A Sunday Walk reminding me of two things I’ve loved from early in my life. From 1963 onwards saving up my pocket money for singles by the Beatles, the Searchers, the Crystals and the Ronettes. Then coming home and playing football in streets still largely without cars. Golden days.
As is this one, crossing a quiet Smithdown Road.
We’ll be getting to Ullet Road just through there in a while.
But before that there are some records to buy.
Through Greenbank Park, edging into winter now.
Past quiet Greenbank Lane Allotments.
Into Sefton Park, shadows lengthening in the low winter sun now.
Just noticed the position of that leaf. Wasn’t viewing myself as some sort of classical statue!
Many people’s favourite tree in the park.
Some sort of sequoia?
I’ll ask Sarah later – ‘Swamp Cypress’ she says.
A day for wrapped up walking along the avenue of trees.
As autumn turns to winter.
Interesting new venture through the other side of the park.
Fairly quiet on Lark Lane this morning.
Looking like it’s going to rain too.
All sorts on sale outside the Old Police Station.
Including a few LPs.
I have a quick look, of course I do. But I’m here for more choice than that.
Down the side, round the back and 50p to get in.
For the two and more years since LPs re-entered my life this has been a regular place for me to come every 6 weeks or so and enjoy the ancient habit my hands never did forget of flicking through records.
Probably all of the stalls in here have had my custom over this time. But this one is persistently the highest quality and has the most varied selection. 1940 jazz and blues, Peggy Lee in original mono, pink label Island samplers? Adrian’s got them.
Meet Adrian Melling. Musician, enthusiast, opinionated, a friend.
And today’s haul? Mild by my usual standards, sorry Adrian.
A brace of Lyle Lovett Texas swing, a Philadelphia double and Gaucho – ‘Special delivery for Hoops McCann’
Adrian and all will be back here in February.
For me now it’s back across the park and throught the paths on the other side.
It’s rained heavily while I’ve been mooching through the records.
But blue skies are back as I reach Ullet Road.
For roadworks now close to being finished.
In the week I’d got this from my good friend Ed Gommon – a friend of Granby and all things co-operative and intelligently ecological, and one of the organisers of what we’re about to see.And it’s great.
Children playing in the closed off road.
And there’s a band playing too.
Outside the Eco Offices who’ve been part of organising the party.
Eleven Peacemakers in all.
Fiddles, drums, bass, guitar, brass and accordion. A magnificent noise.
Friends of the street.
Some are young and all are swinging.
A quality instrument that.
Lovely microphone too.
In fact let’s look at it just on its own.
Tables of food. Hot soup particularly welcome on a cold day thanks.
And surreal scenes of playing where we usually can’t.
Making me wonder ‘Why not?’ Why not close our roads more often?
So we can see more of this.
Mind you the trucks are not far away.
And work is happening even on this Sunday afternoon.
So Ullet Road won’t be closed for much longer. Making this afternoon all the more precious.
So well done you Eco people and everyone else involved.
Nice roof you’ve got there.
Great to see you Mike and Di.
Thanks for letting me know Ed.
And Peacemakers, what a band.
When they’d finished and were packing away I contributed a little music of my own. From the records I’d just bought from Adrian.
Setting up right in the middle of Ullet Road, because I could.
My portable turntable.
And the music? McFadden & Whitehead ‘Ain’t no stopping us now’ – of course.
Only a tiny speaker so I won’t pretend it set the road dancing. But it’s the principle of the thing. People count for more than cars and it’s more than a good thing to clear space for ourselves now and then and reclaim our streets.
Too soon though the magical afternoon is over.
And we all look back regretfully on its passing.
But these are the days we remember and will want again, remembering the day we closed off the road and had a party in the street.
A halcyon day.
Thanks for inviting me.
A very special day in Liverpool.
Buying records and playing in the street.
Ullet Road Street Party organised by a collection of residents and friends inspired by the Traffic Free Sunday campaign and Compass Liverpool, supported by the Ullet Road Eco Offices.