One reason I’m looking forward to “Deconstructing Abbey Road” is because Scott Freiman has actually been inside Abbey Road studios in suburban London. I haven’t, but not for lack of trying.
I wanted to check out the Abbey Road studios during a family vacation to London in the 1990s. My older son and I figured out where it was — using analog technology: a map — and made our way there, almost getting a ticket from a London Underground officer for traveling outside the range of our inner-London tourist pass.
I was excited to see the famous “zebra” road crossing and recognized the low wall in front of the studio just beyond it from the album cover. A few people were milling around, and one of the front doors was open. As a journalist, I saw an open door as an invitation to come inside, so I went up the steps and inside a small hallway to a reception desk.
I politely asked if we could see the actual studios, check things out, and assured her we wouldn’t bother anyone. The receptionist said no. Showing my American tourist naïveté, I asked again, thinking that this must be a mistake, how could they not let a random stranger and his teenage son in?
“We just want to walk around in there a little bit.” Again, she refused. Normally, I am not very insistent, but this was Beatles’ ground zero, so I persisted and she again explained this was a working studio, a business, not a tourist attraction. (It still is.) I didn’t get the message and asked if they at least sold souvenirs so I could get a T-shirt. Nope, no souvenir shop either.
We settled for some photos, and writing our names on the wall outside, which was covered with similar inscriptions. I also wanted a photo of myself walking across the zebra but decided that risking my son’s life in the middle of the busy traffic wasn’t worth it and we had better get back to the hotel.
Joe Stinnett is retired editor of The News & Advance and The Roanoke Times.