When it was announced that Liverpool would host Eurovision, I was overjoyed, but also a little bit nervous. The city had never held an event of this size before. Would we be able to pull off the feat of hosting one of the biggest and most technically complex live television events in the world? Could the city’s infrastructure cope with a massive influx of visitors from all over the world? I hoped so, but a part of me was a litte bit worried.
My concerns were unfounded. Liverpool didn’t just host Eurovision, it embraced it and turned it into a week-long festival of joy. With a massive festival of public art running alongside the event, concerts and plays to entertain us, as if the massive festival of music itself wasn’t enough.
Continue reading “Euro-star”
Eurovision is being held in Liverpool, and it has been an amazing experience. The atmosphere in the city has been electric, with numerous events being held surrounding the contest ensuring that no-one is left out, even those who couldn’t get a ticket to the show itself.
Sadly, it all comes to an end today, but it will be a massive climax with the Grand Final at 8pm, live across Europe and beyond. 26 artists will compete on behalf of their country to secure the Eurovision crown and the honour of hosting next year.
Here are the ones I think you should watch out for.
Continue reading “Liverpool Vision”
A Thong For Europe is the latest in the Liverpool Royal Court’s long-running series of plays with a truly groan-worthy pun for a title. It is a new musical by Jonathan Harvey, the genius behind Beautiful Thing, Canary, Our Lady of Blundellsands and a million episodes of Coronation Street.
The show was commissioned and written after the announcement last October that Liverpool would host Eurovision. From initial idea to a fully-formed musical in six months? Could it be done? If anyone can do it, Jonathan Harvey can.
Continue reading “A Thong in My Heart”
Liverpool has embraced Eurovision beyond my wildest imagination. It has taken over the city in a way I’ve never seen before. More than the various Giants events. Not even a Liverpool FC trophy parade touches this for sheer scale. Naturally, I’ve immersed myself in it as much as possible.
Things got under way in earnest at the beginning of May with EuroFestival, a fortnight-long cultural festival of artworks tying in with the contest, with a particular emphasis on Ukraine, the rightful hosts of this year’s contest.
I’ve been exploring some of the artworks with Ben, and here is a round-up of what we’ve seen so far.
Continue reading “Eurovision – the arty party”
Easter Monday was spent in the company of my lovely boyfriend Ben at Speke Hall, the Tudor House and surrounding gardens on the edge of Liverpool.
It’s been a long time since I visited. Previous visits as a child were associated in my head with boredom, as my mum cooed over the delicate Tudor furniture and I longed to get home to my Commodore 64. In adulthood, the site was never really on my radar as a place to visit, despite being just a few miles from my house. It doesn’t help that it is curiously difficult to get to by public transport – the only option being to take one of the buses to Liverpool Airport, alight a couple of stops early, and walk nearly a mile.
I don’t want to brag, but Ben has a car. We were able to drive to Speke Hall on Easter Monday, arriving just after the 10.30am opening time. The hall is in the care of the National Trust, and admission is £15 if you want to access all areas. If you don’t want to see the house, a tenner will get you into the grounds only.
Continue reading “Speke your mind”
Why was I wandering around an industrial estate in Birkenhead last weekend with my friend Scott? The answer may surprise you!
I was here to visit the Bloom Building, an events space on the edge of Birkenhead town centre, conveniently located between Cammell Laird shipyard and the Queensway Tunnel toll plaza. The event this space was hosting on 25th March was The Big Chat about the Transport Shed from National Museums Liverpool (NML).
The subject of the event was NML’s extensive Land Transport collection, which includes more than 200 items. As part of the event, there were activities for kids, a guitarist playing transport-related pop songs – a thankless task when no-one in the room was paying the slightest bit of attention – and trinkets from the museum’s collection on show.
The main attraction, though, was a talk given by senior persons at NML, about some exciting plans that they have for the future of the collection.
Continue reading “Museum Piece”
It’s been nearly four months since we got the fantastic news that Liverpool will host Eurovision 2023 on behalf of Ukraine.
Things went a little bit quiet after that. There was the announcement of the production team, and a fantastic New Year’s Eve show with Sam Ryder showing just how Eurovision can boost an artist, if they want it. But if there was activity behind the scenes, not much of it was in the public eye.
Things kicked up a gear on Monday with the unveiling of the theme for this year’s contest, United by Music, and the logo and graphics, which combine the colours of the UK and Ukraine.
Continue reading “Liverpool calling”
Western Approaches is a World War II museum, located in the basement of Exchange Flags, an office block in Liverpool City Centre.
During World War II, the building’s cellars were converted into a headquarters for the Battle of the Atlantic, the struggle to keep Britain supplied with essential supplies and equipment, as Nazi Germany’s U-Boats stalked vessels making the transatlantic crossing.
After the war, the complex was largely abandoned, and fell into disrepair until opened as a museum in the early 1990s.
The building was top secret at the time, and still seems to be rather well-hidden today, with many visitors to the city seemingly unaware of its existence. This is despite the big signs pointing to “TOP SECRET WARTIME HQ” – definitely one for fans of irony.
Continue reading “Approach with Care”
As soon as it was announced that Eurovision 2023 would be hosted by the BBC, it was inevitable that Liverpool would throw its hat into the ring. As a city with such a great muscial pedigree, we were the obvious choice, right?
Maybe not. Even my most ardent Eurovision pals were sceptical of our bid. “It’ll be in Glasgow,” they all said, whenever I dared to dream of a Eurovision on the banks of the River Mersey. When the bids were narrowed down and Liverpool was in the final two, a lot of people seemed to be surprised that we had even made it that far.
And then, on Friday night, the final announcement came…
WE DID IT!
Continue reading “We are the winners of Eurovision!”
Over the Easter weekend, BBC Radio Merseyside broadcast a two-hour special: An Accent Exceedingly Rare: A Love Letter to Liverpool.
This special programme, recorded live at St George’s Hall in March to celebrate the station’s 50th anniversary, and its recent Freedom of the City award.
I stumbled across the broadcast by accident, listening to the radio while having tea with my parents on Monday evening. It seems to have gone out on Good Friday and Easter Monday without much fanfare, which is a shame, as it’s an amazingly ambitious piece of broadcasting. There’s live music, poetry readings, drama pieces performed by Ricky Tomlinson and Pauline Daniels, and — for the broadcasting anoraks — some old jingles and readings of internal memos fished out of the archives.
Local radio often gets sneered at for being parochial and uninteresting. This programme may be parochial (I imagine most of the references will go over the heads of people from outside Liverpool), but it was absolutely wonderful to listen to.
It’s also a demonstration of the incredible ability of the BBC, in spite of all its flaws, to do something special when it wants to. Commercial rivals like to attack BBC radio as being unfair competition, but this programme was the sort of thing that Radio City or Capital FM would never do – for one thing, it doesn’t involve playing the same 20 records over and over again.
Listen to An Accent Exceedingly Rare: A Love Letter to Liverpool on iPlayer (available until 30 April)