Monday, March 2, 2015

Lennon returns to Knole Park

Ok...a dog called Lennon. Of course the dog is called Lennon. It was part of the deal.......actually full name is Lennon Harristar McCartney but don't the kids. Hopefully they wont check his name where is that bloody stump ?????

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Mason's Yard

The January sales are here once more and here I am (once more) at the Cheques Tavern pondering my course through the marauding masses and wondering whether the year's excesses have added yet another inch or two to my already full waist line. This year's suit is somewhere out there within a mile of where I am quaffing...but where exactly. Another pint of Shepherd's Neame is required before braving the heaving throng. 

Now the Cheques Tavern is a perfectly reasonable pub - quite friendly though the prices inevitably reflect the neighbourhood but hey-ho. But, of course, the choice of this pub as a starting place for the day is due to the fact that it backs on to Mason's Yard. Yes - the place where Joko came together. And but fifty yards away from The Scotch at St James - where once upon a time the Fabs paid a quid for a drink.

Look at it it still a nightclub ? Who goes there now ? What on earth is that concrete monstrosity in the middle ? What did the yard look like when John L stumbled out of Indica, possibly reflecting on his statement that avant garde was French for bullshit.

The Cheques Tavern

Indica as was - wrapping paper by Macca

Ok - I'll answer my own questions. Having just typed in 'The Scotch at St James's' into the information superhighway I am informed that the place was closed for 20 years but re-opened in 2012. See previous posts on this topic with pics of renovation. The place is clearly still packing in the celebs at what looks like an uber (can't find the umlaut ..hold on, has umlaut got an umlaut ? Let it go !)  trendy place - as the kids almost certainly do not say.
But here is one of Macca in the Scotch back in Feb 1966. I wonder how much he'd have to pay for a Brandy Alexander today ?

Macca at The Scotch

The Indica to The Scotch

Leaving the warmth of the Cheques, I made way towards Jermyn Street and, as in previous years, reflected on why I can't afford a suit even when it has 75% off. But soon I was distracted again as I approached Saville Row. At last the 'renovation' of the place is complete and bratty kids with their bratty parents are encouraged to empty their wallets in exchange for bits of denim at a £100 quid a throw (now hold on there. Who am I to judge these people...didn't I once come perilously close to parting with £100 for a square inch of Kenwood carpet ? Was it only the cries of 'Daddy we're hungry' that prevented me from clicking the 'Buy it now and to hell with the kids' button.)

Should I ? Should I ? I can't resist and feeling like a bit of a freak (not having the kids with me on this occasion) I actually entered No.3. Slightly to my surprise the place was empty. I quickly made my way up two flights of stairs, thought about the camera then thought better of it. It was a very strange feeling look out from the second floor down onto Saville Row. The sweeping staircase I guess is original, some of the fire surrounds look authentic. And just inside the door is this.....

Out into glooming and secret haunts

The flame cries, 'Come!'
Happy New Year to all.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Beatle Auction up date

Blimey - that's one hell of a fashion statement. What a zipper ! Easy action for pissing up the curtains according to Michael Caine

In  my dreams....likely to go for $1M ?

£150000 for this signed copy ? Surely some mistake...

Cute. Must have been on their trip to Scotland. Shaky hand understandable given JL's driving


Don't know how this slipped in. Kate Bush imploring someone called Dave to 'Keep Smiling'. Who wouldn't given this pic. Yours for a mere £100.

Beatle Auction

It's gonna be mine. At the Southbank Bank centre right now finishing off my house red and about to make my way to Le Merridian to bid for the Lennon Chess Table. See Kenwoodlennon blog for details. I'm excited, I'm excited ! Maybe one more glass before I go...

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Abbey Road Open Day

Those unlucky enough to have stumbled across this blog on the odd occasion will have noted the obvious pointlessness of its entries - endless incoherent desultory musing and mutterings on the general theme of 'Modern life is rubbish' and 'Why wasn't I part of the sixties' usually backed up with a couple of rubbish snaps of 'This is where John Lennon spat' or some such other detritus.

But hold on there matey was a proper day out...I was (in the words of that politician who had something-of-the-night about him) 'walking with a purpose' ! I had a spring in my solitary steps safe in the knowledge that I clasped a golden ticket in my sweaty palms ! I was going to the Abbey Road studios  O ! let join be unconstrained ! 

Sad how excited he is (and that he talks in the third person)

It has to said that I did arrive rather early (2 hours ermm...) but I just wanted to make sure, here I am looking through the railings. 

Here is the very, very famous Studio 2 where nearly everything they recorded was er...recorded. I would have to concede that the average age of the audience appeared to be almost exactly my age..with a vanishingly small standard deviation. It was also very apparent that the male to female ratio was...well there was no ratio. Whilst there could be no doubting that the nerd levels were turned to level 11, I somehow felt comfortable with that and to hell with Grouch Marks who said he would not like to be a member of club that would accept him as a member. 

Whilst politeness generally prevailed, as one would hope from a crowd of quinquagenarians, there was nonetheless some robust jostling on the stairs leading up to the control room....

....but I am happy to report that I did make it to the top.

The talk itself was most interesting as two young chaps presented a fascinating history of the studios which are now over 100 years old and the progression of recording techniques in that period. Nevertheless, the star act of course was Ken Scott who regaled us with anecdotes of his time in the studio with the Fabs. This was genuinely fascinating....especially the bit when he pointed to where I was sitting and said that JL was standing right there (ie where I was sitting !!) when he sang 'Twist and Shout' and at that moment they played a bit of that very recording.

Here is the floorboard upon which I sat and JL stood and... and....stop it ! Remember the nerd levels !!!

Several of the original instruments and recording equipment were on show. A request was made for piano playing members of the audience to come forward. An exciting moment but as I can only play a chord or two my anxiety got the better of me worrying that I would be asked to play the first few bars of Lady Madonna or something.....dam it man, most of the audience joined the ranks around the keyboards and I was one of only a few billy-no-mates left sitting. They all then got to play a single E note at the same time thus recreating the final chord of A Day in the Life. For pity's sake !!! I could have played a single E - Hell,  I could have played the chord E ! It was on the very same set of pianos 'They' actually used..... I COULD HAVE BEEN A PLAYER !!!!

Ken Scott was keen for people to ask him questions about his career. As the opening chords of Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da had just been demonstrated on the old upright piano, I blurted out 'Do you recall when JL stormed back into the studio and thrashed out those chords in anger because he was fed up with the song ?'  I think I detected slight irritation in his reply as he pointed out that Geoff Emerick 'did that song'. An amateurs mistake ...I suddenly felt that maybe I really wasn't a member of a club that would have me as a member. 

The crow drifted away after a few hours....bloody light weights ! Call yourselves Beatles Fans ? Wimps  !  I'm staying here. I am absorbing history. I'm thinking about what this room means and how much of my life I have spent thinking about events that happened in this small space. I am wondering again about priorities and whether I have got them right. My usual excuse to the family is that 'at least I don't play golf' which is starting to sound a bit hollow. I hope I don't look back and wonder about it.

I wasn't exactly asked to leave but being a sensitive chap I picked up the vibe.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Scrambled Eggs

Now here's a bit of an obvious one for Beatle Nuts such as myself. Good old Wimpole Street, the rather smart abode where Macca rested his head on a beautiful flaxen haired maiden (at least to start with ?) for a few years in the mid sixties. And of course, this is where he famously knocked out Yesterday...and the story goes the song started its life as 'Scambled Eggs, Baby I really love your legs' or words to that effect. God knows we all know that.

Anyhow, this is that mansion and here is the door - one two three four. Let's look through the square window.

His room was at the top - up there ...see ? But maybe not quite...I think I read he had the room on the other side and had a view over Browning Mews at the back. So here is the back.

Workmen eyed me with extreme wariness as I snapped away. Funny (not really) but no matter how I try to make small talk with those doing a bloody decent proper job, I never seem to quite hit it off. Think about that later.

Here is the Mews - oh for God's sake.

Now the reason for my extra-curricular visit to the greatest metropolis of all this week was to get the yearly corporate medical check up - except this year it was the absolute Full Monty. Three hours of prodding, probing and 'other' examinations which do not bare describing. The conclusion was favourable and the good doctor told me I was in reasonable shape for a man of my age..."I am not a man of my age !" I protested a little too much. Now their expert conclusion may have been just a little optimistic as, if I am really honest, I may have been a little parsimonious with the truth regarding the levels of quaffing and it may just be the case that a few phantom salads found their was into my four day diet diary - perhaps in place of a couple of pasty(s)(s) and chips(s)(s)(s). Interestingly (yeah right) the doctor advised that I should vary my breakfast of toast, toast and more toast with the occasional scrambled egg. Funny you should say that, Doc.

Stumbled across the Rough Trade record shop on the way to the pub ....I mean wholefood shop, Doc. I seem to recall my punk mates (were they my mates ? I like to think so but then again, there was that incident when they threatened to set light to my kaftan....) telling me about Rough Trade being a cool place where they sold bootlegs   -- but only to cool people they added rather pointedly. Happy days

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

John and Yoko at Rochester Cathedral 

Little did I know as an 'orrible teenager hanging around the The King's Head on Rochester High Street that but a few years earlier J and Y had been in attendance at the Cathedral ? Then again, how would I have known, does (or did) it make a blind bit of difference and what the hell does it matter. The answer is matters because I am a hopeless obsessive and I need to feed the madness with these tit-bits of trivia. And that's all.

24 Chapel Street

Favourite book in hand, a swift quaff (or three) at the very decent Horse and Groom just around the corner - a very pleasant hour filled. I meant to carve off  a bit of those railings but left the hack saw in my other jacket. Note to self : What the hell are you doing ? Stop this madness ! (the drink, that is)

Sunday, March 16, 2014


Given my near obsessions (ok - full on scary obsession) with all things sixties, I can't believe I have not seen Performance. I do recall seeing snippets of the underground, avant garde film aired as part of a series of cult classics in the late seventies but that's about all.

So yet one more tumbleweed moment occurred yesterday afternoon as the kids arrived home unexpectedly early (unfair I think - but best not to press that one). Unfortunately, they walked into the TV room just as Anita Pallenberg strutted her not inconsiderable stuff in a no-clothes type situation. My attempts at explaining the nakedness on the avant garde and, anyway, the sixties was all about letting-it-all-hang-out...well it just did not impress. The eldest of the Briligs, always the least sympathetic, asked sarcastically whether I had any other 'avant garde' films I watched alone..bloody cheek. For Christ's sake ! Can't I have a few hours to myself ? Can't I ? The DVD case revealed the price paid - which also raised eyebrows given my previous promises to the clan that my obsession would be curbed.

Whilst the film was released in 1970, it was actually filmed in 1968. I wonder what JL made of it ? Now I don't think my loyalty to all things Lennon can be questioned but..but...whilst he was messing around with Grapefruit books and sitting in white bags old Jagger was making an incredible cult movie. No wonder Johnny Boy got frustrated with Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da and the 'granny music'.