Friday, 18 November 2011

Get Miller

I 'ad only gone from Bermondsey to Leominster to attend me bruvver's funeral, but there were summat not right 'bout this drum.
It was in a car park I come across their Mayor, Steady Eddie Clark: wot wos behind the corrupt pen and ink that pervaded the gaff?
I said to 'im:
"You're a little man, but you're in bad shape. With me it's a full time job.
Now behave yourself."

From the moment of my election on May 5th a torrent of accusation, allegation & simple political bullying was unleashed on me. This has all ended up with an unelected quango called "Standards for England" (and we're gonna have fun with those publicly funded guys on this page in the near future!)
For now fill yr boots with the avalanche called "Get Miller".

(But it's worth it for comedic purposes.)

Friendly fire?

It is now time to examine the claim that Liverpuddlians are the friendliest people in the country.

I rule from my experiences of the last month that this is true, but it is a double edged sword.
In fact, it is a triple-edged sword (the sword being oddly Toblerone-shaped).

1. Last week I was on the bus to Liverpool & it stopped at Birkenhead (even a naive protoScouser like me knows B'head is pretty rough and recently riot-prone).
Three 14/15 year old teenagers got off and each of them in turn said "Thank you" to the bus driver.
I make no further comment. Except this to my reader friends in inner London: no-one has spiked yr wine glass with ketamine, you are not hallucinating, I really did write that. In fact, it really did happen.

2. My attempt to buy a Guardian from the local newsagent (Really, it was not for me, the missus likes it).
The lady in the shop commented: "You don't want to pay me £1.10 for that. you would be better off downloading it for free from the internet. Wouldn't you, lollipop?"
In her Scouser friendliness the newslady was attempting essentially to put herself out of business.
She was also calling me, a CENSOREDyear old bloke, "lollipop"

3. A couple of days ago had a meeting in Liverpool, went to catch the bus. An old gent in the garden of a nearby property said: " You after the city centre bus? Only it just went, like, bad luck son!" And we then had a friendly five minute conversation on how Arriva buses simply do not stick to their stated timeteables.
The old boy turned into his gaff and I headed off on the long trek to New Brighton station. Halfway there the 432 bus - perfectly on time, on schedule, on timetable - sailed past me.
In order to share a bit of friendly crack the old boy had simply invented the lie that my bus had gone.

Liverpool: on planet earth, but not of it.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Crying is not an emergency

When you come out of Lime Street station there is a big sign opposite saying: "Liverpool: in England but not of it".

In some parts I've explored, this could be expanded to "On planet earth but not of it"...
 this is the ticket booth for one of the kiddies rides at New Brighton beach:

Stern forewarning

Monday, 24 October 2011

Land of our Da's??

Into my second week as an apprentice Merseysider and I'm not saying Liverpool is surreal but there are enjoyably disorienting things going on around here. Some random impressions:

I got the telly set up and we are somehow BBC Wales. That's right - at 6 30 when the national news finishes we get updates on the latest row in the Welsh Assembly. Not annoyed, since Kate's mum lives in Caernarfon and I've always fancied picking up some more Welsh language.
But the bottom line is: in Leominster we were only about 5 miles from the Welsh border & we were resolutely BBC West Midlands. What gives?

Back in Leo the ice cream van's jingle was that "Yodelling Swiss Wanderer" 'orrible noise which at least ceased to disrupt yr reverie from around mid-September.
This week the ice-cream van was still going (in late October & that is impressive) and the jingle was Anton Karras's theme to Carol Reid's 1948 film "The Third Man", the finest British picture ever made.

I'm liking my local ice cream van.

On Friday, in Liverpool city centre, young women were going about at 10.30 am wearing gigantic curlers in their hair. This is a sixties revival every town in Britain should welcome. Liverpool did it first though, I think...

The unfinished but already fabulous Museum of Liverpool: Ken Dodd's tickling stick displayed between an old chip shop sign saying "All our fish fried in the best dripping" and the hand-written lyrics to HMHB's 'Joy Division oven gloves' (these lyrics even funnier in "the flesh" so to speak).

A quite different class of people trying to peddle wares in pubs:
In London it was always poor Chinese guys with dvds who spoke no English. Can still remember halftime of a Celtic match in Corley's N1 when a Chinese guy entered and wordlessly thrust a video into the face of Glaswegian Tiff who was fairly tanked by then. The title of the video was "40 Year Old Virgin". Tiff thought about hitting him before realising it was the name of a movie.

First fortnight we were in Leominster in the local pub a guy came in with a shotgun slung over his shoulder. I got the mobile out to call the cops then realised he was a poacher when he started asking "Anyone want any pheasants or rabbits?"

Yesterday in The Albert in Lark Lane with Kate and her old Scouse friend Picola.
A lady came up to them, trailing two stuffed plastic bags and said:
"Hey gels: do you wanna buy some stuff?"

That is precision language: "some stuff".

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The Senate & the Liverpudlian People

One week ago I moved to Merseyside from Leominster in Herefordshire (and for my adventures with the Tory party there see this Blog: you'll need a strong stomach & a weird sense of humour!).

Since I married in Liverpool in 2006 - my wife was reared on Anfield Rd - I've been falling for this strange town in fits and starts.
Ever since I emerged from Lime Street station and saw the astonishing building opposite it. St George's Hall, possibly the finest Roman building standing anywhere in Europe.

I wandered into the Hall, mesmerised, then burst out laughing when I saw this carved into the bronze doors.
The Victorian fathers of Liverpool were saying "this, Liverpool, is the new Rome".
The magnificent, arrogant, crazy self-confidence of that still makes my jaw drop. I thought then - think now - "who on earth do people who make a statement like that think they are??"

This Blog will be a record of my attempts to answer that question.

Or, as Henry at the start of Goodfellas (could have, should have) said:
'Ever since I can remember, all I ever wanted to be was a Scouser...'