I rather suspect that when the weather improves in the spring of next year, another group hug may be called for down at the waterfront. Just a short carbuncle away from One Parked Here Without Our Say-So, the new Hilton Hotel is taking shape as the new addition to the waterfront's Botoxification. And, guess what, Oldham Hall Street is very much on board to ask the hard, searching questions that a news organisation should ask; their reporters will be on hand to buttonhole those behind this latest scene of civic disfigurement in Paxmanesque fashion.
Don't believe me, do you?
Thought not. OK, OK, here's the squalid reality, both the Daily Ghost & Oldham Echo print pretty much the same PR blurb which seeks to convince the gullible that hotel rooms costing in excess of £800 per night lie at the heart of a city's, erm, renaissance (http://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/liverpool-news/regional-news/2009/10/22/liverpool-s-history-is-threaded-through-new-hilton-hotel-92534-24987236/ & http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2009/10/22/liverpool-one-s-new-hilton-hotel-a-priceless-view-but-the-room-will-cost-you-859-a-night-100252-24988707/ ).
Featuring a small picture of the view afforded by the most expensive suite in the hotel, the Echo version swoons:
"This is the view that will cost visitors to Liverpool £859 a night.
"The Presidential Suite - described by Hilton Liverpool's general manager Marcus Magee as the hotel's 'piece de resistance' - will be the most expensive room in the city when the hotel opens its doors on November 17.
"Guests who want that extra luxury will be able to get an extra package that will include butler service and a provision of a top of the range car."
What immaculate timing, just perfect for the end of Liverpool's year of the environment (http://www.ourcityourplanet.org.uk/ ).
The PR piece, which would look just right in its natural habitat of glossy brochures, & which Wayne has already held up for some well-warranted derision (http://liverpoolpreservationtrust.blogspot.com/2009/10/liverpool-hilton-opens.html ), goes on to enthuse brightly:
"The 215-room hotel, built on the site of the old Customs house and overlooking Chavasse Park, has been designed to reflect the city's trading and maritime history."
Ah, yes, the port's importance to the city, how could anyone forget that....which is why they've built the hotel on the site not just of the old Customs house (a real architectural gem long since sadly lost), but also the original dock system briefly uncovered by Channel 4's Time Team during The Big Dig. Oh, & could we finally dispense with the risible piece of fiction which contends that the small elevated patch of greenery adjacent to One Parked Here Without Our Say-So is Chavasse Park? Why? Because, you see, it isn't. Chavasse Park was bulldozed away & lost while Oldham Hall Street proclaimed a bright new dawn for the waterfront.
Think that's bad enough for squandering as well as misrepresenting the port's past?
"The importance of cotton is captured in the Pima bar - named after the high-grade American cotton - with cotton displayed in glass wall panels. The lights also resemble cotton buds."
All involved in this farrago of deception, self-congratulation & sanitised local history seem to display a crass ignorance worthy of an aggressive ale-head in Concert Square at 3am.
The cotton trade was bound up with the slave trade. Fact. I wonder if the hotel will mention that? While the monstrosity that will be the new museum at the Pier Head appears to include a section holding all Scousers, past & present, responsible for the worst chapter in the port's history, the Hilton will go in entirely the opposite direction, lauding a trade which necessarily involved the enslavement of human beings (http://www.breakingthechains.co.uk/news.jsp?newsID=3 )
There may no longer be "six in a bed by the old Pier Head", as the "Liverpool Town" song put it, but the theme & pattern of missed chances & squalid circumstances still apply.