There were more than a hundred tourists milling outside the studios in the noonday rain, a few minutes ago. The magnetism of the place is indisputable and, though the wise heads at Terra Firma, are talking of marketing an Abbey Road brand, once the place is closed to musical activity there will be nothing left to attract the crowds.
What draws people to Abbey Road is the cover of the Beatles album that they mimic in posed foursomes on the famous zebra crossing. But they are also drawn by the wisp of a chance of seeing a celebrated musician arriving for a session. When the music stops, Abbey Road will revert to real estate and the tourists will find another site for souvenir shots.
The latest reports have it that the National Trust is considering buying the site, adding it to the Liverpool boyhood homes of Paul McCartney and John Lennon that it already owns. The Sun newspaper – which this morning reports us steaming to war with Argentina – is backing DJ Chris Evans’ campaign to save Abbey Road. The Daily Mail – not yet fully mobilised – opposes any intervention.
The optimum solution is a sale that would convert the building into a national House of Music – part museum, part venue for live performance. Even a hedge fund analyst (and I’ve met a few) ought to see the potential there for rights ownership and profit.