YESTERDAY ... all my troubles seemed so far away.

If only.

The new fantasy film bearing the title of that famous Paul McCartney song is about a world where The Beatles didn't exist.

An Interesting idea but, to quote one of George Harrison's solo song titles, 'isn't it a pity' that the movie penned by rom-com king Richard Curtis and Olympics creative cheerleader Danny Boyle is receiving mixed reviews.

In this week's critics-themed Inferno I wish to reaffirm that I am a fan of any genre where we can 'suspend belief' - especially escapism in classics such as It's A Wonderful Life, Groundhog Day and the other time-travelling themes of the Back to the Future franchise.

I'd like to see the genius of Steven Spielberg looking at how life would have been if we had always had the Internet - Facebook, Twitter and the all-encompassing mobile.

How history would have panned out ...

Imagine Julius Caesar on his way to the Roman Senate in 44 BC getting a text ... "watch your back."

Wartime Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain standing outside Downing Street in 1938 showing an awaiting media and a cheering public a message from Munich on his I Pad from Adolf Hitler declaring 'peace for our time.'

Neil Armstrong taking a selfie on the moon on July 20, 1969.

For me, a child of the 50s, new-tech ignorance was bliss.

I feel lucky to have grown up without the hype of Skype and the lure of the laptop.

I'm glad I spent 50 years without new technology.

These days I truly value the benefits of the mobile for use in the case of emergencies.

But I am worried that its global influence is getting out of hand.

Take Donald Trump (please) who is taking its role in politics to new, unchartered territories.

If he can create a summit with his oppo in North Korea at the click of a mobile keyboard then what else can he get up to as his stubby fingers press away on his Presidential pocket keyboard?

Is Boris now taking lessons in mobile diplomacy ... just in case?

Personally, I could happy live without a mobile.

Sadly, looking around the train and bus each day society cannot - commuters are staring into the screen before going home to stare at even more screens.

Oh how I believe in yesterday.


FROM yesterday to today.

Imagine if the Beatles were never actually signed up for a record deal?

A new book out this week dreams up that scenario.

It is a fact that producer George Martin did have his doubts about giving The Fab Four a contract.

George told me he that he genuinely only made up his mind when he asked the lads if there was anything they weren't happy with during the recording sessions at Abbey Road Studios in 1962?

"I don't like your tie for a start," said cocky Mr Harrison.

Now Beatles biographer Ray Connolly, who wrote the films That'll Be The Day and Stardust, asks what would have happened if they were given the thumbs down instead of the historic thumbs up?

Sorry Boys But You Didn't Pass the Audition is the title of a brand new, cracking, witty novella that will appease all Beatle fans.

It would have made a much better movie than the current disappointing Curtis-Boyle collaboration.


"MONEY trees don't exist ..."

Political critics were quick to recall Theresa May's famous speech during the current PM-in -waiting hustings which were dominating the headlines in Northern Ireland yesterday.

Somehow politicians can manage to conjure up funds out of nowhere as Tory leadership hopefuls Boris and Jeremy (both straight out of Hogwarts) can magic up billions of pounds of spending money.

I can't forgive the whole Brexit fiasco for overshadowing our domestic policies...

instead we are bombarded with the domestics of Boris.

As Mrs May searches to leave a legacy of her time as PM, can she persuade her Government to waive their collective wands and take back responsibility for giving over 75s a TV licence?

And one other thing - can she help stop the ongoing scary increase in banks charging to use cash machines. It's yet another 'tax' out of nowhere ultimately penalising the poorest.


SOMETHING to phone home about at last - local tourism attractions.

Merseyside is the place to be if you are a phone box fanatic.

The creator of this iconic piece of 'Englishness' was Sir Giles Scott who designed the Anglican Cathedral.

There is one pristine phone box inside this world famous building to show his genius for diverse design.

And as the Globe reported this week, Wirral's OMD's 'personal phone box' in Meols is now a piece of pop culture.

What a pity another iconic phone box didn't survive.

In the musical Cilla, we see how the poverty-stricken starlet used to wait for career news at her local public call box.

She once told me: "I remember waiting on the corner of Scotland Road for a message from Brian Epstein in a phone box that smelled (surprise surprise) of pee."

Success proved far more aromatic.


And finally ...

I heard a playwright last week on local radio claim that 'traditional theatre reviews are taking a back seat and word-of-mouth is the key to a show's success.'

Deluded, methinks.

My favourites ever critique was of a dire London show called Yes.

One reviewer summed up what he thought by simply writing : 'No.'

Long may astute reviews run and run.

That said, some writers don't need or heed the voice of reviewers.

I once attended a talk in Oxford given by the great Willy Russell and asked him what he thought about theatre critics?

"I don't," he replied.


Peter Grant