Monday, October 29, 2007

Not Grim Up North, Interlude: Liverpool Odds and Ends

[Originally posted on, in reply to comments there.]

Funny you should mention it, Flanner, because we did all of those things, including the Huskisson memorial, which is an absurd monument, as it was designed to hold a statue of him inside, but that statue is now buried somewhere in the warehouse at the National Railway Museum in York, where you can see it on one of the racks. The memorial is now just an empty room you can see faintly through the iron bars meant to keep the scallies out (with mixed success).

You are also right about the cemetery -- it is the Gothest place imaginable. I'm surprised that it's not full of kids in white makeup, black eyeliner, and pineapple hair. It was in the eighties, when the black eyeliner was applied to my darling wife. We were able to recreate some of her gloomy photos in the tunnel (minus the extra-moody snow).

The arch in Chinatown, which is, like every other Chinatown arch I've ever seen, labeled "the largest Chinatown arch in the world", is entirely wrapped in plastic and scaffolding like Christo piece. It's being repaired. But the area is one of my favorite in Liverpool, one of the places that hasn't been restored to death yet.

Stupidly, we did not eat here, but in Lark Lane, a supposedly up-and-coming trendy area well to the south of the city center, near Sefton Park. I have to say that Manchester does "up-and-coming trendy" better than Liverpool if this is anything to go by. One decent pub (the Albert), sadly full of shouters, and a string of restaurants ranging from half-decent to abysmal, does not quite match up to Canal Street or the Northern Quarter. Maybe there aren't enough gays.

Our restaurant choice was, unforgiveably, The Worst Chinese Restaurant In The World, the kind of old-school place where you can get chips with your Chinese instead of rice, and where every plate has a gallon of sauce thick with corn starch. I haven't had a worse Chinese since I actually ordered food at the late, unlamented Jade Pagoda in Seattle, former holder of the WCRITW title.

Back in Chinatown, you definitely should see the huge Banksy graffito on the boarded-up Whitehouse pub on Berry Street. It's giant rat holding a pen (or rather, formerly holding a pen, the pen has been stolen by scallies), looking up in mid-apprehension after having marked a big red line all over the side of the building. Quite witty, and enough of a landmark now to maintain the abandoned building in its falling-down condition for quite some time -- the graffito is worth considerably more than the building is!

This brief interlude is not a proper Liverpool chapter, the next of which will be appearing shortly.

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