‘You know what scousers are like, they’re always up to something’.
This afternoon I looked round the Fab Collective’s first exhibition ‘Up to something‘ at St Luke’s, the ‘bombed out church’ before it finishes next weekend. The photographs in the exhibition have all been inspired by or chosen in response to quotes about Liverpool. The title ‘Up to something’ is taken from this quote from Jack Straw in 1999: ‘You know what scousers are like, they’re always up to something. Please do not repeat that to anyone from Liverpool’.
I had my photo taken against the white background so I should end up in the ‘Up to something’ portrait gallery in a day or two. (Some Fab Faces here.)
Fabcollective are a collective of photographers based in Liverpool. Initially they were strangers, individually capturing images of Liverpool and posting them on Flickr – recording Liverpool people, places and events each with a different eye but with a common purpose. In January, one of them decided to arrange a get-together and the Fab Collective was born – a photography group that encompasses a wide range of ages, tastes and experience, named after the ice lolly as a pun on the international photo agency Magnum.
For the exhibition, the collective chose a selection of quotations about the city, from famous people and members of the public, and then each created a single image that suited one of the sentences. The exhibition reflects the diverse styles and personalities in the group, with photographs ranging from the waterfront at sunset to a homeless man sleeping outside a strip club.
‘To the outsider, the city has a strangely derelict air. There are many stretches of featureless rubble, many broken windows, many buildings in bad repair .. But the city continues to think of itself as something pretty special.’ – Edward Lucie-Smith 1967 (photo by Sean Peel)
‘This is Liverpool’s ‘blimey’ moment, for sure. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many smiling faces on so many wet people’ – The Observer (photo by Matt Thomas)
‘Farewell to Prince’s Landing Stage, River Mersey fare thee well’ (photo Jan Rogerson)
In the centre of St Lukes is a small pool, created a few years ago as part of a job creation project. Someone (I guess one of the Urban Strawberry Lunch crew) has placed in the centre the ‘Pool of Life’ quotation from Carl Jung. Here it is in its entirety (for it contains some ineffable truth):
I found myself in a dark, sooty city. It was night, and winter, and dark, and raining. I was in Liverpool…We walked through the dark streets…We found a broad square, dimly illuminated by street lights, into which many streets converged.. The various quarters of the city were arranged radially around the square.
The various quarters of the city were arranged radially around the square. In the centre was a round pool, and in the middle of it, a small island. While everything around was obscured by rain, fog, smoke and dimly lit darkness, the little island blazed with sunlight. On it stood a single tree, a magnolia, in a shower of reddish blossoms. It was as though the tree stood in the sunlight and was, at the same time, the source of light…I can still see the greyish-yellow raincoats, glistening with the wetness of the rain…I had had a vision of unearthly beauty, and that was why I was able to live at all. Liverpool is the pool of life. Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams and Reflections
‘I had a dream. I found myself in a dark, sooty city. – Carl Jung (phot Dave Allanson)
St Luke’s Church was designed by John Foster; construction of the building began on 9 April 1811, with consecration taking place on 12 January 12 1831. On Monday, 5 May 1941, St Luke’s was hit and burned out by an incendiary bomb.
Today St Lukes is a shell, known locally as ‘the bombed-out church’, its churchyard a public park and now largely regarded as a War Memorial but not officially designated as such. It is on the English Heritage ‘at risk’ register. There is a memorial to the dead of the Irish famine in the grounds.