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“Tonight At Noon” – A celebration of The Mersey Sound

A series of events and exhibitions are to take place in Liverpool to celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of the most influential poetry anthologies of all time

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adrian-henri-roger-mcgough-and-brian-patten-the-mersey-sound-1967The Mersey Sound by Liverpool poets Adrian Henri, Roger McGough and Brian Patten was first published in May 1967 and is one of the world’s bestselling poetry anthologies.

To mark this special anniversary, Tonight At Noon (named after the first Adrian Henri poem in the collection) will shine a spotlight on this incredible piece of work which captured the mood of the Sixties and brought poetry down from the shelf to the street.

Forming a key part of Liverpool’s 67-17: 50 Summers of Love celebrations, Tonight At Noon is a festival in itself running from Wednesday 12 April to Saturday 15 July, and the events are:

The Mersey Sound Archives

An exhibition in Hornby Library, Liverpool Central Library – Wednesday 12 April to Saturday 15 July. FREE

A tribute to the publishing phenomenon which saw three Liverpool writers make poetry part of popular culture. They wrote of young love, pop idols, atomic bombs, eccentric bus conductors and sci-fi superheroes in poems that were contemporary, urban and accessible. This exhibition takes place in the stunning surroundings of the Hornby Library and will include displays of original manuscripts, posters, letters, key documents along with audio and visual material which trace the emergence of Adrian, Roger and Brian on the 1960s poetry scene.

Adrian Henri – Painter, Poet, Performer

An exhibition in Dickens and Gladstone Galleries, St George’s Hall – Wednesday 12 April to Saturday 15 July. FREE

Although he came to prominence as a poet in 1967, Adrian Henri was regarded as a ‘total artist’ having trained as a painter and exhibiting widely throughout his career. He also fronted the unlikely poetry-and-rock band Liverpool Scene, leading John Peel to dub him “one of the great non-singers of our time”. In 1969 the band supported Led Zeppelin, played the Isle of Wight Festival and toured America.  This exhibition will showcase 1960s artworks, poems and original rock posters offering a glimpse into to Henri’s multi-faceted talents.

Poetry in the City

An anniversary treat at various locations, Thursday 25 May. FREE

To mark the exact day on which The Mersey Sound was first published, expect the city to be taken over by the words of the three poets as their work hits the streets once again. Full details will be revealed nearer the time.

Thurston Moore Concert

Concert Room, St George’s Hall – 8.30pm, Tuesday 30 May. £14 a ticket plus booking fee

Thurston Moore is best known for being the co-founder of legendary alternative rock group Sonic Youth. His use of unusual tunings and distorted sounds have had an impact on experimental and post-punk music the world over, and he has been ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Moore has collaborated with writers, musicians and artists as varied as Yoko Ono, William Burroughs, Merce Cunningham and Sean Lennon. He is also a poet and a fan of The Mersey Sound. Thurston is on a world tour to promote his latest album RocknRoll Consciousness, but he will stop off in Liverpool to perform a specially commissioned musical response to The Mersey Sound. Tickets are available from www.ticketquarter.co.uk/Online/thurston-moore.

New Writing

Poetry reading at Bluecoat – 7.30pm, Friday 16 June. £10 a ticket

The impact of The Mersey Sound has resonated for decades for generations of writers and performers. Five poets have been commissioned to create new pieces of work in response to the writing of Henri, McGough and Patten. Taking part are award winning poets Paul Farley, Deryn Rees-Jones, Eleanor Rees, Lizzie Nunnery and Andrew McMillan. They will be joined onstage by Brian Patten and Roger McGough. Tickets are available from:  www.thebluecoat.org.uk/content/tickets

Adrian’s partner, Catherine Marcangeli has curated all the Tonight At Noon events which have been commissioned by Liverpool City Council.

 

A step back in time……….The Cavern’s swinging 60th.

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.

A cultural year of seeing inside the creative process.

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.

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