Friday, February 01, 2008

Should Brian Epstein Be Like Porridge

There's news today of a plan by Liverpol City Councillors to erect a statue to Brian Epstein. It reminds me of the ironic wisdom of Spike Milligan

Why is there no monument
To Porridge in our land?
It it's good enough to eat,
It's good enough to stand!

On a plinth in London
A statue we should see
Of Porridge made in Scotland
Signed, "Oatmeal, O.B.E."
(By a young dog of three)

The Beatles mananger who died from an overdose of sleeping pills in 1967 aged 32 is not the kind of man who would want a statue according to a former friend. "I think it's rubbish, I don't believe in statues of any kind," said Mr Makin, who used to live next door to Epstein and helped arrange his funeral. "Brian's work with the Beatles is there - it doesn't need any monument.

Not so according to Councillor Eddie Clein, who proposed the motion along with Councillor Steve Rotherham. Eddie Clein knew Epstein when his played at the Cavern Club in the 60s. "I spoke to the council and 88 out of 90 councillors thought it was an excellent idea."

Spike nails it, there's no need for such statues. His legacy stands through his work with the Beatles and this kind of thing is an irrelevance. Indeed who should have a statue raised to them? It used to be heroes (and there's far to few of them these days), great leaders (ditto) and the like. I'm not sure they're not becoming a thing of the past. Although I have to say the kissing couple at St Pancras station is an exception.


Wolfie said...

I think this has a lot more t do with tourism than any adoration of Mr Epstein, Liverpool council is determined to turn the city into a Beatles theme park in order to boost income at any price.

Richard Evans said...

They'd be better off erecting a statue to Bill Shankley - although they probably already have.

Not sure about that kissing couple statue in St Pancras, Richard. I think it looks a bit 'pants' and will date very quickly. Unlike the statue of Betjemen which is timeless.

And taking of statuary, is there anyone here who, like me, can't stand the work of Anthony Gormley? I think his 'Angel of the North' is truly ghastly and pretencious.

r morris said...

It might be kind of nice to put a statue of him in the record department of the family store in London, looking at a Beatles record, but that wouldn't help Liverpool. I think Wolfie is right--it's a tourism move, and a good one. If it were there, I'd probably go take a couple pix.

Christine said...

Please read the reply to this post. It might make the subject a bit clearer in your minds ~ but who knows.

I've been waiting over 40 years to see Eppy given his due ~ it's about time. He was not as insignificant as you wish to make him.

So he's also being used as another tourism thing. So what. We're using the tourism thing to promote Brian, so we're even. :)

But, when it comes to a statue ~ well, I'd be a bit afraid of what the sculptor might come up with. I've seen precious few artistic depictions of Brian that suited him.

Richard Havers said...

Christine, you completely miss my point, or I didn't make it too well. :)

I admire greatly what BE did, but I like Spike Milligan think statues are a bit daft. I think the tourism link is a bit daft too. I don't think it will affect the tourist trade one iota, other than to put another stop on the Beatles trail (I assume there is such a thing).

I agree too with your fears over what the statue might look like.

Are there any statues of John & George?

Christine said...

Ah, Lennon, yes.

This one in front of the Cavern

This one, at John Lennon Airport (scroll down the page)

A pic of Yoko with the statue

(again, scroll down)

...and I'm sure there are more.

There are several Beatles "trails" and, as always, Eppy is seen as nothing but a footnote ~ his childhood home, his flat he gave to John & Cyn temporarily, the record store which is not there anymore ~ it's an Ann Summers store now... his gravesite is beautiful, but isn't visited in most of the Fab 4 tours. Perhaps that's as it should be for that one.

We wouldn't complain about a few more Brian stops. :)

But okay, yeah, statues can get a little overdone, depending.

Richard Havers said...

Thanks Christine, some great info there....

r morris said...

Christine, good post!
I am, and have been since age four or five, a big Beatles fan. Brian Epstein is a fascinating figure. As I stated in an earlier post, if the statue were there, I'd go take pix and look at it. There are a lot of Americans who would. When I'm in London this summer, I plan to go find the stripy sidewalk at Abbey Road (is it still there?) and Strawberry Fields, etc.
Sad to hear that Epstein's record store is no more.
I like your website, and what you are doing to keep the flame burning.
Great job, once again.

r morris said...

As to how Brian would be depicted, I always think of him looking with a mixture of adoration and cash-regiter-ka-ching at his boys, the Beatles. He was obviously smitten with them. I would hope the homophobes would leave the statue alone, and that he would not be portrayed as overly effeminate. A statue should capture a person's character, but without denigrating him/her.

Christine said...

Wow, thanks guys! *blush*
I've got a few Eppy websites out there, most of which I don't keep up with on the regular basis that I should. My daily post (not always Brian-related) is

Yes, of course it's still there ~ I cannot see them ever taking *THE* striped crosswalk away from Abbey Road. There's a fella named Richard Porter who conducts Beatle tours in London, and an old Brian friend (some say boyfriend) named Eddie Porter who conducts Liverpool Beatle tours. Don't know if the Porters are related, I doubt it. There are lots of other Beatles tours, especially in the 'pool. (Google london beatles tours or liverpool beatles tours)

Below would be the pose that IMO would make quite a nice statue:
Click: Brian
However, I wouldn't trust anyone to sculpt his face. I've seen some scary Brian depictions, hahaa.

And hey, Richard, we're the same age!!! Most of my online friends are between 14 and 30... which is really fun.

Trubes said...

Hello again Richard: As a resident of Liverpool and an ardent Beatles fan (I was there when it was happening in the 60`s), I feel Brian Epstein should be commemorated, as have the other Beatles. The new Beatles, themed Hotel in the City has, I believe, a statue of each of the Beatles in Situ.
He was certainly instrumental in helping to make them the world famous group that they are. If he hadn`t spotted their raw talent, who knows how they would have turned out ?
I don`t doubt Lennon and McCartney would have had great success but not sure about Ringo. George Harrison certainly was an accomplished guitarist but lacked personality.
Put the four very different individuals together and wow! what a fantastic group. Bring in Brian Epstein and add a few orchestrations from George Martin ....Result..... The Beatles....Dynamite !
I used to go to the Cavern to see all the Liverpool groups including the Beatles. Cilla Black worked there as a cloakroom attendant, she used to get up and belt out a few ballads when the other groups were taking a break. She had a terrific voice then, and "Eppy" eventually became her manager too, Golden Days !

Yes, I say. Let`s have that Statue. Liverpool owes Brian Epstein a lot !

Richard Havers said...

I guess I'm just not much of a statue kind of a guy. As I've said I have huge respect for what Brian did. Without him and what Andrew Loog Oldham did for the Beatles and the Stones respectively who knows what might have happened.

I love the Beatles music, and love everything they achieved. It's just states!

Christine said...

Beatle-y statues!

Here's a good site to keep up with all things Beatle-y.

And trubes? I'm jealous. ;P

Trubes said...

Christine: To make you even more jealous.... I have actually met Paul McCartney..We were parked alongside him in a traffic jam in the City. He was driving an Aston Martin and his Dad was in the passenger seat. I told him how much I loved the Beatles new record, "She loves you". He asked if I would like to hear it, and he played it there and then, on the six track tape player in his car. Now, this was again in the 60's, well before many people had tape decks in their cars, certainly only the rich and famous had them.
My eternal memory of that moment was the look of pride on his
Father`s face, priceless !

Glad you're such a fan.

Richard Evans said...

Trubes . . . . George Harrison lacked personality?? Are you serious? One of the loveliest and nicest blokes you could ever wish to meet. Oozing personality all over the place. You obviously never met him.

r morris said...

Thanks for the info on the Beatles tours. I'll be taking one or both. :)
Keep the flame burning!!

Christine said...

Thanks, Rob! :D

Christine said...

Trubes ~ yeah, you're right, I'm even more jealous. What a story. I might repeat it in a LiveJournal post, if that's all right.

There are plenty of flisters (people on my friends-list) who will indeed be wacked-out by that.

But me, I'm not as envious as I'd be if it had been Eppy, y'know.

In that case, I'd want to smack you one! ;P


Christine said...

Hey, richard evans ~
Trubes probably meant that George didn't have that blatantly "out there" personality. His was delightfully dry, bizarre and laid-back.

Not surprising that he teamed up with the Pythons later on.

And... he knew a lady who took her legless dog for a slide every morning.

r morris said...

I'm an American from the outlands who is going to be in England in June. Could you give me some tips on places to visit to connect with the Beatles legend?
Rob Morris

Richard Evans said...

Rob, here you are:

John's house at Mendips, Menlove Avenue, Liverpool
Paul's house at 20 Forthlin Road, Liverpool
George's house at 12 Arnold Grove, Liverpool
Ringo's house at 10 Admiral Grove, Liverpool
The Cavern (or what's left of it) in Matthew Street, Liverpool
Strawberry Field, Woolton, Liverpool
Penny Lane, Liverpool
Abbey Road Studios, Abbey Road, London NW8
Paul's house at 7 Cavendish Avenue, NW8 round the corner from Abbey Road
George's beautiful house at Friar Park, Henley-on-Thames
Indica Gellery, 56 Mason's Yard, W1 where John first met Yoko
57 Wimpole Street, London W1 where Paul lived at Jane Asher's family house
Marylebone Station where they filmed the opening of 'A Hard Day's Night'
3 Savile Row, home of Apple and where the rooftop concert was.
57 Green Street, W1 where all four Beatles moved to from Liverpool in 1963.
Kenwood, John's house in St george's Hill, Weybridge
Sunny heights, Ringo's home in St George's Hill too
Kinfauns, Georgwe and Pattie's house on the Claremont Estate, Esher

whew, you're going to have a busy vacation . . .

Christine said...

Thanks, Richard, for getting there before me ~ because I am pretty strictly an Eppy lover, and not all that interested or knowledgeable about the actual Beatles places. (Brian would be ashamed of me.) ;P

Now, Brian places, I see you failed to mention. :)

197 Queens Drive, in the Childwall area of Liverpool, was Brian's childhood and young adult home. His parents lived there until Harry Epstein died, then the house was sold shortly before Brian himself died. He was planning on moving Queenie into a Belgravia home to be near him, and indeed was in the process of furnishing it.

There should be a plaque posted there, but apparently the present residents do not want any more attention than they have to "suffer" through already.

24 Chapel Street, Belgravia, London was Brian's last home, and where he died.
There should also be a plaque there. Same above excuse for its absence.

Perhaps with all the new Eppy tribute hysteria going on now (ha haa!) there will soon be plaques as well as the planned L'pool statue of Brian.

There are other, minor, Brian stops around ~ but I would imagine they would be interesting only to us hardcore eppymaniacs.

Hope I helped a bit on the Brian side of the trip, Rob! I'm crossing my fingers that I will be able to make the Liverpool trip when The Fifth Beatle movie premieres there at the end of the year.

r morris said...

Thanks, Richard and Christine.
I think I need to plan a full day of my business trip to allow for some Beatle-tripping.
Richard, I will hit as many of these as I can find. I guess if worst comes to worse, I can follow all the sixty-year-old men with pony-tails, safari shirts and bermuda shorts and they will lead me to these spots.
As an American, the spots seem almost mystical to me. It's probably different to Brits, who see these spots as just places that the Beatles happened to be. I used to look at the Abbey Road photo, in particular, and wonder who all the people in the background were.

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