Monday, August 24th
Chaired by Al Senter
Baillie Gifford Main Theatre
This event was set to be a treat to any Beatles fans, and so it was. Mark Levisohn, one of the world’s leading historians on the now infamous group, joined up with writer Al Senter to chat about the first book in a three-volume series, Volume I, Tune In. Speaking to a surprisingly spacious Baillie Gifford Main Theatre, Levisohn gave us an insight into the early years of the pop group that was to shape history and still does to this day.
Despite not appearing to be the most popular event in the Book Fest schedule (a fact supported by a large number of empty seats), those of us who did turn up certainly got our money’s worth. Levisohn spoke with a passion and warmth that illustrates his dedication to this vast project, and did three full readings from his work, greatly illustrating the debt of his research.
As Levisohn himself noted, there are plenty of books out there giving the history of The Beatles. However, few of them are actually any good, a fact that his series aim to address. In addition to telling the story of John, Paul, George, and Ringo, it wants to explain the broader social and political context that made their rise to fame possible and the effect this had on post-war Britain and the world.
Highly enjoyable, ambitious, and entertaining, it is a shame that the Main Theatre wasn’t packed to breaking point this afternoon. However, the die-hard Beatles fans that did turn up certainly heard enough to keep them going for a while still.