As a scouser myself who has been away a lot over the past twenty years, I was a little dissapointed when I saw preparations for the Capital of Culture.

It seems like the centre of the city is being handed over to retailers, there is sadly almost nothing of character there anymore.

How many shoe shops, fast food outlets, clothes shops and other useless kinds of stores does a city actually need?

The city has lost so much of its character that it really is a cheap shadow of its former self. So many stores are boarded up with steel shutters at night, many of the pubs are lousy (I was denied a pint of tap water in one pub near Dale street last year).

In my experience you cannot fix or improve something until you are willing to admit the errors and problems that exist and sadly Liverpool has many.

If you visit Liverpool after travelling to outher countries for years, you are quickly made aware of how poor the service and quality is in restaurants and pubs, and this is something that could have been targeted by the 2008 "planners".

Some of the restaurants here in Birmingham for example are as good as the best Ive seen in New York, Boston or London, yet in Liverpool there is still a lazy attitude to quality and its going to kill the city in my view.

After exploring the City centre recently I really didnt find any very upscale restaurants, one place describing itself as "Italian" used the wrong shaped glass for red wine, failed to bring water and bread as we sat down and made no effort to make us feel welcome. The food was unimpressive, not prepared or cooked with any skill/care.

These things aren't gripes, it is basic restaurant stuff, taken for granted by many visitors, especially from the US where service is often very good indeed.

I'm sure there are some excellent places (some in Lark Lane are actually very good) but the center of town should have many more.

So where is all the money going? Why do I see so many young people obsessed with buying junk, pointless fashion, dumb DVDs etc?

The City needs to offer something to its young people, not just crappy jobs in the "service industry", it was tough when I left in 1982, but now it seems so shallow, it can be fun of course and the people are superb as ever, but there is an air of pointlessness, medicocrity, and this saddens me.

Building "apartments" and stuff that cost more than most can afford is NOT rejuvenation in my view, it is simple, unashamed speculative investment, all for the benefit of investors, period.