Let me take you down, ’cause I’m going to….

The Beatles statue just up the street from the Liver Building.

…Liverpool! Our UK trip this year featured a few days up north via train to the home of the Beatles. I’ve wanted to visit the city for years, and though I wasn’t quite sure what to expect other than a mix between a tourist trap (mainly the city centre) and a proudly working-class atmosphere, but I can say that I fell in love with it in less than a day.

We stayed at a hotel downtown, not that far from the city’s major shopping district and a short walk to the docks. Somehow we arrived during absolutely gorgeous weather — slightly windy but otherwise clearish skies — so most of our time was spent walking hither and yon and taking all sorts of pictures. We also got to take a two-hour bus tour around the city and its outskirts to hit a huge amount of Beatles-related points of interest.

Rolling up to our tour bus, fittingly named.
The Empress Pub in the Dingle district, not that far from Ringo’s birthplace. This is the pub that’s on the cover of Ringo’s Sentimental Journey album.
12 Arnold Grove, where George lived as a kid. All six in his family fit into this tiny little place!
The gate to Strawberry Field, with all its fan graffiti. The land now contains a visitor’s center (we did not stop, alas) and its entrance fee goes to helping young adults with learning disabilities.
Mendips, aka Aunt Mimi’s house where John lived most of the time. This was a drive-by stop, but apparently you can arrange a visit, same with Paul’s house!
20 Forthlin Road, Paul’s house (the front door is the one partially hidden by the tree to the right).
Penny Lane, in the middle of a roundabout. John and Paul used to meet up at this spot when they took the bus to school. Seeing the actual inspiration for the song gave it a fresh perspective for me.
Lime Street Station, where we arrived/departed. Lime Street was the sketchy part of town way back in the day and is mentioned in the local folk song “Maggie May”, a 50s skiffle favorite, which appears in part on the Let It Be album.
The Grapes pub on Mathew Street, just up the way from The Cavern Club. This is where Brian Epstein went after seeing the boys play, already making plans to make them famous.
The Jacaranda, which was literally around the corner from our hotel. It’s a smallish pub where John and Stu Sutcliffe used to hang out (the art school is a short walk away); it was owned by Allan Williams, who got them their Hamburg gigs.
The original Mr Kite poster, part of a John & Yoko exhibit at the Museum of Liverpool.
The original ‘Yes’ painting by Yoko, also from the same exhibit. It’s a blank canvas with the word ‘yes’ in extremely small letters, and you had to climb a ladder and use a magnifying glass to read it. John loved its irreverence and positive message.
A statue of Cilla Black, a close friend of the Beatles and one of Brian Epstein’s signings. It’s right outside the new Cavern Club.
Mathew Street, where it all happened. The old man to the left is walking past the empty lot where the original Cavern Club used to be. There’s a half dozen Beatles-related tourist shops on this lane, and the Hard Day’s Night Hotel is at the other end of the block.

It is 5am and you are listening to Los Angeles

As I’ve mentioned on various outlets, I’ll be on a solo vacation next week, heading south to Los Angeles on a six-day trip to various parts of the SoCal Sprawl. I’m hoping to hit my usual favorite haunts: Amoeba Hollywood, Santa Monica Pier, LACMA and Museum Row, The Nickel Diner,The Last Bookstore, among others… as well as some points of interest (musical and otherwise) that I’ve been wanting to hit: a movie at Graumann’s (or whatever it’s called now), Griffith Observatory (if it’s open), Echo Park, Sunset Grill (a favorite Don Henley song!), The Sunset Strip, McCabe’s Guitar Shop, and other fun places. I’m even going to check out the Warner Bros movie lot!

So of course I have a playlist to upload to my mp3 player for the trip…. 🙂

Fly-by: Twenty years on interlude

Hello from a very rainy Oxford Street in London! I have come full circle and stepped foot into an HMV for the first time since probably 2001, when its US stores started closing up. This particular shop I believe is connected to the original first one, if it isn’t THE first one.

I’m glad to say the selection is still fantastic and the prices are great. Found everything I was looking for (which is often a rarity) and the service was aces.

So yeah — glad to be able to hit an HMV one more time for old times sake. 😁

Vacation Tunage

We’re heading out to London in a week and a half, and my mind is on two things:

1) I need to prep my In My Blue World and Bridgetown Trilogy freebie cards for when we head to Worldcon immediately upon return, and

2) What should I put on my mp3 players?

Yes, while most other sane people in this world prepare for a vacation with more mundane concerns such as what to pack, what they’d like to see and do once at their destination, and so on, my addled brain almost always goes to ‘I need to bring stuff to listen to.’  [Mind you, I do think of what to pack, just that I usually take care of that in the space of an hour a day or so before we go — I always remember the things I must bring like my passport and any show tickets, and anything I end up forgetting probably wasn’t needed to begin with.]

For these long flights, I usually fill up both mp3 players.  The Zen player is for recent releases and compilations, so that’s easy to update.  The SanDisk one, on the other hand, can be tricky.  That one is my writing mp3 player.  I’ve also gotten into a habit of putting (almost) complete discographies on that one, as I can get through three or four albums in the process.  I already have The Beatles on there (both the mono and stereo box sets from 2009, plus a few compilations), and ELO as well (primarily due to work on In My Blue World), but I still have lots of space left.

So…what band’s discography should I put on there?  Should I go old school and put on Cocteau Twins or The Smiths?  Should I do something new and put on Pinkshinyultrablast or GoGoPenguin?  I’ll have to think about this some.

Any suggestions, of course, are quite welcome!

Jonc’s Britpop Meme

Okay, this is something I’ve posted on Twitter and elsewhere, but thought I’d collect some of my favorites here. These are pictures from our trips to London over the past couple of years…it’s kind of amusing, because A goes for the worldly historical sites and museums, and I’m all about visiting a city that’s ridiculously rich in rock music history. Whenever I could, I took a few snaps of places and images that reference some of my favorite songs out of the UK.

IMG_20170808_151523

The man who drives many cabs down in Old Compton…
[from Belle & Sebastian’s “The Boy with the Arab Strap”]
We walked down Old Compton Street on our way to a lovely little tea shop on a side street.  It’s a hip and divey little street full of bars and questionable people, right off Cambridge Circus.

IMG_20170806_143618

It depends how you’re wired when the night’s on fire, under the westway…
[from Blur’s “Under the Westway”]

This was the Westway bridge near the north end of Portobello Road.  Portobello is a wonderfully wacky street that’s got really nice row houses of bright pastel colors on one end (think the London version of SF’s Painted Ladies) and a lot of antique stores down the other end.  It’s hipster, it’s grungy, and it’s always a lot of fun.

IMG_20170805_123209

She said ‘eh, I know you and you cannot sing’, I said ‘That’s nothing, you should hear me play pianer’
[from The Smiths’ “The Queen Is Dead”]
A rare Jonc sighting on his own blog!  Whodathunkit?  Heh.  Me standing in front of Buckingham Palace.  The Queen was elsewhere that week, so unfortunately the above conversation did not actually take place.

IMG_20170805_114112

Oh, hairdresser on fire, all around Sloane Square…
[from Morrissey’s “Hairdresser On Fire”]

Really, Moz and the Smiths do namedrop a lot of London locations.  Sloane Square is on the far west side of Chelsea at the end of King’s Road and the area is Quite Posh.  Lots of high end boutique stores and bakeries.  And hairdressers.

 

DSC06454

I told you about the swans that they live in the park…
[from Cream’s “Badge”]

There are indeed a lot of swans (and geese, and ducks, and pigeons…) that live in Kensington Gardens and hang out at Round Pond, just outside Kensington Palace.  They’re fearless and will either ignore you if you’re just taking pictures, follow you around if you’re feeding them bread, or honk at you if you get too close.

IMG_20170803_192004

Dance on moonbeams, slide on rainbows, in furs or blue jeans, you know what I mean, Do the Strand…
[from Roxy Music’s “Do the Strand”]

The Strand is an upscale street just off Trafalgar Square where a lot of the big name hotels and theatres are.  It’s an incredibly busy street for both traffic and pedestrian, so yeah, you could say it’s a place to see and be seen…

DSC06566

I got married to the widow next door, she’s been married seven times before…
[from Herman’s Hermits’ “I’m Henry the 8th I Am”]

Did this song pop into my head when we visited Hampton Court Palace, one of Henry VIII’s favorite digs?  Of course it did.  Because I’m a goober like that.  Seriously, though, it’s a lovely place to visit.  Amazing gardens as well.

IMG_20170805_150031

Give me one last kiss, before I walk out of this…
[from The La’s “Way Out”]

The Underground has some really great signage.  The older stops, like the above (I think this was from the Piccadilly Line at Earl’s Court station, if I’m not mistaken) have their signs inlaid or painted onto the tile.  They use “way out” instead of “exit” on their transportation signage so that La’s track would pop into my head every single time.

IMG_20170804_195241So why do you smile when you think about Earl’s Court?
[from Morrissey’s “Piccadilly Palare”]

You could consider this our home base during our trip.  This is the entrance to the Earl’s Court Underground station, servicing the Piccadilly and District Lines.  [It’s also a straight shot to Heathrow, which means no train changes at all when heading in and out.]  The places we’ve stayed are up one of the side streets, so it’s super easy for us to jump on the Tube when we want to head anywhere.  Earl’s Court Road is a busy one-way street (I think a lot of people use it to head from Cromwell Road down to King’s Road) that’s filled with pubs, restaurants and convenience stores, not to mention a launderette, which came in handy!  Oh — it also has its own TARDIS!  It’s mostly obscured in this picture, but it’s next to that news kiosk, with the top of it peeking out over that red car to the left.

I have a few more from a few years back that I’ll post a little later, but for now, here you go!  Thanks for waiting!

 

 

Fly-By: Upcoming Stuff

Hey there!  We’ll be on vacation starting very soon, so the next few weeks are going to be filled with quite a few fly-bys and short entries, depending on if I have the time and bandwidth.  Sorry for not providing you with something of substance in the next few weeks! We’ll be back up to normal most likely by mid-August.

In the meantime, have a Cornelius track.  It’s his first album in I think a decade or so, and it’s all kinds of excellent and worth checking out.