The pages of Evergreen yield some real gems of popular nostalgia as we make our seasonal journey of discovery across Britain. Reminiscences are always cherished and when we're working on each edition we love gaining an insight, from you and our valued contributors, into past decades. It is fascinating to see a picture take shape of the people, places, sights, sounds and events of a particular era - whether it was entertaining or epoch-making.
Personal recollections are, of course, the most powerful - from the poignant to the amusing. This was something that was, yet again, highlighted for me a few weeks ago when I met up with a dear friend who although we had kept in constant touch, we hadn't seen each other for 20 years!
We had worked together many moons ago and it was wonderful to catch up again. Although we are from different generations, our outlook, humour and perceptions are the same. As you can probably imagine, much talking, laughter and reminiscing ensued. It emphasised to us both the precious gift of friendship and how you can meet someone in the briefest moment, but the resulting friendship can endure across the years.
During the conversation my friend told me about her early years in Liverpool (she lived there until 1968). This is a city that has always captivated me, with the kaleidoscope of colourful, vibrant and gritty aspects to its character and heritage. From sea shanties to The Beatles, music is an intrinsic part of Liverpool culture and I was enthralled to discover that my friend had attended some of the concerts by The Beatles at The Cavern (Lucky girl!). She agreed that it was a tremendously exciting time and there was an overwhelming feeling that the city was where it was all happening as it launched the soundtrack of the decade. That might be easy to say in retrospect, but even back then she said there was a heightened awareness of something different and special unfolding. She vividly recalled descending into the smoky gloom of The Cavern, its walls dripping with condensation because it was packed with so many people, to be engulfed by the most incredible energy and sounds imaginable - in terms of the music and the screams of female fans! She admitted that you were swept along by the eager, relentless tide of youth and optimism. What fabulous memories to look back on.
When it comes to reminiscing, though, it's funny what little details stick in your mind. In my friend's case, her memories of The Cavern are linked with cauliflowers and the aroma of fruit and vegetables! Naturally, I was intrigued. What on earth connects the Fab Four with our five-a-day? She laughed as she explained that The Cavern was located in Mathew Street, close to the city's fruit and vegetable market, and often you'd find stray cauliflowers, and other vegetables, that had been kicked down the steps to land deep in Merseyside's magical melting pot of talent! It paints a lovely picture and, since hearing that priceless recollection, whenever I see a humble cauliflower, I can't help but smile.
The Beatles feature in the forthcoming autumn issue of Evergreen, published on 6th September (click here to order). An article looks back to 1962, when Pete Best was their drummer, and they played in the railway town of Swindon, one of their rare appearances in the West Country. They were billed on the poster as "The Most Popular Group in the North", but it wouldn't be long until "the North" would make way for "the World".