If at the beginning of my role as one of Liverpool’s Cultural Champions I would have become pregnant then right about now I’d more than likely be crying ” Get it out! Get it out! Why hasn’t the epidural worked? and other such favoured and deserved lines of the expectant mother. In an obviously far less traumatic way this has kind of occurred. No banana flavour pizza cravings or swollen feet (well maybe the odd blister) but a healthy gestation period of three trimesters each one enabling the next to build and thrive eventually giving birth to a wailing newborn. This newborn would be ME
After reading a very recent blog from my fellow Champion Andrea I felt inspired nay compulsed to endorse her statement about changing your relationship with the City. For what us Cultural Champions would hope to achieve I don’t think it could have been put better and it’s in changing my relationship with this City that I have become the aforementioned newborn. I’m not about to advertise events that are upcoming or places to go or things to see (although I do promise handy links to appear at the end). Rather I would advertise a change of habit. Over these nine months my habits changed dramatically from a bloke who sought comfort usually from laying horizontally on his couch in an effort to decompress and slumber away the weekly toil to someone on the lookout for an inexpensive and fulfilling new event and in truth it was instantaneous.
Apart from giving you the old platitude of ‘ keep an open mind’ If I had to give any practical advice it would simply be to ditch the T.V. guide for a Whats on Guide and take your pick. Dare yourself to go. I guarantee they’ll be expecting you. We don’t have a Biennial in Liverpool just so the Art Students have something every two years to muse over. It was for YOU. Yes YOU. An Open Mic night at that Cool Bistro isn’t just for the Musos to check out the competition. It’s for YOU. The free Origami workshop at the local Library is there for YOU. Honestly I swear.
Even as a Cultural Champion I held certain reservations about my entitlement to appear at a new event on the grounds that I had no background in whatever was launched. I quickly got on to the fact that there is nothing expected of me but to be there . This applies to all. Armed with this reassurance I didn’t just dip my toes but plunged Tom Daley style into what the Pool provided ( Hows about that for a play on words eh!). Each event seemed to be a stepping stone to another event I’d have never known of had I not turned up to the former and so on and so forth. New friendships forged, new talent witnessed, unexpected surprises and a busy diary were all a consequence of this change of habit. This new relationship with Liverpool. This New birth. This Year of the Butterfly effect.
For those about to dip their toes we salute you: culture.org.uk/
Liverpool City centre buzzing tonight. Great atmosphere , walking along Whitechapel so much going on, The Ladies Merseyside Harmony Choir singing Christmas carols ,some street theatre ,big birds and owls with trees depicting Winter.People on stilts in winter themed costume. At the corner of Church street Liverpool Community Choir with an upbeat selection of christmas songs. A very large Yak! yes a YAK! lumbering up Church street (well it was very realistic) lots of ‘ winter spirits’ in white and a huge white wolf , (manned by two people) all very much in character. Strolling musicians in fantastic snowy outfits and then the Sound Relay came down from The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic via FACT and into the Bluecoat where they drowned out another choir who very sportingly gave way and clapped to the rhythm of the band. And then into the Bluecoat where it was all happening. Bed-in at the Bluecoat, Dorothy installation (linked with a big screen in Lime Street) People hopping into bed all night , including ME. A collective call for Peace , ‘Two fingers to War’. fantastic response from the Liverpool people,well actually not just locals many visitors also took the opportunity to hop into bed and have their photo taken. I think it could make the Guinness Book of Records for the most people in one bed in one single night. Next I joined in with the Blueroom People , Thanks Becky, Veronica, Alice,Eddie and Donald for helping me to make a ‘Dream’s Rosette’ it was great fun and I wore it for the rest of the night. I tried to join in at the Print Studio but I couldn’t get near they were so busy made my way to the Bistro and listened to’ The Cheerful Sinners’ a lively duo . It was as advertised, FREE and FAMILY FRIENDLY. I finished the evening with a coffee and cake. (can recommend the Bluecoat Coffee bar) good value and good quality. I know there were many events all over the city and lots of people enjoying what was on offer. It’s good to be Back!
On first encounter the 1000 glass bells suspended from the ceiling create a spooky effect as you see them as you enter the Oratory. The memorial at the rear of the space puts a macabre context on the whole piece. After a while, however, the bells shining in the light from the rooflight and the poetic soundtrack gives the whole installation a relaxing feeling. The choice of the Oratory for this exhibit was inspired.
The artist focuses this work on the relationship between past and present and again the memorial tablets in the building enhance this perfectly. This is perhaps the most accesible of the artworks in this biennial. Beautiful, peaceful and really made me meditate.
This is the first time I have been in the Oratory and what a beautiful building it is! Even if you’re not interested in the Biennial please take this opportunity to visit this gem designed by the Liverpool architect John Foster Junior.
Liverpool Biennial runs until 28th November. There is a visitor centre at the top of Renshaw Street and a free app available from iTunes.