This is the time of the year when the amount of bullshit churned out by the Liverpool Echo increases exponentially. The Matthew Street festival is upon us. "Tribute" bands from Valparaiso to Vladivostok put on their suits & wigs before launching into songs we've heard a thousand times previously. Doubtless, the Liverpool Echo will next week hail the weekend as "the best ever", just as they have every year over the last decade or so (2007 notwithstanding, of course).
To tie in with this annual orgy of pointless nostalgia the Echo throws in a series of cheerleader pieces tonight. Perhaps the most risible is one which contends that 2008 has "improved the mental well-being of local people and created a new sense of community (http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2008/08/22/positive-effect-of-culture-year-100252-21585787/ ), according to researchers at the University of Liverpool, who clearly seem to have too much spare time on their hands.
Helen West, one of the researchers, is quoted as trilling, "Issues such as low esteem and lack of motivation can result from inequalities within a community, which we found to have a negative impact on mental well-being.
"By using culture as a tool to connect different parts of the community, people felt more valued and encouraged to share their goals."
Quite how the community in the Gillmoss area of Croxteth have been connected & encouraged to share their goals by this year of culture is, at the very least, a moot point. Compare the inanity of that piece with the reality that plans to rebuild the Gillmoss area are abandoned, largely because of the credit crunch (http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2008/08/21/gillmoss-plan-lies-in-tatters-100252-21577768/ ).
As the city centre begins to rake in the yens, dollars & euros from tourists who probably won't be told that the original Cavern club is now beneath an electricity sub-station, areas like Gillmoss are left to decline & fester ever further.
Without sounding unduly dismissive or flippant, perhaps the best thing to do this weekend is to give the city centre as wide a berth as poosible, & if you really want to see how many drunken, aggressive "scallies" get into scrapes with the law, there's always the Matthew Street webcam to keep you amused (http://www.matthew.st/webcam.php ).
Earlier this year I commented on the 1959 documentary, "Morning in the Streets", set in the Everton district of the city, when it was first put on the BBC's iPlayer. The documentary got a welcome airing on BBC 4 last night as part of the "Liverpool on the Box" series of programmes (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00dnz/b00d30mc ).