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So, I went for a drink with Mark Lewisohn...
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6 April 2014
9.10pm
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Joe
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I had the enormous pleasure of meeting one of my heroes yesterday. I've been pretty obsessed with Mark Lewisohn's books since a kindly aunt gave me a copy of the Complete Recording Sessions for my 15th birthday. He's one of the greats, but we all knew that.

I went to the Laugharne Weekend yesterday. It's a literature/comedy/music/drinking festival in a small town in west Wales where Dylan Thomas used to live. Mark was one of the speakers. I bought a ticket just for his appearance, which was supposed to be accompanied by a screening of Snodgrass. In the end they couldn't get the film to work so it was an extended Q&A with Mark and Snodgrass's writer David Quantick.

The talk covered a fair amount of stuff that's in Tune In (the George Martin/Norrie Paramor rivalry, the background to the EMI deal etc), but there were a lot of other little anecdotes and facts I'd not heard before. Mark said he'd recently been given access to the NEMS/Epstein archive so he's been poring through the documents, and is currently researching the Japan tour. He said he's looking forward to untangling the Apple story and the Maharishi episode in book three, both of which are already offering previously untold stories. All These Years will finish "some time in the 1970s", so won't go up to Lennon's death (unless he changes his mind between now and 2028, of course).

He said that his first book, The Beatles Live!, caught the attention of Paul McCartney, who said it was the best Beatles book he'd ever read. Mark started working for Paul on the latter's autobiography (!), but the project came to nothing - he suggested it was because Paul didn't like being contradicted when his recollections conflicted with the facts. This was part of a wider discussion about Early Days on the New album, George telling him "You weren't there, so how could you know?" and how a historian is able to evaluate and analyse evidence as an outsider.

After the talk Mark was signing copies of Tune In. I'd brought along my copy of the extended special edition (ESE) and we had a chat which went something like this:

"Could you sign it to Joe please? Um... we actually follow each other on Twitter. I run a website called the Beatles Bible."
"Oh, you're Joe? Well I'm pleased to meet you. Are you here for the weekend?"
"No, I came just to see your talk. I'll be heading home soon."

Then he said one of the greatest phrases in the English language:

"Well, we should go for a pint then."

So we did, me and my friend Adam, and Mark and his lovely wife Anita. He was very generous with his time, and we had a good chat about The Beatles, writing about The Beatles, and other things Beatles. He's a great guy, very affable and warm, curious and interested in what other people have to say. For someone who knows he's at the top of the tree and the effect he's had on other people (he said several people told him they'd been inspired to become studio engineers/producers after reading the Complete Sessions book) he's remarkably unaffected.

I won't go into everything that we discussed, but he did say the ESE is currently being reprinted. It's expensive to make and the publishers are worried they'll have unsold stock, so the print run is quite limited (he and Anita weren't sure of the exact figure but suggested it's just a few thousand). So if you're interested, don't hang around. That said, I think Little, Brown have committed to reprinting it as long as there's demand, so there may be future runs after this one.

He knew we had two Tune In threads on this forum (info and spoilers), so he pays attention to what's being said online (he said he absolutely doesn't ever join in anonymously on discussions about his books). He much prefers people to talk about the revelations within rather than the artwork, availability, formats or whatever, but that's an author's perspective rather than a reader's.

I didn't think to ask him about Carnival Of Light. Sorry. I did get his email address (I Photoshopped it out of the business card) but I promised not to bug him with day-to-day stuff. I'm sure someone in his position could field queries from curious Beatles fans all day and never get any work done.

In the end I had to leave the pub as I had to get home to put the kids to bed (yes, some things are even more important than The Beatles). No regrets.

<warm, fuzzy glow>

mark_lewisohn.jpgImage Enlarger

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6 April 2014
9.58pm
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Mr. Kite
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That's really exciting! I've been reading the Compete Recordings today, and it's (obviously) a great book. I don't have anything else by him but have been thinking about getting All These Years as soon as I finish reading all the books I currently have. I wish you'd asked about Carnival Of Light as that'd be some interesting information, but I understand why that would slip your mind sitting with one of your heroes! It must have been a fun night, congrats! apple01

If I spoke prose you'd all find out, I don't know what I talk about.

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7 April 2014
2.13am
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Billy Rhythm
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April's shaping up to be a most memorable month for you, first this, then Abbey Road Studios later on in the month!  No doubt that subject came up during this conversation, congrats...:-)

7 April 2014
11.05am
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Joe
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Billy Rhythm said
April's shaping up to be a most memorable month for you, first this, then
Abbey Road Studios later on in the month!  No doubt that subject came up during this conversation, congrats...:-)

Actually we didn't discuss that. He said he had a few more book tour dates coming up, including a Beatle fest somewhere, and asked if I went to any conventions. When I said I hadn't he said "Oh you must!" He's still a real, proper Beatles fan - he said he has an iPod with all their songs on shuffle, and keeps buying up Beatles-related stuff on eBay.

Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9) said
Thats awesome Joe, very cool. I was thinking about asking Tyler Coneys for an interview for the site if anyone thinks it would be a good idea. He taught John how to sail in 1979 and went on the Bermuda trip with him. I know his niece and live in his town. 

That's a good idea...

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7 April 2014
7.18pm
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Into the Sky with Diamonds
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7 April 2014
8.02pm
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meanmistermustard
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The threat of PS Love Me Do should be more than enough to make Joe confess, i honestly doubt there is a more repulsively detestably shocking unlistenable embarrassment in the whole of the Beatles & Solo catalogue. No words come anywhere close in describing how bad that song is. 

To ramp it up we can play the live version and then if somehow he gets thru we go for the first live cut, if he is still holding up we play the other. Obviously we will have to put headphones on him so none of us have to listen to something worse than truly crap.

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8 April 2014
9.13am
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Joe
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Zig said
Sounds like an amazing time. It's interesting to read that he follows our threads regarding his book. Thanks for sharing.

So, you have an autographed photo of George Martin and now an author autographed copy of Tune In. Seems to me your college fund for the kids is potentially well funded! 

That suggests I'd want to sell them one day for my children's education. It's not gonna happen. (I've also got Paul McCartney's and Pete Best's autographs, and I'm saving up for a complete Beatles set.)

Into the Sky with Diamonds said
Really ... and no new info on the Forum's favorite topic???

I didn't ask about any 'Who played what' stuff. He did say the Complete Recording Sessions was "in dire need of an update," but I didn't take that to mean he was planning to do one any time soon.

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Can buy me love! Please consider using these links to support the Beatles Bible: Amazon | iTunes

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