5th July, high summer in Liverpool and a day off working. A day to ramble around, seeing what we find.
Mostly empty houses, though soon to be renovated, and a street full of heavy summer trees sheltering people and market stalls. The Granby 4 Streets market. I’ve been coming to these markets for four years now, mostly to talk. About politics and possibilities, with the people who live here, who once lived here and want to live here again.
But this is Sarah’s first visit for a couple of years and she immediately moves into shopping mode.
I meet my friend Nina Edge and we talk about the Public Inquiry on the Welsh Streets, where she lives, which has been happening this week. The to and fro of divided opinions and the five days of her life she’ll never get back. The Inquiry’s all packed up and gone away now, taking data, suggestions and possibilities with it to mull over with a decision expected in December. Yes, that’s right, December. It’s 5th July. No one in Liverpool wanted this Inquiry. It’s taken a year to happen. And now everyone here is expected to hang around for the best part of another 6 months while it comes to its decision. Woeful.
Art is happening around us here.
For a look at something else that’s connected to the Liverpool Biennial.
I lose interest immediately.
Up in the Hornby Library is the art books exhibition.
But we both agree we particularly dislike the things on display here and on sale downstairs which are ‘things made out of books’.
Clever, skilful crap. We think so anyway and go off to get some ‘proper’ books.
Next, loaded up with books, we decide to go across the river and read them somewhere sunny.
Sarah particularly likes one of these that sells clothes and goes off to investigate. Being reasonably sure that none of them are selling second hand LPs I sit in the shade reading one of my library books.
“Once an Arcadian suburb of grand houses, orchards and conservatories, Hackney declined into a zone of asylums, hospitals and dirty industry. Persistently revived, reinvented, betrayed, it has become a symbol of inner-city chaos, crime and poverty. Now, the Olympics, a final attempt to clamp down on a renegade spirit, seeks to complete the process: erasure disguised as ‘progress’.
Iain Sinclair’s ‘Hackney, That Rose-Red Empire’ is a message in a bottle, chucked into the flood of the future.”
I’ve done a fair amount of work in Hackney these last few years and I’m enjoying the book tremendously .
Shopping done, we move on.
It’s the combined opinions of our two lifetimes that Nicholls make and sell the best ice cream on Earth. We’ve been known to sit on this wall and eat it, fully thermalled up, on the coldest of winter days.
The afternoon passes into early evening. Walking around the back streets of Parkgate and Neston and stopping for a read now and then.
Passing Neston Cricket Club I’m expecting to take a gloriously English photograph of men in whites playing their noble and pointless game.
Turns out this evening it’s the Summer Ball in the Marquee at Neston Cricket club.
We feel like we’re from a different species and turn back to our books and to gazing across the marshland to Wales, as evening falls on 5th July.