Filming Locations, Beatles Sites, Cavern Club

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June 17th 2009
Published: June 18th 2009
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So on Tuesday, May 26 the first thing I did was go to McDonald’s. I just got a double cheeseburger and fruit. Then I headed off for the train station, where I attempted to buy that map from a machine again. It worked this time. Inside of the station are little shops, so I went to Sainsbury’s there (which is almost like a Tesco, but bigger, and I think they have more regular, non-food items). I bought a couple of chocolate bars. This was becoming a very bad habit…but hey, I’m on vacation. My plan for the day was to visit various ATU filming locations, as well as various Beatles-related places. I was in for A LOT of walking.

I wasn’t sure where exactly I needed to go, but I knew the area. I needed to get to the area in Liverpool called Wavertree. So the man ended up selling me a ticket to Wavertree Technical Park, and when I looked on the map, I saw that that was not the ideal/closest place to go. There was another stop that would be closer to where I needed to be. In any case, it worked out ok, and my first stop was the pub where ATU was filmed. If you’ve seen the movie, this is where “Jude” sat and sung “Hey Jude.” I guess maybe I wasn’t as excited about this stop…maybe I didn’t think I’d actually find it. I’m so glad I went, though! I had to ask a man who worked at that particular stop how I would get to Durning Road. He actually left his little glass-enclosed space, led me outside, and showed me a map that was posted. So that was nice! It was pretty easy to find, but crossing the street was another story. I found the crosswalks to be not quite like London, because a lot of them didn’t even have signals telling you you could walk. So I’d just look to both sides, try to be careful, and just cross. I’d whisper to myself, “I guess I’ll just cross….” Mom will love reading that. :P When I was crossing over to Durning Road, I had to walk a little bit out of my way just to cross the street. Ridiculous, I tell you.

So anyway, after I passed it up one time, I eventually saw the pub. The only reason I knew it was it was because it was at the correct intersection. I walked inside, looking around, and started to take some pictures. There were 3 people sitting at the bar, and I was afraid they would start getting irritated with me, but I asked one of them if they could take my picture at the bar. It didn’t really look like in the movie, but I figured it must be the right place. I asked them if they knew that there had been a movie that filmed there. Next thing I knew, one the people called over the (I guess) owner of the place. They told me I could go through the bar area to the other side of the pub. They were used to getting visitors, obviously. The man told me that they only filmed on the other side of the pub, not the side I had been in. Aha. Now this looked more like it. I asked him questions, and he told me that the filmmaker had changed it up, made it look older for filming. They had installed barstools for the movie (which “Jude” sat on), and also old drafts for the beer. An actor had stood behind the counter and served him the beer in the movie. He showed me exactly where “Jude” (Jim is his real name) sat, so I was like, “Oh, well I’m gonna have to get a picture of that.” So he took a picture of me standing where Jim sat in the movie. I took various pictures. It was really neat. He said that they weren’t allowed to take any pictures during the filming, which makes sense. I’m trying to remember how long he said they filmed there…I think a full weekend, but I’m not sure. He said he didn’t really like the Beatles much, and he wasn’t particularly fond of the movie.

After a few minutes looking around, I walked back through the bar area to the other side. We chatted for a few minutes, and I told him that I was going around to all the filming locations in Liverpool. He asked if I wanted a bottle of Guinness. These people were a little hard to understand, so I asked him what he said. I was like, “An empty bottle of Guinness?” I wasn’t sure if he was offering me a free drink or what. Then one of the older men sitting at the bar chimed in, and eventually I caught on that he was offering to give me a prop that they had used in the movie! So he went to go get it from the basement/cellar, and the older man and I chatted a little bit. I told him I was from Texas. The man must have been gone for like 5 minutes (it seemed like a long time), and then he came back and presented me with an old, empty bottle of Guinness. I was like, “I can have this?” Sure enough. I asked if they had a lot of old props from the movie (I actually asked this a couple of times, because I wasn’t really understanding him…haha). He said he had some.

I was really excited to get a movie prop! I was not expecting that, and it was a pleasant surprise. I placed it into my bag, and tried to be careful with it. The cork/lid was in the top of the bottle, but wasn’t in there very well. I didn’t want to mess anything up. I walked away, happily.

My next filming location was where the “tramp” (homeless man) had played the drums on the trashcans on the sidewalk. I had carefully gone over my maps, trying to arrange what places I should go to in which order. This area wasn’t the nicest neighborhood. Well, then again, the pub wasn’t in the nicest area, either. I had watched some stuff online that morning, so I knew what to expect when I got there as far as what the side of the building would look like- the place where the man stood. It was cool to see! I walked along, copying what “Jude” did in the movie. You’d have to see the movie and know it to know what I did. Basically, “Jude” walks along the sidewalk, into the street, and hears all the commotion of the man playing the drums on the trashcans. He glances over, then continues walking down the street, and is followed by lots of children on cycles, etc. Anyway, I needed someone to take my picture! It was hard to find someone, because there weren’t a lot of people walking around. I’d see people a little ways away, and there were young guys riding their bikes down that street, but I didn’t think it’d be wise to hand my camera to a young guy on a bike in a bad area. He and his friends could easily take off on their bikes, and there I’d be on foot, with no camera. People drove by from time to time, but I wasn’t going to stop them and make them get out of their cars!

Finally I saw two little boys walking along, and I figured I’d ask them. I still was a little scared that they’d take off with the camera. I told them what I’d be doing (walking from the corner of the sidewalk to the street), and asked if they could just take a picture of me walking. Haha. I told them I’d try to hurry, and as I walked away, I glanced back over my shoulder to make sure they were still there. They were. He said he got the picture, I went over there and thanked them, and that was that. I bet they were surprised that I didn’t sound like them.

By the way, by this point, I was starting to collect pictures of dental practices. It seemed like I saw quite a few dental offices, and I found that amusing considering the people of England’s reputation for having bad teeth. I also came across some other cool or funny signs that I took a picture of. These were becoming two new picture-taking themes: dental practices and interesting signs.

My next stop was Penny Lane, made famous by the Beatles’ song, appropriately titled “Penny Lane.” I wasn’t 100% sure which Penny Lane it was, because there were a few in Liverpool. I asked a man walking by if the Penny Lane up ahead was the one made famous by the Beatles, but he didn’t understand my question. He did tell me it was up ahead. I stopped and asked a girl who was sitting on a bench. I guess I was still having issues finding the street, so I asked her about it. I didn’t have a clue what she said then and still don’t to this day. It just sounded like gibberish to me, and I didn’t even really make anything out. I think one word sounded familiar to me, but that’s it. I don’t know where she was from…not sure if she was from Liverpool or not. I can’t even explain how it is she sounded; her words came out different, and she used her throat in a different way to pronounce them. I just said ok, thanked her, and went on my way. I saw some businesses a while later that had the name “Penny Lane” on them, but I wasn’t sure if that was really Penny Lane or not. I guess I thought it was a different street. These streets were becoming increasingly difficult I guess. Plus, I obviously don’t know how to read a map half the time.

I passed by it, asked a couple more people, then finally arrived at Penny Lane. Whew! It was right next to a church. I took a picture of myself and the Penny Lane sign, and I scanned the area for someone to take my picture so I could get a better one. I stopped a girl walking by, and she smiled when I asked her to take my picture with the sign. She told me, “I come by here every day on my way to work.” I was like, “Oh, do you?” She probably thought I was a really die-hard Beatles fan. The funny thing is, I don’t even know THAT many of their songs.

My next stop was #9 Newcastle, where John Lennon lived til the age of 5. I figured I was in the area, might as well check it out. There was no house number on it (which is odd), but obviously I can do basic math so I was easily able to figure out which house it had been. 😊 I was thinking maybe the people who live there now took the number down so that they’d get less visitors, but do they think everyone is stupid?? Or maybe lots of people steal the number. That’s possible. So it was probably either stolen recently or stolen so many times that the owners stopped putting a number up. Anyway, I remember there was a man painting a house directly across the street. These weren’t even really houses. If you see my pictures, you’ll see that the doors are very close together.

Next destination: Strawberry Field, a former children’s home down the road from where John Lennon lived after the age of 5. He and his Aunt Mimi (who raised him) would attend an annual party there at Strawberry Field. The place was made famous by the Beatles’ song “Strawberry Fields Forever.” So I walked down Menlove Avenue, which seemed to take forever, turned left, and soon I was at the famous gates of Strawberry Field. I was taking pictures of the gates but scanning around for that lucky person who would get to take my picture in front of the gates. :D I found him- a middle-aged man, and as he left after taking my picture, I barely made out what he said, “Don’t forget to sign your name on the wall!” That hadn’t even occurred to me. Sure, there were lots of peoples’ signatures all over the place, but it didn’t seem right to do that as well. After he said that, it seemed like it would be ok to, so I did.

I then decided to check out the same area that I had already been to on Sunday evening. It was getting dark when I was there before, though, so I figured I’d go back. Plus, I had new information. The man on YouTube had posted the Google map showing the exact filiming locations, so I had written information down in my little bitty notebook that I used as a purchase log. I was back in Aigburth. I must say, I didn’t make it there right away. It took some effort. See, I was pretty tired after walking around Menlove Avenue for so long (as well as all the rest of the places that day). My back was starting to hurt; it gets like this if I walk around too much here. I think it’s because I carry around a messenger bag on my right side, and the other side has to work harder to stay balanced. I figured I’d catch a bus, and I had seen bus stops on my way down Menlove Avenue, so I knew they existed. I sat down on the sidewalk at a bus stop (after walking a little ways to get to the stop). I checked out the sign that said where the bus would go, etc. Well, it didn’t go so great. One time the bus passed me right on by and didn’t even stop to get me. That was the bus I needed. So I walked along further up the street, and thought to myself how dumb it was to do that. It’d be one thing if I was walking the other way, as the bus would come sooner over there. I don’t know what all I was doing. I was just trying to find the right bus stop and a bus that would come as soon as possible and that would take me where I wanted to go. I think I was missing some buses simply because I kept on walking. I guess I was just tired. It was frustrating, too.

EVENTUALLY, I saw a bus stopped up ahead and realized that the driver had stopped to go to the bathroom. All I did was glance over, and I saw him standing at the side of the bus. Um, that’s pretty gross, and I just pretended like I didn’t see it. He got back on the bus, and I asked him which bus I needed to take, blah blah blah. He said he would take me to the place I needed to be, so I told him thank you and sat down for free on the bus. Yay. Glad I didn’t have to handle money or tickets after him anyway. Then I went to the next bus stop, and I asked the bus driver…blah blah blah. I didn’t know when to get off the bus, which is always fun. I was trying to figure out where we were and which streets were coming up next, etc. I ended up getting off at what I thought was 1 stop too late. In reality, it turned out perfectly! That was probably the closest place I could have been dropped off by that bus in relation to where I wanted to go. At first I didn’t know which street I was approaching, though, so I asked this young guy walking by. I asked him if it was a certain street, and he just said something like, “Probably.” I was like, “Yeah, I think it probably is…” He was loads of help. 😊

So after all of that, I headed back for the center of Liverpool. I had been in the suburb of Woolton some of that time. I didn’t even realize it was really a suburb until just a minute ago. I just thought it was an area of Liverpool. Anyway, John Lennon and Paul McCartney grew up in Woolton. I had a scheduled tour of their childhood homes for the next morning. I had thought maybe I’d just walk down to John’s home anyway that day since I was in the area, but I just did not feel like walking anymore.

So I got back to Liverpool and bought some really healthy snacks at Sainsbury’s: crisps, a box of cupcakes, and 2 candy bars…oh and a water. Terrible, I know. My 2 new French friends/roommates invited me to go out to eat with them at this restaurant that had a really nice view of the city. It was up high on the 30-something floor I think, and I was considering going with them. I looked it up online, and it was pricey. Then when Marine called to add one more person (me) to their reservation, the employee told her that there was a dress code. Well, I didn’t really have anything to wear. I couldn’t wear a dress because my legs were not prepared, and the dress shoes I had brought would not be very comfortable to walk around in even if I did wear pants. Two strikes…I decided not to go. I would have spent like 25 pounds, which was about 6 pounds over my food limit (that I had tried to set for myself) for the DAY. I sort of wanted to go, but it just didn’t work out. I said a prayer that it would work out for the best. Then along came Jessica, a new roommate from Virginia. Next thing I knew, we were off to the Cavern Club together! It worked out perfectly.
We had stuff in common- and we both knew about and liked Across the Universe (which was great). The Cavern Club is where the Beatles played 292 times. It looks like a cave inside, and tons of people have performed there. It was pretty much because of the Cavern Club that the Beatles became famous in Liverpool (well that and the fact that the local newspaper wrote a lot of stuff about them). Across the Universe also filmed a scene there, and I was actually more concentrated on that aspect.

I had wanted to get something to eat, so Jessica said we could leave and go somewhere so that I could get something before places closed. We went into McDonald’s, and I got a “Western burger” and some cheese dippers. We talked for a little while as we ate, and then we headed back over to the Cavern Club. There were different people singing this time, and I didn’t realize there was a whole other part to the club, where another person was performing as well. We had liked the band that was playing before we left, and we were both going to buy their CD for 2 pounds, but when we got back, they were gone. I think the band was still there, because I thought that was them that we passed on the way to the bathroom. I considered going into that room and asking them to get a CD, but I didn’t. The bathrooms were not very clean, but I managed to get a clean toilet. However, it didn’t flush. That was the very first bathroom in the UK that I had seen that had paper towels!! I was excited and told Jessica about it.

We sat and watched this lady sing for a while; she had a sort of Janis Joplin thing going on. I wasn’t sure how it would work out deciding when to leave (especially since we just met each other, it would be hard to know when the other person wanted to leave). Jessica asked me if I wanted to stay for a while or leave, and we ended up leaving. I was fine with going and so was she, but she was going to stay however long I wanted to, which was nice! I’m glad she said something about going, because I probably never would have.

When we got back, she took a picture of me with my newly- obtained movie prop. A man had also taken a picture of that both of us inside the Cavern Club. We had been taking pictures of each other, and he came walking down the stairs. He was like, “Do you want me to take a picture of the both of you?” We had only met like an hour before, but we were like “sure.” Haha. But I’m glad we got a picture together. She later posted them on Facebook, so I will include those 2 pictures on here.

Additional photos below
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8th May 2010

Hi , Nice to meet you , my name is Alan from Liverpool . Wow you really love The Beatles . I have read all you blogs and you have took some great photos as well. Hope you had a great time here. Warm wishes Alan

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