Fantastic week in Liverpool city centre around the Cavern quarter, the heart of the city’s musical heritage and well known across the globe, with hundreds still flocking each day to pay their tributes, now 60 years since it opened.
Celebrations began with a performance last week at the Philharmonic Hall, featuring sixties tribute band The Overtures leading the line-up at ‘The History of the Cavern’ with funds raised going to BBC Children in Need and Radio City’s Cash for Kids.
Thoroughly enjoyed the packed out show which crafted the clubs vibrant music scene through the decades and featuring tribute acts like the Rolling Stones, Yardbirds and Queen much to the delight of the audience.
With a magical history and a music venue that is still attracting prominent names, the Cavern will shortly be releasing a 60th anniversary documentary and book.
2016 saw the club welcome the likes of blues-rock star Joe Bonamassa and Big Country perform on the iconic stage and the recently published 2017 list includes some big names with the likes of soul singer Geno Washington, Simple Minds drummer Mel Gaynor and guitarist Albert Lee.
The unveiling of the Cilla Black statue outside the original Cavern entrance provided a media frenzy with masses vying for a selfie. The Liver Birds may be Liverpool’s most famous sculptures but from their lofty perches, these watchful avians have witnessed countless others spring up across the city over the years. This statue is certainly a diamond in our city attracting a cult following second to none.
Our grand city plays host to more statues than any other in the UK outside of London.
You can now add Cilla to a whole fleet of sculptures across the city, and together, when arriving at Lime Street station with a “Harry Dazzy Boreal” greeting from Doddy, you can put together a walking tour that spans the St Georges Hall plateau with Wellington, Victoria and Albert, past Eleanor Rigby, through the narrow enclaves of Matthew Street and then onto the John Lennon Peace monument at Kings Dock.
This year marks a number of our culturally renowned city’s most popular and prominent venues prepare to mark big birthdays in the months ahead, so keep an eye open for some visually, entertaining and exciting events during this cultural milestone year.
This year has been one of the busiest I’ve ever had and the city has continued to make massive strides; just a nocturnal walk around the city centre will show at no other time of the year, the city’s most potent powers of enchantment and persuasion, all giving the visitor an unforgettable and magical time…..and I don’t mean Shrek and the DreamWorks lights lantern experience…..but that spectacular does help!
It grabs the attention of travellers as soon as they get off the train and channels them into some of the city’s more bigger and culturally versatile attractions.
Events like this at St George’s Hall and others in and around the city, propel the city forward and pave the way for bigger and better entertainments that will enliven the future 2018 big show, a show to say that after ten years of culture we are still going strong.
Despite working abroad on a “connecting classrooms” educational project that took me to Belgium, Holland, Eastern Europe and just before Christmas…Spain, I managed to view ‘Beauty and the Beast’ at the Everyman and then ‘Little Red and the Big Bad Wolf’ at the Unity.
Addicted to the Everyman’s panto every Christmas, the regular writers Sarah Nixon and Mark Chatterton never cease to please with their witty portrayal of an old favourite that will ‘Simply be the Beast.’ Certainly enjoyed this one. So dig out your laughing trousers, break out the glitter and wave your flashing wand as the legendary Rock ‘n’ Roll panto shakes, rattles and growls at the Everyman till Sat 21st Jan 01517094776.
Supporting one of Liverpool’s smaller theatres, the Unity produced a funny, inventive Christmas show filled with music, dance and song. Audience participation will definitely get you out of your seat, onto the stage and having a howl of a time……. so book asp http://www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk until Sat 7th.
Sifting through some old newspapers, I found an advert for ‘A Christmas Carol’ performance at the Dome and this was an added bonus just before the shopping madness and the big day.
But, with all this festivity flying about, there became a time, just after the sherry and mince pies, for quiet reflection upon all the years activities. My work in education is one side, involving reviews, evaluations, data, travelling, projects, funding, bids, and planning to name a few of the behind the scenes activities working with local schools.
For the cultural experiences, I thank all the organisations this year for support and time in allowing the team to pursue their interest in supporting and helping to make Liverpool one, if not, the best city in the UK.
A lot of my time is spent developing the education opportunities for some of the twenty+ International schools in Merseyside. This work has on many occasions linked up with the Mayor during the past year where we both share a passion to develop a forum where diverse communities can come together and share their stories and experiences and rich culture, whilst socialising and creating awareness of the beauty and wealth the diverse culture of Liverpool brings to the city, to promote integration, inclusiveness and community cohesion. These are the Supplementary Schools that strive to obtain a Quality Framework Mark with evidenced Code of Practice good governance and detailed management, teaching and partnership work. These schools and communities have a lot to offer.
On several occasions this year, I have been involved in the academic discussions in Liverpool about ‘culture’…….but they never involved the other culture….Yes Liverpool has the museums, art galleries, buildings, statues, parks and zones of academia but let’s not forget the importance of the people’s ‘culture’………the culture of the thousands here that bring that touch of magic to the carnivals of L8, the Arab Festival and Brazilia to name. These festivals are delivered on a shoe-string to a massive audience not unlike the Giants and Queen’s but some events command huge expense and are delivered to a miniscule audience without the full engagements of the communities. The role of the Culture Champion is to knock on the doors of the hard to reach and open up the world of ‘culture’ to them. Today, there is a greater proportion of society in a cosmopolitan world and their world needs to lead the cultural focus to get more involved and without the added expense.
The Chinese New Year can do it! And it’s done in a big way. I’m sure there are many more cultural communities in Liverpool that if given the chance, would relish in the engagement.
Thought for 2017.
Happy New Year.
Do you remember the giant Father Christmas from Blackler’s department store?
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.