Tuesday, 15 January 2008

All Change

The blog might be in a bit of a flux for a week or so, partly because of work on my side of things (trying to complete three chapters by the end of the month) and the fact that noisms is going back to Japan. In fact he's probably flying somewhere over Europe or Asia as I write this.

noisms will be over there "until further notice," as it were. Like me, I suspect that he has lots of ideas for the future but no specific plans. More power to him, if he's worried about what he might be doing a year from now he doesn't show it; if I think about it too much I feel as if it all might fall on me and squash me flat.

Anyway, the blog might be slowly updated over the coming fortnight, but it will continue.

Friday evening was the opening celebration of Liverpool 08, as Liverpool is the European Capital of Culture for 2008. This is a good thing for the city, a long overdue recognition of the fact that Liverpool is more than The Beatles and stupid criminal stereotypes. With over £100 million being invested in showing off the amazing cultural things that the city has to offer (as well as bringing in various performers, attractions and exhibitions from outside the region) it looks as if the next twelve months are going to be very interesting (there are about half a dozen things that I plan to see at just two theatres in the next three months alone).

Considering that this is the Capital of Culture year, it's surprising just how much of the development and re-development of Liverpool is focused on it having a "culture of capital" to borrow from a petition and protest from a few years ago. By far the biggest new feature of the city's skyline are a series of cranes working on the Paradise Project, a massive construction effort building a huge area of retail and leisure units (and some "housing" - though whether these are exclusive apartments or affordable homes remains to be seen) which has cost upwards of £920 million.

This project has meant the demolition of not just buildings but areas of the city, the removal of a park and, despite lengthy protests and a petition with over 150,000 signatures , the compulsory purchase and demolition of an "alternative shopping centre," Quiggins. Quiggins was part of Liverpool's culture, a place where people of all ages would visit. It still feels now as if we are being told that the Paradise Project is our culture, and that that is more important than the piece of our culture that we loved wasn't worthwhile enough.

Attitudes have shifted a little in the city, and now that the actual cultural programme for Liverpool 08 has been announced and set in motion people have begun to separate the construction work from the culture. Re-development brings with it investment, jobs and hopefully renewed interest in the city and tourism - I remain hopeful that Liverpool hasn't thrown the baby out with the bathwater.

Everything changes... More soon.

No comments: