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Liverpudlian Surprises

Liverpool icons.

Liverpool icons.

The day before I went to Liverpool I got an email from Heather Corcoran from the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT) museum in that city. She told me she had wanted to invite me there to speak as part of the series of events and exhibitions she was curating (Climate for Change), and she’d just noticed that I was coming to town on April 8. Oddly enough she was hosting a discussion on the same evening, loosely inspired by Nowtopia, but actually organized by the folks from the Shift collective in Manchester, on “Is the Planet Really Full?” Actually they set it up as a series of quotes, with authors to be revealed after some participatory guessing, that gave rather reactionary opinions about immigration, population, and planetary ecology. They weren’t very hands-on facilitators, so the discussion meandered around and never got far beyond the dismay at the sentiments expressed in the quotes. A few flurries of more interesting talk just slid by… but anyway, I was very glad to participate in it, because my pals at the Initiative Factory/Casa, the former dockers, weren’t really up for me giving a presentation there after all. Turns out there was a big Liverpool-Chelsea game scheduled that night (Chelsea won convincingly I heard later) and everyone’s attention was going to be fully engaged with that.

Heather Corcoran at FACT in Liverpool.

Heather Corcoran at FACT in Liverpool.

So thanks to Heather, I got to hang out at FACT all afternoon, did an interview with them, had a very enjoyable discussion with Richard Smedly, and some other folks I met there, got to participate in the Forum on population, and she even gave me a couch to sleep on! So serendipity ruled and it all worked out for the best.

FACT front door

FACT front door

I even got back over to the Initiative Factory the next morning and had a good chat with Terry Teague, catching up on how things have developed for the dockers since I visited 10 years ago, and giving him a look at FoundSF as well as a copy of Nowtopia for their library.

Old Liverpool trying to hold off the new?

Old Liverpool trying to hold off the new?

Getting off the train in downtown Liverpool was shocking to me. The place has been completey made over! So much money has poured in, the whole downtown area that I saw 10 years ago as a rather depressed and tired place, is now a typical new downtown, full of malls and glass buildings and some refurbished old beauties.

And there was a bit of graffiti around, not too much, but here’s one I liked:

make-the-water-free-graffiti_8450

This weird new cathedral is also quite the monstrosity, dominating a part of the area.

New modern cathedral, Liverpool

New modern cathedral, Liverpool

Opposite it, far down the street, is the old one, but in this view you can also make out the Casa/Initiative Factory building.

The old cathedral is at right.

The old cathedral is at right.

So after Leeds I made it to Liverpool, Manchester, Hebden Bridge, and now Bradford. Tomorrow it’s on to Lancaster, but I’ll write a more full report on Manchester and Hebden Bridge, and a further one on Bradford, in the next days… I had fantastic visits to each place!

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One Response to “Liverpudlian Surprises”

  1. 1
    Richard:

    Weird new Cathedral? It’s been there since 1967!

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