Thursday, 20 December 2012

ROK Books To Publish Angie McCartney’s Biography ‘My Long And Winding Road’

Book Launch to coincide with a 2 day ‘Beatles Celebration’ at The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic beginning 30th January
ROK Books, a division of ROK records Ltd, has announced it will publish the official biography of Angie McCartney on the 30th January and will celebrate the publication with 2 nights of fantastic music and entertainment celebrating The Beatles at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, hosted by Pete Price.
Liverpool-born Angie McCartney has enjoyed a life of amazing ups and downs, tempered by a breathtaking blend of optimism and determination to succeed, no matter what. Angie is best known for her Organic Tea business, her naughty sense of humour and her famous Beatles stories. 

She married Paul McCartney’s father, Jim, in November 1964, at the height of The Beatles phenomenon that powered much of the music of the Swinging Sixties. But even before then her life was remarkable. She survived not only serious childhood illness, but the bombing of Liverpool in World War II, learning the skills that would help shape a career that continues to this day.

Throughout her life, having finished her formal schooling at the age of 11, Angie has pursued writing, and now this determined octogenarian has finally collected many terrific memories, from the first time she met with John Lennon to travelling the world with her daughter Ruth, through to her most recent ventures which include establishing McCartney Multimedia, Inc. and setting up her own thriving organic tea business.

Angie believes ‘every day above ground is a good day.’
“I’m so excited to be able to announce the publication of my book and the amazing 2 nights of Beatles celebration we’re organising at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic for the end of January.” Said Angie. “We will have several of the best tribute bands from around the world performing all eras of the Beatles music and both evenings will be hosted by Pete Price of Radio City 96.7 FM. It will be tremendous!”
The tribute bands scheduled to perform include The FAB Beatles, the BBC-acclaimed no1 Beatles tribute band in the UK, The Tetrads from Tokyo, Japan, The Backwards, one of Europe's leading Beatles Tribute acts from Slovak Republic and The Pangea, another top Beatles Tribute Bands from the Czech Republic
Each band will be playing a different era of Beatles music, ending with a full stage recreation of the famous Apple Records roof top concert as performed by The Beatles in London on the 30th January 1969.

Priced at £14.99 and packed with incites and anecdotes including 12 pages of fascinating photographs – many of which have never been published before – Angie McCartney’s ‘My Long and Winding Road’ is a celebration of an extraordinary life.

Tickets for Angie’s ‘Beatles Celebration’ at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic on the 30th and 31st of January 2013 cost just £25.00 each and are available now at
Those who attend either evening celebrating the Beatles will be able to purchase a copy of ‘My Long and Winding Road’ at the specially-reduced cost of just £5.00 per copy.
Commenting, Jonathan Kendrick, Chairman of ROK Records said “Here’s a unique chance to find out more about the swinging 60’s and the Fab Four from the indefatigable First Lady of Tea –Angie McCartney – while enjoying a fantastic evening celebrating The Beatles in their home town of Liverpool.”

Free Entry to Elvis And Us Exhibition on January 8!


Fans of Elvis Presley and The Beatles will be able to visit Liverpool’s Elvis and Us exhibition for free* for one day only to celebrate what would have been The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s ® 78th birthday.

On Tuesday 8th January 2013, fans can receive tickets on a first come first served basis to view the renowned exhibition co-curated by Graceland and the award-winning Beatles Story. Fans are advised to arrive early as demand for the tickets is expected to be high.

Elvis and Us first opened to the public in October 2010 and since then has welcomed tens of thousands of fans from all over the world all eager to find out more about the influence Elvis Presley had on the young Beatles.

In addition to displaying many incredibly rare artefacts, Elvis and Us also stocks official Elvis Presley memorabilia otherwise only available at Graceland – ideal for unique Christmas gifts.

The exhibition has even been visited by Elvis’s co-star in the film The Trouble with Girls Marlyn Mason and James Burton, legendary guitarist from Elvis’s own TCB Band - who backed The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll® in concert between 1969 and 1977. Both have given the exhibition their seal of approval.

A global exclusive for the city of Liverpool, Elvis and Us marks the first time archivists from Elvis Presley’s Graceland have curated an exhibition of this scale in the UK. Included are scores of amazing Elvis artefacts that have never before been seen outside of Elvis Presley’s home in Memphis, Tenn.

From his iconic Jailhouse Rock shirt to the amazing jumpsuits that characterised Presley’s later Vegas career, the exhibition displays a fabulous array of items previously only seen in photographs, films and on stage.

The influence Elvis Presley had over the young Beatles and the one and only meeting between the two world icons is carefully explored through a series of video interviews shot exclusively for the exhibition. The interviews feature Priscilla Presley, The Beatles’ 1960s press officer Tony Barrow, NME journalist Chris Hutchins, and members of The Quarrymen, the band that evolved into The Beatles.

For more information on Elvis and Us visit

Images of the exhibition are available to view

*Subject to T&Cs below

Terms and Conditions
  • Ticket allows entry to the Elvis and Us Exhibition, Fab4D Experience and The Beatles Hidden Gallery at The Beatles Story Pier Head. 
  • Ticket does not allow entry to The Beatles Story Albert Dock.
  • Valid for one day only 08/01/13. 
  • Tickets cannot be transferred to another time or day. 
  • All winners will be allocated a time slot upon arrival. Tickets will be allocated first come, first served, available from 10:00am on 08/01/13. 
  • There are a limited number of free tickets and when all tickets have been allocated, entry to the Exhibition will be closed. 
  • If you miss your time slot you may have to wait until the next time slot becomes available, if at all. 
  • Last entry will be 5:00pm. 
  • Due to Health & Safety restrictions The Beatles Story reserves the right to delay entry on timed tickets. 
  • No cash alternative. 
  • Only one ticket per person. 
  • The Beatles Story reserves the right to refuse entry. 
  • The Beatles Story reserves the right to cancel this event without prior notice.

Jameson & Hills, Leeds, Sat Dec 22

Daytripper Weekender 2013 - Tickets On Sale Now!

Well what a line up we have for you for 2013, we welcome back some favorites but we bring you more new unseen Beatles tribute bands from across the UK, and next year we are going International as we welcome two fantastic bands from Italy.

From England

The Beatelles (Liverpool)
Johnny and the Moondogs (Middlesbourough)
Hey Beatles (Leicester)
The Yesterdays (Kings Lynn,Norfolk)
The Apple Core Beatles (Hampton, London)
The Threetles (Manchester)

From Wales

The Cavernites (Rhyl)
Tyronne Marshal Image of Lennon (Aberdare)

From Scotland

Just Beatles (Dunfermline)
The Get Back Band (Glasgow)
Them Beatles (Glasgow)

From Italy

The Brothel Creepers (Bologna)
Sir Frankie Crisp (Lecce, Brindisi)

Plus very special VIP Guests, Julia Baird, Tony Bramwell and more to be announced.

Tickets on sale now priced at £30 for the whole weekend, Fri/Sat/Sun, day tickets available at £20 per day, check web site for booking details and discounted accommodation at the hotel.

A splendid time is guaranteed for all, Daytripper Weekender, Four days of Fab Four fun in the Sun July 5th,6th,7th The Beaches Hotel, Prestatyn North Wales.

For more information visit the website at

A Daytripper Weekender promotions event.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Penny Lane Winter Festival - Dec 21

Come along to the Penny Lane Winter Festival next week at the Penny lane Development Trust (PLDT) on Friday 21st from 11-5pm. Yes, Penny Lane will be rocking out to the sound of the Beatles as we join in the Winter celebrations at the local Christmas Market.

Among the stall-holders is Penny Lane Gallery, so you can pick up some of their fantastic range of Christmas gifts as you admire the Yellow Submarine that now has pride of place in the PLDT Gardens.

There’ll be Mince pies, a Raffle and a wide range of other hand crafted objects available.

Entry is free so come along!

Review: The Bootleg Beatles in Birmingham

NIA, Birmingham – 16th December 2012
Review by Gilli Hale

As is customary, the Bootleg’s ended their December UK tour at the cavernous, concrete NIA in Birmingham.  My first experience of the ultimate tribute act was here last December and I had such a good night I was determined to be back next time round.  As ‘John’ said, groups play Birmingham twice, once on the way up and once on the way down – so it was nice for them to be back!

And the four and a half thousand packed in were glad to have them back and determined to have a good time. As anyone who as been to a Bootleg Beatles concert will know it is one mass sing-a-long, encouraged by the group.  And boy, do those guys work hard!  On stage for well over 2 ½ hours, four costume changes, playing all their own instruments, staying in character – giving the sort of concert the Beatles might have done if they had carried on touring.

From what I can remember, the set list and banter were pretty much the same as last time.  But there were a few changes;  ‘Paul’ sang “Yesterday”, there was “Baby’s in Black”, no instrumental interlude this time, a tribute to Ravi Shankar and Paul introducing “Love Me Do” with the thought that in the year 2012 this record might be 50 years old!

The visuals on the giant screen behind the band were stunning and summed up the particular era being played, the psychedelic Pepper section being particularly good.  This part of the show seemed to be a favourite with the audience, made up of all ages, who John encouraged in a group hug. There was certainly a feeling of love in the air, love for the Beatles music and perhaps for a more innocent time.

Particular highlights of the evening included a spirited rendition (by the audience I mean!) of “Eight Days A Week”; “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”, a beautiful version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and the great joiner-inner “Hey Jude”.  Not that you could find a dull part of the show, it was high-energy from beginning to end.

The Bootlegs not only try and sound like The Beatles but copy their mannerisms and patters of speech too, giving the impression that, just maybe, you are in the presence of greatness.  For anyone who loves the Beatles music, a Bootlegs gig is a great night out.  I will be back next year.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Beatlemania comes to Red Door, West Kirby!

Start the Christmas Celebrations on Thursday with 
Liverpool's favourite tribute band, 
The Mersey Beatles

Only a few tickets left!

Telephone 0151 929 6380 to reserve yours now.
A splendid time is guaranteed for all!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Competition: Limited Edition Copy of The Beatles Contract to Be Won!!

This is your chance to win one of the fabulous limited edition replicas of the contract signed by The Beatles and Brian Epstein on October 1 1962!

This fabulous prize, which retails at £399, could be yours by answering this question:

Q: In addition to Brian, John, Paul, George, Ringo and the witnesses, who ELSE signed this contract?

Email your answer, along with your full postal address, to

Closing date for entries is 12 noon on December 24 2012 (GMT)

The winner will be the first correct entry received by the closing date.

This competition is open to everyone and we can ship the prize anywhere in the world.  

So enter now for your chance to own a very special memento of one of the most important moments in Beatles' history!

The ultimate item of Beatles memorabilia, comes with a certificate of authenticity (the prize on offer is number 113 of 10,000), and is presented in a beautiful gift box.

The replica is of the highest quality and authentic in every detail -- even down to the colour of the paper, and the indentations made by the signatures.  All of the band's signatures are clear and you can also see where John Lennon started to sign his name in the wrong place, crossed it out and then signed on the correct line on page nine.

The original contract was drawn up by Silverman and Livermore & Co Solicitors in 1961 by junior partner David Harris who was at the time practicing general litigation within the firm.  The document bears the signatures of Brian Epstein, all four members of the band, as well as the fathers of Paul McCartney and George Harrison, due to them being underage at the time.

Included in the gift box is the contract, a certificate of authenticity, copy of the bill of sale (original contract from Christies), and Brian Epstein biography booklet. The contract comes complete with amendments made by the band and folds running lengthways on the document, where it was tied with a solicitor’s ribbon. The NEMS enterprise company seal appears twice in the document enclosing both of Brian Epstein’s signatures.

For more information on this very special collector's item, visit the website by clicking here

The decision of the BBFC Committee is final.  For full terms and conditions click here

Remembering John

32 years ago today we, in Great Britain, woke up to the news that John Lennon had been taken from us.  The shock and pain of that news will never go away.

But neither will the music.  John's spirit, his message of love and peace, and the joy that he brought to the world with his music will live on forever.

In 2010, Colin Hall, custodian at Mendips, paid what is probably the best tribute to John ever.  As night start to fall on the evening of December 8, he turned the light on in John's bedroom and left it shining through the night.  It was still shining on the morning of December 9 ... a reminder that, within our hearts, John will always "shine on".

Mendips, December 8/9 2010
c. Donna Jackson

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Rod Davis and Tony Sheridan Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Beat Archiv Museum

In the first few days of October I drove to Munich to visit the Oktoberfest in my rented lederhosen, then drove eastwards to the little town of Glauchau not far from Dresden. The reason for this visit was the 20th Anniversary of the Beat Archiv Museum – formerly the Sergeant Pepper’s Museum – under its Director, Edmund Thielow. Edmund had been a Beatles fan since 1975 and at the time he was of course living in the DDR under Communist rule, where a liking for the degenerate music of the Beatles marked him out as a dangerous subversive, so much so that the ill-famed Stasi secret police had a file on him.

However those days are now long gone and musicians and Beatles fans from all over Germany came together for a celebration party. The Quarrymen played in Glauchau some years ago and we received a very warm welcome, however this time the welcome was even warmer than expected because on the Friday night the hotel in which I was staying caught fire! Fortunately the fire brigade made a very efficient job of dealing with the outbreak which was caused by an overheating fridge motor. Our only serious discomfort involved waiting in the car park from 1:00am to 2:30 whilst the hotel was made safe.

Next day the guests began to arrive and the list of invitees read like a roll-call of supporters of the Beat Archiv over the last 20 years.

Tony Sheridan and Hans-Walther Braun (Icke) from the Beatles’ Hamburg days; tribute band “Frankie goes to Liverpool” from Berlin; singer-songwriter Andreas Geffart; Lothar Becker and Kai-Uwe Wittern from The Strawberries; Reinhard Fissler from Stern Combo Meissen and his daughter Vivien Maurer; author Reiner Bratfisch; Sergey Radschenko from Ukraine, curator of the “Back from the USSR” exhibition of Soviet era Beatlefan material and Thorsten Dahlberg, the Head of the Culture Department of the Glauchau Town Council which has lent great support to the Beat Archiv Museum over the years. Also present were members of the Glauchau Beatles Fan Club, including old friends of mine Gunter and Undine Queck, Andrea Noack and Maik Eidam.

The music performances were fantastic, naturally most of the songs were Beatles favourites, but by no means all. Amongst the many offerings of note, “Frankie goes to Liverpool” played a selection of Beatles material, including a very emotional performance of “If I fell”, where the lead vocal was taken by Reinhard FĂ­ssler, who despite his near total paralysis had travelled from Berlin to Glauchau in his special hospital bed to be at the celebration – see photo

Reinhard’s daughter, Vivien Maurer,  a supremely talented singer and guitarist, performed “Blackbird”, “Here, there and everywhere”, “Michelle” and “Eleanor Rigby”.

Tony Sheridan played half a dozen numbers in his own inimitable style including “Georgia on my mind” on which he was joined on vocals by Reinhard.

 Eventually it was my turn and Tony stayed on stage as we ran through some old skiffle numbers such as “Midnight Special”, “Lost John” and “Freight Train” with bassist Eugen Braumann and drummer Gerald Zaczyk with various guest washboard players such as Edmund Thielow himself, Andrea Noack and Gunter Queck.

It was a fantastic party and a marvelous celebration of 20 years of the Glauchau Beat Archiv. Very many thanks go to Edmund, his wife Christina, Gunter and Undine Queck and all those who helped to make the occasion such a huge success.

By Rod Davis

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Abbey Road Book Competition -- Winner Announced!

Congratulations to Andy Joynson of Liverpool

Winner of a copy of "ABBEY ROAD
The Best Studio in the World"
With a foreword by Sir George Martin

Andy provided the first correct answer, drawn at random from all the winning entries, to the question:

On what date did the Beatles perform All You Need is Love live from Abbey Road as part of the Our World television broadcast?

The answer, of course, is June 25 1967.

Thanks to Mark Bloor of the Mersey Beatles who drew the
winning name for the BBFC on Friday night

We will be announcing a new competition, with another truly fabulous prize early next week!  So watch this space!!

For more information on this beautiful book click here; read the BBFC review of "Abbey Road" here, or view the preview!  

Open publication - Free publishing - More abbey

Abbey Road would make a great Christmas gift for any Beatles/music fan ... or treat yourself!  Use this link to buy your copy now from amazon:



Sunday 9th December sees the Christmas London Beatles Day take place at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel formerly the Bonnington & Park Inn Hotel) - in the newly refurbished lower ground floor convention room, at the Doubletree Hilton West End, Southampton Row, London WC1B 4BH. (this time we are in the newly refurbished down stairs suite - disabled access via lift ) There will be the usual top selection of Beatles Dealers from all over the UK offering an amazing selection of everything Beatles from badges to books to signed albums & rare original Memorabilia, CDs, T shirts,etc - We pride ourselves on the great selection of Beatles vinyl records from around the UK & the world which will be offered from £1 to £1000+ - A great place to find that unusual Christmas present!

We are very pleased to welcome (returning due to popular demand!) to the show again the TREMBLING WILBURYS who will be playing a set after lunch time & HUNTER DAVIES will return with more signed books & goodies, for those who missed out last time!

Doors open at 10am – 4.30pm – licensed bar, cafe & cooked food and snacks offered on site, remember there is NO congestion charge in London on Sundays, free street parking nearby, easy walking distance to the Oxford Street, nearest tube Holborn or Russell Square (each 5 mins walk) admission is on day

Come and have a chat with Fellow Beatles fans - Always a great day out with like minded Beatles people..

For Event detail check out :

Or call 07801 564622 / 07785 923695

Friday, 30 November 2012

The Dream is Over - Book Signing in London

With a foreword by Yoko Ono, The Dream is Over covers a ten-year span from
1963 to 1973.

Author Dan Richter took a year's leave of absence as lead performer at the
American Mime Theatre and teacher at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts
to study mimetic forms around the world, and was swept up in the exploding
counter culture.

London in the sixties is the main backdrop of the memoir. Richter starred in
and choreographed the opening of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.
With his friends Allen Ginsburg, Gregory Corso and William Burroughs,
Richter helped produce and read his poetry at the legendary Albert Hall
poetry reading, as well as publishing their poetry.

A close friend of Yoko Ono's, the main focus of the memoir is the four years
Richter lived and worked with John Lennon and Yoko Ono from 1969 to 1973.
The Beatles, Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan and
many other figures from Rock 'n' Roll and the arts fill the pages of the

The book reveals an intimate insider's look, chronicling everything from
battles with heroin addiction, John and Yoko's concerts, their political
activities, films, the breakup of The Beatles, to the making of the album

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Hunter Davies: The Lennon Letters, V&A Dec 3

V&A Evening Talk: 
19.00 – 20.00 (talk); 
20.00 – 20.45 (refreshments) 
£15 (including wine reception) 

Hunter Davies, the only authorised biographer of The Beatles, knew John Lennon well, and has edited the first-ever collection of John’s letters, introducing each one and setting it in the context of its author’s life.

John wrote letters and postcards all of his life; to his friends, family, strangers, newspapers, lawyers and the laundry – most of which were funny, informative, campaigning, wise, mad, poetic, anguished and sometimes heartbreaking. Hunter will discuss his latest publication and show a short film that was made when he was producing The Beatles book back in the 1960s.

Mon 3 December 2012 19:00

The Lydia & Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre

For more information, visit the V&A website here

Celebrate Christmas with the Mersey Beatles and Support a Great Cause!

Celebrate Christmas with Liverpool's favourite tribute band, The Mersey Beatles, and support a great cause at the same time!

The Peace Centre was built as a living memorial to 12 year old Tim Parry and 3 year old Johnathan Ball who were tragically killed in the 1993 IRA bombing of Warrington.

The vision of Tim's parents Wendy and Colin Parry, was to provide a safe space for people of all ages, regardless of their faith, race, politics, nationality, or any other excuse for injustice and violence, to learn how to live together in peace.

The Foundation for Peace and NSPCC joined forces to raise funds for the £3million Centre which was officially opened by HRH The Duchess of Kent on 20th March 2000...the 7th anniversary of the IRA bomb.

For more information, or to book tickets, visit 
or telephone Wendy on 01925 581231

Wednesday, 28 November 2012


Beatles and Lennon fans from all over the world will make their way to Liverpool on 9th December to mark the anniversary of John Lennon’s death with a candlelit vigil taking place at the city’s European Peace Monument dedicated to John.





This will be the third year that the city has marked the occasion at the Peace Monument and organisers hope that the event will be the largest yet.

Since its unveiling by Julian and Cynthia Lennon on October 9th 2010 the monument - entitled ‘Peace & Harmony’ - has become a popular focal point for visitors to the Beatles’ home city looking to celebrate Lennon’s life and message of peace through music.

Julian and Cynthia Lennon
at the unveiling in 2010

Now located at its permanent home outside Arena & Convention Centre Liverpool (ACC), the European Peace Monument is the first physical focal point for fans to congregate and remember the artistic and creative legacy of a world icon.

The annual peace vigil is being organised by Liverpool’s award-winning Beatles Story, the attraction responsible for bringing the European Peace Monument to Liverpool and the recent successful Guinness World Record attempt that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the release of The Beatles’ debut single.

Jerry Goldman, MD of The Beatles Story comments:
“The eyes of the world will be on Liverpool once again as we celebrate the life of John Lennon with our annual peace vigil. Last year’s event was a wonderful success and was covered by newspapers, TV and radio all over the world.
“With the fiftieth anniversary of the release of the first Beatles single being celebrated this year we expect another wonderful turnout of friends and admirers to celebrate the life of the great man.”

For more information click here

The 2010 Peace Vigil: 

Exhibition: HENRY GROSSMAN: In My Life: The Unseen Beatles

Rock Paper Photo is pleased to present an exhibition entitled:
In My Life: The Unseen Beatles by Henry Grossman 

 46/48 Beak Street London W1 

in association with Mach Schau and Mojo Magazine
From November 20 2012

Best known for his classic contributions to publications such as Time and LIFE, Henry Grossman maintained a fruitful relationship with the Beatles during the 1960s. For over four decades, the vast majority of his Beatles archive (which tops a staggering 6,000 photographs) has been hidden away, avoiding rediscovery. The collection is unprecedented in its scope and intimacy. 

Now, for the first time, these images – most of which have never been published – are finally being made available to fans and collectors for purchased as limited edition prints exclusively through Rock Paper Photo.
“The Beatles allowed just a few select photographers greater access than most,” renowned Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn said, “and no one was ever closer than Henry Grossman.”

About Henry’s newly-released archive, he added, “It’s a thrill to see and a feast to learn from – pure unmistakable layers of how it was.”
Henry’s relationship with The Beatles began in early 1964 when he photographed them during their iconic first performance in the US on The Ed Sullivan Show. By 1965, he had become a trusted friend and companion, traveling with the group to The Bahamas and Austrian during the production of “Help!”

Over the next three years, he would photograph them time and time again behind closed doors, capturing a rare insider’s view of The Beatles’ world. Many of those rare photographs are featured in this Rock Paper Photo collection. 

“They were accustomed to seeing me with a camera, documenting everything that went on around me,” Henry explained. “It was simply part of me, part of who I was. More than that, I had become a friend. So when I pulled a camera out, no one thought twice about it. No one cared. It wasn’t seen as invasive.

The existence of such a massive cache of never-before seen images is one of the most unexpected and significant Beatles discoveries of recent years. From private moments at home with their loved ones, to candid moments off set and at recording sessions. Henry took more photos of The Beatles over a longer period of time than any other photographer. Amazingly, only a small fraction of the more than 6,000 images he took of the group have ever been available for purchase

For more information on the exhibition, or on the limited edition prints for sale, visit the website at

NB: All images are used here with permission.  Do not download or reproduce without the express permission of the copyright holder

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Review: Epstein - The Man Who Made the Beatles

Review by Donna Jackson

There are times, when you sit down to write a review, when you know, even before you start, that your words can never do justice to the quality of the performance that you've just seen.

This is one of those times.

"Epstein: The Man Who Made the Beatles", starring Andew Lancel and Will Finlason is being performed at the Epstein Theatre in Liverpool until Saturday December 1.

Finlason plays "this boy" - an anonymous character who spends the evening getting to know Brian Epstein.  He begins by warning the audience what to expect - or, rather, what not to expect.  This is not a play that sets out to tell the 'truth', whatever that may be, about the Beatles or about Brian; instead, it offers an insight into Brian the man, and in that aim it succeeds brilliantly.

Brian was a genius, but he was also human and it is the human side of Brian that Andrew Lancel brings to life.  By the end I felt as if I knew and understood Brian for the first time and, again for the first time, I realised how sad I was that he had died so young.  It's not that I wasn't sad about his death before, it's more that, by the end of the play, Brian was a real person to me and I felt his loss at a much deeper and much more personal level.

For two hours last night, Andrew Lancel did not play the part of Brian Epstein; Andrew Lancel WAS Brian Epstein.  When he first appeared, there was a collective gasp from around the auditorium; it was as if Brian had been reincarnated.  Every gesture, every stance, every intonation, every raised eyebrow or half-smile, was absolutely spot on.  Even when not the focal point (for example, when video projections took the audience's attention), Lancel remained totally in character.  Indeed, on a couple of the video clips I had to look twice to realise that it was not Brian on the screen, but Andrew Lancel recreating the interview.  During some of the flashback scenes -- recreating moments from Brian's childhood and youth -- Lancel's portrayal remained convincingly accurate.  Suddenly there was Brian as a child playing with a model coach with Joe Flannery; or a teenage Brian at school off to play rugger.  No make-up required, no scenery or other props to create the illusion, just totally brilliant acting.

To put it quite simply, Andrew Lancel as Brian Epstein was perfect.

Equally praiseworthy was his co-star, Will Finlason, who played the young Scouser who wanted to get to know Brian better.  Trained in Manchester, but with Liverpool roots, Finlason is supremely talented.  His portrayal of This Boy was so natural that it was easy to forget that he was acting.  His awe of Brian, his concern for Brian's health, his respect for Brian's ability, and his affection for Brian-the-man, were so 'real' that the audience shared the roller-coaster of emotions as the play progressed.  His musical talent was just as apparent and his performance of "Baby It's You" (one of my all-time favourite songs performed by The Beatles) was hauntingly beautiful. Again, it was perfect casting.

The quality of the acting was such that it was easy to forget that this wasn't a real conversation and that there was a script.  However, perhaps it was also easy to forget that there was a script because of the sheer quality of it too.  Finlason didn't just sound like a Scouse lad because of his accent; the words and phrases he used were right too.  It wasn't just the lines that made the script so perfect though, it was also the way that Scriptwriter Andrew Sherlock handled sensitive issues such as Brian's drug use and sexual preference.  Both were featured so naturally that, instead of becoming the story themselves, they served to contribute to our understanding of Brian the man.

Equally impressive, and important to the focus of the play, was the handling of the many myths surrounding the Beatles' story.  For example, who was Raymond Jones?  When did Brian first hear of the Beatles?  As far as "This Boy" and the script were concerned, the answers didn't matter because it was Brian who was important.  And I agree.  While it might be fun to debate these things back and forth in the pub over a pint, ultimately the Beatles story, and Brian's story, is much bigger than that and much more important than that.  It is instead, as Brian reminded This Boy, about moments such as the little thrill of excitement that you get when you hear the opening notes of  "I Wanna Hold Your Hand."  Brian understood that, and that was his genius; thanks to this play, we have been reminded of that.

Although I understand that the producers want to take this play on tour -- and I hope they do; everyone should have a chance to see it! -- there can be no more perfect setting or venue than the Epstein Theatre in Liverpool.  This Boy opens and closes the play by claiming that Brian "was, is and always will be one of us" and by that he means part of Liverpool.  This year, the city recognised Brian's importance by renaming the Neptune Theatre in his honour, and, as such, Epstein the Play had to have its world premiere at The Epstein Theatre.

Above the stage at the Epstein Theatre is a large, beautifully embossed letter "N", a nod to the theatre's past.  However, for anyone who knew Brian, loved Brian, or, having seen this play, feels that little bit closer to Brian, the "N" above the stage can only ever stand for one word -- "Nemperor".

Thank you Brian; without you and the Beatles, my world would be a sadder, lonelier and colder place.

Thank you Andrew, Will and everyone associated with "Epstein" for bringing Brian alive again and for giving him his rightful place in the Beatles' story and in my love for The Beatles.  I never knew how much I missed Brian's presence until last night.  Now, I'll never forget.

Epstein the Play is on at The Epstein Theatre Liverpool until December 1 and tickets are still available.  For more information, visit the theatre website:

NB: All images used with permission. Do not download or reproduce without the express permission of the copyright holder.

Monday, 26 November 2012


A RARE set of Beatles autographs, signed on one of the first Gold Label pressings of Please, Please Me, which was being used a large coaster, during a card game with Freddie and the Dreamers will be sold by Worthing-based auctioneers Campbells at their saleroom at 44-46 High Street on Tuesday, December 11, 2012. The sale will commence at 10am.

The Beatles were staying, along with the Freddie and the Dreamers at the Normandie House Hotel (96 Sussex Gardens, Paddington, London) in roughly July 1963 and the album was given to Arthur Collins, the owner of the hotel, who was playing cards too. They are being sold by his Son and Daughter, Chris Collins and Liz Chambers, who now live in Worthing and are expected to fetch in the region of £15,000.

As Liz Chambers explains: “late one evening while my Father was drinking and playing cards with Freddie and the Dreamers. The Beatles returned to the Hotel in the early hours after attending some promotional events. In their possession was the record - one of the first Gold Label pressings of Please, Please Me, which had been given to them. All of the Beatles joined the card game and the record was placed in the middle of the table where it was used as a coaster for Whisky glasses. As the card game reached a drunken conclusion in the early hours, all of the Beatles signed their signatures and added short messages as a thank you for the hospitality they had been shown whilst staying at the Hotel.”

At the time the number of Hotels in London willing to accommodate Pop Stars and their entourage was fairly limited due to some high profile incidents whereby damage and/or issues had arisen with fans trying to force entry. The Normandie House Hotel had an agreement with Music industry executives to safely accommodate Pop Stars in a 'low profile' manner. Consequently, The Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Freddy and the Dreamers and bands of the time were guests at the Hotel.

On the Album, which came out in March 1963, John Lennon signs “Blast for Hide” (ie: God Damn You, or something along those lines), while George Harrison, puts in brackets G.P.O and Paul McCartney jokes that he was the lead in Freddie and the Dreamers!

An article appeared in Beat Monthly in September 1963 about Freddie and the Dreamers, which was written and photographs were taken at this time of the card game. Mr Collins can be seen in the background of the main photograph!

Auctioneer Paul Campbell, commented: “We are delighted to have been asked to sell these autographs dating from almost 50 years ago. Not only do they have a great provenance and a wonderful story to accompany them, they are signed on a mono pressing of Please, Please Me, which has the rare gold label – so has a value in it’s own right!” 

Saturday, December 8 – 9am-1pm
Monday, December 10 – 9am–4pm

For further information on the sale, please call 01903 238989 or visit

DVD: Harry Nilsson's The Point

Harry Nilsson's The Point: The Definitive Collector's Edition
out now via MVD Entertainment Group
The animated classic returns to DVD with over
25 minutes of bonus features!

Directed by Academy Award-winner Fred Wolf, "The Point" tells the story of Oblio, a round-headed boy living in the land of "Point," where everything and everybody has one. Oblio, along with his trusty dog, Arrow, is banished to the Pointless Forest. The tale is narrated by Ringo Starr and includes songs written and sung by Grammy Award-winner Harry Nilsson. The definitive collector's edition.
Track Listing
Me And My Arrow
Everything's Got 'Em
Poli High
Think About Your Troubles
Life Line
P.O.V. Waltz
Are You Sleeping?

Bonus Materials
Includes Four Never-Before-Seen Bonus Featurettes:
Who Is Harry Nilsson?
Pitching The Point
Making The Point
Legacy Of The Point

"Finally, a new generation of kids can float away on the entrancing cartoon creation of Harry Nilsson (1941-94), the American singer-songwriter who counted the Beatles among his admirers. The Point is a prime example of mass-culture outreach by a countercultural artist (dig the psychedelic number ''P.O.V. Waltz''). B+"
- Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly

"Never has nonconformity been celebrated with such charm."
-Jeff Miers, Buffalo News

"If there's a fan of Harry Nilsson on your shopping list then rejoice, because in front of you now you see the proverbial no-brainer."

  • Format: DVD
  • SKU: MVD5367D
  • UPC: 760137536796
  • Street Date: 11/20/12
  • PreBook Date: 10/16/12
  • Label: MVD VISUAL »
  • Genre: Animation (not Anime/Manga)
  • Run Time: 74 mins
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Audio: STEREO
  • Year of Production: 1971
  • Director: Fred Wolf
  • Producers: Fred Wolf, Jerry Good, Larry Gordon, Harry Nilsson
  • Box Lot: 30
  • Territory: WORLD

Saturday, 24 November 2012

New Film: Last Shop Standing

Last Shop Standing:
The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of the independent record shop

  "The independent record shops are true gems of our culture. Who would want them thrown away?" 
Johnny Marr Musician

“There were record shops when I started my career, they were everywhere…”
Paul Weller Musician

Paul Weller

“ Record shops kept me going when I was desperately trying to work out how to be an international rock star”
Billy Bragg International Rock Star

Billy Bragg

Main Details:
A  documentary film
A collaboration between award winning film company Blue Hippo Media Ltd and Proper Music Publishing Ltd
Director: Pip Piper
Producer: Rob Taylor

Director, Pip Piper
Last Shop Standing inspired by the book of the same name by Graham Jones takes you behind the counter to discover why nearly 2000 record shops have already disappeared across the UK. The film charts the rapid rise of record shops in the 60,70 and 80's, the influence of the chart, the underhand deals, the demise of vinyl and rise of the CD as well as new technologies. Where did it all go wrong? Why were 3 shops a week closing? Will we be left with no record shops with the continuing rise of downloading? Hear from over 20 record shop owners and music industry leaders as well as musicians including Paul Weller, Johnny Marr, Norman Cook, Billy Bragg, Nerina Pallot, Richard Hawley and Clint Boon as they all tell us how the shops became and still are a part of their own musical education, a place to discover and cherish new bands, new music and why they might just have a brighter future. The film also contains rare footage of The Beatles and Elvis Presley

Last shop standing the film is inspired by Graham Jones’ book of the same name: Graham has worked in music retail for over 30 years and his claim to fame is he has probably visited more record shops in the UK than any other person alive!
The film was shot between December 2011 and June 2012 and visited 28 independent record shops the length and breadth of the UK. The film features the record shop owners and their shops as well as many musicians and music industry legends capturing the stories and insights into the history and journey of so many of these culturally hallowed music spaces.

Last Shop Standing – Contributing Shops

The Diskery, Birmingham; Bridport Music, Bridport; Borderline Records, Brighton; Resident, Brighton; Rounder Records, Brighton; Rise, Bristol; Spillers Records, Cardiff; C E Hudson, Chesterfield; Monorail, Glasgow; Jumbo Records, Leeds; The Musical Box, Liverpool; Soul Brother Records, London; Honest Jon’s, London; Intoxica, London; Record Collector, London; Sister Ray, London; Rough Trade East, London; Kingbee Records, Manchester; Beatin’ Rhythm, Manchester; Truck Store, Oxford; Apollo Records, Paisley; Record Collector, Sheffield; Derricks Music, Swansea; Kanes, Stroud; Dales Music, Tenby; Square Records, Wimborne; Acorn Music, Yeovil,

Other contributors:
Tony Wadsworth: Chairman of BPI
Paul Quirk: Chairman ERA
Jason Draper:  Reviews Editor Record Collector Magazine
For more information, visit the website at: