5. All My Loving (This Bird has Flown)


October 19, 2012 in A WONDROUS SPACE, LIVERPOOL, Wondrous Cities

The day came to an end. I’m a little disappointed that my tale didn’t end in the birds screaming to life, like those creatures in ‘Ghostbusters’, and wreaking havoc on the city below.

Or rather, quite relieved.

It was fun, and it made me re-evaluate one part of the city I now call home.

It certainly underlined the wonder of the birds and the city, due to the couples who live here and meet and hopefully fall in love, and I genuinely believe the intrinsic romance within essentially a perilous situation, should the birds ever be awakened, is part of what makes not just Liverpool but the north of England such a special place, due to the architecture, the folk tales that surround it, and most of all, the people.

Thanks Chris and everyone involved in this project, and to the internet, for introducing him to my streams of consciousness.

Thanks to all the other artists and writers who have made this such a success so far, may they continue to do so.

Last week’s excellent contributor Hayley Flynn, asked me:

Liverpool is a city born of the success of its port. What does the water mean to you?


Jung once described Liverpool as ‘the pool of life’ whilst George Harrison in 1980 apparently said, “Good place to wash your hair, Liverpool. Nice soft water.”

After nearly drowning in a lake aged three after a spaniel pushed me in, I never really liked water. However, Liverpool’s history as a port is indeed important and fascinating, and its legacy is felt not just in the buildings, statues and street names of the city centre but the towns and villages all the way up the coast and across the water.

It’s a strange feeling that has resonated with me in my other favourite places of the world, there are huge similarities with Naples, Barcelona and New York that must have something to do with the port’s goings on and the transience of the water coming and going. Even Lancaster, where I grew up, is on a river and has a maritime museum.

Through my story, I have touched on how the water is important to at least one of the Liver birds. The Mersey must have a certain quality, to have brought with it the special qualities the city and its people now share. Their talents, their spirit, their sense of humour – their romances.

To be described as the pool of life, water is clearly important to the city. Its importance to me and this project comes mainly from the wonderful view you get of the waterfront from across the Mersey, a trip I would encourage anyone visiting here to take, ferry or otherwise, but also my new home, and the statues of a naked artist seemingly about to drown himself that accompany it.

Thanks, Hayley.

Meanwhile, like the river we move on, and my question for next week’s guest curator Pete Collins is:

Using the other cities’ Liver Buildings, Coles Corner and the Tyne Bridge as reference points, where are the most romantic places in Manchester?

And, talking of romance, thanks again at this point to my wonderful wife for her inspiration, support and understanding.

Thanks too to The Beatles and Billy Fury for providing the soundtrack to my late nights writing up this submission, and their help with the chapter titles. And, to the plethora of influences I mentioned in my introduction: Morrissey, Shelagh Delaney, Stu Sutcliffe, Kes, Newcastle Brown Ale, rundown seaside towns, Willy Russell, local foods, Wallace & Gromit, questionable comedians, David Hockney, as well as others I couldn’t fit in but who are just as important: Richard Hawley, mercy, the Midland Hotel, my Uncle John, the Pendle Witches, Ian Curtis, Morecambe Bay Shrimps, Badly Drawn Boy, Everton Football Club, cotton mills, Lancashire Tea, Rufford Old Hall, Whitby Fish, Tom Finney, Eddie Stobart trucks, strange accents, Elbow, George Formby, birds of prey, The Courteeners, Mark & Lard, Kendal Mint Cake… the list goes on.

Basically, that’s an appreciation of the whole of the north of England, especially those people and places that mean something to me and my past and my family. Thanks to my family then, and my ancestors, for those all important roots and the basis of my appreciation.

Plus, of course, thanks to the buildings, landscape, museums, myths, and people of Liverpool, my adopted home, every last one of you, whose uniqueness continues to evoke awe and wonder… especially all those encountered or referenced in this tale.

And finally, thank you to our people and our prosperity: The Liver Birds.


Avatar of Jonathan Greenbank

Jonathan Greenbank

An avid collector of stories, objects & ideas, I am fascinated by those secret narratives unwinding within our cities, noticed only by those involved and observant onlookers. Working across a variety of media, from pencil drawings to scrapbooks, film & installation, even lasering my eyes to become a superhero for my MA. All this can be found on my blog www.jonathangreenbank.com