The first Beatles song I ever heard was “Penny Lane”. It was played often on the local AM radio station, and it was always one of my favourites. To this very day, when I hear that song, I’m transported back to being 4-years-old, hanging out with my mom in the kitchen back on the farm, and the whole scene is bathed in a sort of golden light in my memory.
It’s kind of funny to me, to think that at that time, I had no idea that I would marry an amazing man who would bring me all over the world… including to the actual Penny Lane…
…and its barber shop!
On Sunday, July 7th, 2013, we visited Liverpool for a day dedicated entirely to all things Beatles. The first thing we did… well, I guess I’ll be honest — the first thing we did was get really mad because it was another ridiculously hot day and we felt like we were getting sunburned. The sun pisses us off. But then we got over it and went and found the Cavern Club.
To escape the sun, venture into the cavern.
I also met this guy there…
We look weirdly comfortable together. (That’s a statue, btw. I’d never stand that close to a stranger.)
We then took the Fab Four Beatles taxi tour. It just seemed like a more streamlined option than taking a bus tour (ugh, kill me now — I have trouble tolerating those things). It was also a more streamlined option than trekking about finding all these places on our own. It was a FANTASTIC decision. It did amuse us how often our driver Debbie took pictures of us with all the sites — she’s obviously accustomed to this and we decided to just go with it. And frankly, I was excited to finally get a series of pictures of Andrew and I together. She took some really cute ones:
In front of Ringo’s childhood house.
She told us all kinds of fascinating backstories, which was great for me, because honestly I’d never read a tonne about the Beatles — like, about their childhoods, and even how they met. I definitely liked their music, but I was never a super-fan. I WAS AN IGNORANT FOOL! Learning these legends, while hearing their music (she plays their music on a fantastic sound system in the cab throughout the entire tour) while actually being there and looking at the sites where each “scene” took place, kind of melded them into my heart. That sounds so strange… but I’m not sure how else to say it. I loved it. And while I’m admittedly still not a super-fan, I love their music incredibly.
The cover of Ringo’s first solo work: The Empress. But mostly in this pic you can just see Andrew & me. I chose this one on purpose because it’s a cute couple pic. I just feel like we don’t have many of those!
I’ll just pepper this post with couple-pics of Andrew and I in front of Beatles’ sites. We just gave ourselves over the fun-ness of the entire tour. And Debbie was truly wonderful. We saw: Eleanor Rigby’s grave, the spot where John and Paul met, where each of them grew up.
I think this may have been John Lennon’s aunt’s house where he grew up…?
Seems to me this was where George grew up.
Eleanor Rigby’s gravestone…
At the end of the tour, Debbie dropped us off at the Albert Docks on the Mersey River, where we visited the Beatles museum. It was actually pretty cool — a great combination of authentic artifacts such as guitars and glasses, together with elaborate recreations of Beatles sites such as clubs and bars, plus mythical locations like the Yellow Submarine. Informative and fun at the same time.
Then we wandered around the docks a bit, just reflecting on our day.
I just realized I didn’t include the pic of us in front of Paul’s boyhood home. I guess I didn’t think I looked as good in that one. I don’t mean it as a slight against Paul. In fact, I’ve realized that he’s my favourite Beatle. Something about the optimism most of his music is infused with, while at the same time the remarkable creative partnership he had with John Lennon for so many years — as they seemed to have been polar opposites, but also so very important for each other. There was such a depth and creative tension to their relationship… it really fascinates me, and kind of breaks my heart to think of it… the way that things ultimately went for them, both in friendship and in life. Going from happy innocence to… well, in my mind, I simply see McCartney as abandoned and wistful. And successful and kick-ass, I’ll have to add — because we did see him shortly after we visited Liverpool, and he delivered a fantastic performance here in Winnipeg. But I just see him alone up there, reflecting on the long-ago past in his beautiful tribute to John… and I feel like there’s something in there that we all could learn. Something like, “All you need is love.” Ha, that’d be a cliche way to end this post, wouldn’t it? Yeah… no. Honestly, I’m not sure what exactly I’m wanting to learn from all this. All I know is, I lose myself in thought whenever I hear “We Can Work It Out”. That song just gets to me. Oh John and Paul… “life is very short, and there’s no time for fussing and fighting my friend.”