One Day in Liverpool

DSC02490 (1)Knowing this was likely to be an interestingly varied Wednesday, I decided I’d photograph my way around Liverpool and record what happened and who I met,  on one day late in April in 2016.

Cold but sunny, so I decide to walk to my first meeting.
Cold but sunny, so I decide to walk to my first meeting.
All of us are feeling emotionally fragile, I'll find as I travel round the city.
All of us are feeling emotionally fragile, I’ll find as I travel round the city.

The previous day, after a 27 year wait, we’ve had the findings of the Hillsborough Inquests into the deaths of the 96. And through the day we’ll all talk about how tense we felt, how the whole city seemed to hold its breath waiting for the judgements. Continue reading “One Day in Liverpool”

In Liverpool: On National Libraries Day

On National Libraries Day25Well where else would I go on such a day?

I’ve spent the last couple of Saturdays working in my local library. I love to go there when I want to really concentrate on writing something. I love too the serendipity of finding what I didn’t even know I was looking for when accidentally sat next to an unfamiliar bit of library. These are sacred places.

But today I decided on a change. Decided I’d get the bus down to Liverpool Central Library. The new camera’s not been there yet so is naturally keen on a good look round.

Off the bus at Lewis's. Its endless renovation continues.
Off the bus at Lewis’s. Its endless renovation continues.
Lime Street looking particularly forlorn on a slate grey day.
Lime Street looking particularly forlorn on a slate grey day.

Don’t worry, we are walking towards the library. I’m ‘putting it in context!’ Continue reading “In Liverpool: On National Libraries Day”

The Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust: On site

In Granby 4 Streets, PlusDane and Liverpool Mutual Homes have been on site for some time now. And very gratifying it has been to see them. Still, they’re big organisations with lots of experience and that’s the kind of thing you expect them to do. But now they’ve been joined on site by something wonderful.

The Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust is now on site too.
The Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust is now on site too.

So obviously I had to get down there and have a look at this.

Passing Ducie Street. Not sure when that's going to be on site yet.
Passing Ducie Street. Not sure when that’s going to be on site yet.
And entering Cairns Street.
And entering Cairns Street.

All of the 10 Community Land Trust (CLT) houses are on Cairns Street Continue reading “The Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust: On site”

And here I’ll stay

My post the other day on ’10 things I’ve learned from ‘A year to live’ carried the unsurprising news, to anyone who knows me and/or reads this blog, that I’ll be living in Liverpool for the rest of my life.And here I'll stay01

“I am happy where I am. I know I will never go to Machu Picchu, or climb Kilimanjaro or go snorkelling (with dolphins or not) off the coast of the Great Barrier Reef. Because I’m happy where I am and I don’t want to miss a day of it. This has not been a travelling life. Earlier yearnings and travels have gradually centred me in the Northern and Western British Islands. And now the furthest from home I want to travel is still home really. To Anglesey or to Mull or across the water to Ireland maybe. But never too far from this Liverpool. Where my heart beats.

During this year a couple of possible travels have been considered and not so much rejected as evaporated, from my lack of energy and interest. Given a year to live I am enjoying my time exploring and photographing and treasuring the land on both sides of the river I was born by. It’s enough, and it’s here I’ll stay. The streets, the people, the public libraries, the parks, the cafés, the quiet corners, the marmalade sky sunsets, and Granby 4 Streets, and Homebaked in Anfield, and Eldon Grove and, oh well, all the precious things I go on about. This is my place. I am from and of Liverpool and am of an age and experience where I am happy to carry some measure of responsibility for it and regularly convey my thoughts and suggestions to those elected to carry actual responsibility.

Years ago I would say that if you cut me open it would say ‘Liverpool’ in my bones. Now there’s no need to cut me open, any reasonable geologist could identify me as Liverpool on sight.”

Elsewhere in the article I mentioned seizing moments and no sunshine being wasted. So this morning when a work meeting was unexpectedly called off I did what is now my habit and retaliated by taking the rest of the day off. As I write the sun is gently setting, but this has been a gloriously blue autumn day. A day when no camera should go unused. Continue reading “And here I’ll stay”

I remember: 25 years ago

It’s about a quarter to four on 15th April 1989. I’m on my own in the place where I was living then. A Saturday afternoon, working on songs, doing my music while everyone else is out. But my mind is not entirely on my music because I know that Liverpool, Liverpool Football Club, are playing in the semi-final of the FA Cup, against Nottingham Forest, at Hillsborough, in Sheffield. So, around half-time I turn the radio on to hear how they are doing.

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For some years now I’ve been telling myself I don’t particularly care how they are doing. That football’s not that important to me. That, in fact, in these difficult 1980s where all Liverpool’s had going for it has been the successes of Liverpool and Everton, football has become an ‘opiate of the masses.’ But, despite this Marxist thinking, I always know how they’re doing. I always know where they are and who they’re playing. And I always know what time they’re kicking off. I’m from Liverpool, you just do.

Which is why I turn on BBC Radio Merseyside at a quarter to four on 15th April 1989. To hear how they’re doing at half time. Continue reading “I remember: 25 years ago”

Far above the city streets

While I was on top of Liverpool Cathedral yesterday taking my photographs for Liverpool 8, I did of course face the opposite way for some of the time, looking at the river and the city centre. Here’s how it all looked.

Looking across the Dingle.
Looking across the Dingle.
Down to the South Docks.
Down to the South Docks.

Visibility getting better as I turn away from the sun.

Close to the Cathedral, the church of St James in the City.
Close to the Cathedral, the church of St James in the City.

Just to the right of the church there, and in the next picture, you can just see what appears to be a railway tunnel. In fact this is the disused station of St James. Continue reading “Far above the city streets”

On Lime Street

Given it’s one of Liverpool’s most celebrated streets and the principal ‘gateway’ to the city, Lime Street can often seem an unloved and little celebrated place. So let’s love it and celebrate it.

Off the 86 outside Lewis's, or whatever we're supposed to call it now.
Off the 86 outside Lewis’s, or whatever we’re supposed to call it now.
Opposite the Adelphi.
Opposite the Adelphi.

This version of the grand old hotel is celebrating being 100 years old this year. The place fascinates and repels me in equal measure. It has corridors wider than whole rooms in Liverpool’s more modern hotels and standards of service so legendary they’ve been the subject of almost celebratory TV shows. Liverpool somehow wouldn’t be quite Liverpool without it. Continue reading “On Lime Street”

In the neighbourhood: Mossley Hill and Aigburth, Part 1

A bright short day in December, following my feet from home to the river along roads I don’t usually follow. Coming by surprise to somewhere that was the hidden birthplace of many, and I’d thought was long gone.

You know the way it is, even us habitual wanderers have our well worn pathways we inhabit without thinking. Here to the river? Down the hill, across the park, round the lake, through Otterspool. I can run it in 25 minutes. There.

Well today I did it differently. Along Allerton Road first, familiar enough.

Then turning right into Rose Lane, Mossley Hill.
Then turning right into Rose Lane, Mossley Hill.
Coming soon to Harper's Dairy.
Coming soon to Harper’s Dairy.
Not a dairy any more, but you can almost hear the cows.
Not a dairy any more, but you can almost hear the cows.

Long time blog readers may recall Duncan Scott’s splendid talk about Liverpool’s Cow Houses at ‘Mr Seel’s Garden’ earlier this year. Well here is one. A dairy on an urban street. At their height there were 900 of these in Liverpool. We’re not that far away from our semi-rural past. Continue reading “In the neighbourhood: Mossley Hill and Aigburth, Part 1”

So what?

Reflections on a year of blogging.

Well then, a year ago this week we turned our mostly static website into a blog. And now, 190 posts later I’m here to ask the question, so what?Spring01 What has been the effect of all this writing? Of posts covering the spectrum from sweets in the 1960s to getting the truth about Hillsborough. From entertaining, to emotional and back again. Who knows?

Certainly a lot of the writing has been read. On the old website a top day, and there weren’t many of them, would see 30 views. Views on here currently stand at 24,000. This makes me bizarrely happy. But why? What’s been changed by all this? Continue reading “So what?”

And in the morning, afterwards

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Families of the 96, outside the High Court yesterday. MPs Andy Burnham, Steve Rotheram and Maria Eagle with them.

What a day. Let’s remind ourselves of its significance with the words of David Conn, the Guardian journalist who has waited so long to be able to write this:

“Since the Hillsborough independent panel published its report on 12 September, blowing away the myths and police lies about how 96 people died at the FA Cup semi-final on 15 April 1989, there has been a sense that consequences are falling almost naturally into place.

Continue reading “And in the morning, afterwards”