This week’s Friday Poem is ‘Going to Liverpool’ by Sheenagh Pugh from the anthology Newspaper Taxis: Poetry After The Beatles. Congratulations to Paul McCartney’s The Lyrics which won Waterstones Book of the Year 2021.
January 1963. ‘Please, Please Me’ by The Beatles shoots to number one. So begins a new era, in which one band transforms the face of music, youth and popular culture. Taking in everything from the music, their influence, the way we lived then and the way we live now, Newspaper Taxis is a response to the Beatles’ creativity and capacity to influence successive generations. Beatles fans young and old will want this anthology to add to their collection.
In population terms, Liverpool isn’t a huge city (it is dwarfed by Birmingham), but it looms colossally in the history (recorded and mythical) of the British Isles, and indeed the world. Real Liverpoolis Niall Griffiths’ antidote to some of mawkish twaddle that has marked Liverpool’s year as European City of Culture. Griffiths’ love/hate relationship with the city of his birth is central to the book. He explores the various facets of the city – its maritime and merchant histories, class divisions, sectarian divides, Celtic influences, and the siege mentality underpinning the celebrated Scouse humour. Nor does he flinch from Liverpool’s dark side: the money from the slave trade, the drugs, the urban blight, the fallout from Thatcherism, the internecine violence. Jamie Bulger, Heysel, Hillsborough, the Dockers’ Strike, the Toxteth Riots, all of these and more are discussed.Real Liverpoolis underpinned by a strong autobiographical element which details the author’s birth and formative years in the city, his movement away from it, the abiding pull it exerts. In addition, Griffiths interviews many people connected closely to the city, from personal friends and family members to artists and workers. From the Wirral to Warrington, Anfield to Everton, Bootle to Diddyland, Griffiths criss-crosses Liverpool by the Ferry and through the Tunnels, from John Lennon airport to the racecourse and down the docks, building a picture of a city which, whatever its faults, is never dull.’Real’ Series Editor: Peter Finch