Liverpool Travel Guide
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Today, December 8, marks the 31st anniversary of the day John Lennon was shot and killed outside his apartment in New York City. While fans of Lennon and The Beatles will come together at Central Park's Strawberry Fields to remember him, we'll spend this week focusing on other places to visit to dip into Beatles history.
Today: The John Lennon Peace Monument in Liverpool, England.
This evening is the key moment this week, when Beatles fans and particularly those of John Lennon gather to remember him and meditate on peace. Sure, you can go to Strawberry Fields in Central Park or the Lennon statue near the Cavern Club, or any of a slew of other Beatles-related sites around the world to join in, but the newest gathering spot conveniently sits nearby The Beatles Story museum. It's the Lennon Peace Monument
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This Thursday, December 8, marks the 31st anniversary of the day John Lennon was shot and killed outside his apartment in New York City. While fans of Lennon and The Beatles will come together at Central Park's Strawberry Fields to remember him, we'll spend this week focusing on other places to visit to dip into Beatles history.
Today: The Cavern Club in Liverpool.
Just around the corner from the newish Hard Day's Night Hotel in Liverpool sits the old Cavern Club, known better as the home club of The Beatles. It bills itself as "the most famous club in the world," and it pretty much is, since many lookalike clubs have sprung up around the world. The typical nightly crowd is a mix of Brits, older Beatles tourists and younger Contiki-type tour groups and, despite its enduring popularity and major place in music history, tickets to the nearly nightly live performances are nice and cheap, averaging £3 per person.
It's here at the Cavern Club that the members of the Fab Four first played, but with other groups like The Quarrymen and Rory Storm and The Hurricanes, before coming together as The Beatles. As The Beatles. they played the Cavern a staggering 292 times, but Beatlesmania forced them into larger venues and the Cavern went through its own period of weirdness before finally becoming the major tourist magnet it is today.
Naturally, we couldn't do a weekend in Liverpool without crossing the place off our bucket list...
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In April 2012, legions of Titanic buffs will likely descend on Liverpool, England to remember the centennial anniversary of the ship's tragic sinking. Why? Well, the ship didn't sail from Liverpool on her fatal maiden voyage, but Titanic's owner White Star Line was registered there, earning the ship the "Liverpool" painted on her stern as city of registration.
Additionally, most of the ship's crew was from Liverpool, and the White Star buildingcalled Albion Housewas home for the company from 1898 through 1927. Thus, its historical, striped facade is something of a tourist site, which has the capability to turn a bit morbid since, according to Wikipedia, "in 1912, when news of the disaster of the Titanic reached the offices, the officials were too afraid to leave the building, and instead read the names of the deceased from the balcony."
The new British T-Mobile "Life's For Sharing" ad features a crowd that magically breaks into song and dance in the middle of a train station. It's like a cross between Improv Everywhere's "Look Up More", the Filipino prison "Thriller" and [spoiler] the end credits of "Slumdog Millionaire." Not surprisingly, we totally like it.
The spot is the brainchild of ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi, for which 350 dancers were hired. Its immediacy is unique: Shot January 15 with ten hidden cameras, the spot first aired in the U.K. on the 17th two days later.
T-Mobile worked behind the scenes with Network Rail, the company that owns British train infrastructure, and with the Liverpool Street Station in London to get clearance for the flash mob style dance, modeled after spontaneous gatherings like a 2007 silent rave at Victoria Station, in which over 4,000 commuters gathered during rush hour to dance to the music of their iPods for two hours -- a stunt repeated in New York's Union Square in April.
Liverpool Street is an old pro at appearing onscreen; it was the set for two BBC fictional movies about terrorist attacks on London and makes a cameo in the 1996 movie "Mission: Impossible."
· Life's For Sharing campaign channel [YouTube]
· 2007: 4,000 Flash Mob Dancers Startle Commuters At Victoria [This Is London]
· 2008: For 1,000 Solo Dancers, a Soundtrack of Silence [NY Times]
Europe is hosting dual Capitals of Culture again this year, with Norway's Stavanger and Sandnes lining up next to Liverpool to show the world their best during 2008. We're quite excited that Liverpool won the right to be a European Capital of Culture during its 800th birthday celebrations and wanted to remind you of the grand opening events taking place this weekend.
This Friday at just after 8 pm (symbolically at 20:08, to be precise), the People's Opening kicks off to launch the year. There'll be rooftop performances, dancing cranes and containers and even Ringo Starr will be performing. On Saturday the big show, Liverpool the Musical begins, but tickets were already allocated through an international ballot, so unless you know the right people, you're outta luck.
Throughout the rest of Liverpool's reign there are dozens and dozens of events to get to: the Leap dance festival in March, the Lord Mayor's Parade and the African Festival in June and from July to October, you can catch "The Beat Goes On" exhibition at the World Museum Liverpool, showcasing the city's influential music scene from pre-Beatles until today.
Speaking of music, if you can wait until December, one of the most interesting events on the program sounds like "The Rightful Owners of the Song," when pub singers and karaoke hosts will get together with the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. That should take some of the cringe factor out of your standard karaoke performance.
[Photo: Elena Romera]
Liverpool is getting ready to celebrate its 800th birthday next year and the VisitBritain tourism board is gearing up for a publicity blitz highlighting the city. Starting in 2008, the board has lined up two years of special events, festivals, and new hotel openings.
The highlight of the events will definitely be the return of the city's favorite (still living) son, Sir Paul McCartney. The Cute Beatle will headline "The Liverpool Sound" concert at Anfield Stadium on June 1, 2008. And fellow Beatle Ringo Starr and Eurythmic Dave Stewart will head up "Liverpool The Musical" at the opening of the brand new Liverpool Echo Arena on January 12th, 2008.
Where's the beer? That's what director Quentin Tarantino asked when he passed through Liverpool, England this week promoting his movie "Death Proof." (That's the half of "Grindhouse" with Kurt Russell in it, about an exceedingly deadly car). Along with opening his movie and taking interviews, Tarantino expressed his love for local beer Cains, which Samuel L. Jackson got him hooked on.
Tarantino also took an audience with Cherie Blair, wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is reportedly a fan. He told the Evening Standard he plans to retire at 60, which gives him 16 more years to earn those beers.
[Photo: NY Post]
It might give little children nightmares, but it definitely makes for good photos when thousands of people in Santa Claus costumes take to the streets together. Last weekend Santas were running all over Britain, with the biggest crowd in Liverpool. In this town that's not only home to the Beatles but also to Santa world records, around 5000 brightly costumed Santas showed up for a five kilometer charity run known as the Santa Dash. While the exact number of this year's participants is not verified yet, it'll definitely beat last year's Guinness Record "for the most Santas in one place at one time" (just so you know, that was 3921).
In Wales, another 2000 Santas ran in two separate races, but all with the same basic idea. And the Liverpool organizers also know that a similar coming event in Las Vegas could knock them off their number one perch. We wouldn't put it past Vegas to produce a bigger and better anything. Now the question is: where's Dubai in all of this?
· Dashing Santas Hit the Road [Yorkshire Post]
· Santa Claus coverage [Jaunted]
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The Casbah Coffee Club, one of the first clubs the Beatles ever perfomed in, has been given landmark (Grade II) status by the English government. Located in the home of original Beatles dummer Pete Best in Liverpool, the beatles played there countless times until it closed in 1962.
And if you were to go for a visit, what exactly would you see? Why, there's
wall and ceiling paintings of spiders, dragons, rainbows and stars by original band members along with 1960s musical equipment, amplifiers and original chairs.Dragons and rainbows? That certainly explains the Magical Mystery Tour. The Yoko stuff's still inexplicable to us.
[Image via eye2eye/Flickr]
· Beatles Club Gets Listed Status [BBC]