Imagine - Lennon at 65
Oct 5 2005
John Lennon would have finally become a pensioner on Sunday. Mike Chapple imagines what it would have been like if he had reached the big day.
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WAKE up feeling as though Blind Pew is tip-tapping around my skull trying to get out. I should have stuck to the mild on that early birthday celebration down the Legion last night. But pensioners' happy hour and those cheap doubles that Macca and Allan Williams bought did for me.
Go downstairs and Yoko has a face on her like a bulldog chewing a wasp. Gives me down the banks for getting in late and mistaking her new work of art for a toilet seat and, well, you can guess the rest. Must remember to pick up those new specs when I go into town later - I suppose that given my age the expression granny glasses has finally become appropriate. Incidentally, Yoko over boils my egg and leaves my soldiers unbuttered as a punishment.
8.45am Sit down with icebag on my head and pick up the Daily Post. Yoko of course has already flipped through it - she's a big fan of Phil Key's Arts Diary and was especially keen to read his review of her new exhibition, The History of the Brown Paper Bag, which is on at the View 2 in Mathew Street. That may partly explain why she's got such a cob on.
Thanks for that, Phil. Anyway, let's talk about how I read the news today. Oh Boy. Never mind the four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire. We've got about three times more than that with the city council and their flaming Big Dig at the moment. And I see they're still harping on about preserving the city's heritage while simultaneously thinking about knocking Ringo's house down. Typical. They never had much time for me and the lads up until a few years ago which is why they filled the old Cavern in.
Mind you, I can see their point about Ringo's old gaff. I went round there once and it was in a right old state. Nothing like Mimi's on Menlove. By the way, I went there on one of those guided tours last week. Had my Inspector Clouseau disguise on so none of those obsessive tourists could recognise me. Stood in my old bedroom and thought about how times change. Brought a tear to me eye. I'm a soft owld get, sometimes.
After wrapping up well in me hoodie - not only do I try my best to keep up with the latest fashions but once again it's useful for those incognito moments - I walk to the railway station for the train into town. Like I said,
I've got to get these specs sorted and I've also promised to get a few messages for Yoko including the October edition of Saga magazine, which has done a big feature on us. The lads at the Cavern pub have also asked me to pop in for a quiet birthday bevvy although, after last night, I'm not so sure if I can handle it. Might stick to a half a shandy.
Hangover is aggravated on the platform while standing next to one of those gum-chewing scallie girls wearing pink furry Ugg boots and next to nothing else despite the cold. She's playing what I think are called bangin' tunes through the headphones from her iPod. God knows what it's doing to hearing cos it's doing me head in and I'm standing five feet away from her. She turns rounds, scowls and squawks "worreryerlookinatyerperv" before stomping off as the train pulls in. Very nice, I must say.
It's a flipping liberty. I'm sitting quietly minding my own business after passing though Kirkdale and some Merseytravel jobsworth in uniform taps me on the shoulder and asks me for my ticket. I show him my "twerly" pensioners' pass and he says, matter of factly, that I am indeed on the train too early and chucks me off at Sandhills. As he's doing so, I'm ashamed to admit that I demanded "do you know who I am?" something I've always had a good go at other so-called stars for saying in the past. He replies as quick as you like: "If you don't know who you are then how the hell do you expect me to know."
Well, I just had to laugh.
After finally getting off at Central, I'm walking down Church Street and starting to understand why I just love this place. The bright autumn sunshine, a fresh wind from the Mersey Bar blowing away the cobwebs of the hangover, the banter of my fellow Liverpudlians, the fantastic architecture and some of the prettiest birds you'd find anywhere in the world.
Truth be told, and forgive the vanity, but I especially like some of the little tributes that have sprung up to me and the lads scattered around the centre. I love that statue of me in Mathew Street but I think the feller who did it made me nose too big. There's old Dooley's Shook the World sculpture which shows how us Scousers are awkward buggers and like to do things differently. And then there's Tommy Steele's Eleanor Rigby which captures perfectly the essence of what made the song so special.
My favourite though is the Yellow Submarine. It always used to make me laugh. There's something magical about it too. I remember when it was down by the Baltic Fleet pub by Albert Dock. Two little kids were being told by their Mum and Dad that Ringo lived inside it. So they started knocking on the hull and asking him to come out and play.
So what bright spark decided to move it out to Speke airport? I mean it's very nice they named the place after me but, unless we're flying out to me and Yoko's retirement villa in the Costas, we're hardly likely to visit. I'm so annoyed I'm thinking of writing one of those letters to the editor to complain about it. It's a bloody outrage.
Calmed down a bit now especially after picking up me two-for-one grannies at Specsavers. Bought the Saga rag too which should put Yoko in a better mood cos it's a good piece. It talks about how me and the owld gerl are big fans of Corrie and like nothing better than to go for hand-in-hand walks on Blundellsands beach.
Anyway I'm already feeling a bit chuffed with meself when I walk very carefully down the steps of the Cavern and get the surprise of me life. I can hardly believe what I'm seeing. I thought it would only be a couple of the Cavern lads there but the place is heaving for early darts. And it's full of all my old mates.
Macca's there with his new missus, Ringo as well, plus all the people from the old days including George Martin and Bill Harry. Allan Williams is at the bar too, glugging his first red wine with ice of the day even though his hangover must be three times as bad as mine. And there's dear old Yoko too. She must have sneaked out and got the train after me the crafty mare. "Happy birthday, John!" she says smiling, as everyone spontaneously bursts into a chorus of Yellow Submarine.
I suppose then A Working Class hero is still something to be. Cheers everybody - and thanks..
* THE Cavern, in Mathew Street, is holding a special party to celebrate what would have been John's 65th birthday on Sunday October 9 from 2pm. Admission is free.