Afternoon Tea at George Henry Lee: Ed’s Place

 A Story of a Fold in Time

Every now and then in the place where you are, if you’re paying close attention, you’ll notice there’s been a fold in time. Where the place is still as much itself as it always was, but more so. Like its colour balance has been adjusted, and in the adjusting a different time has leaked through. This happened today in Ed’s Place when, for a couple of hours, it became the department store George Henry Lee again and we all had Afternoon Tea together.

All week and for the past couple of weeks Ed’s Place has resounded to the sounds and debates of design and the future. Talk of what we the people might and could do to create talking spaces and breathing spaces, in a greener and pleasanter city centre neighbourhood for ourselves and our children’s futures as far as we can imagine them. It’s been great and will be for another week or so.

But this afternoon the future had a couple of hours off and through the fold in time I told you about, some special guests arrived. The staff of George Henry Lee’s. Continue reading “Afternoon Tea at George Henry Lee: Ed’s Place”

In Liverpool: Walking, Rotating, Debating

This was one of my favourite kind of days, the variety kind. A good amount of walking, sunny but not too hot, chance meetings with friends, time alone in quiet corners, Liverpool looking mostly gorgeous, some sorting stuff with other friends, before two events to top off the day.

This was my yesterday. Mostly in photos, with the occasional explanation.

Squash in Windsor Street is open again on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, so I walked to breakfast there, Continue reading “In Liverpool: Walking, Rotating, Debating”

A Global Sense of Place

September 7th, 2018

Things are getting real now with starting my MA/PhD at the University of Liverpool.

This week, having paused at least for now on much else that I’m doing, I’ve been spending more time around the university. Not that there are many other students around, I’ve just been getting myself acclimatised to the place again. Forty years after I last spent very much time here.

I’ve been reading mostly. Things my two academic supervisors in Sociology and History have recommended.  And it was while sat in this coffee shop reading ‘A Global Sense of Place’ by Doreen Massey I noticed an email float across my screen from the university. Not one of the general ‘Welcome to Liverpool’ messages I’ve been getting lately, but a very specific one from the administrator of the department I’ll be joining the week after next. Containing details and times like “1pm on Tuesday 18.” And a list of modules to pick from. This MA I’m needing to do being partly a taught thing, compared with the the PhD that will follow.

So it’s all getting real now, which is good.

Anyway, back to the reading.

Continue reading “A Global Sense of Place”

It’s nearly time: The Mystery Literary Festival

Coming up this weekend!

Once upon a time, when none of the things I’m about to tell you had even been dreamed of, a small boy in Liverpool swapped his treasured Beatles ‘Twist and Shout’ EP for an old book a friend at school was offering me. The book was called ‘Tales of Mystery and Imagination’ and, as time was to prove, this was one of the starts of something that quite a lot of people are about to be involved in.

Tickets are free, and can be booked through the Eventbrite page.

First there are the facts

On 22 and 23 September, this weekend in fact, the first Mystery Literary Festival will take place in Wavertree’s Holy Trinity Church. The two-day event will celebrate mystery literature from across the spectrum and will bring families and the local community together in a celebration of mysterious books, film, music, performance, and more.


Then there is a story

It all began one day last autumn when a group of people, including my friend Lucy and I, were gathered in a church hall in Wavertree talking about ideas for things we might do in and around the local park, known to all of us as The Mystery (for reasons that are a whole other story).

“Well,” said one of the group, “The Mystery? It sounds like it could be a literary festival. One all about mystery stories, doesn’t it?” And so, an idea was born, and its story is about to come true.

Continue reading “It’s nearly time: The Mystery Literary Festival”

Breathing Spaces: Walking and Talking at Ed’s Place

Still lots of Ed’s Place things going on at the moment. General Information and bookings here.

Including another of these ‘Breathing Spaces’ walks this coming Sunday 23rd. Book here.

Looking back at the first of three ‘Breathing Spaces’ walks then, another coming up this Sunday.

I love doing this. A two hour walk around the centre of Liverpool talking about breathing spaces and how they are essential for making our city centre work for more than just shopping. Those places, sometimes public squares and sometimes just places in between others, where we can sit a while, breathe, reflect, watch people go by, check our phones, talk to friends or maybe even eat the lunch we’ve brought with us. And all for free.

The places where we can be citizens of our place, quietly, sociably and for the love of being here. They’re precious places and most of the ones we have here could be better, for all kinds of reasons.

I’m not going to write all the possible reasons down here though. Because this walk was only the first of two I’m doing, and I’ll be interested to hear what you think too, if you’d like to come on the second one? That’ll be on Thursday 13th September, also from Ed’s Place.

Anyway, during this first one on Sunday just gone fifteen of us talked… Continue reading “Breathing Spaces: Walking and Talking at Ed’s Place”

Living, Thinking, Looking: A day to myself

In Granby Street by now
The gazebos will be rising
Like smiles to meet the day

I’m up and out early looking forward to a day to myself, a day with no appointments of any kind to do exactly and only what I feel like. Mostly walking and reading then, but also calling in on my friends at the Street Market.

The market’s already getting busy, just after 10. Continue reading “Living, Thinking, Looking: A day to myself”

Starving To Be Alone

No offence is meant here to the people I know and love, or to anyone else. But sometimes don’t you wish you were on your own?

Not because of unhappiness, anger or any other feelings of bitterness. But just because. Because you want to be on your own? I do and I think I always have.

Back when I was nineteen years old this feeling was defined for me by a song I’d never heard before.

It’s November 1973 and I’m sat in the Empire Theatre in Liverpool watching Neil Young for the first time. Continue reading “Starving To Be Alone”

Look At Me: Reading Anita Brookner

‘Once a thing is known it can never be unknown. It can only be forgotten.’

My friend Kate Rodenhurst and I both read Anita Brookner’s ‘Look At Me’ in the same month, in the same city, long after it had been published and independently of each other. Having discovered this coincidence and both been strongly affected by the book, we decided to think about doing this writing together. To help others discover the beauty of a piece of work that had so long eluded both of us.

I’m starting the writing then to get this written version of our long conversation going. And Kate will reflect and respond where she likes along the way. Reflecting our actual conversation round at Kate’s house. One that was no more a review or a detailed critique than this is likely to be, but more an appreciation of what so fascinated us both. Here goes. Continue reading “Look At Me: Reading Anita Brookner”

Listening to the Radio: BBC Radio 3

Turn on your radio, you never know what’s in there.

For the best part of all the years I’ve been alive my taste in music was pretty much set by my ‘Little Richard moment.’ I’ve described it elsewhere on here, but it happened one day when I was little. In a coffee bar on Walton Vale I pushed in the money my mother had given me into the juke box there, pressed all the right buttons, and heard ‘Tutti Frutti’ for the first time.

Even the beloved Beatles when they arrived were clearly drawing from the same well as Little Richard. A well full of blues, R&B, pop, soul, reggae, folk and roots music that sustained me from that first day. And sustains me still, but not all the time.

In a stressful time a year ago now I was finding I preferred silence to my usual daily soundtrack of 6 Music, a silence I needed for a few weeks.

Then as the silence was ending I made a discovery. That my radio could receive more than one station and that the new one was BBC Radio 3. Continue reading “Listening to the Radio: BBC Radio 3”