Friday, 31 May 2013

beatlemania in liverpool

Mania: Described in the English Dictionary as
1. Mental derangement marked by excitement, hallucination
2. Excessive enthusiasm

The concocted word Beatlemania entered the English language on 5th November 1963.

Liverpool is a must for any Beatles fan. Mai had already gone back to Japan at this stage so it was my first trip as a true solo traveller, and probably a good thing because I imagine the in depth Beatles experience would have bored her!  I heard the nightlife was pretty good in Liverpool too, with lots of small independent bars, which is right up my alley. 

I set about my evening on an Elise style bar/café crawl (inspired by bar chick of course and random wandering). At the hostel, I got talking to two Mexican guys fresh out of high school and only 2 days into their trip. Somehow they managed to latch onto my night of exploring. I was a bit harsh and found a way to ditch them after an hour but I wasn't really looking for a career in babysitting. I wasn’t after a big night, just a night alone, enjoying a few drinks while taking in the surrounding bar settings. It’s something I really enjoy, and I find when you’re with new people, they feel obliged to create meaningless small talk whereas I’d rather sit and be part of the furniture. It really depends on the night obviously. This night was a furniture night. 

The first beer was at Salt Dog Slims, a hip little hang out with interesting décor. After wandering over to El Bandito, which had a unique and relatively cheap cocktail list, I stumbled across a place called Mellow Mellow. Very cool, very mellow. What seemed to be an independent community based bar/café; this place really does have it all. From poetry nights to open jam sessions, locals obviously come here to hang out for a good few hours, if not days. Great coffees, beer on tap and live music, plus they run their own little weekend festival. It’s a welcoming creative space with lots of charisma. 

I got up early the next day and set about feeding my brain with Beatles facts and paraphernalia.  Visiting museums alone is the best, you don’t feel like you have to rush through because the other person is bored, you can just peruse at your own pace. So I planned to spend a good part of the day immersed in The Beatles Story. I have to admit; if you’re a Beatles fan (even if only a little) I would recommend it one hundred percent. Having read May Years from Now (Paul McCartney’s story) and one of the many Lennon biographies, I already knew a fair bit but it was still fantastic to have it all laid out in an interactive, visual timeline. You felt like you were a part of it almost. Some areas had the café or bar they used to hang out at, the audio tour was really informative. An interesting fact; the boys used to hang out at The Grapes (a bar that still stands on Matthew Street today) and they sat at the same table every time without fail. Purely because it had a great view of the ladies bathroom where all the girls would get changed after work for a night out. Cheeky sods.

The tour ticket also included free entry into a temporary photo gallery and since my bus for Glasgow wasn’t until 11pm, I had a bit of time to waste. Afterwards, I had to check out the legendary Cavern Club.  It really is as sweaty and as dingy as it sounds. These walls have seen some things! The Cavern has live music every day from 4pm, mostly Beatles cover musicians. I learnt that the next night they had their full cover band playing, which was a shame, but that afternoon they had an older solo guitarist. Instead of playing a set list, he shouted out to the audience to request songs. It was amazing how many he knew and how well he played them. I pulled up a seat near the front and stayed there for about 3 hours, by the end I felt like I had had a guitar lesson. The only song he didn’t know was one I requested, Wait.

Later that night, I ended up at Mellow Mellow again. I fell in love with the menu the previous night and had to eat there. I had a yummy haloumi burger with these delicious hand cut potato chips with fresh rosemary. I sat here for as long as I could, just chilling out, drinking coffee and scanning the internet, preparing myself for the long night bus ahead.

If you’re ever visiting the UK, Liverpool is a great little city to check out.

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