People, Places and Events for the Discerning Liverpolitan-about-Town
The Flâneur recommends:
Liverpool Confidential, edited by our good friend Angie Sammons
See also Chumki Banerjee's charmingly idiosyncratic guide - click on to News & Events at www.heartandsoulrestaurant.co.uk
For a right royal miscellany of what is afoot in the Liverpolitan art scene - Art in Liverpool www.artinliverpool.com
Scouse House Goldfish A Japanese web-site about Liverpool featuring photographs of arts events, high days and holidays. Japanese readers are obviously at an advantage here, but the page index and captions are in English!
The redoubtable and as yet still unmasked Professor Yaffle Chucklebutty, Liverpool's one man equivalent to Private Eye, having skewered Liverpool Capital of Custard year 2008 [with websites banned from all Liverpool Council computers while City Council Top Brass tore its hair out trying in vain to find out who it was profchucklebutty.blogspot.com and liverpoolsubculture.blogspot.com/index.html] - is still in business at profchucklebuttychronic.blogspot.com even if he does describe us as ' a bunch of fops prone to the vapours'! Outrageous!
And for our nearest neighbour: Manchester Confidential:
The Canary Club - Kelly Coalmine's excellent new Burlesque event, first Tuesday of every month at the baby Blue Bar, Albert Dock
Our good friend, Liz Lacey, www.facebook.com/home.php?#/liz.lacey1?v=info - (in)famous as the organiser of the late great Retrosexual Burlesque which flourished a couple of years back [click here for the Retrosexual archive], now writes for the indispensible Liverpool Confidential, and has fingers in miscellaneous other pies, rumoured to be busy with the promised 'Night of the Dying Dolls'.....
Patrick Dineen and The Balcony: organisers of the wonderful Red Moon Ball in October. Farcebuke contact (with photo gallery):
Coming soon: The Malaria Club!
Calling all Maharajahs, Memsahibs, Mandarins, Maiko and Mad Old Colonels, from Morocco to Madras, Mongolia to the Mekong. THE MALARIA CLUB will be convening at a secret venue in NW England (or the Upper Nilgiris, or the Takla Makan, depending) in the New Year. Post a message to The Flaneur if wrecking your liver on jaggers and taggers in the finest company of lost travellers, bewildered explorers and befuddled raconteurs is for you. Whether you can boast toes frostbitten in the Antarctic, brains baked in the equatorial sun, or an uncanny knack of catching the wrong bus from the end of your road, you sound like our sort of chap(pe).
Dress code: pith helmets, parasols and panamas, saris and sarongs, kaftans and kimonos, monocles, mutton-chops and machetes, frocks, fans and fezzes
Special reductions if you can prove you have had Dengue Fever and/or Beri Beri, Green Monkey Disease (contd. p. 94);
Writing on the Wall - annual literary festival: www.writingonthewall.org.uk
The Everyman's 40th Birthday party celebrations, September 2010:
Liverpool's own 'Corporate Terrorists' - offering free hugs and defending our civil liberties (shame about the frightful trousers!) - see the Youtube videos of ascott123456789
3345 Modern members club for 'creatives' whatever they are. Decent folk find this a decent all-day and late bar and restaurant for light meals, and members can book the Board Room free of charge. It would be perfect if the music were not so damned loud!
The Athenaeum - the Liverpool club being the senior branch of this illustrious society
For the spooky minded among you: Shiverpool Ghost Tours
While for those of a more sceptical leaning - www.merseysideskeptics.org.uk
A degree in Flânerie? Click here to find out more about the BA (Hons) degree in Culture, Mind and Modernity, taught at St Helens College, validated by Liverpool John Moores University.
The Flaneur gives its full support and encouragement to two new enterprises in the region.
In Lancaster, our old friend Kit continues to keep the good name Atticus (once the name of fine second hand bookshops in Lancaster and Liverpool) with his new Atticus Accordions
In St Helens, Adam and Mike have launched Renaissance Film Productions :
Renaissance Film Productions' first independent film Olivia is now online for free viewing!
Filmed, directed and edited by Adam Grimes, starring Laura Hambleton and Valerie Costes, music by Joseph O'Leary, screenplay by Reuben Saxment. Sweet (if slightly strange) dreams!
We can't recommend Tayo Aluko's magnificent one-man show enough: Call Mr Robeson. Tayo Aluko and Friends Ltd. www.tayoalukoandfriends.com
Gifted composer Neil Campbell and his collective: www.neilcampbell.org.uk - don't miss their 'Frankenstein'.
Lancashire Hotpots www.myspace.com/thelancashirehotpots.
'We'll eat the lobster thermidor and raspberry coulis,
And wish these chaps bon appetit as they scoff their chippy tea.'
James Veitch www.myspace.com/jamesveitch
Liverpool's fine film theatre, The FACT - www.fact.co.uk
The Everyman & The Playhouse www.everymanplayhouse.com are still the leaders in the field.
The former is due for much needed renovation - but will the same corporate cretinism rule (as it did at the Bluecoat - see below) and, in the name of renovation, wreck, ruin and rip the heart out? The Flâneur fears for the inimitable Everyman Bistro, natural haunt for the bohos of all ages around Hope St ...
Pub used by loafing Flâneurs voted Britain's Best Pub by B.B.C. Listeners
It has just been announced that after weeks, nay months, of polling, listeners to the B.B.C. Wireless Service yclept Radio Five have voted Liverpool's The Fly in the Loaf to be Britain's Best Pub.
This hostelry has for some time been the subject of the early-to-mid-evening homing instinct of Liverpolitan flâneurs, since avaricious property developers caused the closure of The Flying Picket across the road some years ago.
We congratulate the Manager, Mr. Dominic Hornsby and we fully intend to drink his health at the first opportunity!
See the full story here:-
The Flaneur's favourites remain:
The Everyman Bistro www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001183544406 (although whether it will survive dreaded 'renovation' remains to be seen)
And of course, The Philharmonic, Dr. Duncan's etc etc.(contd. P.94)
Click here (www.theflaneur.co.uk/liverpool.html) for 'A Flaneur's Day in Liverpool' - written in 2005, (see what a difference a mere five years makes!)
Paul McCue's Bluecoat Books at 32, Hanover Street L1 4LN (only 200 yards from the Bluecoat Chambers)
The Amorous Cat Bookshop 47, Lark Lane, Liverpool, L17 8UW
Victoria Gallery and Museumat Liverpool University now open!
"Where exhibits include (I kid you not) calculators, strange things in bottles, skulls and skeletons, and historic dental surgery" (Lady Frances Dashwood)
"A most suitable place for aimless flanerie" (Staggers)
Gallery 4 All Arts www.gallery4allarts.com
Liverpool Academy of Arts at www.la-art.co.uk, run by June Lornie, aka 'HM'.
Gostins Gallery and Lis Edgar: Lis is an old bohemian chum of The Flâneur; she wore the brightest-polished Doctor Martens in the legendary Casablanca Club! Contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org
The new and rather splendid Contemporary Urban Centre at
My Liverpool Skyline
Bluecoat re-opened Saturday 15th March 2008
That much-missed magnet for idlers, the Grade 1-listed Bluecoat Chambers is set to re-open on Saturday 15th March 2008, it having been closed for refurbishment since 2004.
Indeed it is the only cultural building to open in 2008, the year of Liverpool European Capital of Culture!
Its garden was a leafy oasis of calm in the hubbub of the city centre and its eccentric passages and winding stairs that led to book fairs, art exhibitions, a licensed bistro and the Bluecoat Books and art materials shop were irresistible to the Saturday dawdler trying to avoid the crowds of shoppers. It was also home to the late, lamented Merseyside Film Institute Society, a cinema that showed non-Hollywood films at sensible times when people were able to go and see them (please note, FACT and Picturehouse!).
Alas there have been changes in the three-and-a-half years that the Bluecoat Chambers has been closed. The much-loved Concert Room, a performance venue for the most "way-out" jazz as well as the home of the Ruritanian Balls, is no more. It has become a 'bar-restaurant' called 'Upstairs at the Bluecoat'. The pleasingly-weathered red brick of the artists' studios off the garden (including the notorious Studio 47) has gone.
Of course there are new facilities to replace and excel the old, but the charm of the place and that of the resident retailers (institutions such as Bluecoat Books and Editions in he past) cannot be dropped into place by a crane, cemented in by a bricklayer or installed ab initio by some stubble-faced 'fanky dezoyner'. It will be built up like a patina deposited by the people who will use the new Bluecoat Chambers. Only time will tell…
This Queen Anne building was originally completed in 1717, making it the oldest building in use in the city centre. We must be grateful that the City Council haven't pulled it down. Yet.
De Vouvray writes: And by God have they made a mess of it! I can picture the sharp suited 'creatives' spinning a snappy power-point-presentation-and-laminated-report line to gullible managers (is there any other kind?), then proceeding to destroy the place. Yes the old Bluecoat was a tatty mess and badly in need of renovation, but is there not a distinction to be made between renovating a place and ripping the heart, guts and soul out of it?
The usual mistake has been made: no consideration whatsoever has been given to what people actually used the Bluecoat for. In the past, it offered gallery space, certainly, but its real popularity lay in a busy and very reasonable café/bar/restaurant, the bookshop, and the little art and card shops off the courtyard. And at the back, artists' studios and a ramshackle garden for relaxing in. It was a natural, and almost inevitable stop for flâneur and shopper alike, a meeting place for all and sundry, genuinely popular, open and inviting.
Now? The bookshop booted out into Hanover St, the other little shops gone, a downstairs café with insufficient seating to ever be lively; an upstairs bar with sofas that it takes a mere half dozen people to fully occupy, and a formal restaurant with a rigidly timetabled menu. Worse, grim grey concrete walls, giving the interior all the appeal of a multi-story car-park, and everywhere locked doors. It is hard to imagine a more uninviting place.
Charming young chap on the information desk, evidently a little rattled by the relentlessly negative remarks in the visitors' book, told us the 'tenants' have not yet moved in to the offices and 'studios' in the locked corridors, and when they are in, the place will liven up.
We hope so. We'll pop back in summer to see if it has improved at all. But we fear the worst. What kind of 'artist' will be able to afford the rent space in the new, improved (and no doubt very expensive) Bluecoat? We suspect the future will be a lot of empty 'studios', and a few businesses thriving in private offices, the doors remaining firmly locked to the public.
Maybe that is the intention: keep the bohos and hoi polloi out and attract a 'better' (i.e. richer) class of person? But are there really enough yuppies, financiers and merchant bankers in Liverpool to fill all the developments being designed around the city for them?
STOP PRESS: The Bluecoat admits it is just another Corporate venue. See under 'Entertaining' at www.thebluecoat.org.uk/content/view/24/60/