Monday, January 15, 2007

A City's Bruised Beauty

Sometimes I don't know if the rash of articles appearing in the national press about Liverpool are a help or a hiderance to the place itself in the run-up to 2008. A case in point was this piece by architecht & exiled scouser Stephen Bayley in yesterday's Observer: http//,,1989836,00.html .
Bayley makes some excellent points about the city's architechtural history & how it's gone hand in hand with its maritime history. However, I can't help feeling that Bayley is on the cusp of falling into the cliched "Militant=civic decline mindset. He writes, "While the rest of the country went Thatcherite, Liverpool whimsically went Trotskyist. The city lost its way in the tunnel of comradely love and almost failed to recover."
There is, however, one anecdote in Bayley's piece which even local Beatle afficionados may not be aware of: "Many years ago another prodigal returned and wrote the song 'Good Morning' that appears on Sgt. Pepper. John Lennon later told me he really did as the lyrics said and went to 'take a walk by the old school', but was sufficiently unimpressed to turn down an invitation to speak at Quarry Bank's speech day. The Beatle went on to find 'nothing has changed, it's still the same'. I found a city that was changing a lot, but still much the same. Liverpool is beautiful and ugly, proud and wanton, impressive and dismaying, romantic and crass. It is not a city to feel neutral about."
Lennon would probably have made his visit in late 1966, so it is tempting to speculate that he would have viewed his home city through a lysergic haze.

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