Had to take another driving trip to Canberra – Australia’s national capitol – and so I called into the country town of Goulburn, which is along the way. There’s a big old second-hand book and record store there called the Argyle Book Emporium. I wrote about this shop once before when I discovered three copies of “Q” magazine there which were of interest.
When I got to the Argyle Emporium I headed straight to the room the owner uses to store his records, music books, and music magazines. As I said in the previous post, searching here is pretty frustrating as everything is just a free-for-all, with masses of unsorted discs on shelves and in boxes all over the place. There is so much that it is difficult to know where to start, and it’s one of those places where you get the distinct impression that the whole collection has already been picked over very thoroughly by collectors….Not surprisingly after pretty solid search I didn’t find anything of much interest amongst the records, and so I turned my attention to some boxes of magazines in one corner. There I found three items – two “Q” magazines from way back in 1993, and an “Uncut” magazine from a relatively recent 2010.
Both “Q” mags had info of interest to the Beatles collector. The June 1993 edition had and article about Irish photographer Kieron Murphy who in April 1971 was sent to cover John Lennon recording what would become the “Imagine” album:
Ummm…if you can get past the rather striking cover photo of Terence Trent D’Arby (and yes, there is more of the same, only more, inside the magazine) you can see on the left-hand side a reference to a legendary and historic lost photo session for “Imagine”. It took place just outside London at John Lennon’s home, Tittenhurst Park. Of this very special assignment Kieron Murphy says “Meeting him was the high point of my life. I’d never met anyone so famous and I suppose I still haven’t. When I got there it was five o’clock in the afternoon and he was having breakfast…..More people began to arrive, like Klaus Voorman (bass player), and Alan White (drummer), and Nicky Hopkins who was playing the piano; then George Harrison came along, and there they were, all having a cup of tea.”
Kieron Murphy captured some great images for “Sounds”, the magazine he was working for at the time. If anyone has seen the documentary “Gimme Some Truth – The Making of John Lennon’s Imagine Album” (released in 2000) then these black-and-white photographs will look familiar. Like that film, Murphy has captured a unique point in musical history – being played out amongst scenes of very ordinary domesticity. There are only six photographs in the magazine but they are special.
The other “Q” magazine comes from December 1993:
Kate Bush adorns the cover but what caught my eye was the heading: BEATLES EXCLUSIVE – John, Paul, George, Ringo and Nicola?!
It’s a neat little four-page article and photo essay, a where are they now piece on the whereabouts of the little girl called Nicola who appears in the Beatles 1967 film “Magical Mystery Tour” and who is name-checked and immortalised on the track-listing on both the album and the original EP cover. You can see this in the printed title for the song “I Am the Walrus”, which has the hand-written subtitle (“No you’re not!” said Little Nicola):
Well, in 1993 “Q” magazine tracked Nicola down and told the story of how she and her mum, Pam, ended up appearing in the MMT film. They found Nicola Hale, then aged 30, living in Forest Park on the outskirts of Chicago. She was working at a drop-in centre for young people with substance abuse problems. The article has some great photographs of Nicola in scenes with Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and this one mucking around with a soccer ball on the bus with Ringo Starr:
That’s her mum Pam on the right, and the carefully preserved dresses they wear in the scene are shown in colour in an insert at top right. All the pictures, newspaper clippings and memorabilia shown in the article come from the collection of Nicola’s father, Dave Hale.
Its a great little article and well worth having. I wonder where Little Nicola Hale is today? She would be 48 years old. Does anyone have any information? Please let us know.
The final magazine is much more recent – an “Uncut” from the UK, dated August 2010:
Basically this is Part One in a four-part series where the magazine looks at what each Beatle did following the break-up of the band. The first in the series was John Lennon:
“Confidants, band members and therapists reveal all about the cold turkey and primal scream therapy, the relationship meltdowns, the battles between pacifism and revolution – and the extraordinary music of the Plastic Ono Band.”
With great photographs throughout this article ranges over 10 pages. It features the reminiscences of a range of people including Andy Stephens who was a tape operator at EMI’s Abbey Road studios during the rush recording of the song “Instant Karma” in 1970. (We learn in the article that Stephens is now the manager of Susan Boyle!). He relates a revealing story of Lennon enjoying a rare moment of privacy at Abbey Road in 1970:
“It was about two in the morning. He asked me to have a look out the front. There were always fans hanging around….I told him the fans had gone. John got hold of Yoko and they turned left and walked up Abbey Road. They came back 15 minutes later. John had a wonderful grin on his face. I mean, just a wonderful wonderful grin. He said, ‘You’ve no idea what it’s like to go for all that time without getting hassled.’ It was such a buzz for him. He’d gone 15 whole minutes without getting stopped.”
Footnote: Interestingly, in looking up the “Uncut” magazine site I discovered that the Beatles are in fact this month’s cover story as well:
It’s all about the Beatles time in Hamburg. The issue comes with a free CD called “Sounds of the Star Club” with 16 tracks of songs covered by the Beatles, including tracks by Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, Fats Waller, Little Richard, Gene Vincent, Ray Charles and Elvis Presley.