10th May, 2013

'John Lennon Educational Tour Bus launch event' at The Liverpool World Museum

I think I can hear John Lennon happily laughing somewhere. John Winston Lennon was famously expelled from Quarry Bank High School, and, in his song I Am the Walrus, railed at the “expert texperts” (slang for his English teachers) who doubted his literary and musical genius, singing “don't you think the joker laughs at you?!”

Well, Lennon is certainly having the last laugh because the stunning John Lennon Educational Tour Bus was opened today in high style by his widow Yoko Ono Lennon in – where else – but his home town of Liverpool.

Launch screen for the lennon bus

The opening ceremony took place at the Museum of Liverpool Life and saw Yoko herself cutting a giant red ribbon that adorned the bus, which houses a state-of-the-art recording studio (and I mean state-of-the-art – Apple computers are a sponsor of the bus and have provided most of the tech) where up and coming bands can lay down tracks, make videos and even sleep. After the ribbon cutting, Yoko made a brief but genuinely moving speech, explaining how she “felt it was very important that we opened the [Educational bus's] European Tour in John's home town of Liverpool.” She went on to say, rather touchingly, that she feels John's spirit keeps guiding her back to Liverpool where she feels very close to John, and, through him, close to the people of Liverpool. It was a lovely, generous speech – a bit like the bus itself, which like a one huge random act of kindness on wheels.

If you're wondering what the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus actually does, well, a quick exploration of it will have you asking yourself if there's anything the bus can't do. As I mentioned earlier, it's stuffed to the gills with the latest recording equipment, including two guitars (I love guitars and was left swooning at the Gibson Les Paul and Epiphone Casino – just like Lennon's - that were on display), a bass, keyboards, a drum kit and a mixing desk. There's also an editing suite where bands can edit their own videos, two bunk beds, even a tiny kitchen! My colleague and I were left wishing we could live on the bus, and I had to be practically dragged away from those guitars.

The opening ceremony included a performance from local band Mic Lowry – who sang two beautiful Lennon covers – and a stunning video performance made by some seriously talented students from Paul McCartney's Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts (it's nice to see that this endeavour has allowed Lennon and McCartney to collaborate once more). Brian Rothchild, the executive director of this endeavour explained to us how all of these local artists and musicians have already benefited from the facilities provided by the tour bus, which is the whole point; the bus will “tour” Europe, allowing local musicians to utilize the recording studio and editing suite, giving them exposure and, hopefully, giving burgeoning careers a boost. After all, what musician wouldn't want to record on a tour bus endorsed by none other than John Lennon?

In this cynical age, the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus - which is a not-for-profit endeavour - sticks out like a beacon of goodwill and generosity; and it makes you want to rush off and do something selfless – or at the very least something creative - yourself. There was a palpable, airy sense of excitement at the launch that was wholly inspiring; by the time I left, I felt like starting a band and playing Glastonbury - and so would you. So if you do play music, do everything you can to catch the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus as it tours (you can find out where it is appearing via the website – see below) around Europe and America (there is a second bus in the States – and the long-term plan is to have a bus on every continent).

You feel that John Lennon, a man who spent his life telling the world to “come together” would certainly approve - and if you don't hear Lennon laughing on this bus, then you'll certainly feel his spirit.

For more information on the John Lennon Tour Bus, go to:



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