First of all let me introduce myself. My name is Steve Bird and I am an artist and musician based in Newcastle Under Lyme. I am currently studying for a PhD in composition in the Music Department of Keele University, but my compositions are rather unusual in that I work with both sound and visual imagery to create audiovisual artworks, and it is concerning my latest work that I am posting here to ask for your assistance.
You see the work in question focuses on Liverpool and specifically on the way that the face of the city is changing rapidly in preparation '08'. In the early 80s I was assistant manager of the recently demolished Floral Pavilion Theatre in New Brighton and I lived not far from the ferry terminal in Seacombe. In those days the city centre was of course only minutes away by any of the frequent ferries that crossed the river from early morning till late at night - how things have changed. Since then, although I have lived all over the country, I have been a frequent visitor to the city which has always been one of my favourite places on this island that we live on. However, as I watch the radical plastic surgery that is being performed on the city centre, I have to admit that I wonder where it is all going. Are the thousands of "executive apartments" and concrete and glass edifices really going to be of any lasting benefit the people of Liverpool? On the edges of the city I see street after street of tinned-up houses. Is this because the good citizens of Liverpool 8 have become so wealthy that they have sold-up and are preparing to move into the "Port of Liverpool Authority Building"? What do you think?
Or maybe this sudden influx of Culture with a capital 'C' is just what the city needs? More opera and ballet and concerts - maybe? Perhaps I am mistaken in thinking that the city that spawned The Beatles and The Liverpool Poets and Alan Bleasdale and Ken Dodd and The Liverpool Philharmonic and the massed voices of the Cop, not to mention a city that has numerous theatres, internationally renowned art galleries and museums, two cathedrals, two premiership football teams and countless comics, musicians poets and raconteurs filling its pubs every night, was doing pretty well on the culture front on its own before the men in suits moved in to tell it what it needed. In fact when it comes to real hardcore street level culture I'd say Liverpool has always had a thing or two to teach the rest of the world - hasn't it? And don't even start me on that hideous concrete slab of a museum that they want to build on one of the most distinctive waterfronts in the world!
But these are my opinions. I want to know what you think and I want to hear it in your own voices. In fact I want to build the audio track of my composition from the voices of the people of Liverpool and I would be grateful for your contributions. What I propose is that sometime over the next few weeks I will arrange a get together with anyone interested in taking part, where you can have your say. The discussion will be recorded and will form the basis of the soundtrack of the video.
I must stress at this point that this is not a commercial endeavour in any way. I am not making a documentary. This is part of my PhD and the completed work will be a work of art just like a painting or a symphony and although there will be public performances I will receive no remuneration at all - as such I can offer nothing but the opportunity for some interesting conversation and a DVD of the finished work to play to your grandchildren.
I am looking for opinions from all sides of the debate, so if you think that all this is the greatest thing to happen to Liverpool for years, or if you hate it all with a vengeance I want to hear from you.
If this is something that you would like to get involved in, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and if you would like to take a look at my previous works please visit the website at www.soundmangler.co.uk
Thank you for reading this and I hope to hear from you soon.