I’ve done this before on here, walking round the North and the South of the city taking photographs to roughly see how it’s doing on an ‘ordinary’ day. Meaning not some great holiday or special events day, but one where the streets and the people are just going about their business much like they always do. My favourite kind of day.
In fact I’ve been doing this ‘inspecting’ for years, since long before this blog. Reasoning partly that someone’s got to and it might as well be me, and also simply out of love for the place where I live. This particular week I’d been mostly working in London and so felt a particular urge to see how Liverpool was doing once I returned.
Off the bus in Catharine Street.
By St Philip Neri.
Its garden in full summer growth.
Round in Falkner Street the renovations of the student housing taking a long time.
The Quarter busy as always further along the road.
As is the café in the Hope Street Hotel.
They’ve got a new café too round the corner ‘The Old Blind School.’ Though to my generation it would be more accurate to call it ‘The Old Trade Union and Unemployed Centre.’
A busy Saturday afternoon at the Philharmonic.
Opposite this repulsive new student housing with its plastic bricks.
I enjoyed watching the giant cranes building it the other month. But now it’s nearly finished I kind of wish it would just disappear.
A beautiful building here, built out of real bricks too.
Working on a Saturday afternoon on the Philharmonic Hall extension.
Just next to the ‘Sheltering Home for Destitute Children.’
And opposite to the closed and empty ‘Eye and Ear Infirmary.’
Often stop here for a drink, but not today.
Along Hope Street past the two bishops.
Down lovely Hope Place.
The Cathedral from Pilgrim Street.
Used to be part of the Art College, not sure if it’s doing anything now?
Along Pilgrim Street, that used to be O’Connor’s pub there on the right. A 1970s favourite.
Yes it’s a barber’s shop.
Out on Leece Street the advertising hoardings have recently disappeared, showing the wilderness where the old DHSS office used to be.
Sounds of music coming from the burned out church.
Turning down Bold Street.
Another favourite not stopped at today.
This top end of Bold Street is doing really well. Loads of new places these last couple of years.
Together with our abiding favourites, like News From Nowhere.
One of our very best streets. A visit to the middle of Liverpool without a walk down Bold Street just wouldn’t be right.
You never know what you might see. Rennie’s Superheroes here.
And now a little story from the basement of here.
Concerning Dig Vinyl.
Having spent an enjoyable 20 minutes or so checking the entire stock, I’m a fast worker when it comes to LPs, I’m about ready to approach the till when I hear sounds of lamentation from behind me. Another customer has had to leave and get some cash from the autobank for the record he wants, and now he can’t find it. ‘Have you sold it so quickly, I’ve only been five minutes!’ the young man complains. At which point, of course, I arrive at the till with the record in question in my hand. And buy it.
But walking off down the road I feel increasingly unkind and like every time I’ll play the record I’ll remember the disappointment I’ve caused. So I take it back to the shop.
After pausing to photograph it on a wall in Seel Street.
I’m assured he’s a regular customer so know the record will soon reach its rightful home. As is only right.
I walk on down sunny Bold Street.
Past where I worked in my housing job in the 1980s. It’s benefits advice office now.
Lewis’s extension coming on slowly.
Something new is coming up down the end there.
Some cheery Johnny Cash music to brighten our day. ‘I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.’
Steps of an empty building now boarded up to stop people sleeping there. Big hearted hey?
More emptiness brutally protected.
The Lyceum, the world’s first lending library. Now a meagre piece of shelter.
Opposite, more emptiness. The town end of Bold Street not displaying the resilience of the independent top end. Maybe some help with the rates from the City Council?
On Church Street here’s the thing spotted from up the hill.
A success last summer so it’s here again.
A treat for people who like throwing themselves off the edge of things.
Last summer my friend Erica Kemp was Lord Mayor and so had to throw herself off the edge of this to show municipal willing. I thought that to be a particularly vicious change in the Lord Mayor job description.
Perhaps this year it could be the turn of elected mayor Joe Anderson?
Just a thought.
Looking up. The beauty of the streetscape.
The beauty of Marks and Spencer’s?
Bearing witness to his particular truth. Apparently ‘mobile phones’ are big causes of ‘sin.’ You’ve been told.
Time for a sit and a drink.
In the garden at the Bluecoat. A precious and free oasis in the city centre.
Walking on, off Seel Street, evidence of a near rural past.
On Slater Street, the Jacaranda joyously open again. The Beatles once painted the basement here you know, one time when they were short of money and gigs.
Looking through to Central Hall. That roof was in dire need of attention when I got up on it a couple of years back. Looks like it hasn’t had any?
Still on Slater Street, Jackson’s Art supplies. A plucky survivor in a street of bars.
Round by Cream. Still delightfully strange, though the colours are fading now.
Glad to see this open. For ages it’s been a very old fashioned empty office. Now it’s ‘Chicken and Tunes!’ Good luck to you.
As the afternoon grows later the hen-dos get into serious stride.
Though one group I notice turn out to all be wearing sashes that merely say ‘Girls Night Out.’ When did things need to get so organised?
Across Duke Street and Hanover Street.
Table Tennis in Liverpool One.
And up on the roof? Bumping Boats!
And the Boardwalk Bar. Well done, summer in the city.
Down by the river, I still don’t like those black things.
Others don’t too, by the looks of the empty space.
They’re good for arty pictures of reflected sky though.
Down at the Dock.
The Pumphouse full as usual.
Some sort of sport going on inside the Albert Dock.
Accompanied by that self-important ‘sports commentator’ noise. I don’t stay.
There is peace to be had close by.
In the graving dock.
By the Dazzle Ship.
Though even in front of this intense beauty one family stands and points their selfie stick the wrong way.
‘We’re just finishing our external works’ the Museum of Liverpool reassures us.
No you’re not and no you won’t while we’re all the continuing victims of class-war austerity politics.
Not everyone’s suffering though. The big ferries are here.
And I’m here.
At perfect peace on a perfect day. In my place.
I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
Walking back to the bus.
No idea what these are all about. Another weak follow up to the lambananas?
‘Planet Liverpool.’ See, we’re not just an independent city-state. We’re a whole other planet.
Back to get the bus home.
Passing Blackler’s the evening’s drinking is now in full flow.
And I hope the group of women who swerved across Lime Street in front of our bus in full desert camouflage outfits (?) got home safely later on.
But for me, it’s along Princes Avenue, past Granby and nearly home.
And the overall conclusion from my inspection? There isn’t one. A city is all about people and details and the details are there if you look carefully enough, which I just have.
I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else though.