Holden Caulfield Relocated to Liverpool

Holden in Liverpool

December 18, 2012 in A WONDROUS SPACE, LIVERPOOL, Wondrous Cities, XMAS SPECIAL

Much in the same way that there’s die hard Christian believers who take a moment in everyday life to think ‘What would Jesus do?’ (WWJD), I in turn occasionally find myself wandering around Liverpool thinking to myself ‘What the hell would Holden Caulfield make of all this?’, because I don’t believe in God, but I do believe in J D Salinger.

When you truly, truly love a book – when you’ve read it cover to cover and back again, and until the spine is starting to split – you begin to see the entire world through that narrative. You start to recognise crucial locations of that story in your own city. A dive bar in New York is suddenly right there on the corner of Duke Street, or you suddenly drive down a bland and orderly suburban street in Allerton where you decide that the ghost of a 13 year old girl in a wedding dress surely roams.

I began to think about this more and more and before long Liverpool was beset with tragedies, rebellions, murder and glamour. It became a stage, as well as an audience – stories and characters that I’ve loved for years were suddenly right there in front of me, off the page and onto the streets. Today I relocate Holden Caulfield to Liverpool to imagine the city through his eyes. Tomorrow I relocate the Lisbon Sisters from ‘The Virgin Suicides’ and Anna Karenina to Liverpool.

I discovered that barely anything changes for Holden Caulfield – he is ever present in many pubs and bars every day of the week muttering ‘phonies’ under his breath at hipsters and show offs.

Words and Drawings by Amy Roberts (with thanks to my girl Laura Outterside for being my books & booze buddy x)


Character: Holden Caulfield
Book: The Catcher In The Rye
Author: J D Salinger
Original Setting: New York City

The truth was that everywhere I went in this goddamn city, I could see those same escort agency posters dotted about the place. They were everywhere. Some woman in a Santa hat and little else holding a gift between her open legs. I felt like a fool. And then I felt real sleazy. And then I just felt depressed. But at least I didn’t actually do anything with the girl and you know, I don’t have a black eye or anything today, so that’s something.

Anyway, I headed to this greasy spoon called Kimos for a late breakfast. It’s a good place to go for when you just want to be alone. I swear, I could pour a bowl of beans over myself in this place and nobody would bat a goddamn eyelid. In fact they’d probably bring me a new plate of beans and a towel to clean myself up with. I ordered the Foule Mudammas – because I was thinking myself a little more cultured and exciting than I actually am – but when it turned up I probably only ate a fifth of the thing. If you really wanna know I spent the whole time watching a guy opposite me eat a full English. I regretted that all day.

I tried phoning Sally again, but I guess she’s busy or just doesn’t feel like talking. Technology really gives me the blues. It doesn’t connect anyone with anybody. It just makes me feel more alone than if I didn’t have it, truth be known. I was at a loss as to what to do with myself then. I was kinda planning on taking Sally out for a meal in Leaf or to catch a film in FACT or something, but I ended up going the Pilgrim and drinking a few double rum and cokes on my own in one of those booths they have in there.

I sat picking the mosaics off the table top (the one I was at spelled out the name LIPA) whilst a group of student types in rugby shirts talked about girls they’d screwed recently. I swear, I recognised half the girls they were talking about and know for a fact they wouldn’t be caught dead taking their knickers off to a bunch of bozos like that.

I was kinda drunk by that point and making a sorta scene, I guess –  the way people do when they drink on their own. It just makes everyone uncomfortable. The barmaid started ID’ing me which I took as my cue to leave. I wandered just round the corner into a club called Bumper and they didn’t give me no grief about getting in or anything, which I took to meaning that they aren’t too picky about the sort of cliental they let in.

My god, you should have seen the mess everyone was in. I got myself a drink which cost me about three times the price of the ones in The Pilgrim and made me feel only about half as good, and went and stood downstairs away from the humping dancers on the dance floor. There was a girl crying in the corner. She had some vomit on the front of her dress and I felt real bad for her. A boy who looked younger than I did and was wearing some kind of an 80’s shell suit jacket with a t-shirt that had the logo of some obscure metal band on it or something went over to her and tried his luck. Man, I can’t stand phonies like that.

I started talking to my brother Allie whilst I was stood there. The music got louder, so loud that I could feel the bass in my stomach, and I started worrying about whether the ducks in the local park by mine were alright. I finished my drink and decided to head back to Crosby to check. Hang out with my sister, Phoebe. Maybe everything would be fine.


Tomorrow: The Lisbon Sisters from ‘The Virgin Suicides’ and Anna Karenina relocated to Liverpool.

Avatar of Amy Roberts

Amy Roberts

Starting out life writing overly emotional vignettes of teenage turmoil in countless shame inducing diaries, I now write vignettes of grown up turmoil mostly inspired by the horrors (and splendours) of everyday life. You can often find me around Liverpool playing guitar (badly) or dancing (stupendously).This is my blog: - 'I Never Knew You Were Such A Monster': http://inksam.tumblr.com