Today I want to tell you about something else that’s going to be happening in the former Georg Henry Lee building in the middle of Liverpool. Along with the now open Independents Biennial that I told you about the other day, in a few weeks time the much beloved building will also become Ed’s Place.
‘What’s that then?’ I can already hear you wondering.
Well that’s what the bulk of this blog post is about if you’d like to read on.
But in short it’s going to be one great big room in the former George Henry’s, the old Gifts Department in fact, where a whole load of us – including you if you want – will be able to dream, discuss, plan and debate what a greener and more vibrant future for our city centre would look like. Design sessions, talk sessions, displays, thoughts and stories of what might be possible, over the several weeks that we’ll have the use of part of the grand old building.
Fancy it? I do and that’s why I’m going to be one of the people taking part it it all.
When I was growing up and it was summertime New Brighton was the day out you could realistically ask for. Right there across the water and reachable in those days by ferry, it couldn’t involve the preparations or paraphernalia that could often be used to torpedo the very idea of a day out in even Southport, never mind the holy grail of Blackpool. So I loved New Brighton then and love it now, possibly more so. The ferry’s long gone and the place has had its downs as well as ups. But it’s still right there across the water, ready and waiting for my day out with the Open Eye Gallery today.
Now obviously I’m well capable of getting myself to New Brighton all on my own. I’m big now and don’t have to wait and plead for anyone to take me there anymore. But after a busy day in George Henry Lee yesterday I was glad to wake up this morning and remember that someone else was taking care of arrangements today, and that all I had to do was turn up late in the morning at the Open Eye and they’d look after me from then on. Continue reading “New Brighton Revisited: Indy Biennial 18”
I’m sat here on the big curving staircase in George Henry Lee writing this. On the second floor, near Glassware and looking down towards Cards and Wrapping Paper on the ground floor.
Well those last bits are only in my mind, but I’m really sat on the staircase in George Henry Lee writing. One of the seventy venues that are home to the Independents Biennial 2018 from now until the end of October. I’m very happy to be here.
She was the first real live pop star I ever actually went to see, was Dusty Springfield. At the height of her magnificence and for my 13th birthday. Here’s the story.
Something about her had always fascinated me when she’d turn up on our black and white television singing with The Springfields. I’d ignore the men in suits either side of her and focus on her eyes, her singing, her liveliness. I’m about eight years old when she’d be on ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’ singing ‘Island of Dreams’ and it’s one of the first songs I can remember walking round the streets singing to myself. This is before most of us, even in Liverpool, got to know about The Beatles, just to put things in context here. Continue reading “A Girl Called Dusty”
I’m thinking a lot about time at the moment. How we made it up, how it works, how we see it in what people once did and in what we’re doing next.
Much more talk of time and places coming as my university work, reading and thinking at Sociology Liverpool gets going from now on.
Meanwhile I think of time as I’m walking around. The joy and the beauty of here and now. My feet on the ground of Liverpool as I walk. Like the early morning, earlier this week, as I walked from town to the North Docks, recognising the beauty of the place – hardly for the first time – and how happy I am to be here. In my time and in my place. Here in these few photographs of a sunny July morning, walking from the Town Hall and out through the business district to the Dock Road.
A meditation on hospitals, allotments and the National Health Service.
While I’m writing this I’m listening to the ‘NHS Symphony’. A new choral work commissioned by BBC Radio 3 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of our health service. It contains a collage of sounds from two Birmingham NHS hospitals, routine sounds and major life event sounds. From the cradle to the grave. From birth to death with the NHS. Humanity’s greatest creation.
All day until coming home and listening to this I’ve been at Sarah’s allotment. Together with Sarah this time though so often on my own these past weeks of her sea kayaking journeys to the Western Isles and Anglesey.
In her second sea kayaking post of June 2018 Sarah sea kayaks through the place that first inspired her to want do this, South Stack off Anglesey:
‘In June 2013 I looked down from these cliffs to see a group of kayaks in the sea and said, ‘I want to do that.
Many adventures have followed, and the frustrations of learning something new too…. but I knew that one day I would like to be in a kayak, paddling under the bridge past South Stack lighthouse. And – five years later – I am.’
Here then is the story of Sarah, paddling through and beyond her dreams and then out to the far islands where that beautiful red and white lighthouse is waiting.
I am back on a kayaking trip, this time on what I now think of as ‘my’ home paddling area – Anglesey. I have two days with coach Steve Miles. Conditions are very fair – no swell, and very light winds – so we have plenty of choice about where to go. We decide on ‘The Stacks’ for our first day.
Just out of Porth Dafarch and we meet Richard Janes on the water – one of the team from Sea Kayaking Wales. I will be out with them in July on their weekend ‘Exploring Marine Diversity by kayak’ . As usual we pause whilst kayaking banter is observed, and then we are on our way up the north coast – where I have not kayaked before, to South Stack and North Stack, or ‘The Stacks’. This north coast of Anglesey is particularly interesting from a geological point of view – and all I can do is be amazed, without the knowledge to describe what we can see here! Continue reading “Stacks and Skerries”
Yesterday evening, a Sunday, in one of the quiet hours in between World Cup matches, a friend responded to something on Twitter about self-employed people getting pressurised into doing free work with this thought of their own:
Oxfam do the same. Ask young artists to work on festivals for the experience whilst raising money for them who are, of course, paid.
Which got me thinking about a new blog post, and I said so:
‘Seriously contemplating a blog post called ‘People with jobs’. Especially where they work for reasonable organisations they increasingly expect lots of us lot to work for little or nothing & then get paid late if at all because they’re ‘a good thing’. There’s the blog post!’
Another friend responded immediately, triggering off the following conversation between several of us which carried on disgruntingly through the rest of the evening.
As you may well have gathered by now I think Kitty’s Launderette is currently one of the best new ideas in a city that’s getting increasingly good at new ideas.
Coming from the streets and communities of Liverpool itself, for the most part, we’re shaping up much of our future from our own ideas and energies. Which is as it should be. We are the people of Liverpool, in all of our joyously argumentative difference, and if we aren’t our own place’s future then who is? Continue reading “Kitty’s Launderette: A Work of Art”
Once a year in a park not too far away, a village called Oyé appears. For two days it goes about its village business, and then it disappears on the second night of the two days, like it was never there. Until the mid-summer of the following year, when once again Oyé returns, as it has today.
I knew this would be the day of its return because I’ve been visiting the village now for twenty six years. Following it round the city and even across the water in its early days, before it settled in its home now, at the Lodge Lane end of Sefton Park.
Nevertheless a friend reminded me about it when I happened to see her the day before, because she’s a drummer and knew about a band from her home country I should get there in time to see.
So I walked into the park the next morning to find Oyé. Hearing it before I could see it.
Then here it was, across the field and between the vans, the Village of Oyé. Here like always, never quite the same but always both familiar and different.