McCartney, Michael Jackson and me: Oh, get a room!

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Paul McCartney: Step Inside Love/Los Paranoias
McCartney, Michael Jackson and me: Oh, get a room!

Mostly when I travel I don’t much care about the room I stay in other than hoping for a decent bed and a functioning shower.

If you are doing your travel right, you never spend any time in the room anyway.

But in Liverpool I set some kind of world record for transience.

I’d barely been in the room a minute when the phone rang and I got the message I had to leave.

So I can’t tell you much about the famous and new A Hard Day’s Night Hotel in Liverpool other than they have Beatles’ music playing constantly, there are Beatle photos and artwork everywhere, and that the building was elegant and old but had been massively renovated.

But what would I know?

So long A Hard Day’s Night, I hardly knew ya.

There was a good reason I had to drag my suitcase back down to the lobby, down the steps to the street, through a shopping mall complex and along cobbled streets to another hotel . . . But that was just the last in a line of disasters that had begun back in London that morning.

The plan was simple: pick up a hire-car and drive to Liverpool.

But morning traffic in London meant getting to the hire car place about 10 minutes away from Brixton where we were staying took more than half an hour -- and when we got there they had no cars. Not even one we had booked.

We had to wait. And wait.

After more paperwork than I have ever endured in a car-hire place anywhere we sat and waited some more.

Oh. And did I mind that it wouldn’t be the automatic as requested?

Well, what choice do I have?

Ah, none.

The minutes turned past an hour and then some.

Finally a car arrived.

We now had to drive through central London to connect to the M1.

Two hours after we’d hugged goodbye to one my sons in Brixton we were crawling past the end of his street again on our way to . . .

Well, on our way to a traffic jam around Hyde Park.

We arrived in Liverpool just in time to catch evening rush hour, got trapped in their dead-end one-way system and finally found the Hard Day’s Night Hotel by pure accident.

I double-parked out front and went in to confirm the room.

There had been no booking. I called the woman who had made it, and she wasn’t around. I left a message asking her to call me.

No matter, we paid for a room saying we’d sort it out later. Now, where to park the car?

“But that’s about three miles away,” I said when the doorman explained something about driving to the end of the street and turning right and then left when I got the main road and going along there until I saw . . .

Apparently when I got out of the car park I could come up through the shopping mall just down the block. Uh-huh.

And no, it wouldn’t be fine to just drop the bags then park, it would be just as easy to bring them back. Uh-hu.

So we parked the car, dragged the luggage through the mall and cobbled streets, hauled them up the steps into the lobby, squeezed them into the tiny lift, got to the room opened the door, dropped the bags -- and the phone rang.

All a mistake, said the woman calling me back.

We weren’t booked in here, but at another place.IMG_0391

And so, tired and hot and sweaty, we were going to have to repeat the journey to elsewhere.

Because it is the first thing I do on entering a room, I already had picture for Windows on Elsewhere (right), but I took a photo of the painting of McCartney over the bed (above).

And then we were gone.

It was a shit of day and I thought I deserved better.

But shit can happen, even on your birthday.

Later that night feeling slightly better I rationalised: Life could be worse.

We turned on the television and sure enough, for a lot of people life was worse.

Michael Jackson was dead at 50.

He would never see another hotel room, indeed any room, ever again.

No matter how briefly.

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Keegan - Jul 10, 2010

I used to travel to Liverpool a lot to watch my beloved Reds at Anfield .... the trains work perfectly and you get to read the excellent newspapers and drink beer. But then you knew that.

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