Hey. This is Day 3. Don’t start here. Go to day 1. 🙂
Where: Kings Mill Dock Flats, Liverpool
When: 8:38 a.m.
Drink: Organic green tea (with honey).
Really, I should be asleep. I sound like a toad with a trach. Not sure why. I mean we did shut down The Cavern 6 hours ago. I didn’t scream for the band too too much. But like I just told my Airbnb host (cutie gay Spanish boy over there washing dishes), we experienced a LOT of temperatures yesterday.
then cold again.
The Cavern is a steamy, subterranean, rock & roll jungle about 40 feet below street level. The band jammed Beatles, Queen, The Who, etc; and we danced, smiled, cheered, and sang until the wee hours.
Some smiley Irish girl approached me as the band played Twist and Shout.
“You’re American, aren’t ye?”
“How’d you know?” This chick literally pulled me to the dance floor.
“Your hat!” she twisted, yelling in my ear. “Only Americans wear hats like that!”
“Texas, actually!” I shouted. Texans rarely say “I’m American.” We clarify, see.
And for the record, my mother-in-law bought this very special yellow sparkly hat on clearance for my ten year old in England. –I just stole it.
Soon we had a circle o’ Brits dancing around us to Surfin’ USA. And hours later, trembled up those steps with jet-lagged joints and hair plastered to our sweaty foreheads, resurfacing hot, giggly, and euphoric to rainy, see-your-breath temperatures.
Et tu, Jennifer’s immune system, whispered the wind.
Liverpool is coastal. So this air should technically be good for us. But here I am, sipping tea on 5 (4?) hours of sleep, with no voice at all. Today is super special, though, so I’m muscling through. But first, some notes on Airbnb.
Either you’re the type of person who can handle strangers in your home or you’re not. Our hosts are couple Ruben and Adrian. One Spanish, one Polish. Adrian greeted us upon arrival, welcomed us in their cozy flat, gave us a key, and told us to enjoy ourselves.
“Isn’t it weird how intimate yet normal it feels?” I asked Angie. Like, Hi, stranger. I don’t know you. But gimme a few bucks, come sleep in my house, and let’s share a toilet.
See. I think it’s great. But I’m innately gregarious and can make friends with just about anyone. Like Ruben’s over there, pottering around washing dishes, making coffee, just doing his thang in his pjs. While me, someone he literally met 30 minutes ago, is sitting on his couch in my pjs, writing these words.
It’s weird being the guest rather than host for a change. I should probably — oh, hot damn he just made me a cappuccino!
Day Three, continued.
Where: Baltic Fleet Pub
When: 9:28 p.m.
Drink: Freedom Authentic Lager
Lord, take me now.
I’m so freaking happy. I may float up and bump my head on the ceiling. Someone pull my feet! Can you FEEL the FABULOUS energy in here?! The barman just told me this is the second oldest pub in Liverpool, and the only one with its own microbrewery. I asked for a pilsner and this giant frosty thing they poured me is delicious.
This atmosphere is magnetic, crackling with warmth and a thousand years of maritime pride. The solidarity among these people is palatable and I really do feel they’re privy to something special. It’s hard to explain. Like I could walk up to any hard-nosed leather jacket scruffy and know he’d be a gentleman. Not saying they’re all leather-clad scruffys here. They’re not.
Yes, Liverpudlians are definitely warmer than Londoners –not that I’m hating. You know I love me some London. But smiles are given way more freely here, even though the wind blows harder.
The Baltic Fleet is a 45 second walk from our flat. We decided to stay close to home after a 5 1/2 hour private Beatle tour today. After careful online comparisons, I chose the Fab Four Taxi Tour.
Did it exceed expectation? YES.
Our chauffeur, Ian, is a taxi-driver-guitarist-Beatle-enthusiast-expert, and I mean EXPERT. He took us Here, There, and Everywhere around this wonderful city. We laughed, cried, and squealed for hours! I consider myself a well-educated fan, and I still learned SO much today!
*Ringo’s entire street is slated for demolition. Cosmic forces and stubborn residents are delaying this travesty. And WHAT THE HELL, I say. That’s a Beatle house. You do not destroy history. You just don’t.
*Apparently, all the Penny Lane barbershops claim they’re the one Paul sings about. Really, it’s this one (even though it looks different now):
*Paul probably yanked more lyrics than Eleanor Rigby from these gravestones in St. Peter’s churchyard. Next to Rigby’s grave lie people named McKenzie AND Martha. Haaaaay White Album.
*Whomever’s living in George’s childhood home doesn’t keep the yard very tidy. That’s messed up, right?
*Ian supplemented his stories with well-timed Beatles music, making the tour a 4-D experience.
*His knowledge also forced us to hear lyrics in a new light. Like: Do You Want To Know a Secret. That song was actually for Cynthia Lennon, hidden away (pregnant with Julian) in Brian Epstein’s flat whilst John toured. Who knew!?
*I’m also deeply haunted by this picture Ian showed us at Strawberry Fields.
The top photo is Strawberry Fields, the orphanage that once stood behind these gates. As a kid, John Lennon scrambled over to play with the orphans. The bottom pic is the Dakota building in New York City. The buildings are eerily similar.
The city that birthed him.
The city that took him away.
Angie burst into tears and I joined. By the end of the tour, we were emotionally exhausted. But really, in the best possible way. Does that make sense?
Oooh, they’re singing (pirate songs?!) in the next room right now. It’s distracting and awesome. (I’ll investigate shortly.)
A side note: I feel so at home here, like something ancient tugging at my DNA. Christopher, what the hell is wrong with you. How could you prefer Texas to this magical mysticalness?
Things that do not suck:
*writing with cold beer by candlelight.
*Pete Best’s little brother giving us a private tour of The Casbah.
*The Casbah (energetically) felt . . . weird.
I didn’t get a ghosty, spirit feeling. But I definitely 100% felt wispy leftovers of what happened there before. Sweaty, hormonal teens packed under a low-ceilinged basement. Smoking, dancing, drinking, sweating, gyrating, French kissing in the corners, watching young John, Paul, George, and Pete Best jam raw music that would eventually change the world.
All THAT seeped into battered walls, trapped behind chipped paint and Lennon’s vandalism.
Licks of paint don’t take that away.
Being there gave me the dull, melancholy feeling of a magical, fleeting echo in time that will never ever happen again.
Those teens approach 80 now.
And sometimes walls do talk.
Thank you, Ian, for a glorious day. You just remember us as the most grateful fans ever, okay? Okay?
Tomorrow we’re attending an Anglican service at St. Peter’s. John was a choir boy there, and it’s also where he met Paul in 1957. Because if you’re in Liverpool and feel the need to praise the Almighty for the Divine union that was Lennon/McCartney, that’s where you go.
P.S. I just learned it’s ‘Sea Shanty’ night here at the Baltic Fleet. Lemme go check out who’s singing.
OMG. Can you FEEL it in here!?! Patrons stomped so hard, empty pint glasses shimmied across tables and crashed to the floor!
“It’s like the lower decks of the Titanic up in here!” Angie laughed.
She’s right! It’s AMAZING!
Things that do not suck:
*The Baltic Fleet
That was maybe the best pub experience In My Life. ❤
Things that suck:
Well. When you’re awake in the middle of the night and don’t want to get out of bed or make noise what do you do? —Watch Beatle videos on YouTube, of course!
Our host just got up for work. If he can hear through this door, he probably thinks we’re utter nut jobs watching A Hard Day’s Night clips in the middle of the night.
Oohh I just saw a big ole sparkly white light above the bed. Not once, but twice!
Liverpool ghosts, if you’re out there, I’m ready for you. Maybe I’ll see you at church.
Tomorrow Never Knows.