Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Arriving in Style

February 8, 1961

The Beatles keep on truckin', playing the 7th at a new venue, Merseyside Civil Service Club.  Then two gigs today, a Wednesday, the Aintree Institute and Hambleton Hall.

Neil Aspinall is an old friend of the Beatles and remembers grabbing smokes between classes with George out behind the sheds on the playground of the school they both attended.  He also rented a room the Pete Best's house in Hayman's Green above the Casbah, so he really can't avoid the Beatles, even if he wants to.  The Beatles are getting weary of individually dragging equipment around to various dance halls, so they make an offer to Neil.  Become our part time "road manager" and we'll pay you 5 shillings per gig.  Neil buys a well used Commer van and starts ferrying the boys and their stuff to the gigs.  What an improvement in life style that must have been for them!

Pretty soon, the van becomes a moving bulletin board for the band, posters pasted on and fan messages scrawled onto the brushed on two-tone paint job.

As the years pass, Neil will stick with the Beatles and share many of their adventures from behind the scenes.  He will die of lung cancer in March of 2008.  RIP, Neil.

The Beatles and Neil's Commer van

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