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Book Review: David Bedford's Liddypool: Birthplace of The Beatles

by Jude Southerland Kessler, author of The Lennon Series (Shoulda Been There and Shivering Inside)

Scouser David Bedford has taken pain and turned it into poetry.

In 1978, Bedford began experiencing intense pain in his arms, legs, and...well, his entire body. As the 30-Something energetic father of 3 even more energetic little girls, this was a real problem. David began to have trouble moving, and sleeping was only an illusive dream. "It's been years since I've had a real night's sleep," Bedford confessed. "The pain forbids it."

So, Bedford began visiting a local in search of a diagnosis and an answer, only to be treated for rheumatoid arthritis which had nothing to do with his condition at all. And the pain persisted.

By 2000, Bedford and his wife were tired of the doctor's callous treatment of David's crippling condition. David had reached a point where he couldn't work, couldn't pick up his children without searing pain, couldn't live any form of a normal life. "When the doctor looked at me and said, 'You're 35. You need to have a job. You need to go back to work,' my wife and I decided that he was clueless. We decided to seek a second opinion."

Within a few days of seeing another physician, Bedford had a real diagnosis. Fibromyalgia...the inflammation of the lining of the bones. Fibromyalgia is an extremely challenging disease that is exacerbated by movement, by exercise, by any motion of the bones. And it is a disease for which there is only treatment and management, not a cure.

David Bedford speaking at BeatExpo

"Once I knew what I was facing," Bedford said at BeatExpo in Connecticut this weekend, "I knew that distraction was going to be my best medicine...keeping busy, keeping my mind occupied. I had to find something that would take my mind off the pain."

For Bedford, that "something" was the compilation, writing, and publishing of a brilliant, new, coffetable book entitled Liddypool: Birthplace of The Beatles - a book which is the ultimate travel guide for The Beatles' Liverpool.

Hardbound, filled with color photos, and with scholarly information about the haunts of John, Paul, George, and Ringo, Liddypool: Birthplace of The Beatles is magnificent. It takes the reader to every single pub, school, church, store, and coffee house that The Beatles ever attended, giving the reader a factual narrative that is beyond accurate. It's lovely.

"I became interested in giving Beatles' fans this comprehensive guide to Liverpool when my wife and I moved from The Dingle where I grew up out to the Penny Lane area, when my girls began attending Dovedale Elementary, John Lennon's former school," Bedford said. "The school was in great need of playground equipment, and I suggested writing to both the Harrison foundation and to Yoko's Spirit Foundation to ask for help. Yoko answered us almost immediately, and when we told her the horrible conditions the children were experiencing, she graciously gave us 30,000 pounds. We had only asked for 25,000. The 'extra,' Yoko explained, was for maintenance."

David Bedford signing Liddypool at BeatExpo

Bedford, who grew up very close to Ringo's Madryn Street in The Dingle section of Liverpool, had always been a Beatles fan. "What child of Liverpool isn't, right?" he smiled his charming, boyish grin. "So the idea of building a compendium of Liverpool sights for the rest of the world fascinated me."

Years ago, Ron Jones compiled the classic paperback volume entitled The Beatles Liverpool that served as THE tour book for the traveling Beatles fan in "the rugged North." But Bedford's book takes that concept and turns it into a work of art. With full color photos taken by Bedford (exquisite photos) and a narrative free of myths or mistakes (see his discussion of why Pete Best was ousted from the band), Bedford has given fans not only the sights of Liverpool, but the history as well.

Priced at $58.00, this is one Christmas gift you don't want to overlook! Readers may obtain a copy for themselves or for those special people on their holiday list by going to liddypool.com.

Bill Heckle, long-time organizer of Beatles Week in Liverpool each August, calls the book "the best book on Liverpool and the Beatles that I've seen in quite a while" and Bill Harry calls it a "tour de force!" But I will always think of Bedford's work as poetry born from pain. Instead of accepting the bitter pill that life handed him, David transformed it into a lasting tribute to his condition, his hometown, and the indomitable spirit of the Scouser. Good on y'er, David. Well done, wack.

Published November 29, 2010

This article is Copyright © 2010, Jude Southerland Kessler, and may not be reproduced on other web sites or in print, in whole or in part, without expressed permission

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