View Full Version : New Kid on the Block
07-17-2009, 12:03 AM
South Liverpool began for me aged 11 and rather than experiencing one district I managed to cover almost all of the area. Woolton, Allerton, Speke, Garston, Aigburth, Liverpool 8 and of cause Penny Lane. Growing up around there was a fantastic experience in the sixties. Community is sometimes an ambiguous or vague term. The post war model of the functional working class family was never comprehensive to the area although in places it was prominent. When people reflect on their upbringing they often find themselves going along with established norms and conventions. Some of my experiences and memories might not be in line with the dominant views. However they are relevant to what has shaped you. Liverpool 8 was culturally different to most of south Liverpool yet Liverpool 8 has created more positive cultural strains than any other district. Art has always been something in abundance in the area. In this age of recognizing diversity in society we sometimes are cajoled into believing the past was better than it is now. I don?t agree with that view and I would argue that in the sixties you had problems too. The biggest problem was poverty. I can remember the most appalling poverty in south Liverpool and also an institutional resignation to the problem. What I liked about south Liverpool was the physical environment. The blue suburban sky and green tree lined avenues, the wide open spaces. Wales and the river, parks and wildlife we had it all. We also shared even then a sense of respect for other cultures. Lennon often reflected this in his music and his parochial stance was born out of a love for his roots. Adrian Henri could make a walk down Parliament Street seem like a poetic Utopia. The reason being he had a profound respect for people. That?s the south Liverpool I loved and the experience reflected in the art of Lennon and others. People become real and tangible entities not shadows. The comings and goings of Penny Lane are seen through the life experience of ordinary people. And then there is solidarity and compassion for and with those around you. It doesn?t really matter where you come from or how well or badly you were brought up. We all make choices, it is the person you become that matters and the respect you have for others. Sometimes in the Kop on a Saturday afternoon I would hear things and experience forms of aggression that were alien to me. That?s part of growing up. Yet on a Sunday I would go for a walk through Allerton or Woolton or Aigburth and feel happy being from such a nice environment.
07-22-2009, 11:03 PM
So south Liverpool and environs what does it mean to me later in life? Well you can never please everyone. Some people like to think that they have established roots and that?s natural. However growing up in a place will invariably lead to conflicting perspectives on the experience, suffice to say I could never let myself be pinned down to any collective or cultural experience owing to the uniqueness of my own experience. However some experiences are shared and uniform and a point of reference. Leaving school and getting a job is one. I remember my first job after getting kicked out of John Almonds. It was a small galvanizing firm on Scotland Road by the Rotunda. I was just a trainee dogsbody and the job was a dead end job only the wage packet was something to look forward too. The 500 limited stop bus would take me there from outside the Cricket Club at Aigburth. Armstrong and Lyons was the name of the firm. The job never lasted I never wanted it too but it was a learning curve. I then worked for Tesco?s Penny Lane and Childwall branches. Great days that could not last forever but the fun and laughter were a big part of it all. Wages is the thing that makes us mercenary and my loyalty to the company waned on pay days. However there were plenty of big factories in South Liverpool then and I got a start at Evans Medical Speke and was quite happy with a very attractive girlfriend. So yes I had the typical working class lad experience. Somehow there was another side to all this and that was subject to my previous history being brought up in child care. That makes you different being a foster kid puts you in a sort of class limbo. It also led me to a much different path in life. In care you can take nothing for granted as the security of home life is not something that you can fall back on. In those days there was scant provision for teenagers like me and even if you had a job you could still be homeless and that was a big problem. So then that ultimately led to hanging out on the streets. People can say ?Oh he was no angel? how can anyone who run the streets of Liverpool 8 be an angel? So there was run ins with the law fighting and general juvenile delinquency, that?s called fitting in, or survival in real terms. I met the worst down town as a lad and made a judgement then that I would not want to live like them. Having said that you meet decent people too and people who would do you no harm. Then there was the teenage culture of suburban south Liverpool and I am thankful for that and the joy of being a teenager in Aigburth and Garston and Speke. Yes we had great times and lots of natural teenage fun. Dances and parties and that excitement that teenagers feel about life. I was persistently in love and incurably romantic. Why not? You are only young once. When people out of town ask me where about in Liverpool am I from I often hesitate Liverpool is a big spread. We all have loyalties to families and friends and those who have influenced us. I visited my mother in Huyton for Thirty years and so I could say Huyton I have no problem with that. Yet my teenage days and my friends who are still around are very dear and the hopes and aspirations we had as younger people are very much a bond in life. That was the great thing about being brought up in South Liverpool the values we held as kids were somewhat mixed so there was no dominant code or ritualistic mode of behaviour. One week we would be in a working man?s club and the next week we would be in the Rugby or Cricket club. We danced in colleges and pubs went to church dances and back street night clubs a funny old mix really. And then for me there was the Parks and South Liverpool had plenty of them I knew every nook and cranny of Sefton Park. The Magpies were my friends and the open fields were for singing in. I loved that aspect of South Liverpool life. The wide open spaces and the greens of summer with the tall trees canopying the pleasant walks. South Liverpool and Environs what does it mean to me?
07-24-2009, 12:31 AM
So Dingle aged 11 was a strange environment as strange as Liverpool and both experiences were strange to the trained altar boy from Crosby. I remember Dingle Mount the stairs leading up to the landing and the smells of washing and cooking. The tenements were a whole new world and there was a sense of freedom. It wasn?t a contrived freedom as in being allowed to play and stay out a bit later. It was a freedom that stood in the face of authority a freedom that came from belonging to a class of city dwellers whose history was one of neglect by the established Liverpool institutions. The tennies had an autonomous life of their own and being poor was not a sin. Some people really fear poverty in fact most people do. However as a kid I can remember being deliriously happy playing with my mates in a world that we created. Aspirations were limited to the day. The ice cream van brought a treat that somehow we could always afford. Authority was another world and even the grownups looked on it with certain hostility. A cup of tea was always on offer to a welcome visitor, but doors were closed to the unwanted or prying. ?Behave yourselves or you will have the police at the door? Running messages for the older folk were not a chore it was a joy and often went rewarded. ?Buying goods on the step never went on it just never stopped? A six of chips and a fishcake or if your Dar comes up it?s a Fish or Chow Mien with lemmo. And at night under the simple Dingle stars we told stories. Ghosts that haunted every Street and corner of Liverpool. ?Go on Mar tell us about screeching Jinni down by the Davy Louey?. ?And that one who washes the steps of the Northern? and the sailor who was in the woman?s kitchen before they found out he had gone down to Davy Jones locker?. Then there was singing, that one who always sings ?The chocolate soldier from the USA?. We told stories till sleep was the only relief from fear. And sometimes you looked out at the dark Dingle sky and knew that it was home and nothing much else existed except on telly or down town. We never went to church as it was too much in the way of authority. The Priest came now and then but with all the comings and goings it was obvious that people were too busy to go to church and to superstitious to refuse the one true authority. I remember seeing the Lodge march for the first time I was made up hearing a band on a Sunday. Getting all excited and wanting to run out and watch them. Me Mam looking at me wistfully and saying ?it?s the lodge? 1965 before the onset of the troubles in Ireland I never really understood I still don?t who does? To a kid a band is a band and music is the delight of the universe. Back then it was all so innocent anyway still is really people just get brought up in different traditions, but being poor your all in the same boat. You can borrow off any religion till pay day that was the main tradition. School was okay if you went and never had a fight. Sometimes I wished that I could have a free day from it all just be myself and stick my head in a book. You could see the ships from the landing and quite often feel the strong breezes from the river. The river was visible but with so much going on it was largely ignored unless you got the number one down to the Pier Head that meant passing School and keeping your head down.
07-24-2009, 11:16 AM
Garston in 1966 was a bustling place. The Gas works dominated the skyline. Those huge storage tanks could be seen for miles. The baths with the old fashioned gantries and tiny changing cubicles was a place we all headed too for swimming and getting our eyes full of chloride. Sometimes coming home it was a strain to see the number of the bus. I did a stint at Blessed John Almonds in the first year and then left to go to St Georges on Mill Street, returning for my final turbulent year and show down with the dreaded Gertrude. In those days the huts on Horrocks Avenue were used for art and metal work. Kids from the Dingle came to use the metal work facility. We sold them our Dinner tickets and then went up to the Crescent for chips and loosies. Blessed Johns in my final year 1969 was not a very good school. I was treated like a retard yet in other Schools I had come second and third in class. I once came first and second in every subject except maths and finished second in class. Somehow my academic skills disappeared in Blessed Johns and the spectre of religion dominated in a last year that would see a lot of us just leave with nothing. I remonstrated with Gertrude that religious instruction was not really a social skill. She really disliked me and as a pupil detested my prior religious knowedge. The paradox being that they had drummed it into me in the first place in Crosby. 1969 my mate?s parents wanted to take me in and give me a home Graham had a nice house in Mossley Hill but again the hidden hand prevented them. Anyway Blessed John ended abruptly as a schoolboy prank went wrong. The fire brigade was phoned up and a hoax bomb warning was shouted down the phone in a bored dinner time stunt. I took the rap and got expelled. The huts on Horrocks became Nobby House (Noblet House Youth Club) I loved those days playing table tennis and dancing with the girls I knocked about with Lana a lot then she married Jimmy Case I went with her mate Carol who although had just left school had the figure of a super model. Nobby House was two and half hours from 7-30 till 10 it could have gone on forever I just loved being there with my friends. It was far better than hanging out on corners. Getting the subs was always important and the shilling to get in was sometimes hard to come by. Then we all started working and after a while the youth club sanctuary made way for the pub. I remember Window Lane in those days. I did a stint at Kings (Waterhouse) putting bottled beer into crates. I also did a stint in the Tan yards but the smell was diabolical and would linger even after you had a bath or so it seemed to a brut smeared teenager. Sometimes they had dances at the CO-op on St Mary?s road there was no ale but it was fun and all the girls looked nice. I was a very good dancer don?t ask me why there is no reason just a knack. I think hearing a lot of black music at home helped my older brothers were really into Tamala and soul. They opened a club called the New Look on St Mary?s road but it was a dive, are you a member? Give us a break! In my late teens like so many other Garston lads I would often end up drunk as a skunk in Jons Nite Spot behind Lennon?s carpets. Everyone would end up there after 11-30. Well I never saw that much trouble there regardless of its reputation. The Allerton was the place we all hung out. I liked the Allerton but to be truthful I secretly despised drug culture. All my teenage was spent bluffing. You just went along with it. Looking back I see the damage and the hurt and pain that drugs brought with them. Still a joint on a Friday before town was the in thing and you just went along with it. Those days? papers weren?t skins and making a joint was often a task bestowed on my good self. Roll a joint was the expression then and not skin up. The thought of dropping a tab was harrowing it was bad enough smoking a joint with some numpties never mind tripping with them. People referred to us as the click but the label was obscure as nobody ever really owned up to being one. The click had to be the most secretive gang ever. I still don?t know who is who other than the leadership has changed hands over the years not through power struggles. Just a stubborn reluctance by the members not to be responsible for the actions of others.
I met Eileen and we fell in love we both loved each other intensely and our relationship for that reason went off the rails. We fought like cat and dog and then would make up. The thing I most remember her for was the times she would stay out all night with me if I had been kicked out, a regular occurrence in my teens. I was often homeless and Eileen would stay with me on park benches or down the Pier Head. Eileen was a very good looking girl and quick witted. I would tell down at the swings that I would make something out of life. She just loved me then and I loved her. However due to my wild life style we parted. Eileen lived by the main gates of Blessed Johns but we spent a lot of time down the Dingle. Still I hope she is okay now. And then we all started to go our own ways. 1973 and I left came back in 74 and left for good in 75 landing in Dunstable in 76. Sometimes I think what it would have been like if I had got in Fords and married. Well I might have had kids something I would have liked. And I would most likely still hang out with my mates from Allerton Garston and Aigburth. Thing is work has always dictated the state of play. I applied for Ford and never got in so I had to go. If I had had a trade that?s a good start for anyone in life! Things might have been a whole lot different. Anyway I have my degree now (come on Eileen!!) I have worked with lots of tradesmen and that is a regret not having one myself. Yet looking back you can see that even as a rebellious teenager in my last year at John Almond with the repressed nun banging on about religion I had a point. Skills for the world of work are the best asset leaving school not blind allegiance to a faith that rejected working class consciousness. Perhaps that is why I never got into Fords. Left wing politics. I always admired the shop stewards movement. People now bang on about how the unions ruined everything. Yet shop floor awareness made for a healthy working class experience and let?s face it they couldn?t be labelled careerist. I would often buy left wing papers on a Friday night when everyone was out posing. I would look at terms like Dialectical Materialism and wonder what it was all about. South Liverpool and particularly Speke was quite a wide awake community. However I never got in El Dorado (Fords) and read Marx elsewhere.
07-25-2009, 12:57 AM
So Aigburth and Garston became the stomping ground. Aigburth was lovely in summer the prom took you from Beechwood to Aigburth vale via Otterspool Park. Otterspool Park was a wonderful park with tree?s that surrounded you creating shade and a blitz of meandering hues. The trees came from all over the world and the grey Park path bended its way down to the prom and the wide solemn Mersey. You could see the sailors walking on the decks of Garston bound ships. Small Russian vessels with that sea scarred battle look about them. I once saw a big Russian sailor in the Wellington in Garston he must have been seven foot or more. He was drunk and kept banging on the bar. When he banged on the bar the whole Welly shook and the barmaid just run and got the bear another one. Then there was Aigburth Cricket Club, or should I say Liverpool Cricket Club? It is actually in Garston as the district sign is just outside and it is actually called Liverpool Cricket Club. Sometimes in summer mainly bank holidays they had county Cricket. You could see Hampshire or Sussex or Essex sometimes twice a year. Well look at the wall and ask me did we pay to get in? No chance! Clive Lloyd played for Lancashire and the West Indies in those days. He was tall and Athletic looking and he gave Lancashire certain glamour. We could never get in the beer tent as if you went over the wall it meant you never had a ticket stub. The guys in the white coats who marshalled the event would stand at the entrance to the beer tent checking stubs. So perusing the ground for discarded ticket stubs was often the way round that one. They pulled down the old Aigburth arms and put up the Kingsman. They had glass show cases for the Kings Regiment and memorabilia like tin helmets bayonets and stuff. I was too young to go in the old Aigburth arms and to into football to want to. And that is what we did. We played football 24-7 well not quite but we did play a lot. In the summer evenings we played down by the prom and the bright silent sun would slowly vanish leaving the Mersey to the mercy of the moon. We would pile up to the chippie and share chips and coke relieving the appetites created by the footballing exertions?. I remember how good Jimmy Case was at fourteen he could hit the ball so hard. Yet as he pointed out to me he couldn?t hold a candle to my dancing. And we went to all the dances in the colleges and schools in the summertime in green Aigburth and Allerton and most of south Liverpool. Hedonistic fun loving days. And sometimes in the sought out solitude I walked along the prom alone and dreamt. Make up poems and songs in my head. I always thought how much I would like to write about the place the impressions the will to share and articulate the youthful experience. Right there I kissed Marie in spring dusk and before it was dark walked to the bus stop with her my very first kiss. She has gone now but like every mortal on the planet I remember that very first young and innocent happening. Two kids alone with the Mersey its solemn self and Wales brooding. And sometimes my thoughts would stray to thinking about thinking. Cognition. Forget secondary school and the lack of ambition, focus, and potential. You are a conscious entity. You perceive all you see hear and touch from that premise. That is you have a notion of your existence. So does that bird. Yes but that is instinct. They don?t plan funerals in that existence. How is it then that we can be so close? The thoughts and questions that we grapple with as we make our way through the vortex of data and chimeras that accompany youth. Look over at Wales it has seen so many lives come and go the snow topped Snowdonia is witness to all our joys and sadness. And sometimes on lonely days when as a lad I could not work out my plight. I would just come and walk along the prom. Then you see another person most likely thinking about thinking. Sometimes a dog racing around after a ball. Kids alighting from cars skipping down to the waiting grey Mersey beyond the safe railings.
Fortunately we lived in a time when you could think. I mean if you?re ducking for cover and dodging Jets it doesn?t give you much scope to reflect on matters. Why we go to war is beyond me. The Greeks inscribed over all their temples ?know thyself? So it would be nice if everyone took sometime out to discover who they are and what their potential is and what they can offer to the world they live in. Kennedy said much the same. The Beatles then had gone into their intellectual phase. I liked Revolution the b side to ?Hey Jude? ideology and dogma is not the way forward. Awareness is a raised level of consciousness. Sometimes I wanted a revolution yeah let?s get it on. Then you look at history and the way things get distorted and you see where Lennon was coming from. And we all loved ?Get Back? and the days were long and there was an excitement in the air as there always is for the young. So I sloped off to Libraries without bothering too much about what others thought. The central International Library or the dome as I called it was very interesting and had all the books you could want. Yet a little knowledge is no good, you have to get the whole picture. However you could find out about things to think about on the prom, when you thought about thinking if you get my drift? That was much better than worrying about who was tough or why your girl left you. Pull yourself together man it happens to everyone. So you consider your life opportunities and in south Liverpool there was a time when you did feel secure about jobs and such like. Then in the mid seventies it changed. I have always argued that the eighties recession started earlier in Liverpool It hit the unskilled hardest and with the arrival of home buying and credit quite a few people just jogged along and did not give massive unemployment much thought. However for Speke and Kirkby things changed rather earlier and work was very hard to find in any part of Liverpool after 76. I have been out since then and yet coming back once or twice a year I notice things. Labour intensive industry has gone in this country. The factories that thrived in the post war period are now just shells or standing empty. What?s? new. Service industry and Retail that?s about it. Looking at Speke you can see the industrial Parks are not going to reinstate labour intensive industry. That is how it was for me in south Liverpool on one hand you have the relaxed attitude of living in a nice suburban part of the city. Then on the other hand you rely on industry to allow yourself to make a living and when the cohesion is not there it is one big problem. I remember Whitley Lang and Neal on the Airport roundabout in the seventies. Through the windows you could see all the craftsmen working on their lathes. It made you feel that the area was alive and that industry was dynamic and part of the life of Speke. Then like everywhere else it got boarded up. Then you went passed on the bus and feeling of being from something was replaced by alienation and a certain intellectual ennui. I think through training we can give the young a future. The old exists alongside the new and things move on and looking back is just that looking back the new world of work is different.
07-25-2009, 04:04 PM
In the seventies in winter the lights went out from 6-9 at night during the miner?s dispute. Well in those days I was running around Liverpool 8. That?s when I started to think that life could be better. Don?t get me wrong I went a long with things and stuff happened but mainly it was the result of older lads manipulating the situation. I mean running around Parly in the pitch dark was quite scary if you know what I mean. There were that many different gangs nobody knew who was who. When the lights went back on all you could hear was Alarm bells ringing. I started to question what is was all about rather than get in on taking advantage of the situation. It was essential however to have mates as they were very scary times. I had a flat on Princess Avenue at the top by the Federal on the corner of Stanhope. The flat fell apart around me owning to the drug culture at the time. Someone gave me a tab of acid and I went into a psychosis it was no joke. If was as if I was full of shame at such an intense level that my mind could not cope with the feeling. I was told it was going to be a brilliant experience and in fact it was hell. I came down but my mind was affected by the awful experience of LSD. Then my flat mate wanted to fight with me over a tin of beans we went to the park but the grass was so slippy I could not stand up and the fight was aborted. However in my state of mind I was in no condition to fight I felt lost in the world. I suggested to my mate that the guys who had supplied the LSD had also put him up to fight with me and that was the truth of the matter. The mentality around me was quite backward and criminal and very dangerous. So much for flower power Liverpool 8 style. And it was all about survival and being one step ahead. Sometimes you would see a lad and he would be happy and smart looking perhaps with a girlfriend. Then you would hear the label of he is a ?fart? and guarantee you would see the kid go downhill and eventually if he wasn?t stabbed he got beaten up. That was the way the drug gangs worked.
As you get older you look back on things and it is not difficult to see that situations get manipulated. I was a very bright kid and went against the grain as far as criminality went. Anyway my upbringing was so intensely religious I had a steel hard moral code and sense of right and wrong. So when people blame the kids for what?s going on they should look further into things because so much manipulation goes on and there is so much deviancy. Park Road was no better at night in those days and yet ordinary people who you don?t see in the bars at night are the salt of the earth. I loved the Dingle in the sixties. Yet being a teenager was quite scary. Then I started getting stalked by a right ***** fella. These days? people tolerate gay sexuality but this guy was just plainly a pervert who hung around lavatories and he wasn?t the only one. He must have taken a fancy to my angelic altar boy looks and manners. Anyway talk about stalking the man was a monster and a complete threat to children yet he functioned in the night time community with no problem at all. He was all for the national front and Oswald Moseley. When the NF sign first appeared in our block I thought it was the symbol for a fire hydrant. Anyway they were active in the area trying to manipulate white kids. The pervert eventually killed a gay boy down town I knew he was capable of such things as he constantly threatened to kill me. I was in town one night and I saw the snake still as evil as ever with his nasty crew around him. Funny how people like that can thrive in the community. Still if he is not dead he is quite old now perhaps he should reflect on his sad life but then that is all a bit too late. Still he always was a loser picking on me was his biggest mistake. And so growing up is all about learning I had a reputation for being a scrapper and I hated it I would much rather be in the library reading a good book. Thing is in the kids homes you had to fight. There was no mum in the dormitory and if a kid hit you while you were in bed you had to get out and fight you had no choice. And there again such activity was manipulated. So with all the training in the kids homes and then add the alcohol I was a bit of a lad in my teens. Still I could see through it and I was aware then of the hidden hand working against me. I often wondered who financed the pervert that was stalking me.
Well the twilight world goes on and you either stay put in it or move on and I moved on. Still I like a stroll down Parly and I like real true debate on the destiny of the urban poor and I have admiration for people who get involved in trying to make life better for the less fortunate. There is nothing wrong with promoting black consciousness it is the same as raising the awareness of working class people. If you have people who you can talk too then your half way there. Take away the bullies and manipulators and you find yourself talking to real people. I have always hated racism and especially the racism that you are supposed to accept as the norm. That?s the kind of racism that isolates you in your own community. It is the racism that hurts the most because it is institutional and acceptable. And so the task at hand is to change the world but you cannot do that alone not that I would want to be in a political party. I have my poetry to consider. Yet you do need to be aware and if I thought the time had come for me to be out on the street protesting about injustice I would have no hesitation. I believe in people power and attempting to change things where we would we be now without those who have stood up against the ills that plague society?
07-26-2009, 08:43 PM
So then the environment shapes you or does it? The post war environment of south Liverpool created the Beatles and how lucky are we? However the unhealthy dwelling and sitting on the laurels of this past triumph is in many ways suppressive. I mean what is the future? Or will we be forced to remain in a time warp? What about post modern south Liverpool? The sixties were about Ideas and art forms reflected that. Paris in 1968 was on the verge of revolution. And look at the Beatles they hurtled into America and in their naivety did not really consider the political attitudes prevalent at the time. McCarthyism was still up and running and along comes John and the lads poking fun at everything. Well fair play to them, but there had to be a backlash. The best place to find the commies is always where there is freedom of speech. So the Beatles divorced themselves from their working class roots. What was once creative and inspiring became part of the dominant ideology and the Beatles as we have all witnessed became icons of the city and elevated to the point of knighthood. Sometimes when listening to what the kids listen too I am struck by the anonymity. If you go to anything like a rave you quite often don?t get informed on who is the artist or artistes performing. Yet in our day we created so many stars and had so many idols. The less imaginative in our society now have celeb culture and that is in the main manufactured by a politically biased media. That doesn?t mean to say it is for the Tories or Labour it is a means by which they protect in their view the public interest or if you like maintain the status quo, no pun intended!
Well you know there are new ideas floating about. The discourse on working class politics hasn?t gone away overnight. Marx in his later writing thought that because the dynamic of capitalism was growth the most revolutionary thing that workers could do was secure the best possible deal for themselves. We have just had a year of being the capital of culture; you should not worry about the European question. Yes you should it is most likely our destination. So being part of the culture of Europe also gives us the right to forge our own destiny in Europe. And how do we couch the terminology will we be still banging on about the means of production in a world where knowledge is the fastest growing commodity? Some left wingers might fear new terminology but if we rant on in old speak it will be max input, zero feedback.
Take a look at the manifestation of capitalist growth. Look at Speke they are not creating Labour intensive production plants, we all know that Jaguar Rover will be lucky to survive. So what do they want from us as a class? Well they want a lot of what I am doing right now. That is sitting at a computer trying to make sense out of a lot of data. And having done that processes it. The relationship between employed and employer hasn?t change just the way we work and what we work at. Yet have you noticed how the same old techniques and ruses of the bosses are still at work? Oh yes they have their continuity it is just articulated in a different way. They also like to maintain the belief that we are indebted to them in some kind of way. Forgive me if I sound old fashioned. So the working class should reinforce its own continuity and not be afraid to adapt to the new arrangements. The position is still the same and saliently so. Imagine that you lived just over a hundred years ago. Say about the time of the great Crystal Palace exhibition. Imagine what it would have been like being introduced to all the new machinery and the new ideas. Take the theory of evolution by Darwin. The capitalist class were drunk with power and their outlook was really quite secular. Machines made money they created surplus profit. And how were the machines presented to the work force? Well mostly as means to make production faster and easier with the oversight of the length of the working day. Yet in some quarters the capitalist outlook was the only outlook. So man and his enthusiasm is quite often reflected in history in a one dimensional way. Well I would argue that it is not much different now. They teach new skills on the basis that it is in your own interest and will make your working life easier and make you more viable as a skilled worker. In reality they are increasing your capacity to produce and the wage slave relationship with your bosses is still intact.
However we need work and a future for our children. So we make choices. I think that position is a little dramatic. Further up the page I said that Marx recognized that the dynamic of capitalism was growth and the workers should try and secure for themselves the best possible deal. I believe that is the case. The best way to achieve that is to be able to articulate your position in the face of a very manipulative power. Liverpool workers in the past have often been demonized and it is true to say that some workers perceive a new look Liverpool that is conflict free in the work place. The post modern ideas of the eighties still prevail, as in if you own your own home you are not working class anymore. Some people think that representation in the work place is not needed because your rights are enshrined in your contract of work. A nice clear and bright future to fit with the nice new buildings that you go to sell your labour power. I personally think that the outlook is subject to illusion. We all want to have a happy and industrious life but being aware of your own exploitation is not such a bad thing. I mean to really plan a future you have to take into consideration all the contingencies. Let?s face it if they want workers to carry out tasks that depend on using their brains then they should be prepared to deal with an intelligent and informed workforce.
Remember the old Speke? The stunted amber lights on the airport green posts and the railings right round the perimeter. The smells of the factories Dunlop?s, Metal Box, and then the chemical and pharmaceutical smells, complemented by the metallic aura of Fords. That was what being from a working class environment was like. It is much better now and there is the new airport and trading estates in the area. Well in some ways it is better. Although the residential side of Speke is nowhere near as nice as it once was in my view. The point is, it is still home to a lot of ordinary working class people and the area represents the working culture of south Liverpool. Is it is not too much to ask to have a say in your own destiny? We will most likely see political change in this country shortly and being able to raise these concerns will be even more difficult it is essential therefore that people especially the young realize their own worth in the social arrangements they find themselves in. When I was a lad I dreamt about stuff walking up from Garston into Speke to the tune of Bread singing ?I?d like to make it with you? I bet there are many Speke couples now who are just starting out who would like that opportunity they should be allowed it don?t you think?
07-29-2009, 12:16 PM
So then you?re walking down the prom thinking about thinking. Kant thought we had ideas that sprung from mans ability to think. Well as visible as Birkenhead is that doesn?t seem to be any big deal. In Kant?s time it was, everything was from the grace of God including inspiration a bit of an atheist Kant. His work is voluminous as skirting around religion was a necessity; I mean heretics could end up on bonfires. The river flows by under a cloudy sky. Well the enlightment was the start of modernity. Then Hegel and dialectics came along. It is like positive and negative in the world. The history of the world is driven on by one thing acting on another. Like if you make weapons then you go to war. Hegel thought the state could become God. Like men create a state that is Godlike and they direct their affairs in submission to the divine will of the state. Abstractly he must have been made up. The prom is long and quiet as the gulls glide over the Mersey. ?Life goes on day after day? It was Marx who saw the danger. He turned dialectics on its head. Yet he brought forward the main theme and thought that the analysis of history was indeed possible from a materialist perspective of dialectical movement in the world. How huge is our Cathedral? I mean the Anglican one! It is massive. Jesus must have been fantastic as he is so certain about mans destiny you really have to love him. We shall not be moved. Why people go on in a non existence is beyond me. Church goers should realize that Jesus was not a non person. He saw purpose outside the norm. Sandbanks I wonder if you could walk on one and look at the mountains of Wales. They always seem to appear in the afternoon. Anyway where was I? Oh yeah Kant and ideas you know he never really left Strasburg Kant he would often ask visitors what other places were like. A bit like not ever going over there to the Wirral. You can see it and assume what it is like. I have always been happy about being from this side. Well you can consider Kant to be an atheist in a way. Most big thinkers have to think their way around God. Some say we create God ourselves and then strive after the image of perfection. Look at the Gulls gliding over the grey rolling Mersey. I am from Mercy side how do you do! Well who had the best ideas? And that?s where we come in. We share knowledge ,all thinkers are isolated entities, look at Kant walking around Strasburg. The prom is a nice place to park up if you have a car and the view over the river is splendid. If I discover the meaning of life I can let you know now. Just punch it out on the keyboard and you then can share the knowledge with me. Shared knowledge. No need for statues of great men anymore. They all thought in isolation. Socrates would have loved the internet. Walking around Athens with a lap top in his toga. I have corrupted who? How dare you suggest that my dongle has run out. Well all the fun of the fair. Funny I have never seen a fair on the prom. Probably due to access problems. Wow Dylan Thomas. To Wales in my arms! My favourite poet the Welsh kid with Wales and reverent Rook. Time to think about the poets as you think about thinking.
And who is the best Poet? They bang on about being gay. Look at brave Auden and what a nice man he was. Gay before his time not a hair moved as his Icelandic features created a face for the poet. Oh yes Auden was brave. Sexuality is part of your life nothing else really. The green fields of Otterspool prom home to the meandering poet. I love Shelly and Keats, Byron and Wordsworth. The romantics were mostly rejected in their day. Well Wordsworth was a bit acceptable in his Lakeland world. Suddenly the weather turns the prom has gone all gloomy in a spiritual homage to William Wordsworth. Fear not those brooding clouds my lad they are but the bustling of heaven sent rain for the corporation Daffodils at the vale. If you had a cafe round here you could make a few bob. The poets retreat full English all day. Bacon on baps long live alliteration. American literature is okay I mean where we would be without Faulkner. Johnny be good and look at that motor boat bouncing on the waves. Must be fun skipping over the waves. Mustn?t skip over American literature just yet I do like Bukowski he worked in the post office once. When I was a kid I could never understand the term French letter. Mark Twain Henry James Scott Fitzgerald Walter Whitman ? Where once Lilacs at the back yard door bloomed? yeah but the Burroughs guy is not my cup of tea ,you really could make a few bob down here. Who is my favourite American writer? Well it will be Faulkner when I am finished I have got a feeling about him that the best is yet to come. The English writers there is so many every up and coming young scouser should read ?Jude the Obscure? I was thinking about Lennon in a friendly kind of way his life was a bit confusing. I mean fame and having ex wives and stuff. Look at those two drivers in the car park windows down having a heated exchange intercourse on wheels. I liked John in fact I liked them all not my schism. I remember Camel Lairds in the sixties Our John went over to protest about Polaris he was so handsome the girls were all mad on him. Auden was okay and he was gay. Wilde too there nothing wrong with it only I adore women and crave after them. All smiling cuddly and aloof my hearts contentment.
There were lonely days as a boy down here. I remember not knowing where they would put me next. Graham was always a true mate. You can sleep in my house tonight. A friend in need is a friend in deed. Good to have mates we all played down here footie mostly. Thinking about thinking is okay, but the cars run along Aigburth Road and the busses packed head for town. Looking over the silent Mersey ?Where you frae? why my dear girl mercy side of course. Isn?t Kaye Adams attractive wouldn?t mind her around my house intelligent and witty. Well my walk is near over and the noise of Aigy road is getting closer. Thinking about thinking. You can marry all the number plates up if you?re literate. Like TOL is Tolstoy Cam is Camus and so they pass oblivious to the mind of the thinker who is thinking about thinking in South Liverpool. Once all the bin Lorries came down here and the Gulls and Rats ruled the tip as the smelly air wafted over the river. Let the sewers out too so they do. A city function. Sometimes you see the odd ship. Not the big ones mostly coasters and small tankers. Heading up the river. Now which way is up and which way is down? Well it depends on what way you look at things I suppose. We?ll blow the man up and we?ll blow the man down. I loved singing sea shanties in school Tom O?Connor with his Teddy boy quiff in St James. ?Puff the magic dragon? could bring tears to my eyes. I should have been a docker. Well let?s face it I was born down by the docks and I think I could have fitted in. They could have nicknamed me Paddy the poet. Still thinking about thinking you could end up falling in a hold or even the murky Mersey. Well it is murky round the docks I seen it myself running round the Gladstone pinching Cape Apples.
07-30-2009, 01:33 PM
So it is back in the headmaster?s office. The headmaster?s features turned from the normal sanguine my schools a good school look, and standing up. He attacked me. What a weird experience. I never told anyone as the situation was too nuts. I was in fact dumbfounded and my removal from the school came as a relief. Then in St Georges I never had a note for being off for the day. The headmaster was telling me that I had had chance after chance and was still one of his worst pupils. The deputy head stood smirking by the door with his arms folded. I knew the situation was dodggy.?Sir I will get a note I murmured? and looked down at the carpet that looked pretty nice considering it was St Georges Mill Street most things of any quality usually went missing. Then to my horror the strap was produced from his desk drawer. The deputy who had stopped smirking made a move towards me? Put him over the table? not on your Nelly and then the chase began. As the office was not very big the ability to dodge was limited but I made good use of what space was available. The lack of missiles was also a frustration but the wastepaper bin hit home and the deputy head then shouted to the headmaster ?he is mad? Okay they got a few smacks in but the office when I left shouting profanities was uninhabitable. And so to Thomas a Becket Spekeland road and all we did was fight, every day you got offered out. See you at four o clock. And then the rest of the lessons passed in an anxiety of how well you might do at four. Sometimes the anxiety was too great and it would go off there and then. Mr Melia was a fantastic teacher his English lesson was always creative and interesting in a school that never really offered much for a lot of pupils. I remember one assembly the headmaster read out the lines. ?When I was a child time crept and as a boy time walked then as a man time ran and then goes onto to say when you get older time slows up again. Well he wasn?t far wrong and on the way home I kept repeating the words in my head. I went to Cardinal Newman for a few terms. They had a black teacher called Mr Anti I picked up on the vibe that was coming from the kids. A lot of stuff comes from the home what you hear and the attitudes of grownups suffice to say I detected a racial attitude from some and not all of the pupils. Then this teacher gave me a slip of paper called a bill on delivery of the bill you got the cane in the office I don?t know who did the caning because on receiving the bill for unruly behaviour I just went home. I mean you would have to be a complete div to hand it over. I never went back and passing on the 61 I always wondered if the bill system was still up and running. The start of one new term saw me at Gatacre comprehensive that school was massive and I quite fancied attending there. The first day everyone got streamed off and I was left standing on my own in this huge playground. I was ordered to the office and told that because I was a catholic I had to go somewhere else. That somewhere else was Blessed Johns.
In Saint James they put me in my sister?s class she was a year older than me but I was streets ahead of everyone. Then they showed us the preliminaries for the 11 plus what a con. It was just double Dutch to me as the format was something I had never seen before. Kids from good homes had so much of an advantage because their parents could key them into to the questions. It was all a con and a very unfair system especially for me being in a class with kids a year older yet I still came well placed at the end of term. I loved exams the smell of the ink on the paper and the confidence that I would do well. Geography History English Science Religion I would be first or second and take a dive with Maths. I think things happen when you?re a kid that affects you yet they are not immediately apparent at the time. I remember knowing what was left and what was right till someone told me in a very convinced way that I had it wrong and it was the other way round. To this day I hesitate giving directions. So if you get a sum right when you?re very young and then get told you are wrong that can really throw you. Every time I did maths I would have to double check everything I put down that slowed me right down and inability to finish in the time allowed was often reflected in my results. Yet if you have the thirst for knowledge it remains with you. White Fang by Jack London fascinated me and so did Dickens. I loved everything by Charles Dickens and his world was always a sanctuary for me.
07-30-2009, 03:44 PM
Very informative Paddy.
07-30-2009, 05:17 PM
Interesting posts Paddy. Good reading.
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