For every flower that blooms there is a root and leaf system that supports and goes out far beyond what you would ever imagine…..It was the same for Merseybeat, the early eighties music boom in Liverpool and so on….a cast of unknown thousands that support and nurture a few blooming heads. Without them supporters, fans and backroom boys and girls nothing would happen!
And so it was with BREAKOUT fanzine……we played a very small but significant role in the overall picture of the early eighties music boom in Liverpool.
The scene was centred around a handful of venues, promoters and record shops all passionate about this new wave of music being produced……bands like The Icicle Works, Echo and The Bunnymen and Afraid of Mice were all flowers in the dirt looking to ‘breakout’ into the sunshine!
In 1981, less than a year after John Lennon was killed I interviewed Jim Hughes manager of the Cavern Mecca (Liverpool’s first ever Beatles Museum) about his campaign to erect a statue to John Lennon in Mathew Street……The article was first published in BREAKOUT No. 6 Jan 1982.
The other side of the coin…..A tribute to John Lennon and an interview with Jim Hughes (Manager of the Cavern Mecca and organiser of John Lennon Statue Appeal Fund)
For over a year now, John Lennon has been dead. Killed on the streets of New York on 8th Dec. 1980. I got to know about the shooting at 6pm the following day. My uncle knocked on my bedroom door, woke me up, and said; “Lennon’s dead, Johnny Lennon’s dead.” The world fell apart. The ‘immortal’ John Lennon, the man I’d grown up with. The working class hero was dead.
I can remember a bus journey to town, the day after. Everybody seemed to be in a state of shock. The entire city appeared to shed a tear for John Lennon. Or maybe I was looking for something that was never there. Either way, it was one of the saddest journeys of my life.
Liverpool has done little since towards the memory of John Lennon and the Beatles. Apart from the Kensington Estate Street names, Arthur Dooley’s statue in Mathew Street, and the Cavern Mecca. There’s nothing! But things seem to be changing. With the announcement of a new Beatles Museum, The John Lennon Medical centre and other activities. I spoke to the manager of the Cavern Mecca, and organiser of the John Lennon statue appeal fund, Jim Hughes. The interview took place in November 1981. We talked about the Lennon statue:
B’Out: What’s the point of a Lennon Statue?
Jim: The John Lennon statue was made by a local sculptor Alan Curran. He worked on it for 9 months, day and night. He made it in his living room, and he had to go through the ceiling, into the bedroom, because it was too big. This is how dedicated he was, he made a hole in the ceiling. It was just something he felt he had to do, when John died. Statues for me, I always feel, are for dead people. You know, for kings and queens. John’s gone now , and it seems more tangible to have a statue to John, then one to the Beatles. We just offered to fund raise for the statue, because we were more in a position to do so than Alan. Because we have the contacts.
B’Out: Where’s it going to be situated?
Jim: Well it’s up to Alan Curran really. But then again, it’s up to the city council. Alan would like it in Mathew Street.
B’Out: What do the council think of it?
Jim: We don’t really know yet: But the thing is, we’re hoping to get the statue up for John’s birthday, next year (1982) October 9th. The problem with the Beatles statue is that no one has really seen it, whereas Alan has already made the Lennon statue. It’s there. Whereas the Beatles statue doesn’t really exist. Alan’s spent something like £1000 out of his own pocket to make the mould. Which shows how genuine he is.
B’Out: How much money do you need?
Jim: We had an estimate from a foundry. About £10,000 which includes delivery, and another £1,000 to make the plinth.
B’Out: Do you think the people of Merseyside will appreciate it?
Jim: I think the majority of people will. Obviously there will be people who will say, Why should we have a statue for John Lennon?: John Lennon was so important to Liverpool. There’s got to be a statue for him. I mean there’s one in LA you know. We heard it cost £35,000 and it’s only 7 foot high! It was paid for by the council in Los Angeles and the Mayor had a civic reception for it, it was unveiled on John’s birthday, 1981.
B’Out: Do you think the city council should do something?
Jim: It’s a difficult time at the moment, and councillors are answerable to the ratepayers. So they can’t go spending their money any way they wish. But in Liverpool there’s always been an anti-Beatles thing. They say the Beatles left Liverpool in 1964. They did nothing for Liverpool once they became famous. Which is a stupid thing to say. The Beatles did a lot for Liverpool. They put Liverpool on the map!
B’Out: Any special point you would like to make?
Jim: Well I’d like to say, that it’s nice when people like you come along. It shows that there’s an interest in Liverpool. Not all of Liverpool is like the city council. It’s the people of Liverpool that counts, not these people who sit in their little offices and write notes!
This article appeared on page 22 and 23 of BREAKOUT Fanzine….Issue No. 6 Jan. 1982 written and interviewed by Philip Battle.
Do you remember where you were…..what you were doing when you heard that John Lennon had been shot? I’d be interested in hearing from you…..please feel free to leave your comments!
Also does anybody know what happened to the Alan Curran statue of Lennon?