Remember Blackler’s Father Christmas!

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Do you remember the giant Father Christmas from Blackler’s department store?
Height: 5m
Chest: circumference nearly 5m
Waist: circumference a little less than 5m
Boot size: 45

When on display, more than 10,000 visitors a week marvelled at him and the magical scenes from the ‘Winter Wonderland’ and told Santa what they’d like for Christmas.

I will always remember the fantastic atmosphere the giant Santa and the Christmas scenes evoked especially, a time when the grotto was opened one Christmas by ‘Pinky and Perky’ Oh memories…but I’m sure a lot of readers will have their very special memories of the store.

Historically,the giant Father Christmas from Blackler’s department store was in the Liverpool store between (1957-1988) and is now back in public display for the first time in over 20 years in the Museum of Liverpool’s atrium.

Made by Peter Blazey and his colleagues in the display studio in 1957, this very special Santa will bring back many happy memories for generations of local people. You can see and listen to Peter in a special on-line report, in which he explains how the giant Santa came to be and how it has been returned to its former glory.

So, please, this Christmas holiday, make sure you tell granny or granddad and make a very special visit to the Museum of Liverpool where Santa will be until 30th December, and if you have any old photo’s of him and memories then share them on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #giantsanta.

This is a real iconic piece of Liverpool’s modern day history and all praise goes to the team that developed and researched the idea to bring the model back to life.

Check liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/giantsanta

The Dash has arrived! Sunday 4th December 9.30am

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Yes, when the Santa Dash arrives in Liverpool, you know Christmas has arrived! It’s Liverpool’s big kick-start to Christmas.

This is the 13th annual Liverpool Santa Dash and Liverpool’s dashing Santa’s are being invited to pull on their trainers and Santa suits for a day of fun while raising much-needed cash for charity.

The Radio City Liverpool Santa Dash is this Sunday 4th December and it’s the UK’s biggest festive 5K fun run.

If you can make the event then you will not be disappointed because the atmosphere there is just electric. Eventer or onlooker, you are certain to be caught up in this ecstatic atmosphere all morning.

I love it when Liverpool is transformed into a sea of red, blue and Oh Yes, mini Santa’s. But it doesn’t end there, for the rest of the day, Santa’s seem to appear non stop popping up entering and exiting in and out of shops getting their retail therapy fix.

It all starts at the Pier Head at 9.30am and finishes outside the Town Hall – where you will find that there is even real snow as the Santa’s cross the finish line!

For the kids 12yrs and under, there is the 1K Mini Dash, starting in Castle Street 11am.

The Radio City’s Cash for Kids, Everton in the Community and Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice are the three official charities for this years Liverpool Santa Dash 2016.

With more than 5,000 Santa’s already registered on http://www.btrliverpool.com, it really looks like making another massive international hit again this year.

Tracey Emin and William Blake at Tate until Sept 3rd ’17

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You either like Tracey Emin’s art or not. But, whatever you think she can get the attention and the Tate Liverpool certainly uses this to draw in the crowds to view some of the lesser known art of William Blake as well.

We have all googled her 1998 work ‘My Bed’ and the crowds that visited the new exhibition at the Tate Liverpool stood in awe over and around the bed……some overheard to say things like ‘She makes my bed look tidy’, ‘Is that a bottle of vodka’ It’s not had a wash…..

For a messy bed, security means you can’t even have a good old nosey up close but on closer observation you can catch a glimpse of some very naughty pictures obviously dashed in minimalistic paint-off with curvy scrawls of bottoms and shoulders all strewn about the base of the bed.

This, in contrast shows off the master Blake’s skilful artistic works associated with Tracey’s display, a display of dual artistic talent commissioned at Tracey’s suggestion.

The Tate literature in my mind tries to connect the works of Tracey with Blake, but have I must have missed something. The guide book says that his works (and you can see this) are ‘presented in the context of Tracey’s empty bed which is symbolising the absent figure’. Well blow me down but practically all the Blake works on display feature human and fantasy figures, front and centre. Oh! and it goes on to say that the artists also show a shared concern with spirituality, birth and death……Well on many a visit to ‘art land’ I can certainly read that into many a painting.

Anyway, viewing these artists in focus, is first division art which creates and stirs up all sorts of emotive reaction and they both deserve the attention.

Blake draws you into his world on close observation in the same way that Tracey does with her works ie My Bed.

In this exhibition from both artists, you begin to look behind the curtain, analyse a face, a position, a setting which tells a story and so you begin to think, why are these artists maybe or maybe not such strange bedfellows.
From Blake’s works being very ‘heavy metal’ album covers in my mind, and opened new doors that gave me more of an understanding of his talent and skill to create moods, magnificent and bleak, as in….The House of Death, where the stripped bodies, in dark, apocalyptic, weird greys and slimy pink colours, with blood sun and shady greens all gave a horrifyingly corpse-like view to his Biblical-like scenes.

View Emin’s work with this in mind and you may fully understand what I mean by strange ‘bedfellows’. This exhibition is well worth viewing but do have a drink, and venture with friends and use the occasion to verbally fulfil your artistic take on Tracey Emin And William Blake In Focus until Sept 3rd 2017. Make the connection this weekend.

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