I was very flattered and excited to have taken part in last month’s prestigious Richmond Literature Festival. On November 10 Dr Holly Tessler interviewed me at The Exchange in Twickenham about my book The Beatles and Fandom. The author interview also acted as a launch of the paperback edition.
Holly and I discussed an alternative history of the Beatles phenomenon: a fans’ history of the Beatles that runs concurrently with the popular story we all know in a fascinating Q&A with the audience. The questions ranged from Slash fiction to Beatles tribute bands. We fielded a challenging question on the Beatles being no more than a heritage and nostalgia act: we responded by arguing that the Beatles’ work is appropriated by fans and it is consistently morphing into new shapes via mash-up videos on YouTube and innovative fan art.
The audience’s comments on the book were idiosyncratic and flabbergasting, reminding me of Chaucer’s poem ‘Go, little book!’, the phrase meaning that, once sent out into the world, the book takes on a life of its own. And judging by the comments of my readers – it certainly has! Holly, the Director of the Beatles MA at the University of Liverpool, was a brilliant interviewer – her deep knowledge of the Beatles is honed by her experience of steering the degree to great success – recent articles about Holly’s MA in the New York Times and Rolling Stone are a testament to this! Bruce Welch of the Shadows joined us on stage and told lustrous stories of time spent in the company of the Beatles, describing Paul McCartney singing Yesterday to him alone.
I rounded the evening off talking with the DJ Gary Crowley and writer Tony Barrell. Afterwards, I signed copies and chatted with the audience. I received lovely comments and I got a little carried away by drawing pictures of John Lennon beside my signature on some books!
The Beatles and Fandom (Bloomsbury Press, £20) is available to order at Bloomsbury.com/uk/beatles-and-fandom
Read Amy Hughes’ full book review at Beatles-freak.com
Dr Richard Mills is Senior Lecturer in Literature and Popular Culture at St Mary’s University, Twickenham.