Sunday, January 14, 2007

On Liverpool

My friend, Stephen Bayley, writes an excellent article on the subject of Liverpool, European Capital of Culture 2008. Stephen, having been brought up there, likes the place; I, having been raised near Manchester, don't. The last time I was there I was continually accosted by drunks in the city centre in the course of an early evening walk and, in a dark alley, I was convinced I was about to be mugged by a figure crouched in the shadows. It turned out to be a bronze statue of John Lennon. The great architecture of the city is all but buried by the ineptitude of successive ideologically-crazed councils. Furthermore, Liverpool inspires glutinous sentimentality, not least from Liverpudlians. I once wrote - my tone was light - that Liverpudlians weren't actually very funny. I received tear-stained letters demanding I apologise. In fact, as Boris Johnson knows to his cost, this is probably the only city in the world that specialises in wringing apologies out of people. I am convinced every stranger arriving in the city feels a special little shiver of anomie. Even Stephen remarks that it was the alienation peculiar to Merseyside that inspired Paul Simon to write Homeward Bound. But I'm sure he's right when he says Liverpool is getting better. As John Lennon himself interpolated in the Beatles song of that title, 'it can't get much worse.'


  1. Try Cardiff, or Kerdiv, as the Scouse like natives say.

  2. Liverpool has a VERY low crime rate. Vistors from around the region including the upmarket Cheshire and Wirral set tell me they feel Liverpool is one of the safest cities they have visited.
    The "Alley" you found your self in was Mathew Street home of the Cavern Club it has numberous CCTV cameras and is also safe for visitors as the thousnads of Americain tourists who visit the "Alley" will inform you.
    On your next visit get off your high horse and take a minute to talk to the locals. You wil not be mugged, assaulted or otherwise and certainly enlightened.
    You should also pick up a copy of the local newspaper and dissapoint yourself looking for incidents of tourists assaults or car thefts.
    Do you have any suggestions for safer UK cities? London, Manchester or Leeds maybe!

  3. It would be pronounced KAR-DIFF not KERDIFF, its Liverpool not Birmingham.

  4. What pray has Liverpool got to do with Norfolk? I once spent a whole week in my Land Rover driving on the Norfolk Broads trying to find an A road that led me back to London and Buckingham Palace...

  5. Listen Brian I think it's disgraceful what you said about Liverpool, soft lad. Your just a typical scousehating Manc arent you?

    Scousers are the warmest hearted most honest people in Britain and its scandalous that your joining everyone else slagging us off la particularly after what happened at Hillsborough. You should be ashamed of yourself lad. Your almost as bad as that scumbag Kelvin McKenzie.

    Its just racism against scousers!

  6. Scousers are not a race, they are a very primitive peoples. As for "most honest people in Britain", Walton is full of them at my pleasure.

    We are not amused.

  7. Let me further reduce this debate to the terms in which it should be conducted:

    Liverpool have The Beatles, Manchester have the Gallagher brothers.

    Liverpool have 5 European cups, Manchester have two.

    Liverpool have Stevie G, Manchester have Gary Neville.


  8. You have a point, Gordon. Perhaps My Manchester, like Coronation Street, is all in the past. The future's bright, the future's Scouse.

  9. Stuck right between the two, I travel into both cities quite regularly but I prefer Liverpool. It’s a much smaller city, more compact, and because of this, its people seem (and are) warmer. People will hold doors open for you in Liverpool and thank you if you do the same for them. They’ll look you in the eye and chat to you. The city also seems less uptight about being current or in vogue. Being voted Capital of Culture in 2008 has been taken with a large portion of salt. I would imagine Manchester would have taken it ever so seriously.

    Conversely, Manchester is so big it’s easy to feel alienated. I also think it has changed over the last ten to twenty years. It always reminds me of a friend who has high ambitions and you know they will quickly forget you should they achieve their dreams. Liverpool seems to be happier with who it is. The new skyscraper they’ve built in Manchester seems to be a symbol of the city’s future: it overwhelms you as travel into Victoria and expresses how much the city, for good or for bad, really wants to be seen as the London of the North.

  10. The 'racism' charge seems ridiculous, but Liverpool really is a country within a country, and Scousers are a nation within a nation. (Newcastle is too, but less so.)

    The border that separates it from the rest of Britain is that accent. As (I think) Alexei Sayle once pointed out, whereas most accents morph gradually into those of geographically neighbouring towns (so Manc bleeds eventually into Leeds, Sheffield etc), the Scouce accent just stops dead halfway down some street in Bootle.

  11. People have been asking the Liverpool media where to purchase the scale models of the Superlambanana. Utility on Bold Street sells the full range of the ceramic version and has exclusivity on the fibre glass version - available in store and on our website at £99.00.

  12. People have been asking the Liverpool media where to purchase the scale models of the Superlambanana. Utility on Bold Street sells the full range of the ceramic version and has exclusivity on the fibre glass version - available in store and on our website at £99.00.

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