18 January 2007

Sly and the Family Scott

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Liverpool last weekend was great fun - a thought I thought I'd never think again - during Dad's protracted illness and the fallout from his passing away every trip 'home' was freighted with grimness of one kind or another. But my Uncle Charlie celebrated his 90th in fine style on Sunday, and many of the family on Mum's side (the Scotts) turned out. It was great to see everyone at such a happy occasion. Of course my brother and I had business to attend to beforehand - we went to Goodison Park for a nervy, exciting, and in the end quite satisfying Everton game, against Reading. Guest of honour for the day was the one and only Sylvester Stallone, pictured above as he took a bow on the pitch before the game. Sly is pals with one Robert Earl, Everton's new investor, and of course he's over here promoting Rocky Balboa. It was surreal to see a screen legend on the park, and more so when he took his seat in the stand not too far from me and Alan. Reading opened the scoring, and with the Blues looking a bit listless someone near us bellowed, 'BRING ON ROCKY!', well within earshot of the Sly One. It finished one each, we played much better second half.

I had meant to check out The Flint Street Nativity on Saturday night, but with me going to the match and all, and disappearing Monday morning to talk about The May Queen, it only seemed fair that I should look after the boys in our little holiday apartment and give B my ticket. While I was picking up said article at the Playhouse I happened to be kept waiting while someone booked a numbers of tickets for the season - including a pair for my play. Did I mind?

I also had a chance Sunday lunchtime to have a quick peek at Jake and Dinos Chapman's show at Tate Liverpool, Bad Art For Bad People. It was a disorienting hour - one minute I was leaning in to study the 'Hellscapes', then after a breezy taxi ride with the driver obsessing about Rocky and intoning the theme tune I was on Goodison Road queuing for the turnstile.

Got a shock earlier in the day when we walked down to the Pier Head - the ferries' landing stage is caput:

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Stormy weather in the spring of last year the culprit. I trust plans are well in train to renovate in time for the Capital of Culture business next year... (it's supposed to be a World Heritage site, after all).

There are numerous building projects in the downtown area, and some, like this one,

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are unashamedly 'aspirational'. But you don't have to look far (across the road, in this case)

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for the kind of glorious decay characteristic of the place I knew growing up, the city still reeling from the war, the decline of the port, and a dozen winters of discontent, struggling to fight off the ferocious, deliberate, ideologically-driven neglect of the Thatcherite experiment. The bastards closed down the factories, and built us a garden.

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