I Can & I Will
By Ken Hawkins  

Ken (in front) with his brother in 1963I was taught as a child by having it beaten into me, mentally and physically that I couldn’t do what I wanted to in this life. Once, after a particularly humiliating beating by my father I ran to Calderstones Park, vaulted over the sandstone wall and lay on the grass, staring at the clouds, repeating my own personal mantra: “I can and I will, I can and I will…” 

Years later, like so many other talented and not so talented young men, I left Liverpool to travel south for fame and fortune, and to find streets paved with gold. Unfortunately I found the fame and fortune belonged only to those I was fortunate enough to work with and the only gold on the streets, the droppings of the horses of the Household Cavalry. 

I’ve lost count of the hundreds of different jobs I’ve done but for the last twenty years, I’ve earned a reasonable if fluctuating living as a Film and Television Location Manager, returning to Merseyside as often as I could, either for work or socially. Recently I’ve tried to ease my way out of this life-consuming work to enable more time for my real love. While the rest of the crew relax in some sensible wine bar or pub, I pummel the keys of my laptop until the wee small hours with countless ideas, short stories, possible film treatments or mostly on my major labour of love, a saga of Liverpool that covers over seventy years in the life of one family.

Surprisingly, this novel interested a top literary agent and I then decided to concentrate on short jobs to finish it, especially those jobs paying cash. Within weeks I was contacted by a Japanese friend researching a six part music documentary series in which, each week a song known world wide would be featured on Japanese TV with the emphasis on the environment that created it.

“Sounds good,” I agreed and received the first treatment of the first song within days: - “Love Me Do”, a wonderful confection of Beatles myths and anecdotes, the sort written by well-meaning Beatles aficionados, born twenty years after, who’ve read every book and website on the subject. On receiving my reply enclosing some politely suggested corrections and amendments, they enquired how I could possibly know more about the subject than their experts. Easy, I said; I was there, I saw it, heard it and lived it.

I also suggested that Pete Best, who they’d been unable to secure an interview with, was available through my contacts in Liverpool and that they should think seriously about talking to somebody else too; a man with a surgeon’s skill in separating fact from fiction, mythology from truth. He was the first-hand archivist of everything that had happened at that time and the inventor of Mersey Beat, Bill Harry.

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