Monday, April 20, 2009

Mersey Beaten

An agreeably surreal ending to a pleasant day in the city centre. Having popped in to introduce myself to Wayne from the Liverpool Preservation Trust at his shop ( ), & having a most eye-opening conversation with him about local figures in the city's civic life (I could write more but the lawyers would pounce), I took advantage of the glorious weather to do a bit of window-shopping & wander down to the Pier Head. While debating with myself whether the extended canal system added to the waterfront (I'm still torn), I noticed city mayor Steve Rotheram in just some of his civic regalia. A knot of suited & booted male figures crowded around him near the Mersey Ferry ticket office. They then moved down to the Landing Stage (about which more presently). With time on my hands & the weather to savour, I decided to join them, hoping there could be a story.
It transpired that the Freedom of the City of Liverpool was to be conferred on Gerry Marsden on the ferry itself. Along with the chair of Merseytravel & Bootle councillor Mark Dowd, Mayor Rotheram presented Gerry with the honour in front of a phalanx of cameramen & photographers (yours truly had to employ his elbows quite a bit for the above shot). It was all a bit cheesy &, well, twee. However, a good time seemed to be had by all on the murky old Mersey, which couldn't have been calmer.
However, the council PR people started to smile nervously when the party began to pose for pictures with the waterfront in the background. Older Scouse wags began to call out, "Gerry who? Never heard of him!" Another helpful soul cried out, "The Searchers were better!"
Fixed smiles began to acquire a rictus element, eyes darted round in mild panic.
I smiled at one flustered council bureaucrat & said, "Good old Scouse wit, eh?"
He didn't reply.

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