A Year in the life of a Culture Champion

It is nearing the end of my year as Liverpool Culture Champion 2012 and time to look back at this year’s calendar.  I could never have expected that after my retirement in December 2011 that my life would change so dramatically and my calendar never so full.   This week I went to watch Al Murray on the Philharmonic and he asked someone in the front row, what did he do and he said I’m retired.  He then asked have you got any hobbies and he said I’m doing my family tree and everyone laughed as if that was all you could do being retired and maybe that is the fear I had when I come to retire, what am I going to do. 

When I become Culture Champion I started on a journey of discovery.  I have rediscovered my love of Liverpool, old and new. Every day has been a different journey and new experience.  I  have started to embrace not only the culture and art but also the diversity it offers that at one time I would not have even considered.  I never knew so much was going on around me when I was working and the biggest insight was the amount of work done behind the scenes by the Council and other committees to provide so much investment in time and effort to make this City so great.

The main event for me this year was the year of the Titanic and all that it entailed.   The story of the Titanic and the maritime history that was not only portrayed in our museums but also through the story of the Giant’s, the little girl and her uncle and their visit to Liverpool.  I volunteered to be a benevol to the Giants and was amazed at the organisation behind the event, the people involved, who were amazing, and this experience far exceeded my expectations and will stay with me for ever.  I never felt  so proud of being part of an event that showed the world how wonderful Liverpool was and how wonderful those involved were, not only the helpers but all the people who came to see it.  This was Liverpool, my city and I loved it.

I have seen many shows this year that I would not have gone to and surprised myself how much I enjoyed them, St Matthews Passion on the Philharmonic, Henry V on the Playhouse and Starlight Express on the Empire.  All different but all absolutely amazing.

Judy and I as the historical cruise ship leaves Liverpool for the first time in 40 years. one of the many events I enjoyed with my fellow Culture Champ

My opinion on art was very staid and if I couldn’t see the picture it was rubbish in my eyes.  My eyes have been opened and as much as I still like by ‘still lifes’ I have been educated by the art I have seen this year.  The visit to the Monet, Turner and Twombly exhibition, explained by the curator, enabled me to understand the similarities and concepts of these three great but very different artists.  I enjoyed the Rolf Harris exhibition which was, to me, a fun exhibition.  But my biggest achievement was when I volunteered for the Biennial and have loved every minute appreciating the art and artists, although I must admit I still don’t get some of it.

Most of all this year I have made friends with many different people but must especially mention my fellow Culture Champions who I have spent many ‘Happy Days’ with at concerts, Light Night and events, singing and drinking and without their support and friendship I don’t think it would have been half as good.

John, Andrea, Vicky and me, the Culture Champs on a mission on Light Night

I will not be closing the door on my activities in 2013.  I started so many things I have loved this year that will continue, like my singing with the Liverpool Shanty Kings, and am looking forward to engaging in so many of those things that I have missed out on over the years because I didn’t think I would like them.

Being a Culture Champion has taught me that every day is the first day of the rest of your life, love, live, laugh.  It’s Liverpool.   I thank all those who have helped me on my journey this year and for opening the door to many more ‘Happy Days’  in the future.

2 responses to “A Year in the life of a Culture Champion”

  1. wishartandculture says :

    Absolutely brilliant Ray. Such a good read.

  2. andreascultureblog says :

    Lovely, lovely post, Ray x x

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