Monday, December 31, 2007

Jumping The Gun

Seems I was mistaken in suspecting the identity of the local band which got preferential treatment for the 2006 Matthew Street Festival. Ah well, still nice to know who it really was.

As a necessary corrective to the mayhem & madness which will engulf the streets & bars over the next few hours, I'd recommend the Random Acts Of Reality blog by Tom Reynolds, a London paramedic who will be working this evening ( ). Tom has promised to update the blog as the night/morning wears on. Good luck, Tom.

The thought that 2008 is just a few hours away is rather sobering in itself. For better or worse, the Capital of Culture madness will swing into action as the clock strikes midnight.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Festival Favours

Tony Parish ( ) relates that the latest inquiry into the Matthew Street fiasco has been kicked into the long grass after allegations that Jason Harborrow, soon to trouser a £250,000 pay-off from the city council, pulled a few strings to ensure a local act got a prime slot at the 2006 festival:
"It is alleged that Jase abused his position and authority as chief executive of the Culture Company to unfairly ensure that the band were given the gig.
"A second senior city council official was also being investigated after he was implicated in bringing pressure to bear on staff to make sure that the band appeared.
"It is alleged that both Jason Harborrow and the senior official intervened to make sure the band appeared."
Tony notes that local acts at the 2006 festival had to go through a vetting procedure, widely viewed as exacting, by an independent panel. However, the band at the centre of the allegations were seemingly not put through this.
A quick Google search for "Matthew Street Festival 2006" produces this webpage from the BBC Liverpool site:
Tony hasn't yet named the band, but the link seems to do just that.
[The Lightning Seeds' frontman, Ian Broudie, started out in the Liverpool punk band, Big In Japan. One of his bandmates was a certain Jayne Casey, now one of the bigwigs involved in the Culture Company. Among the Lightning Seeds' hit singles in the 90s was the aptly named "Lucky You".]

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Is There Anybody Out There?

It's always a little disheartening, though not exactly astonishing, when the so-called serious press is guilty of sloppy journalism over Merseyside. One such instance was to be found in last week's Guardian in an article on the growth of blogs in UK towns & cities: .

According to the piece's author, Guy Clapperton, the blogging scene in Liverpool is slight:

"Not surprisingly," he sneers, "the city is characterised by a plethora of footie blogs pretending to be city blogs."

Clapperton's piece does go on to mention the Liverpool Subculture blog ( ), but no others in a dismissively short paragraph. No mention of Liverpool Blogs ( ) nor the blogs featured on the Art In Liverpool website ( ).

There are many things in an unready state for 2008, but the city's burgeoning blogging scene isn't one of them.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Una Probabilita Per Vendetta? *

Callaghan makes it 2-0

With this week's Champions League draw pairing Liverpool & Inter Milan for the first time since their meeting in 1965, it's worth recalling that tie & the way in which Inter bribed the Spanis referee, Snr. Ortiz de Mendebil for the second leg at the San Siro: .

Also: .

(With thanks to for reproduction of the image .)

* A Chance For Revenge?

Before The Farce Begins

Hands up if you've f***ed things up!

Ahead of the institutional cock-up that will be 2008 (thank you, Tony Parrish, you've made the council, the Culture Company & the Echo look like complete clowns, keep it up: ), there is some cheering information about the arts scene locally in today's Observer (,,2231521,00.html ).

The emerging young artists, musicians & others involved in the city's arts scene have a take on 2008 which refreshingly steers clear of the old cliches & Scouse stereotypes. Indeed, some of them have settled in Liverpool, enabling them to have a fresh perspective on the forthcoming year as well as their general perceptions of the city. One or two have a timely dig at the farce concocted by the council & their partners in crime at the Culture Company.

With Jason Harborrow retiring (yet again) to his Spanish hacienda before his final pay off at the council tax payers expense & Messrs. Storey & Bradley finally facing the music for their culpability, it's heartening to know that the city's arts scene is getting on with its own projects & not allowing the civic chaos to affect their own work.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Acting On Impulse

Purely by chance, I walked into one of the departments at work on Monday afternoon where a radio was tuned into a local station. The presenter spoke about a Springsteen gig at Old Trafford, Manchester, next May. My ears pricked up in an almost feral way. Texts pinged back & forth, my mobile phone ringing regularly also, the Liverpool FC ringtone causing more than a little irritation to the Evertonians in the place. It's now booked. It wasn't cheap, of course (there's no other act for whom I'd part with £60, thanks for the booking fee, Ticketmaster). Still, after all the manufactured hype about the McCartney concert at Anfield, it is nice to know that I'll be attending a gig rather than a tiresome exercise in Beatle nostalgia & parochial excess.
If the comedians running the Liverpool Culture Company had been doing their job properly, they might, just might, have secured this gig for the city. Instead, the 60s are re-heated & served up yet again for local consumption.

The Emperor's New Clothes

Crashing in from work on Monday evening, I switched on Channel 4 News. Among the lead stories was a live piece from Liverpool's Albert Dock. The programme's highly cerebral & urbane arts correspondent, Nicholas Glass, looking uncomfortable in a to-camera piece, explained that this year's Turner Prize was being held at the venue to mark 2008. My heart sank. It sank even further when Warren Bradley, leader of the city council appeared to give his views on the contenders. Will Bradley be appearing as a pundit at the McCartney concert next summer, I wonder?
Anyway, it soon transpired that, save for a couple of ego-fuelled local politicos & arty types who had fetched up from Lark Lane, the audience was bussed up from London; the poor lambs, having to endure a December evening in the provinces!
As for the winner, Mark Wallinger, well, I suppose it all made sense to him as he videoed himself in a bear costume at a Berlin gallery. Furthermore, if it had a connection to the anti-war movement, as he claimed, well, good on the guy.
However, much as I like to retain an open mind on cultural persuits, I have to say that the Turner Prize has become a byword for inane, irrelevant, juvenile bullshit over the years (remember the electric light being switched on & off, a few years' ago?).
I have a suggestion for Mark. Why not take his costume to Khartoum, parade around the Sudanese capital & tell everyone that his name's Mohammed?