Friday, September 19, 2008

Rounding Off 2008 Nicely

From Ringo on the roof (& the rates) to...well, no one's saying anything officially --& the Oldham Echo is ominously keeping schtum-- but it seems as though there will be no closing event/ceremony for Liverpool's, ahem, year of culture. Capital of Culture supremo (does anyone outside the media really use that word?) Phil Redmond has been told that the piggybank is empty --blame it on the credit crunch, Warren!-- & so 2008 will probably end in an embarrassed silence on New Year's Eve, in stark contrast to everywhere else, while a Culture Company minion turns off the lights on the way out.
Tony Parish broke the news on Wednesday ( ):
"Redmond had originally wanted £1 million for the end of the year show when he began planning his great moment six months ago. Then the budget was halved to half a million -- the amount being paid to [former city council chief executive Colin Halsall] as a reward for his incompetence. Then the budget was going to be dependent on what could be raised in ticket sales at the Oldham Arena. Then at today's meeting, Redmond was finally told there were no more spondulicks [Scouse slang for cash].
"What's more, since the long-suffering Culture Company staff are all out on their ears on December 31st, not many were going to be daft enough to rally round to make multi-millionaire Redmond look good."
Some might suggest that, given the frankly underwhelming opening on Lime Street last January, it's a blessing in disguise that the city isn't going to make itself look twice as ludicrous & shambolic before the international media. However, it's surely a first; as far as I'm aware, every other city which has been a Europen Capital of Culture has had some sort of closing ceremony.
Redmond must now regret his stated wish to make the year resemble a great big Scouse wedding. It seems that the bride & groom have left early, the in-laws are squaring up to each other, the scene is filled with the debris of half-eaten food, broken bottles & vomit, & the guests have long since moved on to a pub down the road.

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