It’s Heaven Up Here – LIMF 2015

LIMF - 27This year’s Liverpool International Music Festival, we’re up to Year 3 of these already, happened in Sefton Park, and I was there keeping an eye on things. The Park itself as much as the music. Three perfect Liverpool days. Here’s what they looked like to me. Three days in fields full of friends. Good to meet you all.

MondayLIMF3 - 34

The whole thing was to end with Bunnymen, the Liverpool Philharmonic and fireworks. But I arrived mid-afternoon in the rain.LIMF3 - 1

And to the strangest sight the Liverpool Stage has seen since the Bonnacons of Doom a couple of years back. Meet Barberos. ‘Electro-noise’ they call it. Well I was on my way to somewhere else before the noise started and it drew me right in. Think Van Der Graff Generator and then get a bit tougher. Continue reading

Walking Home From New Brighton

The Black Pearl, New Brighton.

The Black Pearl, New Brighton.

A Friday Walk where I walk on water to get home to Liverpool? Well, let’s see. First I need to get to New Brighton.

At the bus stop on Victoria Street, opposite Imperial Buildings.

At the bus stop on Victoria Street, opposite Imperial Buildings.

And newly opened Shankly Hotel.

And newly opened Shankly Hotel.

Where I soon find the New Brighton bus doesn't stop here!

Where I soon find the New Brighton bus doesn’t stop here!

Continue reading

Being Yourself

Central Library - 1I’ve had a bit of a treat this week. If you know me at all you’ll know that two of the things I tend to go on about are doing the work you love and only the work you love – and the wonderfulness of public libraries.

Well this week I’ve planned an event all about this called ‘Being Yourself.’ And I ran it on Tuesday in Liverpool Central Library. And I’m in here now, the day after. Sending out notes for everyone and writing this. Perfect.

Broadcasting directly to you from the Picton Reading Room!

Broadcasting directly to you from the Picton Reading Room!

The whole event was based on a theory I’ve been testing out for the last 20 years or so: Continue reading

Real Junk Food Liverpool

Since publishing last weekend this post has been viewed by more people than anything else I’ve ever published. Strong evidence of how welcome this new café is in Liverpool. However, as our Real Junk Food Café is only open at the weekends for now, most of these blog views have happened when readers couldn’t show their support by actually going to the café. So as the weekend arrives let’s put that right? See you there.

It shouldn’t have needed to happen, but I’m really glad it has. There’s a Real Junk Food Café in Liverpool. In Everton, in fact.Real Junk Food - 1At 117 Shaw Street, on the corner of Everton Brow.

If you’ve been reading this blog since we visited the founding Real Junk Food Project in Leeds you might remember that in one of the richest economies on earth we’re throwing away 35% of our food, in a country where austerity politics is causing many people to go needlessly hungry. And so a movement has started that is intercepting this food at the moment it is pointlessly thrown away – and retrieving it on behalf of us all.

Welcome to the Real Junk Food Project, Liverpool. Continue reading

Further Adventures in Aigburth

Cooper's Coffee Shop, Aigburth Road.

Cooper’s Coffee Shop, Aigburth Road.

A (splendid) late breakfast with a friend here, ended with me setting off on another of my random walks down the far south end of Liverpool. Previous Aigburth walks have featured the suspected Magdalene Laundry we didn’t want and the planned Aigburth Docks we never got. Let’s set off up a road I don’t think I’ve ever walked along, certainly not with a camera, and see what we find.

Barkhill Road.

Barkhill Road.

A long narrow road where, as you can see, they’re touchy about parking. It’s gently suburban now, but as you can see from the age of the sandstone walls, older and maybe grander houses have stood here once.

There are still echoes of age along the road. Pieces of near rural.

There are still echoes of age along the road. Pieces of near rural.

And lodges of the grander houses that once stood here.

And lodges of the grander houses that once stood here.

Names like Kilgraston, May Bank, Elmhurst and Delfield we’ll see soon on an old map. Continue reading

In Defense of Free Speech?

Today I was in town keeping an eye on the place. Nothing unusual in that you might think. For some self-appointed reason that’s the kind of thing I do. But today I was there looking for fascists and making sure, in so far as I could, that they did no harm.

Which as you'll see, they didn't.

Which as you’ll see, they didn’t.

All week a particualrly nasty bunch of the species, who I won’t dignify by naming, had been threatening all sorts if they weren’t allowed to do their march. Their ‘right’ they’d been calling it. ‘Free speech’ they’d been calling it. This bunch of racist, Islamophobic, holocaust denying, white supremacist totalitarians who’d apparently written to the City Council threatening “an action-packed weekend of ethnically-enriched chaos and mayhem” if they were denied their rights.

Naturally I was curious to see how it all went. Continue reading

The Great Street?

Cairns Street in Granby selected for possible ‘Great Street’ award.Great Street - 1

Unless you’ve been living under a stone or, even worse, not reading my blog posts, you’ll know that Assemble, the Granby 4 Streets architects have been nominated for the Turner Prize for their work with us. What might have escaped your notice is that we’ve also been nominated for something else. The Academy of Urbanism’s ‘Great Street’ award.

This award covers the UK and Ireland and award nominations are made by members of the Academy, not by representatives of the streets themselves. And awards given cover places, neighbourhoods and towns as well as the one for individual streets.

So we didn’t put in for it, but are of course delighted to have been picked. The two other streets up for it are Deptford High Street in London and Oliver Plunkett Street in Cork. And today the Academy of Urbanism judges arrived in Cairns Street to take a look around and meet some of the people we’ve all been working with in the 4 Streets these last few years.

And here they are.

And here they are.

Being welcomed to Cairns Street by Erika Rushton, Chair of the Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust.

Being welcomed to Cairns Street by Erika Rushton, Chair of the Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust.

Erika talked about the ways local people have been literally ‘repossessing’ these 4 streets over the last few years, amplifying some of the points we’d made in the brochure (above) that we’d prepared for the day. Continue reading