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Let me take you down: Strawberry Field opens to public

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Beatles fans can now take a trip through the childhood sanctuary of John Lennon that inspired the seminal song “Strawberry Fields Forever”, with the former children’s home opening its doors to the public.

Lennon used to climb over the fence from his aunt’s house, where he grew up, and play with other children at the Strawberry Field orphanage.

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Its importance in shaping Lennon’s personality was laid bare in the classic 1967 psychedelic hit.

Around 60,000 fans flock each year to the site to have their photographs taken outside the famous red gates, but until now have never been allowed beyond.

“The gates are open for good,” Major Allister Versfeld, mission development officer of the Salvation Army charity, told AFP.

“This is a unique opportunity for people to come and explore the garden.. and just enjoy what many have said; there’s a real sense of calm and peace.”

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The site, in the city’s Woolton neighborhood, was a Salvation Army children’s home up until 2005, when it became derelict.

But it has now been turned into a centre to help 18-25 year olds with learning disabilities find employment, partly funded by opening its doors to the public.

“We have got the visitor exhibition which tells the story of the Salvation Army, the children’s home and that connection with John Lennon,” explained Versfeld, in front of the gates.

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– ‘It matters to us’ –

“We’ve got a cafe, a retail space and wonderful gardens for people to explore. All the money that is raised… stays at Strawberry Field and is used for our steps-to-work program.”

Lennon was brought up by his aunt, even though his mother Julia lived nearby until she died in a car accident.

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Strawberry Field became a place were he could not only meet other children, but contemplate, according to Versfeld.

“He came to play with the children and observe what was going on,” he said. “He found some sanctuary and peace and calm here.

“That song, many would look at the lyrics and wonder what was going on, but actually I think that was a space that he found and a place that was special to him.”

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The original gates went offsite a few years ago but have now been returned.

Lennon’s lyric “It doesn’t matter much to me” is written on the walls of the exhibition, contrasting with the cafe, where the words “It matters to us” are displayed above videos showing the work of the Salvation Army.

The show takes visitors on a historical trip through Strawberry Field, as well as displaying exhibits documenting Lennon’s early life.

Graceland has loaned artifacts to recognize Lennon’s love for Elvis Presley while other exhibits include a handwritten early draft of the song and a photo-mosaic of Lennon’s face.

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The song was released in February 1967 as a double A-side single with “Penny Lane”, hitting number two in the UK charts behind Engelbert Humperdinck’s “Release Me”.

It is recognized as the point that the band moved away from straight pop to a more complex sound, incorporating unusual instruments including the “Mellotron” and an Indian swarmandal.


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‘Worse than Obama’: Lindsey Graham has full-blown freak out over Trump’s latest Syria statements

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Wednesday had a full-blown freak out after President Donald Trump publicly said that the Turkish slaughter of the Kurds in northern Syria was not America's problem.

Writing on Twitter, the senator had his harshest condemnation yet of the president's decision to abruptly pull American troops out of Syria while giving Turkey a green light to invade the area.

"I hope President Trump is right in his belief that Turkeys invasion of Syria is of no concern to us, abandoning the Kurds won’t come back to haunt us, ISIS won’t reemerge, and Iran will not fill the vacuum created by this decision," Graham wrote. "However, I firmly believe that if President Trump continues to make such statements this will be a disaster worse than President Obama’s decision to leave Iraq."

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Trump spirals into deranged conspiracy theory when asked about Giuliani: ‘I want to see the server’

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President Donald Trump on Wednesday blurted out a nearly incomprehensible conspiracy theory about the 2016 election.

During an Oval Office meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, reporters asked Trump if he expected former National Security Adviser John Bolton to testify to the House impeachment inquiry.

Trump sidestepped the question and launched into a rant about "corruption" in the 2016 election.

"Giuliani was seeking out corruption in the 2016 election," the president said. "There was tremendous corruption in that 2016 election. It was disgraceful what happened and what happened to me and what happened to the Republicans."

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Ohio voter purge targets state’s League of Women Voters head

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Ohio’s government admitted that nearly 20 percent of voters targeted in the state’s looming purge of “inactive” were actually active voters.

Earlier this year, the Ohio secretary of state’s office issued a list of 235,000 names targeted for removal from the voter rolls because, the state purported, they had not participated in the last three election cycles. The purge is part of an effort to remove names of people who have passed away or moved. The state is required to send notices to people it plans to remove to give them a chance to verify that they should still be on the rolls.

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