The Mystery Literary Festival 2018: How it was

Days one and two photographs now included.

First days start quietly when you’ve not done it before
Will this work, will that work, will anybody come?
But then and if you’re lucky and you never can be sure
It just works, it just does and soon the first day’s done.

Well done all, here’s how it looked through one pair of eyes.

 

Ready for everyone to arrive… Continue reading “The Mystery Literary Festival 2018: How it was”

Four Photographs of Home

I love new print. It’s not so all pervasive as it once was, but I was delighted this morning when my new business cards arrived. Neatly packaged in two elegantly square boxes. A hundred photographic messages to, well, who exactly?

 

These days business cards aren’t all they used to be, certainly not as necessary. I ran out of my last lot a couple of months ago and I’ve done fine with my phone, messaging and DM-ing contact details when I’ve needed to. Fine and practical, but hardly beautiful.

Which is why I designed and ordered another supply of cards. Cared about messages I can leave with people if we meet and decide we want to be in touch. Only polite? Well I think so as I kind of like polite.

Here they are then. Four short stories, four photographs of home.

The Reservoir, L8 Continue reading “Four Photographs of Home”

Kitty’s Launderette: For Anfield, For Everton, For Liverpool

Kitty’s Launderette’s Kickstarter campaign has now passed £8,500 worth of pledges from over 150 people. Really good going as we all get behind seeing it all the way to its target of £14,000.

Less than £5,500 now needed to reach the target. So if you haven’t pledged yet…?

A few weeks ago I started telling you the story of a new idea, the story of Kitty’s Launderette. An affordable and ecological laundrette in the community of Anfield and Everton. A warm and welcoming place for arts, social activities and doing the washing.

Help Kickstart Kitty’s Launderette. Kitty’s Kickstarter open for pledges here.

Well now a new chapter in the story of Kitty’s is well underway and your help is needed.

A building has been found and bought for the launderette, and in a great place too. Just off Oakfield and Thirlmere Roads, if you know where I’m talking about. Local people came for a visit and a good look round a few weeks ago and it’s all looking good for making the empty ex-builder’s yard look like this: Continue reading “Kitty’s Launderette: For Anfield, For Everton, For Liverpool”

Kitty’s Launderette: Opening soon in North Liverpool

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Kitty’s Kickstarter now done and well done, thanks to all who helped reach above and beyond the targets.

I want to tell you about Kitty’s Launderette, which is being opened by some friends later in the summer in North Liverpool and is one of the most interesting ideas I’ve heard in a long while.

But first, I need to tell you about Kitty Wilkinson.

In the Gardens below the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool you can find this gravestone. It’s the grave of one Catherine Wilkinson who died in 1860, long before the Cathedral was built, at the age of 73. Even though she died so long ago the grave is rarely without a small bunch of flowers, in tribute to the woman buried here. Her inscription reads:

‘Indefatigable and self-denying , she was the widow’s friend; the support of the orphan, the fearless and unwearied nurse of the sick; the originator of baths and wash houses for the poor.’

In a time of disease and poverty Kitty Wilkinson did indeed invent the wash house, what we’d now call a launderette, making life better and healthier for thousands. She’s remembered in this stained glass window in the Cathedral and continues to be an inspiration to people doing good things to this day, as we’re about to find out. Continue reading “Kitty’s Launderette: Opening soon in North Liverpool”

Announcing: The Mystery Literary Festival

We’re piecing it together now, The Mystery Literary Festival I wrote about on here a few weeks ago. A group of us have met and a couple of us in the group have then gone about talking to people. So we know when it will be now and soon we’ll be able to tell you other things, like where it will take place, what it might be about and how you can join in.

In the meantime we’re sorting out the sort of details you need when setting up something like this, its own presence if you like.

So soon The Mystery Literary Festival will have its own website. But in the meantime I’ll be adding information to this page, now and soon. Continue reading “Announcing: The Mystery Literary Festival”

For The Fun Of It?

I’ve always had an uneasy relationship with the word ‘fun.’ Although my general aim in life has always been to make the world a better, fairer and kinder place if I could, the talking up of ‘fun’ that often goes on amongst people with apparently similar aims has often looked like no fun at all.

The forced joining in at social events, for example, has always mildly terrified me and sent me looking for the nearest place to hide. Start up fancy dressing, the conga or that game where lines of adults pass balloons along between them without them touching the floor and I’m gone. Hiding in the kitchen or out the door and on my way home. “It’s just a bit of fun” I get told by people who are obviously a different sort of human from me.

I’m not and never have been one of life’s joiners in.

Then related to the party games fun is its dread corporate relation ‘the away day.’ Continue reading “For The Fun Of It?”

The Mystery Literary Festival: Soon

There is magic all around us. Stories waiting to be told. In every park & street the future is waiting. Listen, while I tell you a story called “The Mystery Literary Festival.”

In Liverpool there is a park called The Mystery. No map will tell you where it is but everyone knows it’s called The Mystery. And in 2018 they know it’s where the first Mystery Literary Festival happened.

Listen, I’m telling you a story, a mystery story.

The idea came from The Beautiful Parks Project in the autumn of 2017 when a woman with the grown up daughter said ‘Why is there no Mystery Literary Festival?’ And so there was. Once two passing strangers, one of whom was also me, stuck up their hands and said ‘If no one else wants to run it then we’ll do our best, having never done such a thing before. It will be a laugh and a story in itself.’ 

Listen, I’m telling you a story, a mystery story.

So it was announced, and here I am announcing it, that The Mystery Literary Festival would be for everyone who likes a story. And that would be more or less everyone, right? Continue reading “The Mystery Literary Festival: Soon”

Wood Works for Women

Next Wood Works for Women at Make Liverpool, 19th November, book here.

One of the things I love doing best is walking around Liverpool discovering people who are doing interesting things that are adding to the sum total of human happiness and fairness round here. I’ve always written about these in a haphazard kind of way, but now that I’ve decided how much I like doing so as a core part of what I do you might expect to see more of what might be subtitled ‘good ideas from interesting people.’ Anyway, here’s the first.

Introducing Aleksandra Ola Rug.

I met Ola recently when she turned up at a couple of the events I’ve been helping to run for the Beautiful Parks Project. She came along with strong opinions and a track record in market gardening. And I’d suspect some of her ideas will feature in whatever happens next or soon in Liverpool’s parks and open spaces. But this post isn’t about market gardening. Like most interesting people Ola’s got more than one idea, and this one’s about wood and women. Over to her. Continue reading “Wood Works for Women”

Walking round Birkenhead

Photographs by Jane MacNeil

 

I’ve spent much of this last week walking round Birkenhead with my friend the photographer Jane MacNeil. Our walks have been part of the Wirral Ideas Festival, part of helping local people create and develop ideas for new enterprises in Birkenhead. The Festival finishes this evening, Thursday, with an Expo of all the ideas and what’s happened at the various events over the week. After which you’ll no doubt hear more from organisers The Beautiful Ideas Co and then the ideas themselves as they develop.

But on here and for now I just want to quietly celebrate Jane MacNeil’s beautiful photos, along with celebrating Birkenhead itself. A beautiful place with so much potential. Let’s walk.

 

Continue reading “Walking round Birkenhead”

Festival of Beautiful Ideas: Wirral

Beginning this Sunday, 23rd April, a week of events to get you thinking and get you started on that new enterprise idea you know you’ve got. Including coming for walks with me to talk things through and see some places where you might get going.
Over the week from Sunday 23rd April I’ll be part of this with my friends from The Beautiful Ideas Co who have this to say about it all:

“We’re working with Wirral to reignite its long history of ideas and innovation in this spring’s inaugural Festival of Beautiful Ideas.
We’re looking for potential viable ideas that can have an impact on making Birkenhead and Woodside a great place to live and work.
And not only are we looking for ideas, but we’re looking for people who’re willing to offer opportunities and challenges to be met by our entrepreneurs – or can support them in any way.

Focusing inspiration and energy on Birkenhead and Woodside, the week-long festival sees a series of events and ‘hack days’, taking place around the area. They’re an opportunity for people to talk about ideas, share opportunities and get inspired.
Each event taps into the opportunities highlighted for Festival of Beautiful Ideas, including music and events; food and drink; making and manufacturing and places and spaces, to show people with bright ideas some of Wirral’s unique – and under-utilised – spaces. It’s about cultural potential; reclaiming Wirral’s industrial heritage; pop-ups and meanwhile spaces.

We’re looking for people who’re passionate and enthusiastic; people who want to change perceptions, make a difference and try something new.”

Continue reading “Festival of Beautiful Ideas: Wirral”