This last week has been surreal and why wouldn't it be...have you ever had the chance to actually sit with an ex-Beatle and hear about the legendary John, Paul, Ringo and George like they were actual people and not the immortal icons we know them as. I've spent the last few months and particularly the last couple of weeks furiously working on a campaign to promote the city of Liverpool. I moan a fair bit about my job when things get really hectic, Siddharth knows that and unfortunately has had to bear the brunt of my irritability, sudden bouts of angry tears, ranting and raving and sheer panic! Working on one of the largest and most demanding campaigns I've ever had to deal with has been crazy, but a real rush at the same time.
When I heard that Pete Best, the ex-drummer of the Beatles, and his band would be here to perform at the festival I was really excited, but once they were here I was completely tongue tied and really shy in front of him. Not that he is an intimidating or overwhelming person, in fact he's the most gentle and quiet person I've ever met, quietly observing all that is around him and smiling indulgently at his boisterous band mates! I listened to him talk to dozens of people over a couple of days, reporters, fans, my colleagues and so on, not having the guts to really ask him some of the questions that most people would want to, mostly because I think I've heard and learnt so much about what happened to him and what could have been that I actually started feeling pained about it and felt bad to ask him anything about his former band! However, Pete was candid, honest and simple in his responses to all the typical questions that he has probably got used to being asked. Why were you let go off? Are you in touch with any of the remaining living members? What do you remember of India (he was born in Chennai and left India when he was 4 years old), what do you think of Ringo Starr as a drummer and so on. Belting out Beatles hits with his band and other great rock and roll numbers
for all of us for the two performances he gave while in Delhi, reminded me of what he said about enjoying all the music the Beatles made and wanting to meet Paul McCartney, who he used to share a strong bond with and even went to jail with in Hamburg (a fact he's very proud of :))
Looking at him perform (I danced violently at both concerts, enjoying every minute of it and was thoroughly entertained by the rest of the band who are a crazy bunch - chaotic, fun and really know how to get a crowd going!) and remembering all that I've heard about his huge fan base when he was a Beatle (not surprising that there were a lot of women in it since he definitely had an edge over the other Beatles when it came to looks!)
and them screaming "Pete forever, Ringo never", his silence when dismissed by Brian Epstein,
the reason for which he still admits to not knowing, the boys hanging out with Pete's mother, Mona Best, who started the Casbah Club where they started playing; his friend having an affair with his mother resulting in the birth of his half brother Roag (who plays with him in the band now) and the same friend, Neil Aspinall, going on to head the Apple Corporation - the Beatles' business empire. I can't even imagine what he might have gone through, but seeing him now, a pleasant silver haired gentleman who can still bang the hell out of the drums, I think about all the bitching and moaning I've been doing over the last few months and think that maybe my job can really put me to the test at times, but I'm really privileged and honoured to have been part of something so special and getting to meet and
spend a little bit of time with someone who may not be as well remembered so well anymore as the "fifth Beatle" but who was one nevertheless!