In the bizarre setting of the Barfly bar on Monday, prior to an agreeable Liverpool gig by Robert Love (aka Larry Love of Alabama3) a former comrade of mine enquired, "See the [Liverpool] Echo today?"
She was referring to the protests planned ahead of Condoleeza Rice's visit to Liverpool & Blackburn.
Yes, I had. When John Lennon, once of this parish, sang about "4,000 holes in Blackburn, Lancashire", it was an acid-induced vision, owing more to surrealism than reportage. However, the political version of such a dotted landscape now faces Rice as she prepares for the first day of her visit.
Rice has been invited as the guest of honour at a gala concert by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (RLPO) on the Friday evening. It's galvanized hitherto dormant political activism in this city. Aside from the decision by 60s Merseybeat poet, Roger McGough to withdraw from the event, citing the event's increasingly divisive effect on the locality (Cheers, Rog, remember Vietnam?), there's been a resurgence of the local anti-war scene, thanks to this grotesque farrago. A "warm" reception awaits Rice in this city later today.
Should anyone think that flak directed at "Condi" is misguided, & convenient for some elements, i.e., racist, just remember her reaction to Hurricane Katrina, when she adamantly maintained that the Bush (mis)administration's response to the cataclysm was not based on race. Anyone with half a brain knows that New Orleans was left to stew because it was largely black.
An update on this deeply unwelcome visitor to Liverpool will appear here, shortly after the event (for once, I urge you to take as gospel the accounts from the blogosphere rather than the mainstream media).
By the way, if MI5 are monitoring this blog for any details on the protesters' plans in Liverpool, sorry, guys, I'm as much in the dark as you.