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Blues & Beatles Neil & Bermuda

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Review of Neil Roberts’ ‘Blues & Beatles’

Bermuda could easily have been a third alliteration in the title of Neil Roberts’ debut book ‘Blues & Beatles’, because the Island features twice in the former resident’s life story.

The author came to Bermuda at the age of six and stayed until he was 11. Then, as a young adult in the mid-1990s, he returned and worked as a journalist for

The Royal Gazette.

Although the author’s debut book is not a full-fledged autobiography, it does chronicle much of his life in an engaging manner that is framed by his passion for the music of The Beatles and the highs and lows he encounters as an ardent fan of the ‘Blues’ Everton Football Club.

Some of Roberts’ happiest childhood memories are rooted in Bermuda. From days when he would tap idly away on a keyboard beside his journalist father Colin in the offices of

The Royal Gazette, to strolling around a posh neighbourhood with his family hoping for a chance encounter with former Beatle John Lennon during the summer of 1980.

And when he returned to Bermuda as a journalist himself Roberts has tales of following the fortunes of his beloved Everton by watching them on satellite TV at the Robin Hood Pub.

However, only around a dozen pages of ‘Blues & Beatles’ concern Bermuda. The heart of the book lies elsewhere. A strikingly touching family thread is woven through the pages, which above all else highlights the bond that exists between a father and son. This bond is strengthened through a love for Everton and the music of the Beatles. And these passions are shared not only between Roberts and his father, but are passed on by Roberts to his son George.

Starting his newspaper career at the Liverpool Echo gave Roberts the perfect launching platform to meet many of his footballing idols. In ‘Blues & Beatles’ he recounts some of those encounters, complete with reproduced interviews of five of the biggest names Howard Kendall, Alan Ball, Duncan Ferguson, Alex Young and Gary Lineker.

Writing with warmth and insight, Roberts takes the reader on a fascinating roller-coaster journey of soaring jubilation when his football team achieves major success, to the depths of dejection when things go wrong. He records family tensions and break-ups, and his own joy at becoming a father.

An infectious enthusiasm permeates Roberts’ narrative style. Writing about his grandparents and their home in the village of Bromborough, on the Wirral peninsula, Roberts so wonderfully observes and captures details and feelings that the reader never doubts that his spiritual home is Merseyside, and specifically the ‘Blue’ side of Liverpool.

Fans of Everton will drink up the chapters that chronicle the team’s ups and downs in league and cup competitions. However, even fans of other clubs will appreciate the accurate and lively recording of the club’s triumphs and occasional crushing disappointments.

Aside from the football, ‘Blues & Beatles’ features elements of family history and a search for identity. It deals with the pain of a family break-up and moments of introspection, and it traces Roberts’ pursuit of a journalism career, following in his father’s footsteps, which leads to encounters with many of his heroes.

And then there is The Beatles. Roberts inherits his father’s love for the music of Liverpool’s Fab Four. His encounter with Paul McCartney is foreshadowed throughout the book and finally arrives in climactic style when he does a one-on-one TV news interview with the pop music legend.

In ‘Blues & Beatles’ Roberts’ engaging writing style and personal knowledge of the ‘blue’ side of Liverpool is both entertaining and illuminating. Everton supporters will lap this book up, but even the more casual and curious reader, like myself, will find plenty of delights.

‘Blues & Beatles’


The moment Neil Roberts met his musical idol former Beatle Paul McCartney. Roberts, author of ?Blues & Beatles?, was working as a TV journalist in London when he was granted a face-to-face interview with the famous musician.
Former Royal Gazette journalist Neil Roberts with his son George in March 2010. This was the first time George saw an Everton football game. The Blues won 2-0 against Bolton.
Neil Roberts was only six years old when he, his parents Colin and Sheila, and his younger sister Caroline arrived in Bermuda in November 1977 to start a new life. They are pictured at the airport just after their arrival.

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Published March 21, 2012 at 2:00 am (Updated March 21, 2012 at 9:21 am)

Blues & Beatles Neil & Bermuda

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