Friday, September 12, 2008

Living In Denial

Heads will roll at the Liverpool Echo. Someone, probably one of the few sub editors the paper still has, hasn't published Alastair Machray's Oldham statement in today's edition.
Meanwhile the delusions engendered by this year have been at their most manifest this week. At least one of the bigwigs at the Culture Company sees no reason why the city's status for 2008 shouldn't be permanent. No, really ( ):
"Culture Company chairman Bryan Gray told a council inquiry only a lack of ambition could stop the city holding on to its new-found reputation beyond the end of December.
"Mr Gray spoke out as Liverpool council confirmed the Culture Company will be wound up once 2008 celebrations draw to a close.
"He said: 'The right to call ourselves Capital of Culture will be taken away on December 31.
" 'But what is to stop us from being the UK's Capital of Culture? The only thing which can stop that is our own ambition'."
I'll tell you why it's a non-starter, Mr Gray, & it's got nothing to do with "ambition". There's no such accolade, that's why. Persuading the city to give itself such a tag would be meaningless & would probably induce a great deal of mirth in the rest of the UK.
Some people just don't know when to let go, especially when it means that their gravy train is pulling into the sidings.
A much more sober & realistic portrait of the city post-2008 was issued by Dr Beatriz Garcia, a director of Impacts 08, a project whose brief is to assess the long term effect of Liverpool's culture year. The project will look at its legacy between now & 2013 ( ).
Dr Garcia cautions:
"We cannot judge the success on just a year[ ] The decision right now is what direction is the city going in, for example in the creative industries.
"Will the talent leave after 2008? We will have to look at it over the next three to four years.
"We have to move away from statistics. In Glasgow [European Capital of Culture in 1990], there were nowhere near the same level of expectations.
"Liverpool has seen much higher expectation over much larger social issues, not just around cultural activities."
That leads to the heart of what, if anything, 2008's "legacy" will be. The city's cultural community was au fait with what the city's status really denoted, & cringed when the crass, corrupt civic crowd, aided & abetted by the local media, hailed it as the answer to a city's deep-seated economic & social decline.

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