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A Long Overdue Picspam, Part 3

It's word-association time! Quick, I say "Liverpool," what do you think of? The Beatles, of course!

The jazz professor was horrified when I told him that Dad Pony had sent me to Liverpool with the assignment to go stand at Sacred Beatles Sites. "We are ethnomusicologists," he said. "We Do Not Do . . . tourism." Oh, well. He should have told that to the BFE conference organizers, who organized an entire Beatles bus tour for us:

We went to Penny Lane, and saw the Sacred Street Sign:

Here are a bunch of ethnomusicologists busily proving the jazz professor to be on the wrong side of history:

We drove by the Dingle, where Ringo was born. The neighborhood is kind of grungy and due to be demolished, and there wasn't a good angle for a photo. The next stop was at George Harrison's old house. This is the only one of the Four Childhood Homes that's privately owned. The owners, as our guide told us while the group of fifty of us were gathered around snapping pictures, are the Most Patient Couple In Great Britain.

I took this photo from the bus, so it's a little dark. It's of an ordinary graveyard next to an ordinary church that held an ordinary picnic where two ordinary teenagers were introduced to each other -- where John Lennon met Paul McCartney and decided he was a nice kid, but nothing special. It's also the graveyard where Eleanor Rigby is buried along with her name. Her grave is in the second row from the front.

This is the gate of the original Strawberry Fields, which was an orphanage during the time that John Lennon was a kid. I think the Salvation Army owns the building now.

This is John Lennon's childhood home, where he lived with his aunt and uncle. It's owned by the National Trust.

This is Paul McCartney's childhood home, not too far away. It's been redecorated inside to look just like it did when Sir Paul was a kid, though we didn't get to go inside and see for ourselves. It's also owned by the National Trust, even though it doesn't have the blue plaque. You only get one of those on your childhood home after you've been dead twenty years, and our guide ventured the opinion that Sir Paul is probably quite happy not to have a blue plaque on his house. . .

The tour ended up, as all such tours must, in the Cavern Quarter. There are actually two watering holes with that name. The Cavern Pub has a Wall of Fame, listing lots of famous musicians who have played in Liverpool:

But the Cavern Club is the one that most people are after. We all went in and had a drink, and lo and behold! a Beatles cover band was playing, to the surprise of absolutely no one. The original entrance is a few feet down the road, but it was bricked up during some renovations. Across the street, up on a wall, you can see how the denizens of Mathew Street really feel about their four boys.

After all that fun, what are ethnomusicologists to do but party? The conference banquet was held at the Adelphi Hotel. The Adelphi is the kind of hotel that none of us could even dream of ever being able to afford to stay in; it was the kind of place that the first-class passengers on the Titanic would have stayed in before leaving. It used to be that the rooms were even decorated to look like shipboard staterooms! We also heard that one of the ballrooms (not the one we had our banquet in) is decorated to look like the ballroom on the Titanic. I kind of hope that someone might have painted a teeny little iceberg on one of the windowpanes in that one . . .

Anyway, the banquet was lovely. All the food was very good, although kind of randomly chosen and assembled, in the way of a country that has not historically been known for its cuisine figuring out how to do gourmet food, and just having a blast with it. After dinner, a Balkan dance band called Paprika Balkanikus took the stage. As one might expect at any large party, the women were out dancing on their own for about twenty minutes before the men got brave enough to join them. But once we got the guys up and dancing, the party totally rocked!

Alas, that's the end of the photos! As you can see, it was a fantastic weekend. I made lots of new friends, herd some neat papers, and my paper went over well -- all my technology worked, and I got some good questions at the end. I think I like BFE. Next year's conference is in Oxford, and I definitely want to go! We lived there when I was three, in 1979, when Dad Pony was on a sabbatical. I could skip the business meeting again and go find our old home, on Marsten Lane, just off of Crotch Crescent (really!)


( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 11th, 2009 08:32 pm (UTC)
Wonderful pics! And you did have some sun as well! Great!

But I had tolaugh at the outraged ethnomusicologist saying that you people don't do "tourism"! :-) Boy, how he was proven wrong! :-)
Jun. 11th, 2009 08:39 pm (UTC)
He was even more horrified when one of the BFE people came over to Chicago for a conference at the U of C on South Asia, and referred in her talk to that very Beatles tour, complete with her photo of George Harrison's house! It wasn't just his upstart students!
Jun. 11th, 2009 08:47 pm (UTC)
This looks like great fun, FP. But you must have just about recovered from jet lag when it was time to go home again. You needed to stay longer. :-)
Jun. 11th, 2009 08:55 pm (UTC)
I find that going on an overnight flight helps me with the jet lag -- going to sleep at something approximating a reasonable hour and then waking up when it's morning in the country you're in helps a lot. And then, of course, just plowing through like it was a normal day. Albeit a normal day with a piddly little breakfast, no real lunch, only sugar, caffeine, and alcohol until dinner, so I was kind of loopy on my way back to the hostel, but fortunately, I had a new friend along with me, so that was fine.

I totally needed to stay longer! And I would have, too, if I hadn't had a gamelan rehearsal on Tuesday evening.
Jun. 12th, 2009 01:48 pm (UTC)
I find that going on an overnight flight helps me with the jet lag NO, it does not. That is called youth! :-)
Jun. 12th, 2009 03:07 pm (UTC)
Well, I am 32. That's not all that young. You just get on the plane, make yourself comfortable with pillows and blankets and shawls, stay awake just long enough for the dinner that they serve you, and then curl up in your seat and go to sleep. It'll take care of the boredom of an eight-hour flight, and it's just enough sleep that you can wake up in the "morning" and function pretty well through almost the whole first day in the new time zone (especially once you get out of the airport into the sun), and then you just have to go to bed a little early at night, and you're good to go the next morning.
Jun. 12th, 2009 03:47 pm (UTC)
LOLOL! I love relativity.

I am 43, and I can tell you that while it worked as you say when I was your age, I've crossed the Atlantic Ocean both ways more than a hundred times since then, and it gets worse and worse over the years!!

So, believe me, enjoy the stamina of youth! :-)
Jun. 11th, 2009 08:55 pm (UTC)
Actually, I'd think of the football team. Then the other football team. Then shopping. Then maybe it would occur to me that the Beatles were from there.

I wouldn't pass up a Beatles tour, though! What fun!

The owners, as our guide told us while the group of fifty of us were gathered around snapping pictures, are the Most Patient Couple In Great Britain.

Crikey, they must be.

Ooh, and definitely go to Oxford so we can live vicariously! I'll be in London in July but if I get to any of the colleges I'd say it'll be Cambridge.

Edited at 2009-06-11 08:55 pm (UTC)
Jun. 11th, 2009 08:58 pm (UTC)
Well, okay. Yes, the football team. I think I caught a few minutes of one of the games on the TV at the hostel, probably as I was e-mailing the Pony Parents or something.

I was perfectly happy with going on a big touristy tour, since my own neighborhood has become a Destination for tour buses. I kind of feel like I've earned it.
Jun. 11th, 2009 09:05 pm (UTC)
Are you still a Destination even with himself gone off to the White House?
Jun. 11th, 2009 09:09 pm (UTC)
Oh yes we are! There's the hospital where herself was an administrator, there's the school where themselves sent their daughters, there's the law school where himself was a professor, here's the Robie house, and here's the Secret Service blockade around the house where himself lives when he's not at the White House. The tour buses love it.
Jun. 11th, 2009 09:20 pm (UTC)
I suspect mockery in your phrasing :-D

That sounds like a very odd tour but hey, I'll take it next time I'm over there!
Jun. 11th, 2009 09:34 pm (UTC)
I should probably take it, too, sometime. Might be fun.
Jun. 12th, 2009 05:08 am (UTC)
Wonderful. Wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing. That jazz prof had it all wrong.

I'm glad you enjoyed the conference as well and that your paper was a success (but of course for the latter).

Oxford would be neat and finding your old house. Are you precocious enough to have any personal memories?
Jun. 12th, 2009 12:55 pm (UTC)
I have a few flashes of memories of being three and doing a few things, but I don't think that's enough to count. Of course, I've heard the stories and seen the photographs.

That jazz prof had it all wrong.

All the ethnomusicologists on the tour certainly agreed with that!
Jun. 12th, 2009 12:45 pm (UTC)
The Beatles tour looks like fun. This must have been a great trip. This is the kind of conference to go to.
Jun. 12th, 2009 12:56 pm (UTC)
I'd heard a lot of good things about BFE, which is one reason that I submitted my abstract in the first place. I turn out to really like it, so I think I'll try and figure out ways to go back.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )


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