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 ......here 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 that....er...Anyway, 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 .....it 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

Performance


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'.


Yoko in Folkestone ?

What strange parallel universe have I just dropped into ? Weird as it seems, Yoko is to exhibit at the Folkestone Triennial arts jamboree this summer. But the bit that really surprised me was that this is not her first time in the land of my youth...apparently she was there back in...wait for it ...wait for it....1966 !


This obviously needs a little more investigation. Was this exhibition BI or AI (before or after Indica Gallery of course). If AI is there the remotest chance ....No !!! Of course not ! But on a very personal level (what else is there) I find it intriguing that, as my old Nan strolled along the Folkestone Leas - walking past the Metropole Arts Centre - with her four year old grandson in tow, Yoko was just inside the door pinning notes on the ceiling advising bewildered old Folkstonians to 'breath'.

Folkestone is a funny place - more funny peculiar rather than funny ha-ha. Its former delusions of grandeur long ago swept far away. It has had many attempts at regeneration without a great deal of success.

I hope it goes well for Yoko and dear ol' Folkestone. Maybe I'll try my luck and ask her about the BI AI situation should there be some kind of Q&A session. Or maybe not.

I starting to think about a book, "Beatles in Kent" ? We know there was the Knole Park SFF video, the West Malling MMT filming, the pictures of the Fabs cavorting around the Margate Hotel swimming pool, JOKO at Rochester cathedral....ok maybe not a book, more of a pamphlet....or perhaps just a flyer....


Breaking news....the kids say they have just discovered a picture of young Brilig outside the Metropole Arts Centre !  Very funny.




Sunday, March 9, 2014

Abbey Road - I'm Coming !!!


Early birthday present - visit to Abbey Road on 3-May 11:00 am ! Ken Scott will be there ! Five exclamations marks and counting...

Saturday, March 8, 2014

George V and all that


The other week I had a couple of hours to spare in London and so I settled down for a beer or three at one of my favourite pubs (just a few doors up from the Beatle Shop in Baker street - so predictable)  and through the marvels of modern telephony I trawled the information superhighway in search of any Beatle happenings in the vicinity. Having been within a few hundred yards of Macca and his impromptu Covent Garden gig last year and only a tube stop away from the Abbey-Road-Recreation-Thing not so long back yet missing them both, I thought I'd get myself fully connected through the Twittersphere and .....wow ! Quick move it ! A Harry Benson exhibition at the Mallet Gallery in Mayfair but closing in one hour. 

Hot footing it to the heart of Mayfair, I was initially a little apprehensive as the building looked more like a dammed fine sumptuous town house and not entirely welcoming. However, I ventured in and got chatting with a very pleasant American lady at the desk. She informed me that Harry Benson had been hanging around the exhibition all week but had just left for a flight to Texas ten minutes earlier...and that he had been chatting with visitors and regaling them with stories from his Beatles past ! What ?! Just missed it by ten minutes. Ho hum ho hum ho hum. 

The exhibition was really impressive. The most iconic shot, of course, is the pillow fight in the George V hotel in Paris (iconic for Beatle freaks that is; the wider non-care-in-the-community types might argue that the assassinated Bobby Kennedy shot is somehow more important).





But look at this picture of ol' Johnny Boy. Knackered and depressed after nearly messing it up with his Jesus comment.

I was most impressed with the Mallet Gallery. I love it that such places exist in the heart of London and that they are there to be discovered on a wet afternoon.



Now, as it happens, I was at the George V earlier this week......when I say 'at' the hotel  I guess I had better clarify. I was not exactly 'at' as in 'staying/sleeping/eating/nicking the towels'. I really mean I was standing outside its sumptuous entrance snapping away to the point where I was clearly raising the interest of the not-so-friendly-looking gendarme. I moved on. 





<ALLONS-Y !> - nothing to see here as the good doctor (no. 10) has been heard to remark. (Mon Dieu ! Beatles and Dr Who - pass me my anorak kids ! What do you mean which one ?!.....its Saturday...so the blue one with the Yellow Submarine badge of course ..)

Friday, November 22, 2013

West Malling - A Famous Shop.



Well...famous may be pushing it a bit but this shop has, nevertheless, a place in Beatledom. For this ...(wait for it...wait for it..)  is the view from the inside (inside !) of the Rain Grill Kebab Shop in West Malling, Kent - purveyors of very fine kebabs of all persuasions and I can vouch for that having partaken of the ancient rotating meat this very lunchtime. This is the very shop in which Ringo purchases his MMT tickets from a mustached behatted Mr O'Boogie



Happily, the Fabs seem to have had a bit of a 'thang' about dear old Ancient Cantium having cavorted around 'my tree' in Knole Park in early '67 for the poptastic Strawberry Fields Forever video and then returning to the West Malling spot  later that summer for fun and frolics at the aerodrome. Lest we forget that ol' Johnny Boy bought his Mr Kite poster in Sevenoaks high street. 

Now, I must  confess that each time I investigate a Kent Beatles Spot I find (a little to my dismay, it has to be said) that umpteen fellow obsessives have got there before me. Strange how they all seem to look a little like me..Fifty something, greying (ok grey for pity's sake - throw me a bone why don't you) and always filming alone (Christ that's depressing...but then again, 'people' can cramp one's style). But could this be the first Beatle Place scoop ??? A view from the inside of ......for God's sake enough already. 

Exciting posts (!!) of all the above Fab Hotspots can be found on this very blog !!! Wow I hear the masses say ! What a very fine Beatle Blogger your are Herr Brilig !!! So just scroll away...its all down below somewhere (pass me the pills)




Thursday, November 14, 2013

It's my Birthday, too....yeah !

It's all about being of a certain age. Beatles T-shirt, Beatles Book (hurah ! at last Tune In is in my grubby mitts !), Beatles toy car, Beatles Cards, Beatles cakes..........I absolutely love it.