My poll has been running for a couple of weeks now so time to reveal the results.
It was 3 to 1 against preserving Ringo’s birthplace. Not a surprise really as Ringo has done a pretty good job at alienating the populace of our fair city. I met him once and he came across as a pretty ordinary guy, quite rough and ready in fact.
But now the case for the defence!
In my opinion we should preserve Ringo’s birthplace and here’s why.
The economic impact of Beatles tourism on the city is immense. It runs to £10’s of millions a year both directly via things like the Magical Mystery Tour and Beatles Day to indirect events like the Mathew Street Festival. Whilst the destruction of one of the Fab Four’s birthplaces will not diminish this greatly, it will certainly tarnish the tourist experience and it will go around the world that the city council has done this.
Secondly, and more importantly, we need to understand the wider cultural significance of the Beatles as a phenomenon. The Beatles quite simply defined popular music for the next 50 years. Before the Beatles (or BB as I like to say) the best you could hope for in terms of pop music was Lonnie Donegan or Adam Faith. I have played Lonnie Donegan tunes and believe me sophisticated they are not!
After the Beatles (AB) the world awoke to the possibility of playing sophisticated popular music and poetry which reflected the experience of ordinary people. ‘In My Life’ was played at my father’s funeral as I am sure it is played at many. They projected ordinary people’s lives onto the world stage, ‘She’s Leaving Home’ was a song not possible in the 1950’s. The psychedelic ‘Day in the Life’, with great percussion from Ringo, showed what was possible in the expression of the imagination in popular music.
This was done by a group of ordinary Liverpudlians who are acknowledged by musicians and songwriters that followed in the 1960’s and 70’s as the biggest artistic influences of their careers.
We should acknowledge that the most ordinary of this group was typical of the people of this city and, with all his faults, he represents Liverpool whether we like him or not.
So, let’s take a wider view and acknowledge the significance of Ringo by preserving his birthplace, even if just the facade.
God forbid we should hold against him the fact that he is an ordinary flawed individual. He may be this but he is also a citizen of our city who played a major part in changing the cultural face of the planet.