Kitty’s Launderette: A Work of Art

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.

Myriam Lahnite’s collage.

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”

The Writer’s House

After I wrote about my friend the artist Emma Rushton’s house a couple of weeks ago, some other friends suggested I might like to do a series where I look around some other people’s houses. They thought this could be an interesting development from other writings and work I’ve done on, oh, the meaning of life and home as a human right. They also thought it would be a good nose.

Thanks ‘some other friends!’

So to try out the idea, and because it’s only fair, I’ve decided to follow up the post on Emma’s house with one about where I live. And since I’m writing this and it’s what I do a lot of, here’s ‘The Writer’s House’.

I moved in here with my daughter Clare in September 1991. A three bed terraced house in Wavertree, much like thousands of others in Liverpool. Continue reading “The Writer’s House”

The Artist’s House

Visiting the home of a friend, who’s also a working artist.

It could reasonably be said that we all love a nose around other people’s houses. To see how they live. Maybe get to get to know them better? Wonder what exactly possessed them to put THAT there? Or, like in the case of artist Emma Rushton’s house, for sheer inspiration.

Let’s have that nose then.


Emma’s lived here for around four years:

‘And in that time I’ve scraped pretty much every inch of the place. It remains a work in progress but it’s definitely a home now.’

A lived in and living home for Emma and her children.

Scraping the place back to see what she’d got and keeping everything she could Emma has carefully created the artist’s house of today. Bringing all her experience as an internationally exhibiting artist into this place of her own. Continue reading “The Artist’s House”

In Liverpool: One Saturday

This day didn’t turn out the way I’d roughly intended it to. Though it was clearly going to be grey and at least partially rainy I felt like having one of my walking round Liverpool with a camera days. The sort that sometimes turn into blog posts. Well in the event I didn’t do much walking but here’s the blog post.

I’d always intended to start the day’s walking at the Tate, where I’d been told someone I knew was involved in, well you’ll see what, and then I’d walk on. As it turned out I walked into the gallery shortly after twelve, got involved, and carried on my walking three hours later. Here’s the story.

Those big names from the photos above, together with several more you will probably have heard of are somewhere around the Tate today, but I’m not here for them. I’m here to see some new work and also art being made up in the same gallery. Let’s go. Continue reading “In Liverpool: One Saturday”

The Story of Coming Home: So far

For some time now I’ve been thinking of writing something on here about Coming Home. For many reasons, some of which I’ll explain, the time’s never seemed quite right. But stories need telling, otherwise how do they become stories? So here goes, the Story of Coming Home:

Chapter 1

Photograph by Jane MacNeil

Whatever kind of maker you are, a maker of things, tools, songs, stories, poems or paintings, the most difficult thing to do is to get going. So many of us are full of the big even beautiful ideas, aren’t we? But how many of them ever amount to something you can show or use or put in a story, let alone live in?

I’ve been thinking about this, this getting going, as some friends and I from The Beautiful Ideas Co have been talking about what Coming Home does next. And as I’ve also been reading a novel by Colm Toíbín called ‘The South.’ I love Colm Toíbín’s writing. He’s a near contemporary and I often find valuable thoughts about life and the living of it from reading his books.

In ‘The South’ I’ve found a particularly relevant gem. It’s in his afterword, where he writes about how hard he’d had to search for the answer to how to get this, his first novel, going.

Being a story he’d wanted to move around Ireland and Catalonia, abstractedly painting their emotional and historical landscapes he talked to an Irish artist, Barrie Cooke, about how he did beginnings:

“You make a mark” he said, as he gestured the making of an almost random mark with an imaginary paint-brush.

Well at Coming Home we’ve definitely made a mark. Continue reading “The Story of Coming Home: So far”

Granby Office of Useful Art

DSC05864First there is a sparkly little notice.Useful ArtThen there is finding the place.

148 Granby Street.
148 Granby Street.

Owned by the local church, just next to their Mission, but not used for some years.

Now rented to Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust.
Now rented to Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust.
Last used as a hairdresser's.
Last used as a hairdresser’s.
Now it's Granby Office of Useful Art.
Now it’s Granby Office of Useful Art.

Biscuits, you see, can be art.

The Localist Workers are getting everything ready.
The Localist Workers are getting everything ready.

Continue reading “Granby Office of Useful Art”

Caledonia: Liverpool

In the pub after the second ever showing of ‘Without These Walls’
DSC03498It’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.DSC03499The 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. Continue reading “Caledonia: Liverpool”

At the Invisible Wind Factory

DSC03053In North Liverpool along the Dock Road a company of artists, scientists, engineers and musicians are conducting an Experiment. An Experiment in Invisible Wind. So, obviously I went to have a look.

Next door to Make Liverpool where this blog is often to be found.
Next door to Make Liverpool where this blog is often to be found.
Is the new Kazimier laboratory and performance space.
Is the new Kazimier laboratory and performance space.
The
The Invisible Wind Factory.
We are shown into the reception area, all of us joining the Experiment today.
We are shown into the reception area, all of us joining the Experiment today.

Due to the nature of the Experiment and the equipment involved we are instructed to turn off our phones and also to take no photographs. I have partial exemption on this, though once we enter the Omphalos Chamber, the core of the Experiment, I will not be allowed to take photographs. Continue reading “At the Invisible Wind Factory”

How to do Social Housing: Part Two

Continuing the true story of Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust on siteGranby on site - 70

The second of two detailed parts of my story about exactly how to do social housing. Or at least, exactly how we’re doing it in Granby 4 Streets.

At the end of Part One we are deliriously winning the Turner Prize.
At the end of Part One we are deliriously winning the Turner Prize.
Assemble and a few of us are up in Glasgow at the Channel Four announcement.
Assemble and a few of us, though not me, are up in Glasgow at the Channel Four announcement.
The rest of us are in Liverpool watching it all together at The Small Cinema in Victoria Street.
The rest of us are in Liverpool watching it all together at The Small Cinema in Victoria Street.

Next morning I’m up well before the dawn reflecting on what’s just happened and have published my thoughts on here before the media start arriving in the Four Streets. Continue reading “How to do Social Housing: Part Two”