Music & Life When I visited Carnforth Station on Tuesday, there was a woman sitting on the platform eating a sandwich and reading a paper. She was sitting patiently waiting for her train to work or home or wherever and had obviously sat in that same spot every day for weeks, months or even years. It occurred to me as I sat on the train home that although I'd gone all the way there for the film connection, for the tourist attraction, it was just simply part of her life. Perhaps she'd seen the film, day to day, she paid it no mind, it was part of the furniture.

As I stood at the end of Penny Lane, looking at the street sign painted on the wall which I'd passed on hundreds of occasions, with a group consisting of some Irish people, Americans, Japanese and South African in front of a blue and yellow bus with the words Magical Mystery Tour printed on the side in multicoloured writing I knew exactly how that woman felt. Something I found common place, to these other people visiting the home of The Beatles was like a place of pilgrimage. They stood in front of it having their picture taken and the tour guide said he'd tell us about it when we got back on the bus. But I already knew what he was going to say.

Sometimes at Christmas when I carry the tree home with my Dad, the Magical Mystery Tour bus will slow down and I can tell we've become part of the commentary for the guide. But each time I've wondered what the tour is actually like. But it's not something that you would naturally do. Why would someone from a place a take a tour around that place and go to lots of places they've already been to and hear stories they've already heard? And pay twelve pound for the privilege? But curiosity finally got the better of me so and by 2:30 in the afternoon I was standing in the entrance to The Beatles Story wondering when the bus was going to arrive and to make it even more bizarre obsessing over getting a window seat so that could get to see everything.

I got the window seat. The bus wasn't full anyway so I didn't feel guilty that I was stopping someone who hadn't seen all this before from getting a good view. As we pulled out of the Albert Dock, the guide did the usual head count of who was from where and I was amazed to find I wasn't the only Liverpudlian on the bus. I wondered what their motivation was but didn't get close enough to ask. I was too busy singing along quietly to the music which was swelling up from a speaker at the front of the bus. For some reason, some songs sound better when you're traveling.

The bus seemed quite subdued. I remember how excited I'd been in Paris on the Eiffel Tower and I expected there to be a party atmosphere on board. But nothing. The German people behind be were talking to each other in English about politics. Did they know there was a interloper. Had I broken some code? The reason why this wasn't the case was clear when the guide actually asked how many Beatles fans there were on board. Only a couple of people put their hands up. They were doing it because it was the thing you did if you were in Liverpool. Like going to see the Liver Birds.

The possible ludicrousness of what I was doing can probably be expressed properly when I say that the bus passes by my house (or flat) every day. So my Mum and Auntie (who was staying overnight) sat on our balcony and waved at us and actually saw me waving back at them. Then a bit later the tour took in my own birthplace (which is now a pub and student accommodation as the tour guide described), my old school, playing field and a pub where a friend's band used to play. So actually I can say that people are paying get a tour of my life rather than some musicians who did quite well for themselves. Especially since I came from Speke where Paul lived and I went to the same primary school as him and since the bus doesn't go there I can say it's ignoring part of my life as well. But actually this is a tour of the lives of everyone in Liverpool. That every scouser knew a Beatle isn't really a cliché because it's true. A friend of a friend or a relative did know someone who dated a Beatle, or watched them play at The Cavern or even played with them.

But this actually made the tour fascinating. Like a DVD commentary I was getting to hear the stories behind the places. Although I knew that none of the places in the song 'Penny Lane' were in Penny Lane itself but at the junction at the top end, I'd never known about the Fire Station, which was in fact a mile away opposite what is now a Tesco. That it was a co-incidence that Eleanor Rigby was buried in the cemetery of the church that were Paul had met John. The trip hadn't been as stupid after all - I learnt things about my own city which I'd never known before.

As the bus swung through the city I realized that I was hearing the song in a different way - The Beatles had always been writing about their own life, that lyrics in songs like Strawberry Fields Forever however odd they might seem were actually entirely clear from another point of view, in context. As the tour progressed, and people went to more place the excitement level increased. People were getting to see these places they'd always heard about. We all had those songs in common and now we had this experience in common as well.

Which meant that by the time I got to The Cavern I was slightly disappointed that I'd been there so many times before. For some people (including the giddy Japanese girl) it was the highlight of the tour and the free gift postcard something to treasure. I wanted to have that excitement, to be saying "I can't believe I'm here." But then I realized that I should just feel lucky - I can go to these places whenever I want to, and for that reason I shouldn't take them for granted they way I had been. They were my Eiffel Tower and in that way just as special. I'm from Liverpool, home of The Beatles. How cool is that?

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