Tag: Beatles

How a Liverpool children’s home inspired a Beatles classic

Strawberry Field, the childhood refuge of John Lennon, re-opened to the public last weekend.

I attended a preview a few days before, writing an article for iTravel.

Here’s a preview of my feature:

The former Salvation Army children’s home, made famous in the 1967 Beatles song, has re-opened with a new permanent exhibition about Lennon’s early life [pictured above], a community garden and café.

The young Lennon would often play in the garden after he moved to live nearby with his aunt Mimi when his mother started a new relationship.

He would meet Paul McCartney at a local church fete in the late Fifties.

But Strawberry Field remained, as Lennon later expressed in the song’s lyrics, a place where, “Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about”.

“John always said Strawberry Field was his favourite song and he referred to it as his psychoanalytic poem,” says Julia Baird, Lennon’s younger, half-sister and the Honorary President of the Strawberry Field project.

Read the full story in iTravel here.

The ultimate Beatles day out in Liverpool for #AbbeyRoad50

It was 50 years ago today. Well, this year anyway.

I spent yesterday in Liverpool finding out about events to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the album Abbey Road, the recording sessions for which were the last in which all four members of the Beatles participated.

The front cover image of Abbey Road, taken in August 1969 on the zebra crossing near the entrance to the London recording studios, is one of the most copied images in popular culture.

A new mural by the street artist Paul Curtis on a wall in Liverpool’s modern-day Baltic Triangle is currently the city’s favourite photo opportunity.

I visited the new Magical Beatles Museum, The Cavern and caught the Double Fantasy exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool.

I also had a behind-the-scenes preview of the August re-opening of Strawberry Field, the former Salvation Army children’s home, which was made famous in 1967 Beatles song.

The famous red gates [pictured above] will be open again for a new generation of dreamers looking for a place where:

“Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about.”

Look out for the full story in the June-July issue of Discover Britain magazine.

Just back: Harbour days in Hamburg

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It was the morning after the night before.

The overnight rain has diluted the detruitus on the streets but not enough to sluice away the bodily fluids and broken dreams.

It was early morning on the Reeperbahn and the final ragtag of drunks and smackheads were tracing their zig-zag path towards home.

A few had found refuge in a final glass of beer at the Sunday morning Fish Market on the harbour front, mixing in with the tour groups and middle-class couples out shopping for fresh fish.

Both were equally wrong-footed at Jessy’s reggae coffee kart — the proprietor was sky high, or a very good actor. Either way, he insisted over a backbeat of heavy dub, that his coffee was, “Lecker, lecker, lecker” to cheers from the camera-totting crowd.

I was here for the Hamburg Cruise Days festival [pictured above], a bi-annual parade of big ships to celebrate the North German port’s historic role in the development of passenger shipping from Europe.

The night before I had watched the ships file past under fireworks, the harbour bathed in blue light as part of an art installation by the German artist, Michael Batz.

I had explored the urban renewal of the Hafen City district and walked the streets of the waterhouse district, where the city’s seafaring merchants housed their goods in the days when Hamburg rivalled the likes of Liverpool, Antwerp and Rotterdam as a world port city.

Athen, as night fell, I joined a walking tour of the St Pauli district to retrace the Beatles’ footsteps around the city’s former red light district.

The ukulele-playing tour guide, Stefanie Hempel, lead us through the snake pits and dive bars of the Reeperbahn, breaking into Beatles songs en route as a paean to her beloved John Lennon.

It’s like John Lennon said:

“I grew up in Liverpool but I came of age in Hamburg.”

Check out a Flickr gallery of images from my trip.

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