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.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Brilig,

    I went to the one in 2012, and I agree it was a marvellous day. Felt rather like sheep being herded in and out however; it wouldn't have killed them to have the café open for us. We're all grown ups. They did let us mill around in the car park for ages though. I've got some good shots standing on the steps mimicking Fab poses. Ken Scott was there that day too, in the audience, but didn't speak, merely standing to take an ovation. Did they have an Abbey Road merchandise stall set up? I didn't have the cash on me to get an Abbey Road Studios mug (£5) on the day, and have since discovered that they're normally unobtainable to punters. I've mildly regretted not getting it ever since.

    Regarding the Mike McCartney dates, I bought a ticket for the Maidstone show (it being my nearest theatre) and...he cancelled. I understand from the box office that he had done the same on quite a few other dates, if ticket sales were too low for his liking.

    Best regards LeftyBass