Sunday, 24 June 2012

Liverpool - Beatles Day Out

Hiya Yanks,
I'll start out this week with the Carol Seppanen book entry.  I finished Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell, 404 pages.  It was a fast read and interesting murder mystery about the fictional Richmond, Virginia medical examiner Kay Scarpetta.  This was the first in a series so if I can find the others at the local library I will continue the series.  It didn't impress me enough to buy the rest of the series but used enough big words to keep me interested.  If I need to look up too many words I lose the reading flow and become disinterested, if I don't need to look up any words than it is sometimes too easy of a read for me.  My next book is The Jewish War by Josephus, 511 pages.  It is the book I mentioned in my Israel post.  I'll let you know how its coming on next week's post.

Our socially gifted Kalle has had a few "teas" in the past few weeks.  Tea is what they call our supper and it is common for kids to go over to their friends house for tea after school.  After tea they go home.  It took her a few months but now she's having teas and sleepovers.  Her social calendar would be jam packed if we didn't travel so much on the weekends.

On Saturday we day tripped to Liverpool.  It is 1.75 hours away so it's on the edge of our day trip radius.  Liverpool is majorly known for The Beatles and minorally (here comes Aunt Joanie's red pen) known for being a sea port.  My regular readers will remember this as one of my top five pre-move destinations.  Now all I have left is Land's End and The White Cliffs of Dover but both places are three day weekend trips so I'm not sure when we'll get there.  But back to Liverpool.  I am not a huge Beatles fan like Abbey Ott (wish you were with us Abbey) but I still loved touring the sights.  And we definitely got our Beatles fix, the kids may even have overloaded.  But not everything was Beatles, our first stop was the Liverpool Cathedral.

The Liverpool Cathedral (link) is not just massive, it is WOW massive.  It is the largest cathedral in the UK and fifth largest in the world.  In the WORLD!  We drove up to it and my first thought was WOW!  It is so big my brain momentarily stopped.  It is a newer cathedral (completed in 1978) and is the second longest cathedral in the world per Wiki.  I think it is one of the most plain cathedrals I have ever been in but it is so massively huge you are simply astounded walking into it.  A few facts from the cathedral pamphlet: it has the world's highest and widest Gothic arches at 33 meters (108 feet), the country's largest organ at 10,267 pipes, and the worlds heaviest (31 tons) and highest (67 meters - 220 feet) peal of bells.  Now onto the poor pictures.  The massive inside size and lack of lighting makes it hard (for me) to take quality pictures but here's me best.  

The front of the cathedral.  This is the low ceiling side of the cathedral.

Inside the low ceiling section of the cathedral. 

The kids in the centre of the cathedral. 

This is the baptismal fount.  Seriously.

The world famous British telephone box.

The man who designed this cathedral also designed the telephone box.

This is the Lady Chapel which is in the cathedral basement.  A little tongue in cheek here, the Lady Chapel was built in 1910 and the rest of the cathedral was built around it.

The basement chapel altar.

View from the basement chapel balcony.

More war reminders.

Moving Kalle in one of the side wings.

View of middle of church from altar area.

Cathedral peal of bells on out way up to the 101 meter (331 feet) tall tower platform.

View of Liverpool pier area, you can see The Three Graces in the distance.  More on them later.

Chasubles in the Embroidery Gallery.

Here's a word to keep my Aunt "B" on her toes.

And another one for you Aunt "B"!

The Crozier.  This one was designed by the cathedral and telephone box architect also.

Internal viewing platform four levels above the floor.

View of the cathedral from the rear and side.

After the cathedral we parked and started our walking tour of Liverpool.

View down South John Street, an outdoor two story shopping mall.  Overall Liverpool had a fun feel to it, I wouldn't mind spending the day there checking out the shopping district and meandering between Beatles attractions.

The start of our Beatles overload.

Mathew Street has its own webpage.

The original entrance to the world famous Cavern Club.

Close up of info board.

The club is actually three levels below street level.  This is on one of the stair landings.

Inside The Cavern.  The famous stage with the painted artists wall is in the background.  How cool is that?!

Adele has played here which really excited Kal.

The Pete Best era Beatles performing.  The club bouncer described them as "scruffy" when they started playing at the club.

The full length of the club, this shot shows about a third of the entire club.  Smaller than I thought it would be, the atmosphere must be electric when a band is playing and the club is packed.  I really was wishing I could see a band perform there.

Guitar signed by Sir Paul after his 1999 "homecoming" performance.  The room referenced on the card is actually the Lounge, not the back wall painted stage where the bands played in the past.

Existing entrance to The Cavern Club.  Well worth the trip Abbey (no pressure Chris and Beth).

The Wall of Fame outside the club listing everyone who has played at the club.  Kal is next to Adele. 

KJ next to the John Lennon statue in front of the wall.

The Hard Days Night Hotel, one of the many Beatles souvenir stores in the area.

Another Rolls Royce wedding party.  I guess this is the posh method of wedding party transportation. 

Walking down a wind tunnel to The Three Graces.  We ended up taking the scenic route there, real men don't need no stinkin' maps.

Side view of the Royal Liver Building on the pier.

The famous English hackney taxicab.

The Three Graces, part of the World Heritage Site of Liverpool.  Left to right; Royal Liver Building (Wiki link), Cunard Building (WIki link), and Port of Liverpool Building (Wiki link).  The impressive buildings were built between 1903 and 1916 per Wiki.  I wasn't a big architecture buff when we started our adventure but my appreciation has sky rocketed in the last six months.  When we started our adventure I loved touring the churches/cathedrals and now I look forward to seeing the different building architecture styles.

Close up of Port of Liverpool Building since it is poorly shown in the above picture.

After the Three Graces was the smaller of two The Beatles Story buildings.  This one was a merchandise shop with a wing dedicated to Elvis.  Elvis was John Lennon's idol as an FYI. 

The cool part of the shop was the steps.

The Teresa Robinett pic - you'll notice Lori isn't in any pictures because she is spending a few weeks in the Indy office.  Miss ya Lor!

Billy Fury, a British rock and roller.  I've never heard of him but his sales were on par with Elvis, The Beatles and Sir Cliff Richard - very impressive.  Sir Cliff is a huge British performer also.  I saw a show on him and if I remember correctly he is the only artist to have a #1 UK single in six different decades.  You can read about him on Wiki here.

Next up was the Merseyside Maritime Museum, link.  The website is poor so I wasn't exactly sure what we were getting into but I figured we were in Liverpool so we had to squeeze in a maritime exhibit.  What I underestimated was the size of the place, it is three stories and each story is large.  After the first level was done the kids wanted to leave but since I am a mean father I made them go through all three levels albeit at a quickened pace.

Toxteth exhibit in the Slavery Level of the museum.  Toxteth is a neighbourhood in Liverpool where there was race riots in 1981 per the exhibit.

Not all exhibits are fun and light-hearted.  This is a set of late 18th century shackles from Ghana.

This may the creepiest Christmas card ever.

Plantation model with some disturbing images on the wall, my apologies if they upset some of the readers but some practises are so barbaric that they must be shown so they aren't repeated.

On another level was model ships, info boards and artifacts from The White Star Line ships and other ships as well as maritime War exhibits from Liverpool and the Atlantic Ocean.  I thought this level was very interesting and the kids liked it better also.  Maybe the slavery exhibit was a bit heavy for them. 

There was a "Titanic and Liverpool: the untold story" exhibit that was lacking.  The link is The White Star Line, the Liverpool based company that built the Titanic but the ship was built in Belfast (we plan on visiting the Titanic Dock in Belfast this August) and never visited Liverpool because of bad weather so the whole exhibit felt a little tenuous.

An interesting Titanic fact.

I won't embarrass my family member but I think he watched "Jack and Rose" about 100 times as a wee lad.  Must have been the after effects of being "slatted" into the wall by his grandmother.

Titanic artifacts.

Lusitania Lifebuoy, a rare souvenir from the doomed ship.

Lusitania deckchair and other items.

Titanic model.

For the model above.

Our late lunch was at What's Cooking (link) , a Liverpool restaurant started in 1978.  We all had burgers that were surprisingly good.  The kids had the Scooby Snacks which had bacon and pineapple along with the normal dressing plus chili cheese fries, I had the Texan which had guacamole along with the normal dressing.
Dana Johnson pic - the Scooby Snacks burger in back, the Texan burger in front. 

The Three Graces from a distance.

Our final stop of the day was the larger of the two The Beatles Story exhibitions.  This one was the museum and was excellent.  This museum chronicled them from the very beginning to the death of George Harrison.  It was full of souvenirs, info boards and pictures (including a thirteen year old John Lennon with his pre-Quarrymen skiffle band performing on a makeshift stage).  It covered all of the well known facts as well as littler known facts such as John Lennon's shocked reaction at seeing George Harrison for the first time.  Summarising the story - Paul and George met riding home on the school bus and became fast friends in grade school.  A few years later a mutual acquaintance of Paul and John introduced Paul to John knowing that John was looking for a guitar player for his band.  Paul joined and when another guitarist spot opened Paul suggested George.  George was one year younger than Paul but was small and skinny and looked younger.  When John saw George he was shocked and wasn't going to let him audition until Paul persuaded him to listen and once George played he was in the band.  I forget the song George played but McCartney said it sounded just like the studio version.  So many fascinating little stories like that in the museum, I thought the whole set up and material was outstanding.  Much to much material to put on the blog so I'll try to concisely capture some bits and bobs.   
We all live in a yellow submarine...

The Quarrymen performed at the Casbah before the Cavern.

From the Germany years with Pete Best and Stuart Sutcliffe in the line up, this picture shows John, Paul and George.

The Germany years.

The Lennon picture matching the statue outside the Cavern Club that KJ posed by above.

The Cavern Club beginnings.

The Beatles performed 292 times at the Cavern.

The "scruffy" phase pre-Brian Epstein, they were fan favourites from the very beginning.

Ringo joins the group.  It didn't say why they changed drummers here but I saw a documentary one time that said the band felt Best was not technically proficient enough to grow with the band.

Brian Epstein joins the group.  Epstein is credited (by the museum) with turning the Beatles into stars.  He made them stop eating, drinking and smoking on stage, made them "dress sharp", and coached them to be professional on and off stage.  The band accepted all of his changes because he never asked them to change their music.

Abbey Road is a street in London where the recording studio was located.  Hopefully we will make it there on one of our London trips.

Beatlemania reaches America!

Original American records on loan from an American collector.

Another original American record, this is of the rare "Butcher" album cover. 

The "Butcher" album cover explained.

Fun with mirrors in the psychedelic section of the museum.

Kal looks like the really tall woman from the Harry Potter movie about the Tri-Wizard tournament where the Twilight guy dies.  You know, the head of the all girls team. 

Sgt. Pepper picture.

In the Yellow Submarine.

From the rooftop concert, I believe this is the last time the group performed together.

Sad days, the single event (per the museum) that led to the break up was the death of Brian Epstein.  He was the singular force that united the band, gave them direction, and kept them from fighting.  Once he died they lacked a single direction and infighting broke out.

At the end of the exhibit was a small display summarising the life of the four members.  After that was this tribute to Lennon with Imagine playing on the speakers.  Very cool.

A lot of Elvis exhibits along with Beatles exhibits.  Elvis was John Lennon's idol and influenced the group.  From the exhibit - The band met him on an American tour (don't remember if it was their initial tour or not) but neither side ever spoke about the closed door meeting.  There were rumours that the "meeting didn't go well" but no one ever spoke about what happened.  I thought of my mom here since she was a HUGE Elvis fan back in the day but I am guessing most teenage girls were HUGE Elvis fans then.

Overall I had a great day and my Beatles fix is fulfilled.  Now to rest up for Friday night when we go see the Olympic Torch.  But before I go...

In church Sunday morning I was reminded of our Israel trip.  During the confusing sermon the Reverend Canon used St. Stephen for a church's name.  St. Stephan was the first Christian martyr and in Jerusalem we stopped at the spot outside St. Stephen's Gate where he was stoned to death.  You can read about him here.  The world feels so much smaller when our travels keep intertwining.  We saw St. Stephen's Gate in Jerusalem then there is the church reference here.  We saw St. George and the Dragon sculpture in Stockholm then ate at the pub here then travel by his birthplace in Israel then see a painting in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.  We visited The Fram in Oslo then I read about the expedition in National Geographic at the quacks office.  And on and on... I am definitely loving the travelling.

With the lack of US sports here I am slowly becoming a world football fan.  One thing they have going for them is no commercials - once the half starts it is running time until the half ends.  No time outs and no injury stoppages is a plus, now all they need are cheerleaders and I would be sold.  But before I digress to far... the football season is over now until August but I have Euro 2012 to watch.  The Euro tournament is held every two years and sixteen European country teams are in it.  I am not sure how teams qualify but England did this year.  Not only did they qualify they advanced to the quarterfinals on Sunday.  Unfortunately they lost to Italy on penalty kicks (4-2) after extra time which was fitting since Italy outplayed them and hit the upright twice during regular time.  At least England qualified for the Olympics. 

And finally... the forecast is mid 70's this week which is like mid 90's at home.  The climate here is milder and (per the locals) typically not hotter than 70 F.  So when it gets to 75 they are not prepared, and by prepared I mean air conditioned.  Not that I am complaining, I'll take all the sunshine and warm temperatures I can get.

Thanks for listening,