ă 2001 Sean Gillen. All rights reserved. No part of this text may be reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.
This work was completed in part-fulfilment of an MA Tourism and Leisure. Lancaster University, UK 2000—1, and is reproduced here strictly for scholarly purposes.
‘The Beatles Story’ exhibition Interview Transcripts. 28th July 2001
The following interviews were carried out in the
courtyard above the entrance to the exhibition. Every effort was made to approach a wide age range, and
people from various origins, to obtain an indication of the diversity of
perceptions that occur. Many
of the interviews were initiated by offering to take pictures of them
first, as an entire group, and then asking if they would mind talking
for a few minutes, allowed an informal and open dialogue to begin
immediately. I introduced
myself as a researcher from Lancaster University, although I did not
specify any research aims beyond that of wanting to interview those who
had been in the museum. Beyond
this, the selection of interviewees was based on identifying groups that
had just exited the exhibition and were lingering around the courtyard,
in no apparent hurry to leave; this made refusal less likely whilst
increasing the chances of an unhurried dialogue.
group of three, late thirties to early forties, two male [M1 approx.
late forties, M2 late thirties and one female mid forties. Little input from M2 as he was filming the interview!
SG: Where do you come from?
M2: from Los Angeles
SG: So why did you come here?
M1: we love Liverpool, love the Beatles.
They were an influence on all our lives, a cornerstone of our
SG: so its that important to you?
M1: as important as religion and politics, in
lots of ways, absolutely.
M1: for you personally?
M1; yes, certainly, and our whole generation.
SG: So what did you think about the actual
M1: oh, very well done, the recreations of the
Cavern are frighteningly accurate, the recreations of the Merseybeat
offices are just lovely to actually picture something that you’ve only
seen in the papers and know about.
SG: So you have had first hand experience of the
M1: not in England, but growing up in America
certainly the Beatles, from the Ed Sullivan show on were just an
important fabric of our lives.
SG: So what bits did you find most interesting?
M1: I think probably the little recreations of
the Hamburg stuff, and seeing the Beatles original suits…and the
designs of the suits they wore in Hard Days Night…really touching. And Abbey road, the recreation, very interesting, very well
done. You know, just from photos and to be able to see something that
F: …and that NEMS store recreation…
M1: and the music store where they hired their
SG: how did it make you fell walking around?
M1: mmmaah, tingly! [laughs].
F: helps you to travel back in time.
SG: I noticed lots of young people waling around
F: ..and there were some much older people too..
M1: yeh, grandmas. Very sweet.
SG: so how would you sum it up, in what it means
M1: just glad they did it!
Liverpool haven’t embraced them as they should have, you know
what I mean…commercially, where they make it a tourist thing rather
than just a pilgrimage of fans. Now,
it just crosses the generations.
SG: so it was like a pilgrimage for you?
M1: yeh, I would say very much so…
M2: …very much so…
SG: so was it on your itinerary before you came?
M1: Oh yeh, we were here five years ago, said
we’d come back and do it again.
M1: They’ve made so many changes…
F: there’s been a number of new things in the
last five years…
SG: yes, keeping it fresh.
Interview two; Two males, late thirties.
SG: Where have you come from?
SG: You’ve come all that way!
M2: yes, just to see the Beatles museum..
SG: just to see that?!
M2: No. We’re here on business [laughs]
SG: Any particular reason you have made a b-line
M2: Well I’ve been here to Liverpool before
but I didn’t get a chance to go through this museum, and I heard, you
know, there was an event here that we should see, so whilst in the city
I figured okay lets go an see this Beatles museum, and that’s why
I’m here today.
SG: I guess you’ll have no recollection of the
Beatles yourself, so do you feel any kind of connection with the
M2: well other than having quite a few of the
Beatles albums, and being a fan…
SG: so you are a fan?
M2: Oh, yeh
M2: I like it…
M1: …its pretty good…nice layout, takes you
through the whole history. In particular I was interested in the
beginning, how they got started and all.
SG: did you have any favourite bits apart from
M1: it was pulling up little details, about the
story, how they got started, noting else in particular..
M2: …I’m the same way, kinda enjoyed it all,
I really did?
SG: Did it evoke any kind of feelings for you?
M2: it was very much like a documentary
M1: kind of chronological…
SG: would you go in again?
M1: I don’t think so…
M2, well, I’ve seen it once, I probably wont
go in again, unless it might be another time when my wife comes with me
or something, then I might just go through it just to show her.
two people, one male one female, early twenties. Although they had left
the building, they had not yet seen the exhibition, so the short
interview was based more around background information and motivation
rather than that of reaction to the display.
SG: So where do you come from?
F: I am studying here but we come from
SG: ah, I’ve been there!…but that’s a
different story. So you are
studying here, are you [yp male] on holiday?
M: No, I am from Leeds.
SG: so what brings you to the Beatles museum?
F: I just bring him, just sightseeing that’s
SG: any particular reason?
F: no, not really, its just that the Beatles are
from Liverpool and I feel I must go…
SG: you feel you must go to the Beatles museum?
F: Yes, I think it’s a must [laughs], or I
wont go to Liverpool!
SG: What do you feel about the Beatles anyway?
F: I like their songs, they’re alright..
SG: so its nothing more than that for you?
F: not really, no.
Three women, late thirties and early forties.
SG: it is okay with you if I record this, it
saves me writing so much!?
F3: oh I’ve got such a rotten accent!
SG: we’ve all got rotten accents!
So, where have you come from to come here?
SG: that’s quite a long way to come!
SG: Is this part of an itinerary?
F3: Yes, we’ve come up for like a weekend,
kind of thing, the Beatles museum all comes in the price of it.
SG: So how important was it for you to come
F3: To this one, not that important…
SG: to any of you?
F2: well, its nice to see it…
SG: so what were the best bits for you?
F3: well, we want to find the cavern Club!
SG: you want to find the actual Cavern Club?
F3:…or the replica one!
SG: what about the actual exhibition here, what
did you think of it?
F2: oh its very good..
F3: …it was good, yeh.
SG: which bits did you like most?
F2: well all of it, the bits of information as
you go around. I mean, when I was younger I didn’t take it in much,
about the Beatles, what was going on. Its good looking back on the
screens and that, you know, like the Beatlemania, the video stuff and
SG: what did it do for you?
Did it touch you in any way?
F3: The bit at the end, where John Lennon got
killed, and they were playing imagine..
F2: because that’s when our daughters were
F3: yeh, I just remember I’d packed up work
and I was sitting at home and listening to it, and everyone was, I dunno,
kind of worse. We knew
he’d been shot, but for me because I was at home, I dunno, it just
really got to me that he could just be, you know, shot like that.
SG: so how did you feel when you were in that
room? [the ‘white room’ tribute to John Lennon].
F2: A bit choked up, because they were playing
imagine as well…
SG: so it got to you like that?
Was it the same for you? [to F1]
F3: yeh definitely, and coming around to the
end, like, going through it all, its good. But we’ve had a tour all
around where they used to live, so we’ve had a day’s…its been
SG: how does this compare to the tour?
F2: well there’s things in there that we’d
seen this morning…
F3: it was nice, like, we’ve seen the gate [to
Strawberry Fields], we’ve seen that so I’m gald we did the tour
first and then came to this
SG: I haven’t done the tour yet…
F3: …a lot of it is the chap that did it, he
was really nice, nice talking and not sort of patronising or anything,
not treating you like idiots…
F2: it was nice coming to that first then coming
to this one.
SG: so what’s your overall impression of the
Beatles thing then?
All: good, very good, yes.
F2: …because we’re not like, mega-mega fans,
like there were these other people here that were older than us and
they’re grown up more with them, where we was like getting the tail
end of it weren’t we.
SG: you have a different kind of view of it than
the older ones then?
F3: Yes, yes.
SG: what kind of impression did you get from
F2: I dunno, they were more into it I suppose,
really. Yeh, because I was like only sort of young…
F3:…about four I would say weren’t we…
F2: Yeh, but they were really, teenagers…into
the history of it
like to get into the history of it?
F3: well yes, there was a lot we didn’t know
about, about how it all come about and how they started, like that did
happen and that didn’t happen…
F2: like that Strawberry fields thing…
SG: what was that?
F2: well I always wanted to know what that line
meant, ehm, what was it, oh
‘don’t get hung up about it’, coz it doesn’t make sense,
F2: but the bloke [bus tour commentator] said
his aunt told him [John Lennon] not to go down there playing his guitar,
and he just turned round and said don’t get hung up about it, its
nothing. And that went in
the song, its quite funny!
SG: I enjoyed that bit as well, about the song
being written on drugs, kind of thing!
F3: the thing I’d heard all my life was
Strawberry fields was where he used to go to do his drugs to be out of
his mind because that’s …
F2: hippy thing…
F3: yes, but the tour guide said to day its not.
He used to go there and play to the children in the Salvation Army, so I
was wondering what on earth that line’s got to do with it, now I know
SG: so its been good for you?
All: yes…enjoyed it.
F3: but if we don’t find the Cavern Club
I’ll be totally disappointed. You
can’t put us in the direction of it can you?!
SG: They had a Cavern Club down there! [in the
F2: no, no, no, but we want to find the one in,
what was it, Mathew street…
SG: No, its my first few hours here, I cant
really help, but thanks for talking to me.
Interview five: Senior citizen, in her late sixties or early
seventies, waiting for her daughter and grand children to come out of
the exhibition. Starting as
a casual conversation initiated by her, I asked if she would mind if I
talked to her about her experiences of visiting the museum.
SG: where did you say you were from?
F: From Pembrokeshire, but really I’m a
Liverpudlian. I tend to
come back for weekends.
SG: how many times have you been?
F: well we lived in Chester you see, before we
moved to Pembrokeshire so we used to come over quite often, so for or
five times I should think.
SG: what is it about it that makes you keep
coming back to it?
F: I’ve got all these Beatles records, and
SG: are you a fan?
F: [laughs] yes, pretty much so! My daughter
was, you see. She was about six when the Beatles were around, and she
has a scrapbook of old cuttings and pictures and I would buy her the
albums. It’s from when
she was six, and she’s over forty now.
I think she’s got every record…
SG: really! That is a big fan!
F: oh, here she is…
[I introduced myself and what I was doing.
The daughter was more than happy to join in].
F2: I’ve only been in to find out about the
SG: you been in before?
SG: your mum was telling me you’re a big
SG: so what does this place do for you?
F2: its good, it brings it all back, you know.
Because we were, well I grew up with them really…
F: You were six…
F2: ..yes I’ve got this scrap book that I
saved all their cuttings in. I’ve still got it now actually, and all
my six year old’s hand writing across it, you know!
SG: how does it make you feel when you walk
around this place?
F2: nostalgic, you know. The thing is, I’ve
got all their albums and everything, and a lot of their stuff.
When it first opened particularly, I’ve been a few times now, I
enjoy looking at it. But initially there were so few things about the
Beatles that are on, that it hit me in the beginning.
SG: hit you?
F2: yes, you know, it’s the Beatles.
Things you can here and see, photographs of them and things that
I’ve never seen before, and stuff from the archives that I’ve never
SG: what’s your favourite bit?
F2: erm, I like the early years. I found that
interesting, the early bit, in the Cavern, Hamburg, the rock and roll
SG: how did that make you feel?
F2: that’s good that bit, because its before
they were famous. I think
before they were famous it was all sort of raw wasn’t it. You know,
much more interesting, I do like the later stuff as well though.
SG: so what is it about this place…it seems
quite important to you?
F2: I think its interesting to have a look at. I
wouldn’t mind having a look around their early life [on the tour], I
haven’t done that yet, and I’d like to go to Cavern walks, I think
that might be more than this really.
SG: so you weren’t satisfied with the cavern
as its done in here then?
F2: well, its just made up isn’t it! I need
the original stuff…but they have put some bits from the old Cavern
into the Cavern walks.
SG: do you think that will be a different
experience from this then?
F2: yes, this is good though, but after the
first time you get used to it, you know what to expect.
SG: so have your daughters inherited your love
of the Beatles?
Eldest Daughter; No…Gran does
F2: the youngest one does a bit, she buys me
Beatles stuff for Christmas.
SG: have they been in with you?
F2: she did years ago, but they are not that
interested in going in or anything. I’m working on it!
SG: its not genetic then!