The waiting is over. After intense, draining days of phone calls & emails flying back & forth between the council & the Oldham Echo, the spin (not to mention the smoke & mirrors) over the non-finale for Lord Redmond has finally been worked out & splashed on the Echo's front page (http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2008/10/07/waterfront-party-to-see-out-liverpool-s-capital-of-culture-year-100252-21981215/ ) by Echo journalist Michelle Fiddler:
"LIVERPOOL'S waterfront will be the setting for a spectacular people's party to mark the end of Capital of Culture year."
[BTW, what is it with BLOCK CAPITALS as far as the Echo is concerned? Is it meant to look impressive?]
Great! So what's organised for the event? Erm, highlights of 2008 on video screens at the Pier Head (what, you mean someone actually YouTubed the lopping off of Ringo's head at the Beatle topiary by the airport?). Oh, right. But surely there will be a great party planned in the city centre on the final day of 2008. Won't there?
"The party is on January 10, 2009, after the New Year festivities are finished."
Erm, OK, right. Ah, but hang on, there's more:
"There will be celebrations during the day in districts including Wavertree, Toxteth, Alt Valley, Kensington, Tuebrook, Old Swan & Knotty Ash."
So those areas of the city which have looked on while the city centre has operated in a parallel universe will get the chance to finally celebrate 2008...ten days into 2009. Still, I'm sure Professor Chucklebutty (http://profchucklebutty.blogspot.com/ ) will have something appropriate planned in Knotty Ash.
As for the dwindling funds in the coffers which forced Lord Redmond to scrap his finale, as Tony Parrish exclusively revealed, the nearest the Echo article comes to admitting it can be found in the throwaway sentence:
"It is understood plans to stage a Capital of Culture event at the Echo arena were shelved in favour of the waterfront party."
It gets worse (oh, yes it does!) with the possibility that Roger McGough, whose, ahem, magnum opus graced last Friday's Newsnight Review, will scribble a few lines for the occasion. There's also the hope that a few "Liverpool anthems" will be trilled by the river. Cue Gerry Marsden strumming his guitar on the Royal Iris as the assembled freeloaders sing "Ferry 'Cross The Mersey" from lyric sheets handed out by Warren Bradley & Mike Storey while a hooded scally lets off a rocket & a couple of Catherine Wheels from the top of the funnel (health & safety permitting).
We know how to do these things in style, don't we?