Saturday, July 2, 2011

On The Trail Of The Beatle Who Vanished: Knocking On Jimmie Nicol's Door

Camden/ Kentish Town Tube Station
I decided that it was finally time to visit Jimmie Nicol’s neighborhood in Camden/ Kentish Town. Getting off the Tube at Kentish Town, I walked down Kentish Road, observing a very young population of 20 and 30-something people who had turned the area into their own version of Chicago’s trendy Lincoln Park. Everything seemed to be called Kentish here. 
Camden/ Kentish Town

Within a block of Jimmie’s small street, I saw what was likely to be his regular pub nearby. O’Reilly’s was populated with 60-70 year old guys spending the afternoon drinking and talking together. This is a classic old London neighborhood pub; probably over 100 years old. I asked around to see if anyone knew Jimmie, but they honestly did not seem to know him. It would not be surprising if they did not know Nicol, because his reputation had been that of a loner for many years. 

O'Reilly's Pub

After lunch and a Jack Daniels, I decided the time had come to knock on the door of Jimmie Nicol. I had been given his address by an Australian reporter who had come over to do a story in honor of The Beatles’ 40th anniversary of touring down under. He indicated Jimmie lived on the first floor based upon London’s Electoral Roll records.

Jimmie Nicol's Alley. Notice the Abbey Road Shadows.

            I approached the street with some trepidation as it looked like an alley. As I walked down it, I thought I had gone to the wrong place. Where are the flats? All I saw was one back door to a store and a fenced area for garbage storage. I kept walking until the alley turned sharp right. There I saw a big pile of dirt on my right and a big wall with greens on the left. After I took the photo above and looked at it, I noticed a strange image created by the sun's rays on the green vines hanging down on the wall at the end of the alley. Was it me or was I seeing a shadow image of The Beatles crossing Abbey Road? How strange was this image of The Beatles seemingly walking over to Jimmie's flat? Must have been too much Jack Daniels at lunch, I thought... Of course, some folks think they see the image of Jesus Christ on their burnt toast.
Abbey Road

           I walked down the alley that turned into a dead end in 100 yards. As I did, I marveled at how Nicol had found a very quiet, impossibly hidden, end-of-the-world, dead end in which to live. Finally, at the end of the street on the right, I found the number. I took a deep breath and knocked on the door and waited; nothing.  I knocked again, and just then the door began opening....

          What happened next? Well, you will just have to wait until I finish writing my next book, The Beatle Who Vanished coming soon. Sign up for this blog to receive the latest news on the forthcoming book or send me an email at to be put on the New Release email list.

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