A Visit to the Grave of Brian Epstein
On our day three of Beatleweek, we visited the grave of Brian Epstein, on the 50th anniversary of his passing. Normally, the cemetery isn’t open to the public, but special permission was given by the guardians of it to visit on this day.
Brian is buried in the small Long Lane Jewish cemetery, near Everton and Liverpool football grounds. It is next to the bigger Everton cemetery. It was very moving seeing his grave on the anniversary of his passing. If it wasn’t for Brian Epstein, the Beatles wouldn’t have got out of Liverpool, let alone become become the group that attracted thousands of people from all over the world to Beatleweek.
As is the Jewish custom, we places stones on Brian’s grave, to show that we visited.
Close to Brian are the graves of his mother and father, Queenie and Harry, and also his brother, Clive.
The guardian of the cemetery told us that it had been vandalised recently. It’s very sad anti-semitism is still rife in 2017.
The Beatles Convention
After the visit to Brian’s grave, we went straight to the Adelphi Hotel for the annual Beatles convention. I have been going pretty much every year since 1981, but there was much speculation that this year would be the last Beatleweek, and much attention was given to an interview with Bill Heckle of Cavern City Tours, the main organiser. He told us that numbers at Beatleweek had been going down, and the work to put it on, in relation to the profits received, made it difficult for it to continue. Also Bill had been organising it for over 30 years, and it was time for him to step down. Originally, the plan was that his year’s Beatleweek was to be the last, but it was then decided to carry on, with a reduced format. From now on, the official events would run from Friday to Monday, rather than the Thursday to Tuesday of previous years. Also, there would be only 2 theatre shows, rather than the 3 at present. There was much relief in the packed hall when the announcement was made. I, for my part, would find it hard to conceive of an August Bank Holiday without a trip to Liverpool for Beatleweek.
Among the guest speakers were Ken Scott and Geoff Baker. Both were interviewed by Mark Lewisohn, but rather than have it as a long interview, each was broken up by the house band playing songs mentioned in the interviews. Well, that was the plan, but Geoff Baker ruined the plan by getting things completely out of the agreed order. He was very entertaining though, especially in his stories about Paul McCartney playing in Red Square, Moscow. Geoff said that as President Putin was due to make an appearance, there was very heavy security for the gig, with armed secret service men on roofs all away around Red Square. During the soundcheck, Geoff walked towards the stage when Paul’s main security man, Mark Hamilton said ‘You’ve had it now!’ Geoff looked down at himself, to see he had loads of red dots all over his body. The secret service men all had their guns pointing at him! Luckily, no-one opened fire!
During the convention, we took time off to join a gathering to remember our old friend Pete Leckie, who had been coming to Beatleweek for decades, but had sadly passed away a few weeks ago.
It was great to see so many old friends at the convention, and great to know it will continue next year.