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Cross by Mary Martin #mirrorselfie

Breakout of Liverpool

Breakfast was a little fraught today, big boss man was in and all seemed busy, American woman was overheard on her phone saying to a friend that “Liverpool is great, like London but nice”, but fed and watered we made our way across a rainy town to FACT (foundation for art and creative technology). There is an interactive exhibition looking at identity in virtual spaces, some of it was okay, most just reminded how well our class efforts were on my interactive media degree.

Steamboat Willy trash

Steamboat Willy trash

Occasionally people refer to kitsch n crap as “so bad it’s good” but you have also got to be able to call out trash coz it’s so Bad that it’s rubbish. And though I’m using a shell grotto type horror boat here to demonstrate that concept some of the computer gamery in the FACT exhibition was exploitative trash that was (I suppose) trying to call out 1st person shooter as bad by piling tons of depressing narrative on top… but a polished turd is still a pile of shit.

St. Jerome reading in a cave - Andrea Alessi

St. Jerome reading in a cave – Andrea Alessi

From there we head to visit the Walker Gallery, good old fashioned Empire raiding for antiquities. Don’t get me wrong here, I love a well equipped museum but for most pieces older than about 1950 I worry that we (uk museums) acquired most of the non-european stuff with an iron fist hiding behind a velvet glove. The eternal struggle, for me, is the thirst for knowledge, but not at the cost of the locals or the not locals.

Mona Lisa - a 17th century copy

Mona Lisa – a 17th century copy

The Mona Lisa above, as was very well explained by the helpful museum staff, is a copy made in the 17th century. When the Mona Lisa in the Louvre was stolen in 1911 it was cut from the frame and is missing details on left and right of the picture of the veranda that Mona is posing on. Categoric proof that Liverpool is better than Paris in many aspects but specifically you can see more of the Mona Lisa there.

Cross by Mary Martin #mirrorselfie

Cross by Mary Martin #mirrorselfie

Another highlight in the Walker at the moment is a 60’s colour and shape exhibition called Kaleidoscope which has a Bridget Riley (fab), plenty more of colourful shapes and a couple by Mary Martin, check out my #mirrorselfie

It was also a pleasure to see the statue of Albert Einstein by Jacob Epstein (Epstein always lifts my spirits :)). Instagram

Lunch was taken at a deli/burger place on Dale Street, Delkery, which was, as were all our meals in Liverpool, reasonably priced, plentiful and fresh. The coffee is great there (kinda turkish and bitter?) and the kids were pleased by the fruit smoothies that they had.

After a brief respite at the hotel we moseyed down Sir Thomas street to the Liverpool Breakout. We are fans of escape rooms, we have been to ones in Bilbao, Portsmouth, Cardiff and a few others. The Bilbao one was almost language and Spanish words free which pleased us no end, they also did a cute trick with a radio station playing especially for the folks trying to win in the room.

For those not too au fait of the genre of the Escape Room there was a very good program on radio 4 which introduces you to them and you may be able to hear itย here. The fun of solving puzzles and unlocking padlocks is a great analogue pleasure and working together with my family for a shared purpose is always ace (so far).

The Pirate story we were in at Breakout was only 3 out of 5 stars in difficulty and we did manage to escape the room with the pirate’s booty with 7 minutes or so to spare.

Breakout Liverpool winners!

Breakout Liverpool winners!

My final evening in Liverpool coincided with Liverpool FC playing away at Manchester City in the Champions League quarter final second leg and although Liverpool had a 3-0 lead from the first leg the early goal from City gave a very nervy first half. Liverpool drew level in second half and the atmosphere in the Vernon Arms perked up massively… possibly in part due to the great atmosphere I had a few pints too many and suffered the next day on our journey home, will I never learn?
No, probably not.

Thanks for reading, support my half arsed attempts and give me some encouragement by buying something through my affiliate link, doesn’t have to be this –ย Breakout ย – but if you start there and buy something you need then I might (still trying to work out how this all works) get a tiny fee for linking you there.

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cheers ๐Ÿ™‚


Crosby Beach - Another Place by Antony Gormley

Crosby, stills and nosh – Liverpool day 2

Woke in the hotel room, handy as that was where I went to sleep 8 hours previously. Showered and down for breakfast, good choice of cereals, fruit, muffin type stuff but I started with a fry up, the Fab Four in this case: sausage, eggs, bacon and black pudding.

Pure vanity I realise but I do like to do a mirror selfie when the chance occurs, yesterday’s was in the Tate in front of a painting by Antony Gormley.

Smokeyjoe mirror selfie in Antony Gormley painting

Smokeyjoe mirror selfie in Antony Gormley painting

From the hotel is a five minute stroll to Moorsfield metro stop and from there is a 17 minute journey to Blundellsands and Crosby station, as you come out of the station you can go straight on to the beach but that takes you about half way along the beach so we headed left then right to get to the beach at the leisure centre nearer to the end of the statues.

Another Place by Antony Gormley

Another Place by Antony Gormley

Another Place by Antony Gormley

Another Place by Antony Gormley

Family at another place

Family at another place


From the southern end where we joined Crosby beach, there a hundred figures stood at various points of a cast of Gormley looking out to sea. Gormley states that it represents the middle aged man looking for meaning and self identity but to me it also spoke of the loneliness of us all looking for each other and although the figures seem pretty random in their setting, none are stood together close enough to chat.

Panorama of Crosby beach

Panorama of Crosby beach

Fair warning, if a bit of the beach looks puddly then chances are that you will schlep a fair amount of the wet mud n sand around with you for the rest of the day, I know I am. It’s probably 7 years that I have wanted to see this beach, it was installed around 2006 after being on 3 beaches (Norway, Germany and Belgium) and it has exerted a tug on my art strings.

If you are a fan of Gormley then you should go to Newcastle, admire the Angel of the North on your way and pop to the Baltic centre to see more of his work, it’s well worth a visit, cracking city with St James’ park looming, acropolis like, over the city and Newcastle is full of fab folks n bars

.

Tagged figure

Tagged figure

Figure in Another Place

Figure in Another Place

Figure in Another Place

Figure in Another Place

The beach stretches on, probably 2 miles south to north, Gormley sentinels dotted from the shore to low tide about half a mile out, I’m sure the rnli are fully aware and hope they never try to save an iron man. Some of the men are less than vertical in their manner, a bit like life, I bet the boats that catch these fellas are less than happy about it.

Time and tide wear on all men

Time and tide wear on all men

Leaning Gormley

Leaning Gormley


From the northern end of the beach it is a short walk in land to the metro station and on we go again, heading for Port Sunlight. I’m sure we would have been there quicker if it wasn’t for more signal problems, not sure why the Liverpool metro has so many lighting problems but they do, so a bus replacement down the Stanley road to Lime Street and onto the Wirral line , under the Mersey, through Birkenhead and into Lord Lever’s model village of Port Sunlight.

Lady Lever museum

Lady Lever museum

Inspiration as the lady on the plinth

Inspiration as the lady on the plinth


Built in 1888, Port Sunlight is a friendlier side to capitalism, named after their most popular soap it is around 800 houses, a church, school (now an architects) and the lady Lever museum as the Lord believed that art can raise us up spiritually and educatively. Of course the benevolent act of giving housing and education to its workers also ensured that you got loyalty from the workforce, but for your late Victorian working poor Port Sunlight was a position to work for.

Mirror selfie through Chinese painted scene

Mirror selfie through Chinese painted scene

And finally the nosh, tonight was a visit to the big bowl noodle bar on Berry Street, good food, fresh and very friendly staff, not quite the wow of last night but again too much food to eat, is it just luck that we keep visiting places with generous portion Sizes?


Tonight’s blog is bought to you from Vernon arms pub, the beer is a few of yorkshires ‘black sheep’ (dark, traditional best bitter, only 4.3% and worth a try), the letter b and the number 3. iPad blogging is handy but picture placement is tricky so sorry if it’s a little all over the place.

Only a day and a bit left in Liverpool, what should we defo do here? Answer below. Cheers ๐Ÿ™‚