The Abbey Road Adventure
Updated: Feb 9
On the way to meet a pal* for lunch at Giovanni’s in Covent Garden, I was on the train from rural Somerset to London early on a freezing morning recently; not the train that goes via Bristol but the one which runs through Pewsey and Castle Cary, that, on this particular chilly day, delivered ethereal picture-postcard views of icicle-draped trees and frosty fields almost all the way to Reading.
With a Beatles-related trip to Liverpool coming up soon, and a couple of hours to kill between Paddington Station and the lunch bell, I decided to take a stroll up the Edgware Road and pay my respects to Abbey Road Studios. In spite of spending a fair few days just around the corner at Lord’s cricket ground over the years, I had never got around to taking in the place where a host of my favourite records were made. This was about to change.
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As I walked, I realised I was closing in on a figure ahead who looked oddly familiar. It couldn’t be, could it? I drew level and cast a sidelong glance; Paul McCartney returned my glance and winked.
“Bloody hell,” I cried. “It’s (dropping to a whisper and casting round a cautious gaze) Paul McCartney.”
“How’s it going?” asked Paul.
“Fab,” I replied. “Sorry.”
“I’ve heard ‘em all,” he said, rather graciously, I thought.
“Where are you off to, then?” I asked, mischievously.
“I’m looking for a good studio,” said Paul. “You wouldn’t happen to know…”
“Just up here, man,” I said, getting into the muso-lingo thing. “It’s funny we should run into each other,” I added, “Me and my nephews are off to Liverpool for the first time in March for an all-things-Beatles weekend.”
“Great. You’ll love it,” replied Macca, spreading the Scouse accent a bit more thickly as he is wont to do when the subject of the old hometown crops up.
“I remember burning a CD for my nephew Will from the Anthology series…Oh, I hope you don’t mind?”
“We've all done it!”
“I can give you, what…a pound, if you like? Cash.”
“I’m happy to let it go, eh?” said Macca.
“OK, but promise you’ll let me know if you ever change your mind.”
At this juncture, Paul broke into a bit of singing. It didn’t last long, but it gave me an idea.
“Will’s in a covers band and they do ‘You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me’ as a result of that very CD,” I said.
“Cool,” said Macca.
“I don’t suppose we could sing a bit of it together so I could film us on my phone and send it to him?” I ventured.
“I’d rather not,” Paul said, explaining that that sort of thing tends to attract a crowd. “The trick is to keep moving,” he said.
“Cool,” I nodded.
You’d never believe who Paul told me he was recording with at Abbey Road, and I’d love to tell you. If only he hadn’t sworn me to secrecy. And you don’t say no to a Beatle, do you?
He asked me what our plans were for Liverpool.
“The Mad Day Out psychedelic taxi tour, the Cavern pub for some live music, the Liverpool Beatles Museum. And, er, on the Sunday, we’re going to your house and John's house.” Which sounded ever so odd.
“Listen,” said Paul McCartney of the Beatles and Wings, handing me a card which bore nothing but a telephone number, “When you’re in Liverpool, ring this number. I can’t promise anything, but…you never know, you know?”
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“We are now approaching London Paddington. Please make sure you take all your belongings with you. Thank you for travelling with Great Western Railways in an absolutely freezing carriage that’s not fit for polar bears and we wish you a safe onward journey.”
While getting my stuff together, I decided that the pavements up to and around Abbey Road were likely to be slippery in the extreme. So, I Tubed it down to the South Bank for a refreshing riverside walk and a restorative Draught Guinness in the Doggett’s Coat and Badge.
*Shane Kirk, Master of the Asterisk. He too, is an internet botherer