Friday, June 25, 2010

Liverpool, finally

It's hard to explain who or what The Beatles are to me. I'm not one of those die hard Beatlemaniacs who know every bit of trivia about the Fab Four, who have every make and take and remake and remastered CD, who know all the lyrics and insist on singing Yesterday with the alleged original "scrambled eggs" line. But I like them, and I've liked them since childhood. My parents took me to see Yellow Submarine in New York when I was five or six. I would listen, mostly to the red 1962-1966 double album, and in my mind that was the order in which the songs ought to be sung. And for a long time thereafter, following our repatriation to Israel in 1977, theirs was almost the only non-Hebrew music I allowed myself to tolerate.

I've been to England many times before. More accurately, I've been to London. A few years ago I attended a conference in Newcastle upon Tyne, and I've also been to Edinburgh once (which, of course, is in Scotland, not England). You've already had the chance to read about the highlights of my Manchester experience from a couple of days ago, and when Maciej mentioned to me that Liverpool was just forty minutes away, it seemed silly not to hop on a train and check it out. 

Ideally, I'd explore the city and all of its Beatles-related landmarks: Abbey Road, Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields. But I decided to begin my tour visiting The Beatles Story, a rather kitschy museum, somewhat reminiscent of Elvis's Graceland in Memphis (which I visited with my father when I was living in Austin, "because it's also in the South..."). I'm glad I went, though, because I would have regretted it had I skipped it. And it allowed me to see Liverpool on a gorgeous sunny – yet not hot – day, including a ride on a ferris wheel, something I cannot tell you when or where the last time I had done most recently was.

Rather than continuing this installment in any kind of verbose fashion, I choose to simply refer you to a photo essay of sorts, which can be viewed here. It also includes a few more tidbits from Manchester, among which was a compulsory photo op in front of Old Trafford, the home stadium of Manchester United. It is, after all, World Cup season. Which reminds me that Liverpool was probably the first English football club I've ever heard of, mostly because the first Israeli player to ever make it to the European Leagues, Avi Cohen, did it there sometime in my tweens.

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