If you go into Liverpool city centre today, be sure of a dubious surprise. The city has been guilty far too often in the past of reinforcing stereotypes, myths & general misconceptions of itself. And now it's done it again.
Today is Beatle Day in the city (http://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/liverpool-news/regional-news/2008/07/10/mop-tops-rule-as-first-beatles-day-celebrated-64375-21315765/ ). Yes, the group which ceased to exist after a High Court judge wound it up in 1970 is exhumed (yet again) from pop music's cemetery by those original thinkers at the Liverpool Culture Company & the city council.
It's already begun. According to the Daily Post's blurb, "Tribute band the Backstreet Beatles will be on the Mersey Ferry from 6.30am to 9am."
Something tells me the forced jollity of four middle aged guys in ridiculous wigs & suits would have gone down as well as Heather Mills at a Beatle convention. Picture the scene: you're checking the watch as the ferry inches its way to the Pier Head; you're thinking of the day ahead at work; you're dreading that meeting with the manager. Then suddenly, crash! A Ringo lookalike starts the intro for "She Loves You". Badly. Just yards away. Your head is filled with murderous intent. Not so much I Wanna Hold Your Hand, as I Wanna Hold Your Throat.
The Post also breathlessly relates, "Thousands of mop-top Beatles' wigs will be on sale across the city, along with inflatable guitars. The day marks the 44th anniversary of the return of the band to their native city, after completing a tour of America."
That sound you might hear isn't that of a barrel being scraped; it's that of the barrel falling apart.
So this is supposed to be a highlight of 2008, eh? Unless my memory is playing tricks, I distinctly recall Liverpool's pitch for 2008 stressing the current cultural offerings of the city slightly more than what's gone before (&, yes, that includes you-know-who). It's truly pathetic. It's also, alas, a classic bread & circus tactic. What better to distract attention from the farce this year has been than to exhume the corpse of Beatledom?