Friday, December 9, 2011

Where is Aldershot?

December 9, 1961

There it is!  About 35 miles or 50 km south-west of London.

The Beatles have to get up early to pile themselves and their equipment into the Beatles van for the 9 hour drive down to Aldershot.  Sam Leach is thinking that he will never get any London booking agents up to Liverpool, so he must bring the mountain to Mohammad.  He books a string of evening performances for the Beatles at the Palais Ballroom in Aldershot.  Unfortunately, due to a minor comedy of errors, his promotional advertising campaign doesn't come off as planned so when the Beatles arrive, they find that there is no audience for them to play for.  They start an impromptu ad campaign of  their own, running around town and telling everyone about the free show at the Palais tonight.  They manage to bring in a "crowd" of 18 curious locals and... the show must go on... do their show for them.

That night, with no place to stay, they point the van to an underground club in London's Soho district run by an old Liverpool friend, Brian Cassar of Cass and the Cassanovas where they jump on stage for an ad hoc concert minus George.  Their inauspicious first London appearance.

This proves a disappointing experience for them and Leach.  Of course a gig a bit closer to London itself might have had a better effect, but to Liverpudlians with a hazy grasp of geography, London and "the south" were somewhat synonymous.

Who's that lefty bassist on stage?
When all else fails...  (Sam in front)
Just a small aside.  Whenever I look at my blog stats, it always makes my heart beat a little faster when I see someone visiting from the UK.  Anyone out there from Aldershot?

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