite Beatles, Elvis and Don Mclean songs along with mostly graying cover artists.
I should mention here that my Beloved Ex-Husband (Who I will refer to from here forward in my posts as BEH!) is the only other UBER Beatles fan I personally know. BEH actually thinks he remembers the band’s infamous first 1964 Ed Sullivan performance even though he would have been not quite 2 at the time. He does have a darn good memory, though, so its possible. He too knows every lyric of every song the band ever wrote. All that is to ask, is this weird? Should I think deeper about this odd Beatle love coincidence?
At any rate, I think that Liverpool, at least the central portion, could just as well be called Beatlehborough.
Every street has an eatery, shop, statue, bar, park, road, alley or toilet stall named after the band, its members or its music. Strolling down the main shopping area with Strawberry Fields wafting through the air, I couldn't help but wonder if the people of Liverpool secretly hate the fab four. I could just imagine them walking the same street whispering under their collective breath:
“Bugger me! Not THAT bloody song AGAIN!"
Thankfully we don’t live there. Our four days of Beatles everything was just the right amount for me to learn what I've been missing all these years and for Joe to skip down a The Long and Winding Road called Memory Lane.