Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Two Cities

Judy just emailed me to say she got the card I sent her from Liverpool. I don't use regular post much these days and I'm always amazed how fast it is. I guess I'm still living in a 1950s universe- remembering how our neighbour, Tom Soundy, used to ply back and forth between New York and Southhampton on the old Queen Mary and the journey took something like three weeks.

My dad visited New York on business c.1960 and brought back 8mm cine-film. He didn't know how to fix the exposure and so for ages I visualised NYC as a place of pale soaring monoliths and blue-black canyons.

The card I sent Judy was a classy image of the Beatles at the time of the White Album. I bought it in a big touristy emporium on the Albert Docks. I thought I'd be tripping over Beatles souvenirs everywhere, but actually they're quite thin on the ground. Surprising but encouraging. Liverpool is in the throes of re-inventing and rebuilding itself and doesn't need to trade on its past.

The Liverpool Waterfront has recently been accorded World Heritage status. I tsk-tsked when I heard it on the news, but that's partly because I'm a Mancunian by adoption- and the rivalry between Manchester and Liverpool (the two major cities of the North West) is deadly. Actually, having poked around the place last week, I think the accolade is deserved. It's a big, braw space, full of breezy light, the architecture is grand- going on phantasmagoric- and if you pop into the local branch of the Tate Gallery you can gawp at Picassos.

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