It begins before it really begins. If you see what I mean. Its a neighbourhood, as well as a street, as well as a song. It’s the neighbourhood we live in. And I moved here deliberately 22 years ago. Because I wanted to live in a song.
“We see the banker sitting waiting for a trim.”
“Behind the shelter in the middle of a roundabout
A pretty nurse is selling poppies from a tray
And though she feels as if she’s in a play
She is anyway.”
And now we enter Penny Lane, the street. And I often see tourists wandering around here with a vague ‘Where is everything?’ look about them. Well, actually, its all here. I think the charm of the place is that there’s been no need to falsely re-create the look and feel of what it was like back in the 1950s and 60s, because it’s still much like it was then, minus the Wine Bar of course (splendid and highly recommended though that is).
This was the centre of their world, John, Paul and George, in the days before Ringo joined. They’d meet up here every morning to get the tram or bus into school and art college. And when the band got going some of their early gigs were around here too.
In fact John’s first band, The Quarrymen played at Dovedale Towers here, back when it was the church hall for St Barnabas.
But there’s more to here than them.This is Christine Colvin, the founder and curator of Penny Lane Gallery. After a career in art, music, creativity and, particularly, being an event organiser for big corporate clients, Christine decided to do what she’d long wanted and have her own gallery. She opened it a year ago now, particularly to feature the work of local artists.
“I like to see work people have worked at, where they’ve really put themselves into it. Work about music, about Liverpool. And I also love comic book art.”
“I put on changing exhibitions of work by individual artists. We had the first exhibition by Will Sergeant of Echo and the Bunnymen. And the current exhibition is by Mike Grattan. He’s from Blackpool, that’s almost local isn’t it?”
“Being an event organiser I like to use the space for other things. As well as launch events for the exhibitions there have been book launches and other social gatherings here. The space can comfortably fit around fifty people. So I’ll be doing more of that sort of thing.”
And finally, here they are.