Talking Fun Palaces with Stella Duffy

DSC01114Stella Duffy, where do I start? Novelist, playwright, actor, activist and, these last few years, one of the main motivators behind Fun Palaces. About who and which, much more in a bit.

Walking through Anfield to meet Stella.

Walking through Anfield to meet Stella.

Past the Cabbage.

Past the Cabbage.

And the settled roads nearby.

And the settled roads nearby.

Off Breck Road.

Off Breck Road.

I just might be part of doing some work around here soon.

I just might be part of doing some work around here soon.

Early days yet.

Early days yet.

But liking the look of 'Anfield's hidden gem' here!

And liking the look of ‘Anfield’s hidden gem’ here!

But worried about the empty homes along some of the streets now.

But worried about the empty homes along some of the streets now.

It’s what I’m working on and thinking about with other North Liverpool people at our Beautiful Ideas sessions at the moment. How a team of us, yet to be put together, might help sort these empties in a practical way with owners and local people, for the benefit of the whole place.

I’ll be telling you more as things develop.

Round the corner it's Oakfield Road.

Round the corner it’s Oakfield Road.

And that big stadium at the end there can only mean one thing. We’re getting near to Homebaked.

Before we do…

There's this gable end to point out to you.

There’s this gable end to point out to you.

Tonight my friend, artist Jayne Lawless will be projecting something very special onto here. A work of several years which is explained by Jayne here.

Jayne Lawless 'Ghost Mural'

Jayne Lawless & Ghost Mural: Image created by Janet Brandon.

The gone streets, the living stories, the beauty lost, the passion that will always remain.

See Ghost Mural projected on the gable end of Oakfield Road, Anfield, on Wednesday 2 March 2016 from 7pm — FREE, open to the public

See the Ghost Mural film premiere at Homebaked, Anfield, Friday 8 April 2016, along with a number of the animation sets made by Janet Brandon for the film. This is an invitation to all who have helped shape and support this project over the years to come along and raise a glass.

So if you’re going to the Manchester City match tonight look out for the Ghost Mural.

Lunch time today I arrive at Homebaked.

Lunch time today I arrive at Homebaked.

To find Stella Duffy has arrived before me.

Naturally pies are eaten.

Naturally pies are eaten.

Though interestingly Stella has already had a scone.

Though interestingly Stella has already had a scone.

She explains this having of a back to front day by the fact that this is also her birthday – and anyway she’s from New Zealand!

DSC01111We talk Granby and Homebaked, of course we do. Stella’s email to me the morning after we’d won the Turner Prize had offered to buy me a congratulatory drink the next time she was in Liverpool. So here we are. The drinks being cups of tea and coffee. She also talks with fellow writer Cally who does the Homebaked blog as well as working in the bakery here, on ’til 11:00 tonight along with the rest of Homebaked as they’re open until after the match. Real life in a social DSC01112enterprise across the road from a major football ground.

And of course we talk Fun Palaces.

 

The full story of Fun Palaces and how to be part of doing one is here. They started as an idea in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when theatre director Joan Littlewood and architect Cedric Price devised the Fun Palace as a ‘laboratory of fun’ and ‘a university of the streets’.  More here about the early story.

Joan Littlewood.

Joan Littlewood.

During her lifetime Fun Palaces were an interesting and influential idea, though one was never built. Now, revived by Stella and her colleagues,  temporary fun palaces happen all together every October as thousands of people in communities in eleven countries so far celebrate themselves and art and science in events they make up and run themselves. Think the kind of thing we did here at Homebaked last December.

Our improvised and enchanting manifestation.

Our improvised and enchanting manifestation.

Magical.

Magical.

Except Fun Palaces happen all together in October. Maybe there’ll be one here or somewhere else in Liverpool? Who knows.

“THE FUN PALACES MANIFESTO

WE BELIEVE IN THE GENIUS IN EVERYONE, IN EVERYONE AN ARTIST AND EVERYONE A SCIENTIST, AND THAT CREATIVITY IN COMMUNITY CAN CHANGE THE WORLD FOR THE BETTER.
WE BELIEVE WE CAN DO THIS TOGETHER, LOCALLY, WITH RADICAL FUN – AND THAT ANYONE, ANYWHERE, CAN MAKE A FUN PALACE.”

Certainly Stella Duffy and I will do something together. We both knew that as we talked coincidences, parallels and possibilities like best friends who’ve only just met.

But too soon it’s time for Stella to catch her train. So we leave Homebaked and get on the 27 bus together.

but not before Stella had said hello to the oven she'd helped crowd fund a couple of Christmases back along with the rest of us.

But not before Stella had said hello to the oven she’d helped crowd fund a couple of Christmases back along with the rest of us.

Good to see you Stella. Can’t wait to see what we’ll come up with!

Fun Palaces will happen this year on 1st and 2nd of October, 2016.

 

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