South Grafton takeaway shop offers Beatles to go
WHILE The Beatles were jet-setting across the world in 1964, 13-year-old Alan Bray was in his bedroom in Nuneaton, in the English county of Warwickshire, listening to Love Me Do.
Fifty years on Mr Bray's affection for the band has only grown, so much so that the South Grafton takeaway shop owner owns about a thousand pieces of Beatles memorabilia.
A lover of most things from the era of peace protests and pop music, Mr Bray concedes he is probably "stuck in the '60s".
"It started from I was a kid in England, The Beatles came out with (debut album) Please Please Me," he said.
"The Beatles changed everything with their long hair. Before they came along you were sent home from school if your hair came past your ears.
"As soon as The Beatles did it, everybody started growing their hair and the schools couldn't expel everyone."
Mr Bray made his first memorabilia purchase in 1986 and from there his collection "just grew".
"When eBay opened, it opened up the whole world. You could buy anything," he said.
"From there it went crazy."
His collection, which includes a custom-made John Lennon cut-out and several records signed by the band members, has earned him attention and respect from Beatles lovers across Australia and beyond.
In 2004 Mr Bray was one of six people selected for an interview to be the curator of John Lennon's house in Liverpool.
"Apparently thousands of people applied for it, so just to get an interview was unbelievable," he said.
While most of his collection is stored at his former home in Bundaberg - in a six-bay garage converted to a public Beatles gallery - Mr Bray bought a chunk of his treasured collection to South Grafton when he moved to the Clarence Valley six months ago to open a takeaway shop.
The walls of the Skinner St Takeaway are adorned with pictures, records, and display cabinets containing memorabilia, and a record player belts out Beatles tunes at least once a day.
For those who fancy a bite to eat, there is even a Beatles burger on the menu.
"We just named one. We didn't want to go overboard," Mr Bray said.
"People love the shop because it's different. You don't normally go into a takeaway shop and see what we've got.
"If anyone's interested in music and food, come down and have a look."