by Pete Price
The other week I was having a clean out and a tidy up. I came across a pile of original Merseybeat magazines all individually wrapped and now bright yellow.
I found myself looking back at the history of music from when I grew up. Those days were so magical to me, queuing outside the Cavern and the Iron Door.
Waiting to listen to the raw music, exciting and vibrant sounds and looking at the bands that would go on to great careers.
My favourites were Gerry Marsden, the Big Three, who Cilla used to sing with, and the Escorts. I wasn’t a great Beatles fan in those days it took me a while to get into their music. First time I ever saw them live was at the YMCA Hoylake. I always remember the tickets didn’t sell well, whereas Gerry Marsden was a sell-out every time.
There were many stories about those days and I am sure all of you have got some. I remember protesting outside the Cavern when Pete Best was sacked from the Beatles.
Here is an interesting story that a lot of people don’t know about. The Beatles’ early fans were very possessive towards the lads. The Beatles had an amazing bond with the fans at the Cavern. The Cavern Club girls idolised and romanticised about the four lads. And at each and every performance they would desperately strive to attract the attention of one or other of the group in the hope of an acknowledgment or perhaps even a date.
Two minutes before the Beatles took to the stage there would be a mass final preening session amongst the girls. The dust of compact powder would clog the air, hair curlers would be removed and frantic back combing took place. Many of these fans formed themselves into little groups of cliques. They of course had strange names. There was the Cement Mixers, the Bulldog Gang and let’s not forget the Wooden Tops. The fans were fiercely loyal and far from being annoyed the Beatles encouraged this kind of attention and yearned for such intimate contact in later years when they were playing venues so vast and cold that they were 200 yards away from their nearest fans.
So partisan and positive of the band were these fans when the Beatles fame began to grow there were many at the Cavern who were angry and resented their success. Wanting to keep them instead as the Cavern’s secret.
This began to manifest itself when the Beatles’ second single Please, Please Me was released. Many of the Beatles’ most dedicated hometown fans, naturally possessive of the group after two years exclusive ownership, realised that buying the record might well take the Beatles out of their grasp.
When the Beatles hit No 1 with Please, Please Me, Bob Wooler announced the news at the Cavern. It was met with a mix of silence and boos. The fans were devastated that they were going to lose their Beatles to the world.
So if it was left to the fans they would have stopped their career purely for selfish reasons. People that live in London don’t appreciate their tourist attractions. I wonder if you realise how good the Beatles Story at the Albert Dock really is? Whatever age you are you can immerse yourself in a real piece of history. But if you ever go down, give yourself a couple of hours and go and live in an era of days gone by.
No room for error
SELF-SERVICE online check-ins for airlines. £1 a minute to complain. Supermarket machines taking your money at the check-outs. Automated voices talking to you about train timetables and apologising if they make a mistake. Time wasted in stores looking for goods as there are no staff to help you.
Each one of these has taken jobs from people and in my mind has changed society for the worse. I remember growing up being told automation will make life easier for people. We didn’t realise we were being conned and many jobs would go.
What jobs are left are now being put to a stopwatch. How long will it take you do that? If you work at a supermarket checkout, how many customers can you get through in the shortest possible time? Doctors’ surgeries are all about footfall, doctors now work to a clock. There is no time now to make mistakes, to be human. Is there something very sinister at work here and is there a greater plan to wipe out all jobs? Where will it all end? It really is quite frightening. How will we make a living?
Courtesy of Liverpool Echo
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