Talking Housing Market Renewal

In the pub after the second ever showing of ‘Without These Walls’


It’s on Catharine Street, The Caledonia, and has always been there. A good basic pub that went through a few years where it tried out being a launderette too. Not now. These days it’s independently run, does great food, great music and positively encourages the bringing in of dogs. A group of us went there last night.


The musicians who gradually assembled around us didn’t have any specific name on the June programme on all the tables. Just ‘Cajun Session.’

And so the Cajun Session began.
And so the Cajun Session began.

You know the sound. Accordion driven, gently compulsive, occasional vocals in a French that’s never been to France. Enthralling.

Beer was taken.
Beer was taken.
And ancient fiddles admired.
And ancient fiddles admired.
As we danced in our seats to the beauty of the rhythm.
As we danced in our seats to the beauty of the rhythm.

Pat filmed some of it in Super 8 Vintage.


And maybe we’ll add it to this entirely celebratory post? Yes, thanks Pat, here it is:

Where a beautiful dalmatian stood stock still in Arcadia.
Where a beautiful dalmatian stood stock still in Arcadia.

Last night at The Caledonia.

And earlier?
And earlier?
We'd all been over at the University.
We’d all been over at the University.

At the second ever showing of ‘Without These Walls.’ The gorgeous art film and its Ghost Mural by Jayne Lawless and Janet Brandon about. Well you know what it’s about.

The discussion after it was long and concerned and Jayne spoke well beyond magnificently out of the depths of her Everton soul.

Which is why, afterwards, we needed to dance in our seats to the cajun rhythms of Caledonia.

Here’s Jayne herself, speaking the day afterwards:

“Thank you for everyone who attended last night’s screening at Liverpool University’s Hesletine Institute of Public Policy and Practice. The film is an exceptional conduit and seems to lead naturally to discussion and debate. We talked a lot about a ‘soft approach’ re-engaging people with politics again. Why art has become a leader in highlighting issues in the City of late rather than more traditional methods of protest. Janet and I wanted to create beauty in the film and a sense of poetry rather than a hard straight documentary. If anyone has lived through something like HMRI, hard and direct no longer appeals.

In this context tonight, with policy makers in attendance, we were given an insight into how such policies as HMRI are created and then rolled out. This was really eye opening. To understand some of the mechanics behind policy making. I talked about accountability in the arts and how evidence is required at every stage before support or funding of an idea is even considered. How you’re scrutinised to ‘prove’ all of your theories beforehand. Is it as rigorous in the political arena of policy making?

The underlying question in the end was, ‘what can we do about it?’

There were so many interesting and thoughtful questions, answers and areas to delve into, I think it could have continued all night.”

For me the magic of the evening came from our discussion, sure, but much aided by the mood evoked by the Ghost Mural. The only light in the room while we discussed everything. Glimmering and fading sometimes to black. It created in a university lecture theatre the feeling of us all talking long and deep into the night round a camp fire. Very special.


Published by Ronnie

Writing about life, Liverpool and anything else that interests me. As well as working with others to make the world a fairer and kinder place:

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1 Comment

  1. Never heard of a pub trying to be a laundrette before! Great looking session, I love stumbling on these things, but it’s all too rare. There was a great one in an Orkney pub last year, though the music was from on that pub’s doorstep. The Caledonia’s was more reflective of Liverpool’s global influences!

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