Last week my weekend started early. On Friday morning I was on the train to London for the third time in a month. I’ve missed travelling and it’s great to be able to get back out there and do stuff. This time it was to see Paul McCartney in conversation with Paul Muldoon and Samira Ahmed, to celebrate the release of The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present, the almost 1000 pages deep-dive into McCartney’s songs. I’m a big Beatles fan and of McCartney’s post-Beatles music. The second tickets went on sale I jumped at the chance.
Coinciding with the event is an exhibition at the British Library, featuring some hand-written lyrics from McCartney and some unseen photos spanning his career. That was our first stop, a short walk from Euston station. I’ve always wanted to go to the British Library, but never had the excuse. Now that I’ve been, I want to go back to fully explore it.
The exhibition itself was quite small, I wouldn’t say it was worth the trip by itself. There were the original lyrics to ‘Yesterday’, ‘Here There and Everywhere’, ‘Hey Jude’ and the much more recent ‘Kiss of Venus’. It was interesting to see them, and the words that were crossed out and replaced. The whole thing probably takes around ten minutes to look at and read all the plaques. When I finished reading, I turned around and someone was dressed up in the Sgt. Pepper outfit, which was strange to see someone dressing up to go to something like that.
There was a note to say there were more Beatles items in the Treasures room, so we headed over to a map to find it. Funnily enough the room was literally next to the map, but it took us a minute to figure out where we were. The Beatles stuff inside there was even smaller, the stand out being the original lyrics to ‘Hard Day’s Night’, which were written scruffily on the back of a birthday card for Julian Lennon.
We did look at everything else in the Treasure room, and it’s really worth checking out if you’re ever in London. I knew they had a copy of the First Folio, but I didn’t think they would have it on display. I find stuff like this fascinating so spent a long time reading all of the information they had about it.
They also had Jane Austin’s writing desk, with a letter she had written to her brother on top of it. The desk was brought for her by her father.
One of the other items on display was one of the four known remaining official copies of the Magna Carta, the foundation of modern laws in the UK. Something else I was surprised was on display. The history geek inside me was very excited to see it. It mentions on the card next to it that it was due to the Baron’s rebelling again the King. It doesn’t mention that the rebellion started in Northampton castle, which is where the train station now stands in Northampton and where our day out began.
After the British Library we walked through Soho, Trafalgar Square, across the Thames and to our hotel. I really like walking through London, we used to get the underground everywhere but most things are quite close. It takes longer to walk, but I like walking. We walked down Goodge Street to try and find the room where Eloise stayed in Last Night in Soho, but wasn’t sure where it was. Found out later it was actually on Goodge Place, not Street. Only a small detour.
The actual event was really good. We had really good seats and could see perfectly. It was interesting to see and listen to McCartney speak for an hour and a half. It was mostly about The Beatles, with almost no time to anything that came afterwards. We weren’t allowed to take photos of the actual event, so beforehand is the best we could get. After that it was back to the hotel to watch Love Hard on Netflix.
The next morning on the walk back to Euston, we took a detour back through Soho to find Third Man Records. Which is Jack White’s shop, that sells a lot of White Stripes memorabilia as well as vinyl from White’s record label. Jack White is one of Tabby’s favourite musicians, so it was a must that we made out way there. She got a keyring and a vinyl single of ‘Connected by Love’. The store looks pretty stylish, even from the outside.
And that was the end of the trip, from there it was a walk back to Euston and back to Northampton by dinner time. It was a pretty great weekend and not one I’m going to forget anytime soon.
Thanks for reading and until next time,