Sunday, 27 February 2011

there is beauty in the city goes to liverpool

The second in there is beauty in the city's 12 month tour of the U.K. saw us visit Liverpool. On the way there, a quick Google check unearthed a Lonely Planet article, written by David Else.

Being well acquainted with the city from numerous previous visits, we were aware that we wanted to find a way of discovering the beauty of Liverpool that was outside our existing knowledge. We again set ourselves an hour's time limit. We set upon the idea of asking at the Tourist Information office at Liverpool Lime Street Station. Last month, we asked the people of Nottingham for their ideas of their city's beauty and received some really personal responses. The idea of approaching the Tourist Information centre this month was to see if there would be a match with the civic view of a city's beauty. What would be the one part of Liverpool that  the city thought was beautiful above all others?

The office at the station no longer there, replaced with a stand of leaflets, so we followed the sign in the station directing us to its new location. 

Following a series of signs and information points and a visit to the closed-on-sunday central library we eventually found the city centre Tourist Information office, which was also closed.

Finding ourselves with only half of our hour left and our plan in an unworkable state, we decided to become tourists for the remaining time. The Cavern Quarter lay directly opposite this office and before long, we were deep in Beatles territory.
In truth, we were now in that tourist mode, which had never been our aim, but interestingly, in the light of some recent discussions about how a city has its own rhythms and movements, we were being almost imperceptably guided through this part of Liverpool.

A previous visit to Liverpool had seen it in celebratory mode, in the midst of its 2010 Biennale. Prior to that, too, the 2008 Capital of Culture had seen Liverpool as a thriving bustling, relevant global artistic city.

As the end of the hour fast approached, almost to the minute, we found ourselves standing in front of Richard Wilson's "Turning the Place Over" - the stand out £450,000 artwork which had brought a city building's degeneration into stark focus and had starred in the 2008 Capital of Culture.
Now,  after 3 and a half years and having been seen by more than 3.5 million people, it has stopped turning. Just a few moments before, we had seen a sign saying that the Liverpool Conservation Centre's public area had been closed due to government cuts. The sight of Wilson's seminal work in a state of ennui seemed to sum up this sentiment. Here, it seemed was a living embodiment of the effect that the swingeing cuts are having on the legacy of a movement such as the Capital of Culture.

Having said that, the work, even in its stationary state, is still beautiful, and it is this image that we decided was our beauty in the city of Liverpool.

Check back next month to find out which U.K. city falls under the there is beauty in the city spotlight.

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