Moving beyond ‘No’

Yes, I’ve been reading. But we’ll come back to that.

When I got talking to people in Granby in Liverpool, about seven years ago now, they asked me to help them get over a very specific problem:

“We all know what we don’t want. We don’t want our houses to be knocked down. So we’ve got very good, over many years, at opposing any and all plans to do this. The trouble is though, we can’t agree between us on exactly what it is we do want. So could you help?”

I said “Yes, maybe” and we began to work on something together, loads of us, that has largely worked. Not perfectly and it’s not finished. But we moved beyond that skilfully confident “no” to a curious and more friendly “yes,” and in so doing changed a piece of the Earth very much for the better.

What I hadn’t realised until this week was that in learning that lesson in Granby, that yes is stronger than no, we were beginning to learn something that may yet help to create a better future for the whole of the Earth, if we could be fairly quick about it. Continue reading “Moving beyond ‘No’”

Granby Street Market, September 2017

The great L8 Street Market is well into its eighth year now but I haven’t been around Granby or anywhere else much recently, so it was good to step out on a fine September morning and arrive at Granby again.

The Market runs pretty much all year now on the first Saturday of every month.
And since last year has run on Granby Street itself, the road being closed for it.
The market has grown and thrived in the extra space.

A real mixture of stalls here. All kinds of food, art, crafts, bike repairs, general interestingness and some they sum up as ‘car booty-ness.’

But best of all loads of people and the place itself. I was involved here for many years of course and it’s great to be back among friends again. Conversations flowing easily in the morning sun. Continue reading “Granby Street Market, September 2017”

2016: A year in 30 photographs

A selection from the several thousand photographs I’ve taken this year for this blog. Taken all together they tell one story of the year. Not a definitive one, more of a meander as you might expect.

In a year that’s been turbulent in so many ways it’s been good to have this blog to come home to. A quiet place to reflect and to tell some stories. Stories of ordinary days and determined people, trying to make our part of the world a better and fairer place.

A frame round the sky. At Rotunda in Kirkdale
A frame round the sky. At Rotunda in Kirkdale
The new stand at Anfield rising in the January fog.
The new stand at Anfield rising in the January fog.
Reflection of the new Royal.
Reflection of the new Royal.

Continue reading “2016: A year in 30 photographs”

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”

All in an L8 Day

Remembering Eleanor Rathbone & Jane Jacobs.

One day in Liverpool 8, walking through what the people of the place have done and are doing. And remembering two great women, Eleanor Rathbone and Jane Jacobs.Version 2Eleanor Rathbone you’ll well know about if you’ve been around this blog a while. Liverpool’s greatest suffragette and politician. From our first female City Councillor – for Granby, through votes for women, then as an MP changing all of our lives, our greatest social reformer and well overdue the posthumous Freedom of Liverpool so many of us are determined she should get. So our children and their children will know in whose benign shadow we all walk.

Seventy years dead but celebrated in her Granby this day.

And Jane Jacobs? Born 100 years ago and also celebrated on this one amazing day. We’ll come back to Jane, I am always coming back to Jane.

Early morning in Lodge Lane.
Early morning in Lodge Lane.
Thriving now through the independent efforts of its people.
Thriving now through the independent efforts of its people.

Continue reading “All in an L8 Day”

Good-night, Sweet Prince

prince-hall-of-fame
Prince Rogers Nelson.

We had a meeting yesterday, Friday, the Granby ‘legal team’ of Tracey Gore and me, in her office at Steve Biko Housing. And did eventually get to talk about organising the sale of some of the Community Land Trust houses as we’d planned.DSC02399

But not at first and not for a while. While waiting for others to arrive, for a good while we talked about Prince. Of all the times Tracey has seen him and of how lucky we’ve both been to be alive as his glorious music and uncompromising career have enriched our days and lives.

Walking away later I surprised myself by thinking of these lines from Hamlet:

“Good-night, sweet prince;
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

Continue reading “Good-night, Sweet Prince”

Perfect

Some things are just perfect aren’t they? Not in a showy kind of way. But just perfectly done or perfect in their very nature.DSC02157Let’s start with perfectly done. The latest 3 of our Community Land Trust Houses to be finished in Granby 4 Streets.

Perfect.
Perfect.

It would be fair to say more than a few of us have poured our hearts and souls into recovering and restoring these long empty houses.

And now they're ready.
And now they’re ready.
Ready to be homes again.
Ready to be homes again.

Continue reading “Perfect”

In Granby: The Street Market returns

This Saturday, 2nd April, sees the return of Granby 4 Streets Market. Now in its seventh year, the market this year moves out onto its new home on Granby Street itself.

Granby Street L8.
Granby Street L8.

We’re expecting Ducie Street, the last of the 4 Streets to go on site, to do so some time this summer.

Ducie Street, where the Markets were held last year.
Ducie Street, where the Markets were held last year.

So we’re moving out onto Granby’s historic trading street, as our direct tribute to the heritage of the area, where the whole of Granby Street was filled with shops, from Princes Avenue through to Upper Parliament Street. Public consultation we had done last year through Writing on the Wall came back strongly with the message of how much the shops are missed. So each month now we’ll be adding the Street Market in to the offers from our friends, the shop owners who’ve continued to trade on Granby Street. Continue reading “In Granby: The Street Market returns”