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Twenty Sixth Annual Beatle Convention in Liverpool.
Wednesday 23rd  - Tuesday 29th August 2005

Welcome to our rapidly changing city. For those of you who only travel to the city once a year, you will be extremely surprised at how much the skyline is changing and by the time you revisit (hopefully next year) it will have changed again. For those who haven’t been for a number of years I wouldn’t be surprised if you get lost, so much has radically changed. It’s a happening place, with everything geared to 2008 when the City of Liverpool has been afforded the title ‘European Capital of Culture’. One thing of course, which will not change, is that you will have a trip to remember, re-establishing old friendships and developing new ones. All because of four lads from Liverpool, do they realize just what they have done? The last week in August could never be the same without our annual fix of Beatle Week! Highlights this year? Too many to mention but to whet your appetite don’t miss Gerry and The Pacemakers at the Pier Head as part of the Mathew Street festival on Saturday, Donovan on Saturday at the Empire, The Merseybeat Extravaganza on Monday, Hal and Frank’s Apple Jam in the American bar, The Prellies All- Nighter on Sunday, The Mathew Street Festival On Monday, The Open Mic in the American Bar on Sunday early evening, The Grammy Show, The Poll Winner’s Tribute, The Convention, oh yeah and a Beatle – Pete – on Sunday. Oh and what about Joey (Badfinger), Terry (Hollies), Tony Sheridan, Mark Lewisohn and the The Original Quarrymen? That doesn’t even include The Hamsters and Lightning Seeds at the Pier Head! 

You know what you will feel like on
Wednesday morning, don’t you – and just for Tineke Mulder from Holland, the Empire Theatre shows are smokefree – see, we think of everything. If you are staying Wednesday night you can ‘Keep on Running’ as The Spencer Davis Group return to the Cavern Club. It’s been another busy year for the Cavern Club, hosting many sold out and historic gigs including Arctic Monkeys (whose album was the UK’s fastest-ever selling debut album, beating both Oasis and the Beatles). We had John Daly the US golfer, who managed to get full page reviews in EVERY UK national newspapers (13) plus BBC, Sky, CNN and the national press of Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand, India etc. Weird one that!! John Daly got more column inches than Paul’s historic return to The Cavern Club in 1999 (though Paul’s column inches were front page news, not tucked away in the Sports or Features sections). 

Bill was busy with the Smoke-Free
Liverpool campaign which resulted in the British Government introducing smoke free legislation throughout the country from next year. So, by 2016 the whole of Beatle Week will be smoke free! Next year Liverpool celebrates its 800th Birthday, King John granted a charter in 1207, and guess what the party date is? Yes, you’ve guessed it, Tuesday 28th August, 2016, the last day of Beatle Week!!!! The Empire is booked for a party which promises to be very special. Thus next year you will need to plan to stay an extra night as the City will go nuts! Happy Birthday Liverpool. 

Hopefully if things work
out you may be able to stay in the Hard Days Night Hotel. At the moment it looks like opening in September but if they regain a little time, will be going for an August opening. The plans will be revealed this weekend in the Empire Room of the Adelphi. You’ll be able to see the designs, the layouts, the floor plans and some of Shannon’s work which will adorn the Hotel. At last (says Bill!) Cavern City Tours will not own or operate it, but have good solid contracts, consultancies and non-executive directorships so they are very excited about everything. The cost is £17.5 million (and rising) and if you are thinking tacky Beatle-themed, think again. More likely understated, subtle and elegant. It is going to shock a lot of people and will have been worth the wait! First one to stay in every one of the 110 rooms gets the ice-creams in. Beatle-wise it just never stops does it. Excuse the list format but it was another bumper year; Paul’s best album for yonks, another tour, Glastonbury DVD, and Live8 DVD, Chaos and Creation at Abbey Road, 10 years of LIPA, Paul’s Grammy performance, Paul Live in Space (!!) together with another Ringo album and tour, George’s new boxed-set of the Concert for Bangladesh, and as if to top it all we get ‘The Capitol Years Volume 2’, Cirque de Soliel, (Here comes the Cirque de Soliel) and maybe, just maybe, a new album mixed by George Martin and his son. When will it end? The answer to that is very clear – it won’t. 

Ringo is having playing fields in
Liverpool named after him and the 10,000 indoor arena at the Albert Dock is taking shape nicely. What price ‘The Macarena’ – only joking! Happy belated birthday greetings from all of us Paul, and we send our love and support to him at this difficult time for Paul, Heather and Beatrice. 

Another year means revolving doors
and perhaps the greatest loss this year has been Billy Preston, who fell into a coma in November and passed away recently. We had been negotiating with his management up until November for Billy to come Beatle Week where he was wanting to play and record at the Cavern, so the loss is perhaps even more poignant. 

As one gem goes out of the revolving
door another one comes through it and this year we welcome Baby Cole, who looks remarkably like Jack from the Faux, but who is the son of our very own Neil B, who this year will be in the Cavern Club for a week (rather him than me!) as Master of Ceremonies! Don’t forget to look out for the very special 50th Anniversary of the Cavern Club on 16 January 2016, there are many great things planned. 

Absent friends who send their love to
all of their fans this year include Det Betales, Tripper, Lawrence Gilmour, Liverpool and the Fab Faux. A very big thank you to Bergt Warmlind who has provided us with many of the excellent photographs included in this programme ( Thanks to Nina, Ian, Ray and Vikki who all helped Bill with this year’s programme, Jean Catheral, as usual, and my hard working and hard drinking staff who as always give it their all for at least one week every year. Love to everyone, have fun. 

Bill Heckle,
Slug and Lettuce, August 2006






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