“Brief Lives” & two perfect paragraphs

I’m not sure if you’re supposed to do this really. Include whole paragraphs as quotations on a blog post about a particular book. But they’re such a perfect bookends to everything in between them that I’m going to go ahead and do just that anyway.

Since Kate Rodenhurst and I wrote our joint piece, about a different Anita Brookner novel in this ‘books’ corner of the blog I’ve been having trouble settling into novels by anyone else. Hence picking up her ‘Brief Lives’ before setting out on my Sunday walk this week. Yet another book having been abandoned in disinterest the day before.

I don’t entirely blame the authors of this failed sequence. In recent weeks I’ve been doing a lot of reading, but of academic books, so perhaps that’s put me off my fictional stride? Maybe so but either way I was happy and confident to set off early in the afternoon with an Anita Brookner in my bag, on a grey and quiet Sunday that  would have suited so many of her characters and their situations.

I walked in the opposite direction to my more usual city routes. Knowing there would be giant puppets and their attendant crowds towards the city centre and a Liverpool FC and Manchester City game further north I walked up Mossley Hill and down the other side, along mostly empty streets.

Reaching Sefton Park at the Aigburth end I bought some coffee from the café by the lake, sat down to read and by page 16 I’d found this perfect paragraph about a Sunday afternoon in the main character’s childhood. Continue reading ““Brief Lives” & two perfect paragraphs”

The Long and Winding Road

I keep singing the song quietly, I think, to myself. This week as things change for me and I set off on something new, I keep singing the song.

It’s in me like bone, like heart and soul. Like it has been since I first heard it the best part of fifty years ago, and would set off to walk the five miles to where my first girlfriend lived, singing the song. It’s on my walks, it’s when I go somewhere new and when I start something different.

More than a soundtrack, more like a guide, a compass, a longing. It’s the sound of longing and it always has been. The song of trying out new things, which always lead me back to the long and winding road. Continue reading “The Long and Winding Road”

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”

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”

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”

Walking to Make Liverpool

Nowadays I’m regularly walking along the Dock Road to Make Liverpool, where I’ve long been kind of involved and I’m now a board member. I love their whole idea and what they do and some time soon, being a board member there, I’ll write a lot more about a place I’m increasingly thinking of as ‘us’ not ‘them.’

But as well as all that I simply love walking there, since I no longer drive and because it’s such a great walk. I love it so much I’ve already done one blog post about the walk. That was just a few weeks ago and was called ‘Walking Through Time.’ So think of this one as a companion piece, where I’ve varied the views I’ll show you by the devastatingly creative technique of walking on the opposite side of the Dock Road to last time! Yes.

Let’s go then, beginning in front of the Cunard Building.

It’s a seriously beautiful day, sunny and not too hot for us northern types. Continue reading “Walking to Make Liverpool”

Happy Days: Games in the 1960s

It’s been a while since me and my boyhood friend Barry Ward jointly penned one of our rambling stories of growing up in the 1960s. But some of those, particularly the ones about food and especially ice cream continue to be read every day and are some of the most popular ever featured on here.

So, knowing we might be writing for an audience of thousands, please clear away the tea dishes, fold up the tablecloth and clear the space for “Games in the 1960s!”

Over to you Barry.

‘Noticing your recent post about Dusty Springfield I see that you incorporated a mention of my sister Hilary getting a copy of ‘With The Beatles’ for Christmas 1963 (which I soon appropriated after she turned her attentions to the Dave Clark 5).
However do you remember my Christmas present that year?  It was a game of ‘Blow Football’ possibly the most useless football based game ever invented.
The box promised great things inside….a picture of a real football match with an excited crowd.  However the game consisted of 2 plastic goals, 2 plastic straws and a ball about the size of a malteser. Even so, many happy hours were spent dribbling over my mum and dad’s dining room table, and not always  in a football sense.

Continue reading “Happy Days: Games in the 1960s”

Walking Into Stanley Park

This is my baby park, the place that first defined the word ‘park’ for me. I was born across the road in Diana Street, on the Walton side of the park and I’m often here still. Walking round, reading, meeting people and just being.

The park’s in good shape, much used and loved these days to the credit of many. And I think I love it the most on its quiet days, like in these photographs. The Edwardian bit being like our own stately home garden, that us lot in the working classes can stroll around for free any time we like, as if we owned the place. Which we do.

This morning I got off the 68 bus on Priory Road and walked into the park to meet a friend.

Continue reading “Walking Into Stanley Park”

Walking Down to George Henry Lee: Independents Biennial 2018

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.

I walked down here earlier via Squash on Windsor Street. Continue reading “Walking Down to George Henry Lee: Independents Biennial 2018”

Walking Through Time

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.

Continue reading “Walking Through Time”