January 2015

I’m sorry this is late. We stayed over in Liverpool on Wednesday night, wandered round town all day Thursday, only arriving back home in the evening. I’m just about together….as good as it gets!

If I can go back a few weeks, Beatles Story asked if I would like to go to the Liverpool pre- launch of a new photographic tome, entitled, ‘John Lennon, the New York Years’, by Bob Gruen. It was being held in the Malmaison Hotel, on Princes Dock. In the foyer, where the organisers had set up a mini exhibition, all looking very interesting. I took a book straight away and sat down with it to flick through the pages, but soon found myself completely absorbed. I haven’t seen most of these candid photographs before…they are wonderful. You can google the book and see for yourselves and I’m sure if it isn’t on sale now, it soon will be. Bob Gruen is coming to Beatle Week this year. I hope to meet him and grill him about John!

The hotel manager, James and his deputy, Sharon, were great hosts to all. No sooner had I come home than the post brought an invitation to stay as their guests. Within a very short time, the opportunity arose…the staff party for Cavern employees, including the Cavern Club, the Cavern Pub, The Magical Mystery Tour and the office staff. That was how and where we came to stay on Wednesday night.

We arrived at Malmaison and were greeted warmly by reception, who offered lunch, which we took in the bar…this was excellent, with great service. The room was on the ‘Beatle’ floor, where a yellow submarine hangs over your head just outside the lift, with L.P covers and various other memorabilia on the walls. Our room overlooked the Princes Dock…ab fab and thank you Malmaison for that extra thought…and was a complete comfort zone. I sound like an advert, but give it a go! They still have Beatle Week space.

Then we were off to The Cavern for the party, where brilliant bands played all night long. The next day, we took out time, never in a hurry to leave the city. Firstly, we went to Beatle Story, to meet Mary and Clare, who had come to the party. I was leaving some signed books and cd’s for their in-house shop..I can tell you that they are planning events to celebrate John’s 75th birthday in October. It sounds like a fans’ dreamboat! Lips and keyboard firmly sealed…..

. We also saw the Andy Warhol expo in The Tate Liverpool. Proudly, LIverpool is the first port of call in the U.K. Sadly, however, much of his work is now in private ownership. I was fortunate enough to see an expansive display of his works in The Guggenheim Museum In New York in the late eighties.

After wandering round town, we finally arrived home in the early evening, exhausted and happy…with a couple of bags from our favourite second-hand shops!!!!!!!! More in means more out!

So, I’ve had ‘JL NY Years’ propped up on the table, taking time out here and there for another look. I suddenly decided, out of nowhere , to gift this gift to Tim, an old schoolfriend of John’s. Bizarrely, he lives in Chester…about 20 miles from me. I found him when I was  researching my own book, back in 2005. He and his wife Margaret are lovely people. Tim gave me John’s school records, photographs..all of which helped me. I knocked on their door this Friday evening and spent a couple of hours there. We remind each other of old Allerton, old Woolton, old life! Margaret said we said are living in the past…oh, not all the time! Bear with us…It is fantastic to have someone who was there at the same time…no explanations necessary..just lots of, ‘oh I was there, doing this that’…’me too’ ‘did you know my school has just been knocked down?’  do you remember’…stuff. I have invited them to come and meet Bob Gruen in the summer ( I don’t know if I can get to him yet!) I am sure he’d like to meet a friend who spent another part of John’s life with him.

That’s the sum of life here since Tuesday. I hope your time and space has been exciting too!