Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Mini Self-Guided London Rock Tour.

I was expecting either pomp and circumstance or tranquil appreciation and got neither.

I had mapped out three spots that I wanted to see: Apple Studio where the Beatles played their last gig on the roof, Jimi Hendrix’s flat and Abbey Road.

The Apple Studio, at 3 Savile Row, was almost invisible in the midst of classy shopping stores and high-priced restaurants.

I went up to Hendrix’s flat just up the road, at 23 Brook Street, but got lost trying to find it. His flat was on the top floor. A light blue, circular plaque says he lived there but it was closed to the public.

To recognize the 40th anniversary of Hendrix's death, the flat will be open to the public from September 15 to 26. A small exhibition will be held next door from August 25th to November 7th displaying photographs and some funky velvet jackets Hendrix wore.

Finally, I found the famous Abbey Road zebra crossing that graced the cover of the Beatles’ album. There was a buzz in the air as ten or so Beatles fans took pictures while holding up traffic.

On the wall outside the nearby Abbey Road Studios are thousands - if not more - signatures of fans. There are favorite lyrics, peace signs, names and expressions of love for the band on the wall. The signatures go back decades and they stretch onto the entire block’s walls.

I signed my name in a little space and walked toward the ten other fans waiting to simply cross the road where the Beatles created their iconic album cover.

When people wanted to cross, cars always stopped and the drivers smiled - regardless of traffic signs (or lack thereof). I walked across the street and then headed to the Underground station back home. I was glad to have done it but it was missing something.

On the ride home, I put on my headphones and listened to “Come Together.” That was the most satisfying part of the day.

- Text and top two images by Mark Lauterbach. Bottom image by Kevin Brosky.

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