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The Laz Word....from Larry Neild

What is to become of us in 2009 when the party is over? Our somewhat controversial columnist ponders....

Published on September 15th 2008.


The Laz Word....from Larry Neild

WE'RE three-quarters the way through Capital of Culture year and it’s dawned on people: What on Earth can we do with the 08 staff, apart from chuck them overboard.

Why has the prospect of potential job losses come as a surprise? It was obvious it would come to an end.

Sir Red once wrote that one of the legacies of 08 will
be the memories,
and indeed they
will. But how does
that protect jobs of
the hard working
team who pulled
out all the stops?

Last year I said the Culture year programme would be a big success and it’s been outstanding, ironically thanks mainly to two make-believe creatures: La Princesse and Superlambanana, as well as two real-life creatures: Macca and Liverpool-loving Ringo.

But an event-based year was bound to struggle finding a legacy.

As the slogan goes – when it’s gone, it’s gone. So when the 08 machine shuts on December 31, we’ll wake up on New Year's Day minus the badge that’s seemingly put Liverpool on the world map.

That’s why my heart sank when the city stupidly abandoned Will Alsop’s fabulous Cloud which would easily have upstaged the Three Graces as an iconic building.

I’m tired of hearing highly paid 08 officials rant about how La Machine made the front page of the South China Morning Post. So have you spotted jetloads of Oriental day-trippers traipsing from the Far East to check it out?

Even the BBC relegated La Machine to a regional B-list feature called The Gordon Burns Show, co-starring La Spider.

Last week, The Independent on Sunday carried a whole page on Simon Rattle and his Berlin band in concert. Except instead of focusing on a big 08 event in Rattle’s home town, they covered the Royal Albert Hall leg of the UK tour.

Maybe they wouldn’t stump up the travelling exes to send their critic Oop North. Nor will they cover the private Town Hall do, which Rattle requested, to collect his Freedom of the City scroll at the end of September. Simon, if you can’t be arsed doing it for the people of your city why bother? Get the Freedom of Berlin instead (if there’s such a thing).

And what about the super lambs? I read they were commissioned by the Culture Company. No such thing, it was a private enterprise and, after months of discussions, won backing from the Culture Co.

Culture Supremo Professor Redmond (no doubt soon to be elevated to a Sir-ship) is saying it’ll take three or four years before we know precisely the lasting legacy of 08. If he is to be gonged for the year, I hope it’s on the condition he hands it back in 2012 if it turns out to have been a lasting flop.

Sir Red once wrote that one of the legacies will be the memories, and indeed they will. But how does that protect jobs of the hard working team who pulled out all the stops?

Dr Beatriz Garcia, heading a five-year academic research to evaluate the effects of Liverpool’s culture award, told a highbrow conference in Liverpool we should expect next year to be tough as the city adjusts to not being in the spotlight.

“We will see that 2009 will be a difficult period, there may be a lull … we will not be the centre of attention any more,” she told fellow boffins. Quite.

I used the analogy of 08 being like a scouse wedding long before Sir Red did; maybe he read what I wrote. Way back in 2007 I said it reminded me of a friend’s wedding – blowing a potential house deposit on a boozy family party, and then coming back from honeymoon skint to try to build a life of blissful matrimony.

Realising we are likely to be skint in 09, we’ve already gone to the NWDA with a begging bowl to cadge £3m to give life-support for a continuing (smaller) cultural programme. No wonder there’s already an 08 survival faction group in being. It’s called Liverpool 09 in the MMIX (use of Roman numerals very clever there, as those it was meant to be). Seems our End of the Year Show could well be a wake!

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

DigSeptember 15th 2008.

Liverpool Wag? You requested talking to me over here. I am surprised you say the world needs more like me. After all, we wasn't exactly best friends last week. What's changed? However, Liverpool needs more modern buildings to happily stand next our famous 'older' buildings. I was extremely disappointed we didn't go ahead with The Cloud. We need something to rival/ better Manchesters Beetham or Londons St.Mary's Axe(Gherkin). I know we have our own Beetham but it isn't aesthetically a patch on Manchesters. Our Lib Dem council leaders have extremely conservative in what they have allowed to be built so far. Scared to offend, methinks.

WarrenSeptember 15th 2008.

Yes, and let's not forget the Standards Board investigation is about to make its findings public.

DigSeptember 15th 2008.

Is regeneration just new flats? I never knew that. I always thought it was much more than that.

ObligingSeptember 15th 2008.

And also in the film 'Carry On Screaming'

KnowlegeableSeptember 15th 2008.

...allegedly

Husky StreetSeptember 15th 2008.

Go on, Catch 22, elaborate. It's quite important and some of us (me) probably don't know the full machinations

DigSeptember 15th 2008.

So there! :-p

Rhoda TicksteadSeptember 15th 2008.

I went to Aintree Racecourse for an evening race meeting and at the end the bars closed and then Atomic Kitten performed their latest single. It certainly worked, punters climbed over each other to escape! Then the cleaners could get started.

Rusty SpikeSeptember 15th 2008.

Ah, indeed, indeed, Mr Larry and Liverpool Wag. So after brutally dismissing Mr Alsop and his truly 21st century vision for the waterfront, now we've got the new Museum of Liverpool which looks like the usual boring bloody 'sheds' designed by witless numbskulls who use cornflake boxes as their guide. No matter that this monstrosity will be clad in marble of some description - although I gather its a cheapo version after the original Scandinavian architects were also fired - as it rises inexorably on the Pierhead, it confirms all our worst fears. It is an abomination and will surely be the most lampooned structure in the city. We have been dealt a duff hand, folks. Who will take the blame? No one. It will be hailed as a masterpiece, much along the lines of the Damien Hirst rubbish that has besotted the London luvvies. I once knew someone who knew Hirst and heard him say years ago in a grotty flat in Clapham where he was dossing that he was going to show the art world, and take the piss out of them....and he has for decades now, bless. So, who will stand up for the Pierhead? Again, no one. Who will howl 'Emperor's New Clothes' ? No one. There will probably be awards swishing about for those involved in bringing the new museum to life!! Hey, ho...and so we fall prey to the lowest common denominator of creative thinking, once again.

How journalism worksSeptember 15th 2008.

Ah, where would they be without it?

Old RoanSeptember 15th 2008.

Er, "overpriced" that should have read!

Phil HalsallSeptember 15th 2008.

Maybe Chas Cole will wade in with all the proceeds from the wigs he sold on Beatles day. "Save our closing ceremony" or something. Oldham Echo will back it as a campaign and Atomic Kitten will play. Yawn. (Who bets that this will now actually happen???)

KnowledgeableSeptember 15th 2008.

It's true about the closing ceremony being cancelled, as revealed on SubCulture last week. The Daily Post and Oldham Echo will be reporting it as an "exclusive" splash in the next couple of days.

catch 22September 15th 2008.

someone might suggest that the cloud also failed because the city council and Liverpool vision tried to get public funding to pay for the arena and the cloud even thought they knew they didn't have the allocation and then had to choose when the couldn't bully more.

Dutch BondSeptember 15th 2008.

They've certainly got a nerve when it comes to public money!

DigSeptember 15th 2008.

I hear the members of Atomic Kitten have nuclear pussies. What pet shop sells those?

Old RoanSeptember 15th 2008.

Eh! Laz was on the telly last night! He was saying that the regeneration in the centre ought to be inflicted upon the the city outskirts. I wonder if Fazakerley really wants an ugly tower block full of overprized, undersized, unsold flats?

Liverpool WagSeptember 15th 2008.

I feel very angry when I think about small minded people like the Daily Post who deliberately fanned the "controversy" over the Cloud. What controversy? There wasn't one until they manufactured one to get the "Disgusted of Oxton" brigade writing in to their pisspoor letters page. In turn, the lily livered Lib Dems, who were too busy backstabbing each other, (they haven't got any backbone though) caved in at the first step. The establishment in Liverpool is pathetic, as reflected in the sort of planning decisions it makes.

DigSeptember 15th 2008.

Saying that I think the ACC is a nice piece of design. Even if it is an oversized clamshell mobile phone. Still nice though.

HelpfulSeptember 15th 2008.

In Doctor Who it means something else much more interesting.

Jim McCabeSeptember 15th 2008.

Local "regeneration", as the Oldham, sorry, Liverpool Echo describes it, will soon be credit-crunched. Meanwhile, from Ringo on the roof (& the rates, all £90,000 of it) to, well, your guess is as good as mine. The excellent Tony Parrish reports that there's no more money in the piggybank for an 08 finale (liverpoolsubculture.blogspot.com/…/edmond.shtml… ).Am I alone in thinking that Liverpool is the only Capital of Culture city unable to afford a closing ceremony?

DigSeptember 15th 2008.

Surely we could afford a few fireworks and a bit of live music down on the waterfront at the very least. There's usually something happening there for the new year anyway so maybe we could combine a closing ceremony for CoC with a New Year celebration. Even I could organise that. And what about those tickets for your show at end of year in Phil Prof?

DigSeptember 15th 2008.

Public opinion does count to this council. That's why they're too scared to build anything too modern or radical or unusual. They're scared to offend anybody by being brave or new. They play it safe. Stay in their double breasted comfort zone.

Professor ChucklebuttySeptember 15th 2008.

Never mind all that, why is there a picture of Bruce Forsythe being crucified? Nevertheless, nice to see him...

Judge S. WeintSeptember 15th 2008.

Ah I remember Liverpool Vision; it included some bloke called Storey! They wanted to build a football stadium for football millionaires Everton F.C. on the riverfront, and have it paid for by European money intended to improve the lot of people in deprived areas! People who opposed this despicable idea received death threats! I do hope that the Police are investing this lot as well as the National Audit Office.

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