My brother & I were walking across the city centre yesterday, savouring the glorious weather, when we passed the large TV screen in Clayton Square. As the text scrolled across the foot of the screen my heart sank. It announced that the launch had taken place that day of this year's Beatle Day in the city. Ricky Tomlinson had reportedly donned a Beatle wig for the occasion (remember the days when Ricky was associated with workers' causes & raising awareness rather than cavorting like a walking, talking Liverpool cliche?).
So here we are, in 2009, STILL acting as though those four fresh-faced lads you see here were still playing & recording.
As you'd expect, the Oldham Echo just had to get in on the orgy of nostalgia. Its "culture" correspondent Catherine Jones tossed out a piece so rank & derivative that it made me wonder whether she actually gets paid to churn out such crap (http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2009/05/12/liverpool-beatles-day-to-recapture-magic-of-the-fab-four-100252-23598168/ ):
"MOP tops at the ready -- Liverpool Beatles Day is back!
"And organisers are promising the celebrations will be bigger and better this year with dozens of events taking place on Friday July 10.
"The date is the 45th anniversary of the Fab Four's return to Liverpool following their conquering of America."
Catherine, take a long, cold, sober look at what you've tapped into your terminal. Now, call yourself a journalist?
Incidentally, I was under the impression that the likes of Columbus & the conquistadores were involved in "conquering" the place. Evidently, my history teachers let me down in failing to inform me that added to that list should be a music group from Liverpool.
I can just imagine the outraged reaction to these observations on Old Hall Street; it's all for charity, they will shriek. How dare I slight the efforts of many to raise money for the Marina Dalglish cancer appeal & Alder Hey Children's Hospital, both of which benefitted to the tune of £50,000 last year, according to the article.
It's a charge that would only serve to deliberately miss the point & muddy the waters (metaphor collision alert).
As I remarked just the other day, Liverpool is addicted to nostalgia. The Matthew Street festival organisers treat local, unsigned bands as an irritating afterthought. These kids don't bring in the tourists [& their money], they privately sneer. True, but that's an audience whose demographic is largely moving from middle-aged to elderly. As a "business model", the festival must either adapt & move into the 21st century, or quietly decline to the point where not even hysterical PR from the Oldham Echo will save it.
Still, I suppose if things do look bleak in the next few years, the organisers & city council could call back Bob Dylan after he joined a coach party to see John Lennon's childhood home in Woolton prior to his recent Arena gig (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/merseyside/8046278.stm ).
Dylan was reportedly not recognised as he took his seat on the coach out of town & down to the city's south end; to paraphrase his "Ballad of a Thin Man", there's someone getting on, but they don't know who he is.