Monday, 22 November 2010


We ventured up to Liverpool on Friday for a class trip. After leaving ridiculously early and being sick on one of those awful curving speed trains, we reached Lime Street and headed over to the Tate Liverpool to  drop my bag  off in a Hotel on the dock and meet the rest of our class (A little turmoil with this task as it seemed that when i checked in, the receptionist had given me a dud key card that wouldn't open the door- poor Laura took the initiative to go and ask for another while me and Joe were trying to force the thing open- Laura's method prevailed and the 5 minute stop turned into a 15 minute hastle and a quick stop in a Beatles souvenir shop). When we eventually got to the Tate, there wasn't much of a class there, in fact it was just myself, Joe and Laura who had turned up, Oh and Gill.

We stopped for a quick cup of tea in the Tate- i was horrified to share a pot of herbal tea with Laura, not that I'm not fond of it, just that i was shockingly tired and needed caffeine. I assumed Laura would need caffeine too?! Inside the gallery there was part of the Liverpool Biennial tour. I can't really say that i found any of the work breathtaking although i did enjoy finding various ways of sitting on a big blue sculpture in the middle of the room that you were allowed to interact with. My real joy came when browsing the permanent collection- Bruce Nauman's- Good Boy, Bad Boy. I have never seen the full installation before, only clips and photos. I was totally taken in by it and encouraged Joe to share the joy too. I think he was very pleased in the end with the forcing him to sit and watch it, unfortunately we couldn't watch it for the full hour.


We swiftly moved on from the Tate and we saw a couple more sights- the place where the 'This Morning' weatherman used to jump across his  floating map, the Mersey and the livabirds- we also learned about the Liverpudlian cultural heritage features (a la Gill) such as the immigration, slavery, trade and lambananas- and took a tour of a house that was dressed with 1940's ww2 decor- a very friendly man invited us in, he seemed very interested in our array of accents and i was convinced that he must have been friend of Gills- however we were reassured that Liverpudlians are just friendly and nosey, everyone speaks to each other like that.

The tour stopped for a brief buy in the Mersey Ferry gift shop where i bought my sister an 'I love Liverpool' T-shirt and had a conversation with the  shop assistant about Hanson and 90's music. We agreed that cheesy pop is the best music to play in a gift shop.
Gill moved us on again, this time for Lunch- unfortunately we had missed the ferry trip across the river and were told 'we may be able to go on the way back' - i think his was just one of those lies your mother tells you when you want to go in the sweet shop and she wants to go elsewhere (I do like a nice boat though, so i made sure i got a ride the next day). We got lunch in a very beautiful old pub- specifically chosen because it sold 'Scouse'- bowls of it. Again myself and Joe missed out as they weren't serving 'blind scouse' (The veggie alternative)- but what we lacked in eating we made up in drinking (I actually only had half a pint of beer and i was so drunk i insisted that we should visit a pound shop.)

Moving on from lunch and the pound shop we did a little more tourism- Joe had his picture taken outside of 'The cavern'  and we all went to the Vivian Westwood shop to dribble for a while, and then over to see a little bit of art. After all, I'm sure there was a reason for us to be there. We went inside a church building where there was a bed- a copy of the bed piece that John Lennon and Yoko Ono did all that time ago- apparently different artists were coming in to make an artwork on the bed over the course of about a month everyday. We had missed it that day though and the remnants wasn't really that illustrative of what had happened- we walked over to the back of the church where there was an old book store. Joe bought some old door knobs and i got a 70's penguin book of the Crusades. First Christmas present sorted.

The main exhibition that we had come to see in Liverpool was inside an old hardware shop- it had a piece of Work by the Freee collective on the front of the windows and had an extensive collection of every kind of artwork you could think of, from a room full of paintings, to the the roof which was full of pipes leading into the air vents out in the street (Rosa Baba) to some wacky brain numbing films in the basement that made absolutely no sense (Which was part of the fascination of the films-RyanTrecartin) This was probably my favourite space of the day, i enjoyed the challenging aspect of the space being completely different to spaces i had seen before and being so vast that i was ready to collapse when we left. The space also had a labyrinth type quality, and the mix of work meant that every turn was a surprise and unexpected.

Misty Liverpool and a UFO
I didn't wait long before i got cold and went back to the hotel, i grabbed a sneaky cab back up to the station about half an hour later- very interesting conversation with the taxi driver though, about how he likes the cockneys, but can't stand people from Essex- I told him i was a London girl to save embarrassment.

The weekend was a lot more relaxing than the whistle stop tour- we went on the Mersey cruise (where the Beatles song played over and over again) and visited various pubs in the city- the majority mentioning the Beatles somewhere in the pub for tourism purposes. We managed to find the old pub from the Friday again which was good, because i knew Nick would love it. We didn't go for any scouse though. It was very cold over the weekend too so we spent the weekend off and on looking at coats- the shopping is very extensive in Liverpool and it does seem as if a lot of the culture surrounds this at the weekend, the crowds were the varsity of those at Oxford street on a Saturday- which is probably why we stopped at the pub so many times. 

Nick taking photos of the Mersey (maybe to escape the Beatles song?)
We stopped off at the Britannia Adelphi Hotel (Adelphi Hotel) for a drink on Saturday, which was an odd experience, from the look of the building and the description of the Hotel you expect luxury- and we had specifically gone in to take a look around the building, but the bar had been turned into an American 'diner' style bar and the main pub area, although beautiful in its originality and architecture, seemed to have been hollowed out to fit in as many chairs and tables as possible, and hadn't been cleaned in a long time. However, to be fair, it was full. The pub culture in Liverpool obviously runs quite deeply into the city's history- the majority of the punters were men on their own with a paper and a pint, the odd family and a couple of Lady's scattered around. It wasn't a bad atmosphere, but it was a little odd. In contrast to this we walked into the main hallway of the hotel which was very large and lavish and immaculate. It is supposed to be a tea and coffee reception room but it was almost too daunting to sit down. We didn't stay for coffee, but we did head up the hill to see some of the architectural artworks that i hadn't managed to see on Friday. One in particular that i thought was very good was a building covered in flags- it was obvious to see the countries of each flag but at the same time there was an overlay  of a fire image, so the building looked like it had been burnt down (Will Kwon) I hadn't realised to start with
that it was a piece of work- but it was very effective.

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