Sunday, 23 November 2008

A Short History of Here 2

A friend of a friend of mine was beaten unconscious a week ago.

I've not seen the report in the press; possibly the police are keeping things quiet if their investigations are at a delicate stage. She, yes, it was a female, was beaten up in the city centre because she dared to pull a drunken youth back from an oncoming taxi cab. She saved the youth injury, and in return her jaw was broken on both sides, she lost most of her back teeth, and God knows what mental anguish will result. There are also some suggestions that a girl who was with the youth stole money and a mobile phone during the attack.

Scum, eh?

It's hard after that to sit here and say how wonderful Liverpool is. Clearly, it's a dangerous place to be. But, of course, so can be anywhere. There are violent sumbags lurking in all our cities, and the trick is to be wary and ever vigilant, sad though such a sentiment might be.

And for the record, I've been down town many, many times--I've lost count of the number of times I've even walked home at two a.m. in my youth---and never seen the merest hint of trouble.

This is the 'suitcase' sculpture in Hope Street. It's a work created by John King, and each suitcase is labled to belong to a famous Liverpudlian. It's a celebration of Liverpool culture, yet given the opening tone of this posting, I think there's a certain irony that maybe these suitcases are packed so Liverpool's famous can get the Hell out as soon as they're able.

Of Crunches and Credit and Such Like

We, as a global society, seem locked into the negative right now. All press emphasis appears to be geared towards pushing the bad news while ignoring the fewer snippets of good. Confidence seems to be the buzzword, and it's difficult to see how confidence can be restored given the way this looming recession is being delivered to the people.

It saddens me to believe that this situation is so engineered. Don't be fooled that it's not a redistribution of wealth. When the chumps and the weekend share owners have bailed out of the markets in terror, their savings and pensions decimated in the process, the wealthy will be there to buy at ridiculously low values, and the economy will eventually recover and the poor will be poorer and the rich richer.

It's sad, too, how I guess it will bring a redistribution of workforce. With tens of thousands of redundancies already announced or threatened, firms will feel justified in bringing forward those plans to rid themselves of staff with impunity. Who will notice a few more amongst the many?

I'm not that old to know of gentler times; when firms at least had some semblance of loyalty toward their staff. When I began work, the company even had a hardship fund to which employees could apply for money if in difficulty. Not any more. Now the noises are of 'responsible redundancies', an oxymoron if ever there was. I'd like a return to what I'd call responsible capitalism, where a company is lauded not just on how much profit it can return but also by how many folk it can keep gainfully employed in the process. I suspect those days are gone forever.

So, we hunker down and try to ride out the storm. But we must do so with hope. If not, then what's the point?

See you on the other side...

Sunday, 16 November 2008


This month sees the publication of Premonitions magazine from Pigasus Press containing my story “Leonard Rom”. Considering the story was accepted back in 2005, this is the longest I’ve waited to see a work in print.

Premonitions looks nice, a gloss-covered A5 paperback of about 150 pages, and was worth the wait.

I’m rather fond of this story. It’s a rare venture into science fiction for me, and tells of a ‘colonisation’ star ship whose computers have become damaged and rather psychotic. It’s quite short, and so it feels compact to me yet also feels rounded as a story. I’m hoping any reviewers think the same. Watch this space.

A Short History of Here 1

Who, what, where is Liverpool?

If you’re British, you probably have an opinion about Liverpool and its denizens. Much is often said about the city and its people, some of it even good :-)

If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to allocate some space on this blog to offer you an ongoing virtual tour of Liverpool and what it means to be Liverpudlian. If, along the way, one or two myths are dispelled, then so be it. But I don’t want to preach, and I hope not to flinch at the good or the bad.

There is no truth that we’ve personalised seats down at the unemployment offices. But there is the possibility we’d mud wrestle our granny for a tenner.

  • Scouse (noun) Scow-ss - A cheap, thick broth or stew made from left over meats and vegetables originally favoured by the poorest population of Liverpool.

  • Scouser (noun) Scow-sir – A person who comes from Liverpool.

It’s also true that all Scousers are comedians. Even the miserable bastards are usually good for a quip or two.

The city is steeped with a rich history. It has more listed buildings than any other city outside London. Its wealth is built on the shame of slavery, though in truth it has existed as a port since the middle ages. In modern times it suffered from the German blitz, and from the subsequent blight in urban renewal. For many years the name Liverpool was synonymous with Militant Unionism, a brush its labour force struggles to rid itself of to this day. 2008 sees Liverpool acting out its European Capital of Culture year. It's not clear to me whom of the visitors or the resident Scousers has seen this as the bigger culture shock.

But it is clear to me there's a lot of good in this city, and hopefully I can blog this in an interesting and informative way.

Thank you for reading this far.

To Blog or not to Blog?

Everyone should have a blog, shouldn't they?

But what to say? Is my life of interest to anyone else but me? Or perhaps people read these things precisely for the mundane, everyday stuff. Perhaps it's a kind of safe, acceptable voyeurism.

I'll give it a go, though it's with some trepidation. I said I'd never blog, and here I am. My soul is with the dark side. Pray for me, though I know there is no hope.

I am... a blogger.