Monday, February 15, 2010

Celebrating A Carbuncle

Wayne's already fired a well-aimed salvo at the PR spin surrounding of the Museum of Liverpool ( ), in particular the piece Catherine Jones wrote for today's Oldham Echo.
However, it's also worth casting an eye over an article she penned for Friday's Echo, just hours after the official handover of the carbuncle from the contractors to NML ( ). The occasion was marked by "a fundraising dinner" [hasn't the monstrosity already been paid for, largely through our money?] &, judging by Jones' breathless prose, some observers might unkindly suspect that she herself had what the aristocracy still like to term "a good meal".
Thursday night's festivities were graced by the presence of Phil Redmond, whose "thoughts" in the Daily Ghost must surely warrant an entire section of Private Eye's Pseud's Corner. Redmond was in expansive mood as he declared to a clearly-rapt Jones:
"It was a great night and provided our supporters from the business and cultural community with their first opportunity to view the museum's spaces, and it previewed what will undoubtedly become one of the best vantage points in the city through a magnificent 80ft picture window."
Ah yes, that view, can't argue with Redmond's use of the word "magnificent" to describe it, can we? It'll afford an unparalleled view of Professor Chucklebutty's upturned caravan, aka, the Mersey Ferry terminal building, & the almost cancerous cluster of high-rise "developments" around the Three Graces [not bad-looking for 800 years, btw, eh, Warren?], not to mention the burger stalls which will adorn the west entrance to the Liver Building.
Jones enthuses in her apologia for journalism:
"[The Museum] will boast four main themes - port city, creative city, people's city and global city."
OK, let's break this down into manageable portions of effluvia, shall we? The port of Liverpool still exists, of course, but presenting it as a museum artefact confirms the view of many that it'll be another exercise in nostalgia, a piteous pining for a Golden Age that never was [my grandfather worked on the docks when those who got work for the day were picked out from pens containing their not-so fortunate colleagues].
As for the "creative city" theme, we all know the talent & originality that's emanated from Merseyside down the years. So what makes me suspect that it'll be dominated by four Liverpool lads who split up over 40 years' ago?
And then, of course, we have the "people's city" theme. NML must have a twisted sense of humour to call it that; a "people's city" would have been consulted, at the very least, about the Botoxification of the entire waterfront. Incidentally, it's an open secret that NML were going to include a section on Hillsborough under this theme. Crass & insensitive are two of the more printable words that come to mind.
Liverpool's development & history as a port means that calling it a "global city" is intellectual tautology. Its maritime links, moreover, hark back to an era which ended, roughly, in the early twentieth-century.
Anyway, I'm sure that such matters didn't concern the revellers on Thursday night. Among their number was Roger McGough who, as Jones, trilled, "is writing new verse to add to the museum's exhibits."
You just know something is inherently naff when a local poet agrees to scribble some doggerel about the city, don't you?
It's a shame, really. Roger's done some good things in the past... like the, erm, Scaffold [remember "Lily the Pink"?], but his ringing endorsement of the monstrosity is cringe-inducing:
"As a Liverpool lad, the museum belongs to me as much as anyone, and I'm happy to be lending my support in the ways I know best, through art and poetry.
"I encourage others who hold the city close to their hearts to get involved with their new museum with continued support and a passion for the arts, history and culture."
So the museum "belongs" to us, eh, Roger? It's our museum, is it? Now that's what I call creative writing.


Liverpool Preservation Trust said...

Oh and they destroyed Manchester Docks to build the carbuncle.

David Swift said...

Liverpool Echo article headline from May 14th 2007 "They are concreting on top of our history" regarding the destruction of Manchester Dock. Who was the reporter ? None other than our "cultural correspondent" Catherine Jones! Whichever way the wind blows eh?

Liverpool Preservation Trust said...

And here is the original article by Catherine (Three Faced) Jones our intrepid Culture Correspondent.