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300 Words From London - Inside Abbey Road

Somehow Outsideleft's London editor ended up at Abbey Road for the launch of the new Beatles album. I thought he didn't like the Beatles.

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by Lake, Editor, London for outsideleft.com
originally published: November, 2006
...part way through Blue Jay Way, my usual Beatles ennui hit.

I felt a little bit guilty when the man slipped on the rather tacky looking guitar shaped gold wristband. Surely if there had been an orderly queue for Beatles fans to get inside the legendary Abbey Road Studio 2 to hear a playback of the new Beatles LP in the presence of "remixers" Sir George Martin and his son Giles (so that's the fifth and sixth Beatle?) then it would've stretched for miles and I, as regular readers will recall, not being a particular Beatles fan would've been dawdling a long way at the back. Too far back by rights to have got one of the 100 lucky golden bands.

As it happened I was driving along Abbey Road at the exact moment the radio announcer said this special event was taking place and so I just pulled over and walked up to the door.

Studio 2 was decked out in rather horrible faux-psychedelic paint with the word LOVE writ large in lettering more reminiscent of low fat yoghurt than acid experiments. But if you looked up above the advertising hoardings you could see the bricks and the curtains that even I could remember from all those old Beatles photos.

I was really trying to channel some time-travelling vibes from the room but it was just too full of lardy, pony-tailed Beatles nuts who were taking 100s of photos - flashing peace signs or, god help us, the Macca copyrighted "thumbs-up".

There was a short film and then the album was played. Unsurprisingly Abbey Road has a phenomenal sound system. So sensational that for a few minutes I thought this was the greatest thing I had ever heard. Then, part way through Blue Jay Way, my usual Beatles ennui hit and it became a drag knowing I had another 50 minutes to wait until I could leave.

At the end there was a standing ovation and somebody shouted "We're not worthy!" I think the guy in front of me was crying.

For me, well it was like visiting one of the great cathedrals. Certainly impressive but without faith the experience was somehow quite hollow.

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Lake
Editor, London

the first journalism Lake ever had published was a history of Johnny Thunders for Record Collector magazine, since then he has written for publications including the Guardian, Dazed and Confused, the Idler and more recently, outsideleft.com as you have just seen.

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