Monday, August 22, 2011


Reader look at this ! This is where Brian Epstein lived '64 to '67. We all know that. This is where he threw the Sgt Pepper party, this is where he got upset coz Macca did not turn up at his party. We know ! We know !It is from here that he set off the night before he died. All very well documented by Mr KenwoodLennon. In true to form style, Brilig drove in circles around this tiny hamlet before pulling up in the middle of nowhere in total desperation (the hours were passing having wasted an hour in The Wrong Place ie Wivelsfield - well its starts with a W and it is in Sussex). Happily, a local who appeared out of nowhere told me 'Its behind you !' and it was - literally. She also then confirmed the stories of the old pile being owned by Americans and that 'there be walls in that there place wot are psychedelic !' She was really very helpful and did not really speak like that and I am very grateful to her.

Here it is from all directions - my obsession knows no bounds.

Looks like there used to be a set of step here - you can see there used to be a gap in the wall..

Here is a 'Beatle Apple' that fell into my hands as I leanred over the fence. Pathetic, pathetic !! But in terms of a good two hours snatched, it was one of the best snatched two hours. Pity I did'nt stop at
No. 41: The Merrie Harriers, Cowbeech, East Sussex on the way back to Chez Brilig. Maybe the next snatched two hours.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

An amateur's day out in London

On occasions, I manage to steer the conversation at Casa Brilig in the direction of a London visit, ostensibly playing to the consumerist urges of the younger members of the Brilig clan whose thirst for over-priced trinkets knows no bounds, but at all times planning a parallel path through similar haunts of adjacent places which appealed to these same hedonistic instincts but four decades earlier (albeit with better taste if that means anything other than confirming I am old, old, old). And so, when the family plans point us in the direction of the cathedral of all things shallow and meaningless - eg. Westfield, I 'drop them off' and make a flying visit to Portabello and 'les environs'. Then on to TopShop Oxford Circus - quick detour to Kingly get the idea. Do I feel bad about the deception ? No, yes, no will get me in the end but where The Book points me, there go I (Beatles' London Book of course)

So here goes. First up in this Mini Mystery Tour is the Mercury Theatre where the Fabs started their very strange Mad Day Out with parrot, piano and a big board. I wonder about the extent of the planning for that July day in '68. I think I have read that the venues were chosen by Macca's brief girlfriend Francie Schwartz - what lead her to choose those places ?

With Londom AZ in hand I managed to find the site of the Portland Pub around which they zoomed in a deleted scene from A Hard Day's Night. This whole area is just a short walk from the north end of Portabello Road and is now sehr gentrified. The said building is now a Health-Spa-type-thing called Cowshed where one can have one's whole body massaged in an upper class kind of way for a mere...enough of that already.

Still a few minutes before the clan grow bored of Holister hankerchiefs (cheives, chieves ??) at £10 a pop. Quick ! Where next ! Round the corner man - and make it snappy. Here is the Police Station that never was in same film.

Faster, faster ! Some (understatement) embarrasment as I searched for the elusive Heathfield Street where the Four scratched their collective head at the end of a cul-de-sac in same film. The Book said it would not be easy but as I searched in vain I ended up in someone's back garden. Sunbathing on a deck chair, the young chap asked me politely if he could help. He couldn't and I quickly backed away. O joy ! Could this be it ? It is the back of Winterbourne House but the backdrop does not look right. Is it really the place ? Not a road, just the back of the housing estate and no entrance without the key to the big padlock.

Time to pick up the kids and off to Oxford Street. Safetly esconced in Top(myself)Shop with vouchers to spare I dipped down into Kingly Street. First up is Number 9 and the Bag-of-Nails where the Paul met the Linda and Jimi Hendrix first played. This venue is still an exclusive (?) club and across the way at 62 the buidling now looks an unlikely venue for La Valbonne night club. Further up there is 21, previously hosting the Picture Story Publications business.

Enfin, time to eat and why not try The Pheasantry Club Pizza Express in King's Road - everyone's happy and they don't all need to know that this is where Macca chatted-up Julie Felix on 21 January '67. And look at the mural on the wall ! Why the connection with Lou Reed ?

And then a pleasant walk back along 'the street' pausing briefly at 161 which is now a gallery exhibiting the following interesting (same story) pics - also the venue of the first Beatle and last Beatle shop,

Then home - everybody happy ? Yes !

Hold on ! What's this..Logged onto the intraweb only to discover from Mr KenwoodLennon that there was some form of Abbey Road re-enactment on the very day I was sneaking around the city ! I could have been there ! I could have been THERE !!

And with soft, deceitful wiles... serves me right.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Newquay, Wimbledon and other interesting places...

And so the holiday season unfolds in the Brilig House. In these stricken times, a foreign sojorn was out of the question and so the UK was to be further explored (again). Suits me, I like to be home for tea, anyway. Kids fancied the West Country and off we went. Steered the decision to Widemouth Bay - I thought that was where the MMT coach got stuck on a bridge and JL, in fit of pique, pulled the sign of the bud. No ! No ! Dummy ! Piss Poor Planning Precipitates Poor Performance ! Turns out that was Widecomb not Widemouth - what a dunce. Nevermind, quick trip to Newquay coz that's where the Fabs are pictured sitting on the headland. No ! No ! Thrice No ! That was Plymouth Hoe. Oh well, see attached photo of Atlantic Hotel where they headquartered (hate to verbalise) for three days on their MMT tour. I asked the receptionist if there was any lingering memorabilia from the Summer of Love. Apparently not but she was very helpful if not particularly knowledgeable of Beatle things - eyes seemed to glaze over as I mentioned the bridge and the Hoe and .... worth noteing that a double room for two with breakfast is a very reasonable £110 late summer. Anyone aware of which rooms etc..

And then back to the Brilig home for the second week of the hols and day trips to interesting places abound ! Today, I took the family on a Fab trip to where I used to live in South Wimbledon. Now, back in 90's my neighbour was a little old lady who used to go on about the good ol' days when the furniture store on the corner of our street used to be a dancehall. Never really used to listen much to her rattle on about things but recently discovered that the ballrrom 'at the end of our street' was the Wimbledon Ballroom mentioned in the Beatles' London where the Boys playewd in a cage. What ? Really ? Yep ! The pics below were taken today - the ugly great furniture store now an ugly great row of ugly, ugly houses.

Then heading north to Wimbledon Common. "Look ! They have a Jack Wills and a Cath Kidstone, Daddy !" Yeah, yeah - wait 'till you see the Windmill ! That did not go down well - especially when they spied the Beatle London book in the glove box and guessed what was about to happen. Straight through the village with no stoppin' ! Ok - so two of the clan refused to be bribed with ice creams and stayed in the car but the youngest - loyal as ever - joined in the Beatle fun and had to pose as JL, Dudley Moore and Norm. Not convinced I got the right spot but I think the common has changes a little.

Danoota with Ice Cream
Danoota with Ice Cream (again)
Danoota - one more time
Deaf Ted
And Me !