Yesterday, Richard Proffitt gave me a Magical Mystery tour of all the Beatles' related sites in the city. Sam Venables drove, and Kevin Hunt and Alan Williams came along for the ride.

On the way to pick up Richard and Alan from Tesco (egg and cress triple sandwich + tropicana), we saw the actual Magical Mystery Tour bus. People pay a lot of money to get on a bus and drive round suburban Liverpool. But we did it for free (apart from Sam's petrol, and the fact that Richard had previously done the Magical Mystery Tour so that's how he knew where to take us...).

First off we went to George Harrison's house in Wavertree. I didn't take any photos because, frankly, I was scared of the children.we stood there for a minute and Richard told us about a childhood friend of the Beatles - when they became successful, they bought him a supermarket somewhere down south. After a while, they could afford to give him a job with the band, but he freaked out and went back to running the supermarket.

Next stop was Strawberry Fields. Again not much to see. Richard had brought a stereo and played the relevant song as we drove up to the gates. There was quite a lot of bad graffiti, and it looked as though people had stolen parts of the gate, which reminded me a bit of the guys who stole the Auschwitz sign, only less impressive.

Through the gates we could see a development of new build homes - yellow bricks and uPVC windows. It was hard to get excited. I'm not a big Beatles fan anyway, but it must be pretty depressing to travel from Japan or Brazil just to stand next to a red gate next to a busy road.

Next up was John Lennon's house (at no point did we get from one place to the next without missing a turning or having to perform a dangerous/ridiculous manoeuvre in the car). John's house, as you can imagine, is better kept that George's, and definitely Ringo's (I still can't work out whether or not it's been demolished). It is owned by the National Trust, though someone does live there. We saw an old man peeking through the curtains, and there was a Ford Fusion in the drive. Just like the one John drove.

We saw this woman outside the house. We were at a bit of a loss as to what we should have been doing when looking at the house. She seemed more dedicated to the task, but after a minute or so of reverential looking, even she gave up. She walked across the road, probably to Paul's house, which was also our next stop.

I'm already really bored recounting this. It was quite enjoyable, but probably only because we all recognised that the whole thing was completely absurd. Also, Richard promised us that in Paul McCartney's house, there lived a camp alcoholic, who not only regaled tourists with invented tales of the Macca's last visit ("he brought his own PG Tips, he likes to check up on the place" etc. etc.), but also looked exactly like Paul McCartney, if Paul McCartney was a camp alcoholic.

He didn't appear, and again, we were left wondering what we were meant to do. Luckily a car full of tourists turned up and asked us if we knew which one Paul McCartney's house was. We pointed at the sign and told them that John Lennon's house was much nicer. He had a Ford Fusion.

This is the topiary sculpture of the Beatles that stands on a roundabout at Liverpool Parkway. We probably wouldn't have bothered, but it was close, and I wanted to see how Ringo's head was doing since a vandal had decapitated it last year. Poor Ringo. I'm not sure if you can see from the photos, but instead of growing a new head, the gardeners have just chopped off a bit of his shoulders and sculpted a new head from what was his neck. It looks totally insane, like they hired a Goomba to play them the drums.

The sculpture (or feature, or whatever. What do you call it when it's made out of hedge?) also had a single CCTV camera pointing directly at it. I'm assuming it has been installed since the vandalism attack, but it seemed like overkill. I suppose the tourists won't notice just one more camera.

Actually, the whole Liverpool Parkway development seemed absurd, it is such a small interchange, but such a huge building. So much technology for what is essentially a bus shelter. I suppose the idea is that tourists are impressed as they are carried seamlessly from the airport to the city. Lots of metal and glass and automatic doors.

Finally, we went to Penny Lane where we startled a man and his child by playing the song Penny Lane at full blast from the car window. We were meant to be playing it at a group of lost looking tourists, but they didn't take any notice. Sam thought they weren't Beatles tourist, and might just be looking for the carvery.

With our last job finished, we drove to the pub and talked about non-Beatles related things for a while. Then we noticed that the whole pub was covered in bad oil paintings of the band. It is hard to escape their presence here. Richard spoke about how they overshadow the city. He spoke about how no one from Liverpool will ever be as famous as the Beatles were. He is right in a way. The shifting economics of pop music mean that no musician will dominate western music in quite the same way. And, as Richard said later in a different pub, with less Beatles paintings, but more alligators on the walls, the Beatles were actually a product of the last phase of Liverpool's industrial period. They were a product of a city that had wealth, before the bad old days of the 70s and 80s. They were confident and able because of Liverpool's success as a city, and in a way that is why people are still so reverent of them. They are a hangover from Britain's industrial past.

The Beatles: A story of Victorian Britain's industrial prowess.You don't hear that very often.