Richard Porter, a life-long Beatles fan and expert on Beatlemania, who has met the group members on multiple occasions and has written a book about them. The first stop was in Soho Square where Paul McCartney’s London Office “MPL” is found. MPL stands for McCartney Productions Limited, not McCartney Paul & Linda as many have surmised. McCartney’s company owns the rights to many songs and a few musicals including Annie and Grease, but ironically and despite repeated efforts, it does not own the publishing rights to the Beatles catalogue. Next we visited Trident Records where “Hey Jude” was recorded. Other artists who recorded here included David Bowie, The Rolling Stones and Queen. We stopped in front of the entry to a gentlemen’s toilet on Broadwick St. in Soho where John Lennon participated in a sketch from the BBC Comedy Series “Not Only .. But Also” starring Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. John played Dan, the doorman of a trendy nightclub, who charged the exorbitant amount of 5 pounds to use the facilities in the underground men’s lavatory. John wore his trademark “granny glasses” for the first time, sparking a fashion trend. Then we went to Carnaby Street which used to be a favourite location for musicians including the Beatles, Stones and Kinks to go shop for clothing before it became too touristy. A large mural called “The Spirit of Soho” (1991) celebrates the historic venues and people associated with Soho, including Karl Marx, Handel, Isaac Newton and Casanova, who is depicted wearing an outfit reminiscent of the ones worn by the Beatles on their Sergeant Pepper album.
We thought it would be fun to have lunch on one of the floating restaurants and rest our feet before heading home. Unfortunately we just missed the lunch period for the first boat that we tried, but we had success getting a table at the “Darcie Green”, a brightly coloured boat that is connected to a floating coffee and cocktail bar called the “May Green”. Sharing a combined 50-meter upper deck overlooking the Grand Union Canal, the two boats were designed by British pop artist Sir Peter Blake. With glass windows and round port holes on both sides of the boat, you could get a good view of either the canal or the other shops and restaurants along the boardwalk.
It was a bit breezy and chilly on the canal so we warmed up and perked up by sharing a “house-made” hot chocolate with our meal. We each started with a spicy tuna tostada with avocado, yuzu cream made from the sour Japanese citrus yuzu fruit, and candied chili. Then we shared a plate of crispy breaded calamari, courgettes and green beans with a sauce cheekily called the “Ribman’s Holy F*ck sauce) and a sashimi salad with pieces of sea bass, salmon and tuna sashimi combined with mixed greens, avocado, pickled ginger and a soy/sesame dressing. This made for a nice lunch in a really cool setting.
Pawprint Trail” around London. Also found in this area were sculptures (created 1998 and 2000) by Sean Henry of a pair of casually dressed men, one as if out for a stroll and the other just standing around enjoying the scenery. A temporary exhibit from a series called “Collaborative Works” paired up painter Sinta Tantra, who paints on an architectural scale and sculptor Nick Hornby, who works in bronze and marble with the aid of 3-D modelling software. The collaboration is a set of images representing schematic designs for new sculptures. Had we arrived in this area at the beginning of the day, we would have explored more and found more sculptures and art to look at throughout Paddington Station and its surrounding streets. But after a long day of walking, we had no more energy to wander and just headed home after our late lunch.