Well, what exactly is St George’s Hall for? Hardly an urgent issue but something I ask myself now and then.
I can’t imagine Liverpool without it.
The sort of building that shouts out ‘This is a very important city with very big ideas about itself.’ Which it is and which we do have.
Don’t get your hopes up though. The precious tiles are so fragile that they’re more or less permanently covered up. So we won’t be seeing them today. I’ve only seen them once in my life.
Which is kind of my point. What’s this place for? The outside’s fine. That’s our formal gathering place, as it will be today for Remembrance and was that sacred day when we all gathered here with the 96 families the day the Hillsborough Independent Panel delivered their report.
But as for going inside the Hall? Hardly ever. I remeber seeing Michael Foot speak here just before the disastrous 1983 General election and, as I said, I’ve seen the floor once. But it’s always seemed like a magnificent municipal space without a very clear role in the life of its City.
Run by Sue Flackett, previously of the Armadillo and later of Blackburne House and Hope Street Hotel.
This used to be the way into the Small Concert Hall. And on 26th July 1972 (I’ve checked) I came here to see the very great Roxy Music for the first time. Brian Eno and the others putting on their make up in the corridor outside. Then inside for the unhinged synthesized rock’n’roll of their first LP. Unforgettable.
Anyway, let’s go along to the main hall.
And yes, if you can read backwards you can deduce that the reason I’m spending the longest time I’ve ever spent in St George’s Hall is that I’m here at this year’s ‘Locality’ convention. With Granby 4 Streets, Homebaked, the Florrie and community organisations from all over the country.
I’m not going to write any kind of report on what was discussed, my subject here being the Hall itself.
Gloriously inspirational stuff about getting change done with and by the people of a place and without asking permission. Us lot from Granby looked at some of his examples of guerilla action and thought we might…Well, better not say, but you’ll know when we’ve done it!
‘Guilty’ I thought. Obviously.
And of taking them out into the city to see some of what we’re doing. Granby 4 Streets, Homebaked in Anfield and the Florrie in the Dingle naturally included.
But back at St George’s Hall I want to particualrly single out one local social enterprise here for the splendid work they did inside the event. Can Cook from Liverpool were the event caterers. And supplied and delivered easily the best event food I have ever had in my life.
Feeding 500 people on time and so well several times over two days takes some organising. Basic and wholesome with options and friendship. And they campaign about food waste.
Brilliantly and creatively done and highly recommended, Can Cook.
‘We’re filling up the van now to take our food up to the Whitechapel Project next’ Laura told me as they drove off. ‘A fresh meal for somebody who’s hungry’ as they always say.