Monday, June 28, 2010

Ticket To Ride: Inside the Beatles' 1964 Tour

I fell in love with The Beatles almost ten years after they had broken up. I never knew real Beatlemania, but I did know the music and it was the Beatles that helped me fall in love with the idea of London.

Larry Kane was reporter who followed The Beatles around on the 1964 and 1965 US concert tours and Ticket To Ride is his recollection of those glory days. He says that he is still asked on a regular basis, so, what where The Beatles really like?

I listened to the audio book version of Ticket to Ride and found it to be absolutely perfect. Read by the author, an old radio and tv guy, Larry Kane knows how to give his words a great delivery and how to bring his stories to life.

The interviews he quotes are a glimpse into the world of the 1960s and how the Lads tended to repeat themselves and say things like-it's a drag, man, you know, it's a drag, it's kind of a bummer, man. The Beatles were amazing as musicians, but their off the cuff remarks show that they were just four guys as well.

Ticket to Ride is filled with stories of rabid fans rushing the stage and surround the cars in mobs that hope to see the Fab Four. Insane fan stories make up a deal of the story, with tales of fans sneaking into hotels and disguising themselves as maids and how often Larry was by a fan that they would do anything to meet the Beatles. He gallantly turns down all these offers.

There are few stories that put the Beatles in any kind of negative light-with Larry's one major gripe about John Lennon being that John was against the war in Vietnam and Larry joins the Air Force. He mentions in passing that the Beatles were living the Sex, Drugs, and Rock n Roll lifestyle. Women, all of which were over the age of consent Larry points out, were always around and always willing. Drugs from marijuana to 'pills' were a part of the Beatles life, and even 40 years later it is clear that the Beatles disappointed Larry by indulging in such activities.

Above all is the now amusing fact that everyone, even The Beatles, thought they were just a flash in the pan that would soon enough be forgotten. The 1964 Beatles were modest and kind and wanted to make a good impression on everyone.

Ticket to Ride is a fun book that tells us about Larry Kane's Beatles, four men that he really liked and who seemed to really like him.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

London's Old Operating Theatre

The Old Operating Theatre Museum is one of the most unusual museums in London. The Operating Theatre is the oldest in Europe, and the Herb Garret is a unique chance to explore the Roof space of a Church. The Theatre and Garret have recently been restored with its original Georgian plaster free of support frames for the first time since the late 1990's!-The Old Operating Theatre

Ah those crazy Victorians. Back in the good old days medicine was more an art than a science. A bit of herbal mixture and maybe a quick, or not so quick, pass with a saw. I have always had a soft spot for Herbalists and the Herb Garret here seems to be an interesting place for the medicinal plant lover.

The Old Operating Theatre Museum & Herb Garret is one of London's specialist museums, offering a fascinating lookt into the medical profession of the past. Hidden in the roof of St Thomas’ Church near London Bridge Underground, this 300-year old herb garret houses Britain’s only surviving operating theatre-complete with wooden operating table and observation stands, from which spectators witnessed surgery performed with no anaesthesia or antiseptics.

The Museum has objects relating to: Obstetrics, Midwifery, Surgical Instruments, Cupping and Bleeding, Nursing and Patient Care, Anaesthesia, Antiseptic surgery, Apothecaries and Herbal Medicine, St. Thomas's, Guy's and the Evelina Children's Hospital. The odds and ends taken from patients bodies include bullets and stones of one sort or another.

The more disturbing items for me are the Scarificator and Brass Cupping Lamp sets used for bleeding patients which are made as if they were actual scientific instruments instead of the worst sort of quack medicine. On the other hand, many of the surgical tools bare at least a passing resemblance to surgical tools of today and some appear completely unchanged. Of course, many also look as if they would be right at home in The Tower's torture chamber.

The Old Operating Theatre, Museum and Herb Garret, 9a St Thomas's St, London SE1

Phone: 020 7188 2679
Daily: 10.30-17.00
Cost:£5.25; concessions £4.25; under 16s £3
Closed: 15 December - 5 January Telephone the Museum for details and dates of special presentations.

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