Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I'm getting ready to teach a solid two weeks about the Beatles in my course on American Popular Culture, so it's about time to follow up on one of my previous posts, concerning my trip to Liverpool this past summer and my tour of Beatles-related spots. (For my earlier post go back to August 31 of this year).

For those who don't feel like traipsing through old posts, I took the "Magical Mystery Tour" during one of my afternoons in Liverpool, a bus tour that takes you around various Beatles landmarks, mostly houses where the individual band members grew up and the like. But, the tour ended just across the street from the famed Cavern Club - or rather, the current restoration of a club to appear like the old Cavern Club, since the original club was closed by the city back in the 1970s to make way for a transportation project that never materialized.

Because of its non-original character I wasn't so excited to go into the current-day Cavern. But I found the area surrounding it to be quite interesting in its own right, and snapped a few pics that hopefully capture something of its peculiar character. It's sort of like a block-long memorial to the Beatles early career, housed within a winding downtown alleyway, and couched among a collection of slightly cheesy current day clubs (including the Cavern itself, which seems mostly to play host to a succession of tribute bands).

When you're entering the alley where the Cavern resides - which I believe is called Mathew Street - this is one of the first things you come upon, a more or less life sized statue of John Lennon in '50s rocker garb.

Walking a bit further down the street, you come to the Cavern Wall of Fame, where all the bricks surrounding the pictured plaque have the names of bands who played the Cavern in its original incarnation.

Here's the entrance to the restored Cavern Club. Based on all the drunk people I saw wandering down the street in the middle of the afternoon, I'd have to guess these guys have their work cut out for them.

This shrine is on the wall opposite the Cavern Club (same wall as the Cavern Wall of Fame), but raised about 25-30 feet above the ground.

This is the plaque that accompanies the sculpture/shrine above.

And last but not least, this is a marker for the original entrance of the Cavern Club. The restored club is in a location just down the street.

Now, for those who really want a tour through some of the most interesting areas of the Beatles' early history, here's a link to a site I just stumbled on recently. Great resources for photos of the Beatles in their early years, and links to many of the most prized bootleg recordings of the group's early music.


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