Whistler’s falling-out with the shipping magnate from Speke Hall

Detail of the reconstruction of the Peacock Room at the Bluecoat Ruskin famously put down Whistler with his sneer on seeing his painting Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket that the painter was ‘a coxcomb asking two hundred guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public’s face’.  Whistler promptly sued him for libel.  At … Continue reading Whistler’s falling-out with the shipping magnate from Speke Hall

The scandalous decay of a brilliant representation of Liverpool’s radical past

The Mick Jones mural in the Old Blind School Do the walls of a derelict building hold the memories of those who once inhabited its rooms?  Recently I visited the old Merseyside Trade Union Community and Unemployed Resource Centre building at the top of Hardman Street which has been opened up for a Biennial exhibition. I wasn’t there for the art … Continue reading The scandalous decay of a brilliant representation of Liverpool’s radical past

Bright Phoenix: celebrating the city’s wild, anarchic spirit

Rhodri Meillir as Spike in Bright Pheonix ‘Why is it only ever one shoe?’ At the end of the week in which the new Everyman building won the Stirling Prize for new architecture my daughter treated me to a meal at The Quarter and a ticket to see Jeff Young’s ‘love letter to Liverpool’, Bright Pheonix … Continue reading Bright Phoenix: celebrating the city’s wild, anarchic spirit

Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita braid tales of Wales and Senegal

Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita (photo: Josh-Pulman) ‘The harp and the kora appear to us like old instruments, designed for quieter sparser times’, instruments which ‘can seem out of place in this cacophonous world’, writes Andy Morgan in the sleeve-notes to Clychau Dibon, the album that took the folk-roots world by storm last year.  In … Continue reading Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita braid tales of Wales and Senegal

Cilla and sixties Liverpool: recreation of a mythical city

Sheridan Smith in ‘Cilla’ Along with seven million other viewers, watching ITV’s Cilla I was lost.  Not expecting much after previous lacklustre depictions of Liverpool during the Merseybeat boom, I was transported by Sheriden Smith’s scintillating  performance in the lead role of the teenage Cilla Black, by the convincing script and uniformly sound acting. The drama recreated sixties Liverpool with realistic … Continue reading Cilla and sixties Liverpool: recreation of a mythical city