Thursday 10 December 2020

Wednesday 9 December 2020

The Inner Light

'Mendips', 251 Menlove Avenue on the evening of 8 December 2020.

Since 2006 the National Trust's custodians Sylvia and Colin Hall have marked the anniversary by leaving the light on in John's bedroom all night.

A lovely, simple gesture.

Friday 4 December 2020

Buddies, Pals and Mates

19 December 1965 - Sunday Mirror - London, London, England

The Beatles talk about their bezzie mates from Liverpool, with a young Annie Nightingale

Tuesday 1 December 2020

Brother Michael, Auntie Jin

147 Dinas Lane,
Huyton, Liverpool,
L36 2JZ

'John, Paul, George, and Dennis' (Mike McCartney)

‘I find lost photos and drawings all the time. This will be my definitive statement of a magic era.’ – Mike McCartney 

Genesis publications has today announced the April 2021 publication of Mike McCartney's Early Liverpool which brings together  all of his finest work including a wealth of previously unseen photographs and treasured drawings. Examples of both can be viewed on the Genesis website here.  

Most astonishing of all is this one, a second colour photograph of the Quarrymen on Saturday 8 March 1958.

The photos were taken in the rear parlour of 147 Dinas Road at the wedding reception for Ian Harris and his new bride Jackie. 

Ian was Paul McCartney's cousin, the son of Harry Harris and his wife Jinny, known the world over as 'Auntie Jin' after Paul namechecked her in his 1976 hit 'Let 'Em In'. 

(Left and above) Jin and Harry and Harry and Ian Harris.

As Ian was 19 and Jackie only 16 they naturally wanted some musical entertainment at the reception suitable for their own age group. Ian asked cousin Paul and his mates to provide it. While it's highly unlikely that drummer Colin Hanton would have attended - he's certainly never mentioned it - it has been suggested in some books that on the original, uncropped version of the first colour photo the headstock of an acoustic  guitar is visible to the extreme left of George leading some experts and historians to ponder who it might be, and reasoning that at the time the photo was taken the Quarry Men's other guitarist, Eric Griffiths, had already left the band.

Personally I'm not convinced it is another guitar. Would Mike have deliberately excluded a member of the group when framing his photograph, or twice if you count the new one?

I suspect the group on this day were just the core members, John, Paul and George. If it had been a year later the trio would have been using the name the Japage 3, but for now they were still the Quarry Men.

There are arguments that this may have been George's first 'public' appearance, only 11 days after his 15th birthday. He may not have been in the group for very long but with a guitar which is a clearly superior instrument to those held by his bandmates he already looks very much like the star musician, despite looking about ten years younger than his companions*.

The well known photograph outside his home at 25 Upton Green may well have been taken on this same Saturday, his proud Mum capturing him setting off for his first 'booking'.        

Earlier this year we were thrilled when the previously unseen photo of John, Paul and George at the Casbah surfaced. The release of McCartney's super-deluxe version of the 'Flaming Pie' album included a hitherto unknown image of  Paul, George and Ivan Vaughan in the accompanying book which delighted Beatles scholars and historians.

And now, at the end of what has been a pretty miserable year in nearly every other aspect we suddenly have another Quarry Men-era photograph, in colour (!) thanks to Mike McCartney, whose 14 year old self was on hand to capture the moment with the family camera and share it with us 62 years later. 

Incidentally, the fourth person in the top photo is Dennis Littler, a friend of Ian Harris. When asked about the wedding in later years he admitted he didn't remember much about the day, perhaps because of the Guinness which was flowing freely. This being a Liverpool knees up there was plenty of drink on hand. Certainly John Lennon's rosy cheeks indicate that he was well on his way to being 'bevvied' by the time Mike photographed him. 

Mike McCartney and Dennis Littler in 2012