John, Paul, and Risto

Today, the world looks a little sunnier. The colors are a little brighter and the sky a little bluer, and I feel peaceful. The reason for that is that I’m sitting on a hotel bed in Liverpool, England, wearing my new £3 John Lennon styled yellow-tinted sunglasses.

Liverpool was a household name in our household thanks to the Beatles, and Kevin Keegan, Liverpool FC’s (and England’s) small but skilled midfielder with a big hair. While I liked the Beatles a lot, it was a Kevin Keegan magazine clipping I had on the wall. “Don’t let success get to you head,” he advised me.

But obviously, I’m not doing “bed peace” because of Keegan. It’s just that the the city and the Beatles Story exhibition rekindled my love and admiration for the Beatles, the greatest band ever.

I used to be a Paul guy. I think I originally just liked his looks better and thought that he was cool. In the photos, he always looked so nice and happy. Then I realized I also liked the Paul songs. Yesterday was a big favorite of mine for a while, Michelle another one. I like all the early yeah yeah yeah songs, and yes, the way Sir Paul bops his head while playing makes me smile.

In my twenties, I found John Lennon’s songs, including his solo material, and they awakened the idealist, peace-loving hippie in me. I read books on him, and I watched the documentary. I imagined all the people living for today, and I believed in … me. There was also the fact that he got shot on my birthday – my birthday! – and that made me feel a special connection between us. Obviously, we were kindred spirits.

Yesterday, we walked on Hope Street past the building that used to be the Liverpool College of Art, the school where John Lennon, his wife Cynthia and his best friend and a bandmate Stuart Sutcliffe studied, and then right after that, Paul McCartney’s and George Harrison’s old grammar school, now the home of LIPA, Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, co-founded by McCartney.

Today, we visited the exhibition, and the Cavern Club where the midday artist was entertaining people with Beatles covers, and wherever I looked, I saw people singing along.

Now, everywhere you go in downtown Liverpool, music’s all around you. The walls of the city are covered with band and concert posters, and every pub seem to have live music. You don’t even have to go inside a pub to hear music because there are buskers everywhere, and if that’s not enough, then you can always sit down at a piano yourself, and make some magic.

I have to warn you, though, that the bar is set pretty high. I lasted six seconds, before getting the hook (from Son) but then again, I can’t play the piano at all.

I’m somewhat surprised at myself, to be honest. I didn’t think I’d be so taken by finally seeing the Beatles’ hometown. In fact, I was so taken by everything here that at breakfast, I wrote a Liverpool poem/song lyric.

No, that doesn’t even rhyme, as Son pointed out to me after the world’s first recital of the poem, while on our way toward the Albert Dock, but it does have local color, right?

Maybe I need a Lennon to my McCartney. Or a McCartney to my Lennon.

Or even a Ringo to my Risto.

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