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Scream through the letterbox

Artist Alex Corina's new work lands on Liverpool doormats in a protest about preparations for culture year

Published on April 24th 2007.


Scream through the letterbox

Forget the Focus newsletter or dodgy, blurry images of scary BNP types on your doormat. This is the Liverpool Scream. It is artist Alex Corina's newest work and, if you live in the Cressington ward, it is coming though your letterbox very shortly.

And not just a little flyer either, we're talking a glossy poster to put on your wall.

Usually, Alex Corina's business sells this sort of stuff for a couple of hundred quid, but this little number is being distributed to L19 residents for free.

The reason? Corina has decided to stand in the May 3 elections as an independent, in what he calls an artistic protest.

Happy times: Warren Bradley and Alex Corina

He is disillusioned, he says, about the way Capital of Culture organisers have continually ignored local communities and sidelined artists from the city. This is the only way forward, he maintains, and he's not just trying to shift a few pictures.

"I'm angry and frustrated at the way 2008 has been mishandled by the council,” he said. “The council's obsession with the city centre means the suburbs have missed out.

“Promises of regeneration have come to nothing,” he added. “Key appointments have been bungled. And Liverpool's creative community has been sidelined by bureaucrats."

Inspired by Edvard Munch's The Scream, Corina's mixture of cartoon and collage highlights what he calls "Liverpool's litany of letdowns" since it secured the Capital of Culture title in June 2003.

In it, the trams, the Cloud and even Everton FC are depicted as being sold down the River Mersey amid the madness of the Big Dig.

Liverpool Scream is a companion piece to Corina's best known work, Mona Lennon, which portrayed Leonardo's creation with the face of the former Beatle. It hung down the side of St George's Hall in 2002, and was actually used to promote Liverpool's bid to become European Capital of Culture. But its creator, who has been leading a campaign to have Garston, one of Liverpool's poorest areas, declared a "cultural village" now says he's fed up.

"We've had all sorts of supportive noises from the council about reviving Garston village but nothing ever gets done. I call it the land that time (and the council) forgot. " he added.

Corina claims his crusade is " an artistic intervention" and he only expects 500 votes, tops.

City council officers were unable to respond to the candidate's remarks because an election has been called, but Council Leader Warren Bradley has contacted us with his comments (below).

In the meantime, what do you think about the way Liverpool is handling preparations for Capital of Culture year? Are you worried? Or do you think the city is doing a good job and should be allowed to get on with it? Let us know by leaving your thoughts below.

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14 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

loobie looApril 24th 2007.

Is it still all going pear shaped? I think that there are a lot of disgruntled people around this city, some artists rightly so, and some with just an exe to grind. Wouldn't matter how successful Liverpool was in pulling 2008 off, there would still be people whinging. Other cities have big festivals and there isn't all this constant chipping wherever you go. In pubs, on buses. Let the people in charge get on with it, I say. Otherwise it will be all over before we know it.

A. E. ScousemanApril 24th 2007.

Since my last contribution I have heard that local, relevant, cultural institutions that have in the past received some small funding from the City Council have actually had their grants CUT OFF completely by the so-called Culture Company! The Liverpool Academy of Art and the Mersey Shanty Festival are neither pop groups or footballers and lie outside the purlieu of stereotypical scouseness so therefore unrecognised by the Philistine drones of the Liverpool Culture Company. I suppose they think the public's money is better spent subsidising the drinks bill for one of their private jollies to entertain their cronies.

shirley togoodApril 24th 2007.

They are putting 08 badges all over things that would have happened anyway and claiming them as their own.

JayApril 24th 2007.

I must say that i am astounded at the vagueness of Mr Bradley's post. Mr Bradley why don't you get real and admit that Capital of Culture 2008 will not deliver what was initially promised, because when you have to admit it at the end of 2008 you'll be the one with egg on your face.What is planned for 2008 is not a big deal. Take Manchester as an example, their council have a 'can do' attitude. If someone wants to invest in their city they do not put up barriers as the Liverpool council do. There will be more going on in 2008 in Manchester than in Liverpool but to them it is just another year, nothing special.I love Liverpool. Grew up here, work here, but now live in Manchester because it has a lot more to offer. The the gap between the cities is only going to grow until Mr Bradley stops turning up to every photo call(can anyone remember a day when his picture wasn't in the Echo) in the city and starts doing some work.Also interesting that now the period of purdah is over no councillors have yet left a comment.

Tony ParrishApril 24th 2007.

Some very sound comments. and some very funny ones. Warren Bradley's contribution was the worst. as someone else almost said, it is meaningless drivel. Hilary burrage gets to the heart of th matter: what is the benefit? I suggest it should be, amongst other things, jobs created for liverpool people. whatever happened to the 14,000 new jobs that the culture company used to promise? we would now be lucky to get 14 new jobs. or the £2billion new investment? what change is culture bringing to some of the most deprived and impoverished of our communities? how is culture helping people fulfill all of their potential? what new opportiunities is it bringing? the answers are blowing in the wind, although in some areas, good work is being done. but it is small. the trouble is the culture comp has no vision for 2008, apart from a giant party. they think that's what it should all be about. i am all in favour of a party (and we know how to throw a good one, as frank gallagher would say) but 2008 should be more than that. it should be about changing the city for good and making a real difference to people's lives.

GedApril 24th 2007.

" As leader of the council, I have a vision that will see the whole of the city not only, growing in confidence, but sustaining its self in a collaborative way." Does anyone - including Warren Bradley - have the faintest idea what the above sentence is supposed to mean? It seems to me that Warren's comments are a perfect example of what's going wrong with capital of culture. There is just no actual content just hot air. As usual the the first response of the council when faced with criticism - no matter how reasonable - is to lash out and snidely question the motives of their critics.More power to Alex, hopefully a few more people will have the guts to take a stand after his example!

A.E. ScousemanApril 24th 2007.

Does anyone happen to know the wages bill for the Liverpool Culture Company?For that matter, does anyone know what 'work', if any, these eighty-odd people have been doing for the two or three years they have been in post?Unless hanging around in expensive, trendy bar 'Alma de Cuba' wearing '08' badges constitutes 'work'.

AbbsApril 24th 2007.

Good for Alex – unique (or at least very rare) among the complainants in having the commitment and courage to stand up and be counted, in the most literal sense. He is a gem and should at the very least have a statue under the bridge, even if he has to create it himself. More power to your democratic elbow. I hope the brass hats have the grace to take notice.

colinApril 24th 2007.

Who's that goth bird?

A. E. ScousemanApril 24th 2007.

I am reliably informed that the spending of European Union money, like the spending of City Council money, is strictly controlled by law. Neither can be spent on alcohol or entertainment. If these funds have been misused this way, we might find the City of Liverpool in greater debt after the event, when the auditors investigate and the E.U. rightfully demands its money back. I suppose frivolous Council spending will be overlooked by Storey and his gang unless auditors call them to account too. Perhaps this is why the Culture Company is so anxious for small companies in Liverpool (hitherto ignored like other Liverpudlians) to donate £100 each, as this can be passed off as ‘sponsorship’ and get them off this legal hook.

AnonymousApril 24th 2007.

I think we should move it to 2009, buy a bit of time....

A. E. ScousemanApril 24th 2007.

It would appear (from listening to people who have had dealings with them) that The Liverpool Culture Company is staffed by people recruited BECAUSE they aren't from Liverpool, know nothing about the place, care even less and have a laughably simplistic idea of what constitutes popular culture.

monaApril 24th 2007.

After the Robyn Archer thing, it was bound to be difficut for Liverpool to recover from the so-called wobble, but I think it will be OK. 2008 has crept up on us all a bit and it's time to start making the best of it. However much lay people criticise, nobody really wants next year to be a let down and to say I told you so.I mean do they really?

j lennon airportApril 24th 2007.

Our Yoko

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