Over the gate...

Designed in 1913 by Victorian/Edwardian/other architect Theophilus A Allen; John Lennon's house between 1964 and 1968; sunroom, attic and prisco stripe hibernice; Mellotron and caravan; Babidji and Mimi; mortar and pestle; Wubbleyoo Dubbleyoo; curios and curiosity; remnants and residue; testimonials and traces; (Cavendish Avenue, Sunny Heights and Kinfauns); Montagu Square; mock Tudor: Brown House: *KENWOOD*.

(Also available as a blog.)

Legal Blah: This blog is for historical research only, and is strictly non-commercial. All visual and audio material remains the property of the respective copyright owner, and no implication of ownership by me is intended or should be inferred. Any copyright owner who wants something removed should contact me and I will do so immediately. Alternatively, I would be delighted to provide a credit. The writing is by me, such as it is, unless otherwise stated, and this is the only Beatles related blog I am responsible for.

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Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Liverpool: Gambier Terrace, then unt nau.


This famous shot of John plus art school chums was taken in Gambier Terrace, No. 3 of which, as ye will know, was home for a while to the aforementioned (though paying rent was more of a theoretical possibility than an actual event). The former art school itself (about which more anon) can be seen through the gates in the new pic.
There's another photo of John plus further art school pals also taken on this very spot, though it's not in general circulation. This little corner of Liverpool remains remarkably unchanged, give or take the odd bush, Beatle or etc. Lovely stuff.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Lennon unt McCartney: then unt nau.


Lennon unt, as I clearly state in the blog post title, McCartney, then unt, as I clearly state in the blog post title, nau, above. John circa Pepper, Paul circa New.

But woooah there Padre! Just you hold on a minute! Who is this little fanny pack?:


Yes, that's right! It's me! (As ye will shurely know if ye read the almost identical post from blahblahblah...)

Friday, 18 October 2013

St Paul's Church, Covent Garden: Paul pops up.


As ye will shurely know by now, Paul done a pop up in Covent Garden today...and I was there! What's more, it was the second time in 3 days that I'd got within pantie-chucking distance of the great man (Errr...are you sure about the "panties" bit? - "Smalls" Ed.), having also been fortunate enough to get in to Wednesday's Maida Vale Radio 6 session (via a jammy mate who'd won tickets).
Lizzie Bravo emailed this morning to say it was happening, and so off I did scoot, pausing only to attend to my appearance; today I brushed all 4 of my remaining teeth. I got to Covent Garden with undue haste, to be greeted by the above scene...and within 10 minutes or so, there was Sir Macca plus band, as follows, running through a nifty 20 minute set:


At the "magic" piano:


The following two quite extraordinary pictures are available for licensing to the major agencies:


...and before ye knew it, over it all was:


I'd also been meaning to get a Nau at the newly re-opened HMV on Oxford Street, and today seemed like the day. Paul, of course, was signing copies of "New" there after the Covent Garden show, and it was all fairly chaotic. Here's how the shop looked when Brian turned up all those years ago, plus the present day consequences:


So, a fairly interesting couple of days then. One of the many good things about Mr Lewisohn's tome is that it treats all 4 of them as equally important to the story; there's no bias. There's no John bias, no Paul bias, no George bias, no Ringo bias. Basically, what I'm trying to say is that there's no bias.
By contrast, it can't be denied that this blog has a certain Lennon-centricity. A Lencentricity, if ye will. But, lest there be any doubt, and to paraphrase someone, if there is such a thing as a genius, then I think Paul is one...and if there isn't, I don't care either.
The Maida Vale gig on Wednesday took place in a small room, and to be 10 feet in front of "THE BASS", and actually hear Paul's superlative playing coming straight out of his amp, to trouser-flapping effect, was a truly fantastic experience. He really is quite good, isn't he? That is all.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Saltney Street/Dublin Street, Liverpool: Bonded Tea Warehouse.


Oh, wot a statement: the four of them pitched up on a patch of wasteland in front of a derelict warehouse, and a very odd sort of glamour, even now. Having made a few desultory attempts to track down this locale, I'd long since given up. Surely it had gone the way of much else immediately north of the Pier Head? Amazingly enough, no. It's still there - the Bonded Tea Warehouse on Dublin Street.
The adjacent Saltney Street was, according to Mr Lewisohn's esteemed tome, the very place where John's Irish ancestors had been domiciled in what were fairly appalling conditions (cholera etc). The housing is long gone, but the arrow marks the warehousal spot: tea, Indian tea, but no biscuits:


So, co-incidentally, here they appeared in late September 1962, and the warehouse has not changed one little bit half a century later:


In the interim, the patch of scrubland (formerly cholera-ridden housing) has been re-built upon, and currently accomodates a motley collection of wholesalers, car part suppliers et al, thus making it impossible to obtain an exact Then unt Nau, but the spot must lie roughly towards the back of this yard:


His Very Bobness also pops up here in 1966, around a fortnight before being captured on film talking shite with John in the back of a car (possibly coming from Kenwood) for Eat The Document:


Note the Brown Cow pub:


The building still there on the corner, next to the warehouse:


There are quite a few great pics of Bob on Dublin Street (a Google search will reveal several more), and one wonders how co-incidental this was. Bob has form, even turning up on a National Trust tour of Mendips a few years back, sly little Beatlemaniac that he is.
Anyway, I was very pleased to discover this not so little relic remains.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Mark Lewisohn's All These Years: 10.5/10.


(I've pretty much finished the trade edition of Mr Lewisohn's tome, and so here are a few mercifully brief thoughts. Before I begin, I should state that Mark is a mate, and a good one, so don't take this as a review, but rather a recommendation.)

It's been called The World At War of rock biographies, in that this is an enormous work of layered history, but what it puts me most in mind of is War and Peace. Obviously, Tolstoy's "whoppa" is historical fiction, and Mark's "bewk" has been written specifically to counteract the various and manifold fictions that have crept in to endless re-tellings of "the 20th century's greatest romance". Yet the structure of the thing, with multiple personal histories unfolding in parallel against the backdrop of a rapidly changing society, really reminds me of Lev's "big-boy". And these books are both, of course, very big-boys indeed.

All These Years is a magnificent piece of work, dense and detailed, but fast moving and, usefully, written free from hindsight-based comment, thus allowing the story to unfold as it happened. Mark's prose is clear, clever and highly readable. The big events are fully explained for the first time, and the small ones are, in many cases also for the first time, err...also explained. I haven't read another book which manages to convey the atmosphere and gathering excitement of those times as well as this.

I only have one real criticism, and, funnily enough, the very same one I'd level at War and Peace: it's too short. (Luckily, this will be rectified next month.)

If you are entertaining any doubts about reading yet another book about the Beatles, then cast these aside immediately, buy a copy and prepare to learn a lot (including why a sandwich would be the best symbol for John Lennon International Airport in Liverpool).

Roll on Volume 2 (no bread based punnery intended).