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…. ūüôā

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!

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.

WiS: Autumn in Massachusetts

Yay, we’re on vacation! ¬†We’re spending a week in Massachusetts, half in my hometown to visit family and friends in the Pioneer Valley, and half in Boston to see the sights and visit our friends in the metro area. ¬†We of course are heading out at the point in the year so we can hopefully see some foliage as well, and remember what stupidly cold days feel like.

Our last visit to the area was in April of last year, so it’s been a good year and a half. ¬†I know things have changed in the ol’ hometown (new storefronts, a high-end renovation/expansion of the town library), so it’ll be interesting to see.

I have also packed my fancy camera so I can take many pictures. ¬†Many of these will most likely be source and reference material for Walk in Silence. ¬†I’m also bringing a few notebooks to scribble notes, thoughts and memories as they come. ¬†This will definitely help me kickstart the WiS project into its final stretch. ¬†And if I can get a good photo for a cover, all the better!

So yes, if you don’t see me here for a week, I’ll just say I’m doing research. ¬†Heh.