Day 87: Liverpool to Chirk

‘And then I came back to Wrexham. And the streets were clean! And the buildings weren’t falling down. And there were no lepers on the street corners, taken out by organised criminals and left there all day without water.’ – Sandra, Chirk.

Fear makes us feel alive. Think about that little daily dose of terror provided by newspaper headlines. The terrorists, global epidemics, sex criminals and looming military invasions that each day are reported as immediate dangers to our comfortable lives. There’s a surge of adrenaline, a threatening figure on the horizon with malevolent intentions. Teeth start to bare, the mind races with tenuous analogies to ‘jungle warfare’ and ‘survival of the fittest’. Turns out social mobility, welfare or the right to a fair trial were luxuries that this nameless, faceless horror might steal from us: let’s remove them ourselves. It’s as if we’re supposed to enjoy this ‘pure’ or ‘natural’ state. Nature’s had such different meanings in different eras, and its status now makes me uncomfortable. I myself prefer the soppy and gushing lyrics of the Romantics. The Ancient Mariner, Ozymandias or Endymion didn’t harangue us with shrill terrors about benefits cheats, travellers or irresponsible single mothers.

002 003 004 005 006 007

Continue reading

Days 85-86: Liverpool

‘I remember, we came down to the docks, and it’d been given over to pigeons.’ – Dermot, Liverpool.

It takes a while to get up this morning in Liverpool. Mind and body are aching from too many drinks taken at a local lock-in the night before. Over the course of talking with Dermot, a friend from the North End of Liverpool, I’ve learned three things:

  1. There’s a very important divide between the ‘North End’ and the ‘South End’ in Liverpool. People speak different, look different, and probably have lesser or greater incomes depending on which part you’re in.
  2. Don’t confuse Liverpudlians with either people from the Wirral (these are in fact ‘plastic Scousers’) or from St. Helens (they are ‘woolly-backs’).
  3. There’s been a decades-long practice of blacklisting workers and activists in the UK, the scale of which is only starting to come out. It is probably continuing.

Liverpool 004 Liverpool 005 Liverpool 006 Liverpool 007

Continue reading