NORTHERN SPIRIT

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“People can get involved.” Kenn Taylor on culture, regeneration and money.

July 14, 2013 in Blog

In November 2012 we published Kenn Taylor’s fantastic story Culture about a Liverpool man who attacks a piece of public art with a scaffolding pole.

Lots of the issues it raises frame the Wondrous Place production, and we wanted to look back and ask more about the story. Kenn very kindly agreed to an interview by email.

Culture is a cracking story, so have a read of it first here and then come back to the interview.

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Andrew Wilson: I like everything about this story, and one thing that I’ve noticed is that I’m really on the side of the main character, and I’m right behind him when he hammers the sculpture. It’s not some sort of mitigating circumstances thing, where I’m thinking, “well, he’s had a rough day”. I really want him to do it, and the title of the sculpture as the last line just confirms that. Why am I feeling like that?

Kenn Taylor: I’m on his side totally as well. I wasn’t sure I wanted this published for a long time, I don’t want it to be seen as a criticism of public art, contemporary art, the Arts Council or anything like that in general, as I like a lot of it myself. To me it was a more specific critique of the ‘dropping in’ of ‘international culture’ to deprived areas in the hope of ‘regeneration’. It was also perhaps a critique of the emptiness and vapidness of some contemporary art and the idea that because it is defined as art by someone, we have to respect it, and if we don’t it’s because we don’t understand it or give it a chance. That’s why I had the main character spend so long examining it, he gave it a chance and it offered nothing to him, so, given the life he was leading and how this thing had been placed, likely at great expense, in his community, he chose to destroy it.

Liverpool obviously experienced elements of this during it’s year as Capital of Culture, though in doing so I think a lot of people realised, including some of the powers that be, that is a bad model of public culture and I think we have seen much better delivery of cultural services in the city over the last few years, even though the cuts have really hurt.

While I don’t advocate vandalism of art, I can see sometimes why people do it. A good piece of public art gets taken in by the local community. Witness ‘Another Place’ by Anthony Gormely in Crosby, Merseyside. Local people, in general, love it, and Gormley seems happy for people to graffiti them and put woolly hats and other similar things on them so it’s not sitting their in rarefied isolation and makes it even more popular. People can get involved.

As for why I think you’re on his side, I did of course deliberately create an ‘imaginary’ piece of art to try and condense all the pretentious vapid crap masquerading as art that I have seen over the years into one piece, so maybe I made it easy to hate the artwork and like what he was doing to it?

AW: You created a fantastic imaginary artwork – I didn’t think for a second that wasn’t real! I assumed the smashing up was fictional, or fictionalised, but not the artwork. I don’t think that makes any difference to the story though, I want him to smash it, real or not!

I’m interested in what you’ve said about the change in approach to public culture that happened from the Capital of Culture year onwards, and I’d like to ask you about looking forwards from where we are now.

It seems likely that the days of big, top down, expensive arts and culture initiatives are now gone for the foreseeable future. What do you think local authorities could do to support sustainable, resilient grass roots artistic scenes. Is there a recipe, or a few basic ingredients, for an artistic scene that can flourish without huge amounts of money?

KT: Haha, thanks. Well I have been witness to a lot of public art over the years of widely varying standards so I guess I distilled all the bad stuff into one piece.

“It seems likely that the days of big, top down, expensive arts and culture initiatives are now gone for the foreseeable future.” – Well, yes and no. I think the way “big and expensive” culture is done has changed. There is a lot more thought given to value-for-money, audience and local participation. Witness the Sea Odyssey event last year in Liverpool which had a lot more emphasis placed on participation and including deprived neighbourhoods. Nevertheless it also was intended to bring in tourists and provide good place marketing, which it did very successfully. Liverpool is looking at doing similar things again in future and Manchester has expressed admiration and is looking into doing similar things. And that was something that cost several million for a few days of event. But local people and tourists alike were impressed, and even the critics by and large.

The Mayor of Liverpool was saying last week that culture brings in more money to the city than football and The Beatles now, traditionally the core of our tourist industry. And although overall the city has cuts arts funding as it has had to do with everything else, it is still giving a significant amount and is committed to doing so in future. We have a new central library opening next month, a new theatre next year and plans in the pipeline for a new museum looking at migration. But unlike other initiatives in other places in the past, the value and demand case for these is firmly in place. I think it’s interesting that some cities have nailed their colours to the mast in terms of culture, like Liverpool and Manchester, because they know it plays such a big part long term plans for the cities, while others, such as Newcastle, appear to be intent on cutting. To me one of the most important outcomes from Capital of Culture for Liverpool, aside from increased national and international respect, was that the city’s leaders cannot now be seen not to be supporting culture.

It’s a very good question. If you’re asking what local authorities can do, a few things I think. Listen is the most important. The grassroots scene can have many great ideas and get on with them with little or no money, creating initiatives, animating spaces, and local authorities need to be open to that but, as bureaucratic as they are, they often struggle to work with the creative community. Liverpool has learned a lot in terms of this, and you can look at things such as the Urban Strawberry Lunch takeover of the ‘bombed-out’ St Luke’s Church as a good example of this, but can always do more. The other aspect is creating space. Providing units and buildings at low rates for artists etc to animate is a great, and cost-effective, way to support a creative scene. I do think the grassroots needs to get on with itself regardless, that’s why it’s the grassroots, but if local authorities lend an ear they will find that that can get a lot of the monetary/marketing benefits they are often after through culture without spending a lot of cash. Where I think it’s important for local authorities to continue to spend is supporting the ‘core’ cultural institutions in different cities which provide a hub for the grassroots to operate around and social/educational projects to ensure local people and particularly the disadvantaged get access to culture.

AW: Thank you!

Kenn Taylor is a Liverpool based arts project manager and writer with a particular interest in community, culture and the urban enviroment. For much more information about Kenn’s fiction writing, journalism and numerous community arts projects visit his site. A separate site, Urban Transition, is dedicated to Kenn’s work around culture, cities and regeneration.

“Next door they…” Amy Roberts and Dan Feeney

July 14, 2013 in Blog

The second collaboration between artist Amy Roberts and writer Dan Feeney begins with the phrase “next door they…”

Amy sent her drawing to Dan on one side of a postcard, Dan responded with text. Click on the images for larger versions.

Next_door_Amy_Roberts_800

Next_door_Dan_Feeney_800px

“It was as if they couldn’t hear it at all. The constant clomp clomp clomp, it seemed to make no discernible difference to them, they just carried in abut their business with a careless abandon which suggested they were used to this kind of thing; but how? It wasn’t normal. I’m not even sure that it is legal. This kind of thing could only happen on the dark side of the divide, it’s like Berlin all over again. Yet somehow I respect them for it; why can’t I see past this physical manifestation of things for even just a minute? Perhaps it is time try that new cake…”

Minesweeper, a mythical creature. Amy Roberts and Dan Feeney

July 14, 2013 in Blog

We asked artist Amy Roberts to draw a mythical creature on one side of a postcard, then send the card to writer Dan Feeney to respond to with creative text.

Click on the images to see larger versions.

Minesweeper by Amy Roberts

Minesweeper by Dan_Feeney_800px

“There is something going on up there. In the cloud bars. A series of new breeds are coming out of the shadows and their slippery hands pass over glasses of bubbles, squeak squeak. Who can be held responsible though? Long predicted this, he warned us all. Postman created space, surely he knew it would give these monsters room to negotiate their entrances? Someone could have stopped it there though – we all saw what happened to Patrick. Here we are again though. Foster. Simpson. Piano. What are you trying to do? They have room to feed now; responsibility will be pointed.”

Audience Response Results from the Sheffield Crucible!

June 3, 2013 in Blog

Sheffield Boards

We want to hear how A Wondrous Place audiences see their fantastic cities – so we’ve been asking them via a big, bright feedback board that we put up within each theatre that the show tours to. We’re bowled over by the responses during the last two weeks from the lovely people of Sheffield – and here they are…

 

What Top Sheffield Experiences Can You Not Get Anywhere Else?

Bramall Lane

Open and Equitable City

Kelham Island Tavern

Night at Comp!

Porter Valley

Peak District Fringe

Whirlow Hall Farm

Roy Ridsdale

Street Food Chip

The snooker!

Sheffield Theatres! Our theatres!

Meeting musicians whose music I listened to in the 80s

Sheffield Railway Station’s wall of water

DOC Fest

Total lack of cultural awareness in Sheffield City Council

Henderson’s Relish!

The Winter Gardens

Rivelin Valley

Our Cow Mully Ice Cream

Ruskin Gallery

Tramline

Wert Street on a Saturday night

Peace Gardens

Lindseys playing ‘at home’ in the Studio

Shopping at Ozmen’s on the London Road.

 

What Tunes Would Make Your Ultimate Sheffield Soundtrack?

‘Greasy Chip Butty’

‘Coles Corner’ – Richard Hawley

‘You’re Not Alone’ – John Reilly

Arctic Monkeys – whole first album.

‘Common People’ – Pulp

‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ – Def Leppard

‘Walk Like A Panther’ – All Seeing I featuring Tony Christie

‘This City’ – John Reilly Band

‘Sensora’ – Cabaret Voltaire

‘Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ – Arctic Monkeys

 

Who From Sheffield Would Make A Sgt Pepper Style Album Cover?

Jessica Ennis

Pete McKee of course!

ABC!

Jarvis

Def Leppard

Roy Ridsdale

Stuart Faulkner

Richard Hawley

John Reilly Band

Joe Cocker!

Michael Palin

Jon Boden (and numerous associates)

Pulp

A People’s Flash Mob – facilitated by Andrew Skelton

Slow Club

 

What’s Your Favourite Words Or Phrases You Only Hear In Sheffield?

Reyt good that!

I’ve writ it down

Tha knows

Shut Thi Gob

Na then

Well! (good)

Sempt

Thee/Tha

Ge-or roomin (stop crying)

8 whites!

Ay up

Reyt

Summat for nowt

Mardy

Aye!

Nesh

Duck

Love

Nah den dee wot da doin?

One ‘o’ each

You all right duck?

Working 9 ‘while’ 5

Doll’s ‘ead!

Get thi neck washed!

Put wood ‘oyl.

Selt

Little mester

Never do owt for nowt – but if thou does do it for the sen!

“You’re suddenly in the second most visited national park in the world.” Matt on Sheffield.

May 10, 2013 in Blog

matt-hartley-photoMatt Hartley wrote the Sheffield story in Wondrous Place.

Top 3 Sheffield experiences that you can’t get anywhere else?

The gateway to the peaks, ten miles from the centre and you’re suddenly in the second most visited national park in the world.

Getting called luv/ duck when buying anything/ talking to anyone.

Honesty.

You’ve got to emigrate to Australia. What three things would you miss most about Sheffield?

Sheffield United.
Constantly evolving views/ design of buildings.
Sheffield Cemetery.

Sheffield is a person – choose three words that describe their personality.

Passionate.
Generous.
Rugged.

What your three favourite Sheffield phrases or words that you won’t you hear anywhere else?

Havin a ‘sup’
Alreet duck/ luv.
Gi’or.

What’s tunes should be on the ultimate Sheffield soundtrack? Choose three – include song title and artist.

‘Beginners’ by Slow Club
‘Tonight the streets are ours’ by Richard Hawley
‘City of Lights’ by The Crookes

What three clichés about the North of England piss you off the most?

That’s it’s grey and drab.
That it’s reliant on the south for handouts.
That we’re all beer swilling wife beaters with outside toilets.

What are your Top 3 things that you are you tired of hearing about Sheffield?

Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield Wednesday.

A Sgt Pepper Album cover celebrating Sheffield. Which three people – alive or dead, from the past or present – should be on the cover?

Richard Hawley / Sean Bean / Jessica Ennis

“stop, even just for a moment, and have a look across. It seems rude not to.” Alison on Newcastle.

May 9, 2013 in Blog

AlisonCarr picAlison Carr wrote the Newcastle story in Wondrous Place.

Top 3 Newcastle experiences that you can’t get anywhere else?

The view from (and of) the bridges. Personally, when I walk across the Millennium Bridge I can’t help but stop, even just for a moment, and have a look across. It seems rude not to.

Watching a film at the Tyneside Cinema. A beautiful cinema, and the only one where you miss a little of the dialogue every time a Metro train rumbles underneath the building.

That you’re never far from whatever surroundings you’re in the mood for – city life, urban, shopping; or a bracing stroll along the coast; or a walk in the countryside.

You’ve got to emigrate to Australia. What three things would you miss most about Newcastle?

My family. I am born and raised in the region, this is where most of my family live.

Jesmond Dene. Green and trees, a stone’s throw from my house. Ideal for a walk or a sit on sunny days or just a quiet place to retreat to when I need a bit of a break from my desk/computer.

Look North. Its presenters Colin Briggs, Carol Malia, Jeff Brown – legends all. I wish we were friends.

Newcastle is a person – choose three words that describe their personality.

Loyal
Warm-hearted
Resilient

What your three favourite Newcastle phrases or words that you won’t you hear anywhere else?

Claggy 
Spelk
Gadgie

What’s tunes should be on the ultimate Newcastle soundtrack? Choose three – include song title and artist.

I’m rubbish with music. Everyone I asked said Fog on the Tyne. Not sure if they were joking or not.

What three clichés about the North of England piss you off the most?

That we’re all thick, binge-drinking, orange-tanned, football fanatics who are rarely without a Greggs pasty hanging from our gobs.

That we all struggle down cobblestones wearing cloth caps, with our whippets on a length of string.

That we must be living up here under duress or as a stop-gap before moving down South, not because we want/choose to live here. God forbid.

What are your Top 3 things that you are tired of hearing about Newcastle?

What was (coalmining, shipbuilding, decline).

That we are unable to determine the appropriate weather conditions in which a coat is required.

My ears are tired of people trying to do the accent.

A Sgt Pepper Album cover celebrating Newcastle. Which three people – alive or dead, from the past or present – should be on the cover?

There are already two people with North East connections on the original cover:
Stan Laurel – lived in North Shields during his childhood.
Albert Stubbins – born in Wallsend, first played for Newcastle United in 1937.

If I had to pick one more person – Bobby Robson. I don’t particularly follow the football, but he was so a well-loved and respected in the region beyond the sport.

I haven’t named any women for the cover. Oh dear. Erm … Sarah Millican, she’s popular?

“A Luddite in a dress.” Andrew on Huddersfield.

May 9, 2013 in Blog

Andrew WilsonAndrew worked on the online parts of Wondrous Place.

Top 3 Huddersfield experiences that you can’t get anywhere else?

Really well kept real ale and very tasty pizza at 3am in a lovingly recreated Moroccan style bar.
Cycling over the Pennines from Lancashire in the dark – very spooky, even at 8pm
A truly unexpected, independent and unique radical political group.

You’ve got to emigrate to Australia. What three things would you miss most?

The hills – great for cycling and running up.
Its position, right between Leeds and Manchester. Very handy.
Few degrees of separation – because it’s quite small, if you meet smart people, they will quickly suggest you talk to the smart people they know.

Huddersfield is a person – choose three words that describe their personality.

Independent
sceptical
dour

What are your top three favourite phrases or words that you won’t you hear anywhere else?

women in shops calling you luv – it’s like getting a hug from a stranger.

What’s tunes should be on the ultimate soundtrack? Choose three – include song title and artist.

Small Town England – New Model Army
Black Mask – Nope
I was a King – Misko
Gotov Zam – Fuzia

What three clichés about the North of England piss you off the most?

everyone is a unemployed and a drug addict
everyone has a sense of humour
London is different from the rest of the Britain.

A Sgt Pepper Album cover celebrating your city. Which three people – alive or dead, from the past or present – should be on the cover?

Peter Sansom
Jeremy from Coffee Evolution
A luddite in a dress

“the Geordie equivalent of ‘aligning your chakras’ ” Kathryn on Newcastle.

May 9, 2013 in Blog

Kathryn-Beaumont-photo2Kathryn Beaumont is an actor in Wondrous Place.

Top 3 Newcastle experiences that you can’t get anywhere else.

Walking along the quayside from under the Tyne Bridge to the Eye on a Sunday, ambling through the market stalls (99 with a flake is optional), to check out the exhibitions at the Baltic FOR FREE.

Home game at St James’ park – cheek by jowl with the most loyal and vocal fans in the premiership, if you’re in a black and white shirt, you’re one of them.

Dog walking at Tynemouth beach, the velvet palette of blues and oranges, purples and azure and proper fish and chips at the hut!

You’ve got to emigrate to Australia. What three things would you miss most about Newcastle?

Marrowfat/mushy peas.
The craic (me family!) (sense of community on buses, trains, doctors’ offices. People ask you if you’re alreet, and they wait for an answer).
The bridges. Seeing the bridges is the Geordie equivalent of ‘aligning your chakras’ : you stand in line with those structures spanning eras and the Tyne, and you feel in tune with something, plugged in, in direct contact with the line of bygone geordies who were here before you and the line of geordies yet to come.

Newcastle is a person – choose three words to describe their personality.

I feel Newcastle has undergone a transformation in my lifetime.
He was a grizzly, sentimental, calloused old man – honest and quick witted man in heavy work boots.
Calloused, sentimental, witty
Of late she’s a glammed up young woman, who knows her worth and how to handle herself, so divvent start something you canna finish pet!
Glamorous, witty, canny

What your three favourite phrases or words that you won’t hear anywhere else?

Splodging throo the clarts
Toon Toon, Black & White Army
Wey, eeeeh – non verbal fillers

What tunes should be on the ultimate Newcastle soundtrack? 3 – include title and artist.

Blaydon Races – Tim Healy, Jimmy Nail, Kevin Whateley
Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood – The Animals
Big River – Jimmy Nail with Mark Knopfler
That’s Livin Alright – Joe Fagin
Romeo & Juliet/Local Hero – Dire Straits/Mark Knopfler
Message in a Bottle/Let your Soul Be Your Pilot – Sting
Lets Get Ready to Rumble – Ant & Dec

What three cliché’s about the North of England piss you off the most.

That we’re somehow backward or behind the times
That we’re less intelligent/accent as barometer of intellect
That it’s too far away to bother with

What are your Top 3 things that you are tired of hearing about Newcastle?
That everything’s closing down due to cuts
The implied assumption that the mass unemployment is because we’re work shy
**Lazy sexism directed at all Geordie lasses – doesn’t help when it’s perpetuated by high profile geordies…

A Sgt Pepper Album cover celebrating Newcastle. Which three people – alive or dead, from the past or present- should be on the cover?
Bobby Robson
Lee Hall
Charles Grey (of monument fame) – passing of great reform Act of 1832

“It feels like a very creative place.” Sally Hodgkiss on Manchester.

May 9, 2013 in Blog

sally-photoSally Hodgkiss is an actor in Wondrous Place.

Top 3 Manchester experiences that you can’t get anywhere else?

Canal Street. It doesn’t matter if you’re gay straight bi trans – everyone is welcome there. You can have lunch in the sun next to the canal, a quiet pint in a pub or sing karaoke in your best frock; whatever you end up doing it’s a bloody laugh! When I was a teenager me and my 2 best mates were obsessed with Queer As Folk and thought we were EXACTLY like the 3 main characters, so each week we’d watch the episode then go down to the bars and clubs the characters did and pretend we were them. Proper saddos!

Afflecks Palace – an alternative shopping centre. You have to start at the top with a milkshake then work your way down through the vintage shops, barbers, piercing studios, retro toy shops, fancy dress shops and don’t forget Rubber Plantation for all your flavoured condom needs!

The Temple (Temple of Convenience) which is a little bar that used to be a public toilet. It’s got a great drinks selection and lively atmosphere and is tiny so you end up chatting to everybody.

You’ve got to emigrate to Australia. What three things would you miss most about Manchester?

The people. Everyone is so friendly, it’s nice to walk down a street and have people smile and talk to you. They’re also really honest which is refreshing.

The architecture. I love that you can find an old industrial warehouse, a beautiful Tudor pub or a sleek modern structure within feet of one another. And I can’t forget the canal!

The Northern Quarter. This is probably my favourite part of town and I feel very nostalgic about it having spent most of my weekends there and at Piccadilly Gardens as a teenager. I love the eclectic array of shops and cafes, and the great local artwork you can find in the galleries there. It feels like a very creative place.

Manchester is a person – choose three words that describe their personality.

Unafraid. Accepting. Eccentric.

What your three favourite Manchester phrases or words that you won’t you hear anywhere else?

Off yer ‘ed. Sorted. Buzzin. Safe.

What’s tunes should be on the ultimate Manchester soundtrack? Choose three – include song title and artist.

Badly Drawn Boy – Disillusion
Smiths – There is a light
Stone Roses – Fools Gold
Elbow – One Day like this
Joy Division – Love will tear us apart
Oasis – Don’t look back in anger

What three clichés about the North of England piss you off the most?

That we are simple folk that are behind the times.
That we are unsophisticated and that we contribute little to arts and culture.
That our accents are for some reason hilarious and that we sound stupid.

What are your Top 3 things that you are you tired of hearing about Manchester?

That it rains all day every day.
That Mancunians are always up for a fight.
That all Manchester is is broken industries and that there is nothing beautiful about it and the surrounding area.

A Sgt Pepper Album cover celebrating Manchester. Which three people – alive or dead, from the past or present – should be on the cover?

Emmeline Pankhurst. Shelagh Delaney. John Cooper Clarke.

“an amazing place with a bouncy dancefloor” Sarah on Manchester

May 9, 2013 in Blog

Sarah McDonald-Hughes headshotSarah McDonald Hughes wrote Wondrous Place’s Manchester story.

Top 3 Manchester experiences that you can’t get anywhere else?

Go to the top of Hartshead Pike, in Ashton, views for miles and a real sense of wonder.

Get the 42 bus from Piccadilly and stay on til Didsbury – in one short journey on the busiest bus route in Europe (I think?!) you’ll see so many different people, buildings, cultures.

Go to a gig at the Ritz – a beautiful old ballroom that was the scene of my teenage years, an amazing place with a bouncy dancefloor.

Manchester is a person – choose three words that describe their personality.

Resilient, Revolutionary, Romantic

What your three favourite Manchester phrases or words that you won’t you hear anywhere else?

Buzzing, Skriking, ‘Ere-ya’ (it’s a cliché but I do say it all the time)

What’s tunes should be on the ultimate Manchester soundtrack? Choose three – include song title and artist.

Pounding – Doves
Some Might Say – Oasis
This is the One – Stone Roses

I hate that these are all male. But if I’m honest these are the ones (see what I did there).

What three clichés about the North of England piss you off the most?

That people here are stupid and backward. They aren’t.
That people are workshy – couldn’t be further from the truth.
That it’s bleak. It isn’t. It’s wondrous.

What are your Top 3 things that you are you tired of hearing about Manchester?

Rain – yes it rains. But it rains in London too. And the rain here is better

Football. I like football. But it doesn’t define Manchester.

That it’s gang and crime ridden. Obviously in any city there are problems with crime. But so much work has been done in Manchester – by ordinary people – to address problems with gang violence and places that were previously seen as ‘no go’ areas are now brilliant places to live and work. And crime – obviously there is some, but it might surprise you. When I lived in Moss Side I left my car key in my car door all night and it was still there in the morning.

A Sgt Pepper Album cover celebrating Manchester. Which three people – alive or dead, from the past or present – should be on the cover?

Joan Littlewood – not strictly Mancunian but made here her home and upheld that brilliant Mancunian work ethic – a real grafter
Emmeline Pankhurst – leader of the suffragette movement and proud Moss Sider
Danny Boyle – a true Mancunian ambassador – he should make the album cover for his NHS-celebrating Olympic opening ceremony alone

“spending all night giving hair cuts after the clubs have shut” Kate on Manchester.

May 9, 2013 in Blog

kate-j-bwcroppedKate Jessop created Wondrous Place’s animation.

Top 3 experiences that you can’t get anywhere else?

Being part of a basement band – living in houses so big someone always a basement with a drum kit where you can go and jam and form a band on a Sunday afternoon

Making friends with strangers. Going on a night out and making friends with someone who owns a hair salon and spending all night carrying on drinking and giving hair cuts after the clubs have shut.

Being within a 10 centimetre radius of creativity wherever you are – always knowing a designer, musician or writer you can collaborate with wherever you are.

Your city is a person – choose three words that describe their personality.

Vibrant, resourceful, dry

What are your top three favourite phrases or words that you won’t you hear anywhere else?

Chip barm
Brewing up

What’s tunes should be on the ultimate soundtrack? Choose three – include song title and artist.

808 state – pacific state.
New order – temptation.
Happy Mondays – hallelujah.

What three clichés about the North of England piss you off the most?

The only artistic value it brings is the music scene.
It’s violent and crime ridden.
It’s depressing.

“Unicorn foodstore, cloud 23, Jodrell Bank.” Caro on Manchester.

May 9, 2013 in Blog

caro snatch blinkered pic 4 avatar

Caro C created Wondrous Place’s original music and sound design.

Top 3 Manchester experiences that you can’t get anywhere else?

Unicorn foodstore, cloud 23, jodrell bank

Manchester is a person – choose three words that describe their personality.

Ballsy, resourceful, a do-er.

What’s tunes should be on the ultimate Manchester soundtrack? Choose three – include song title and artist.

Gideon Conn – Need you around for this melody
Mr Scruff – Get a move on
Janet Wolstenholme – Monkey town

What three clichés about the North of England piss you off the most?
Everyone’s dumb.

What are your Top 3 things that you are you tired of hearing about Manchester?
Scary, always raining, gun crime

A Sgt Pepper Album cover celebrating Manchester. Which three people – alive or dead, from the past or present – should be on the cover?
Emily Pankhurst, Morrisey, Peter Kay

Boss, Boss and Boss. Luke Barnes on Liverpool

May 9, 2013 in Blog

LukeBarnesLuke Barnes wrote the Liverpool story in Wondrous Place.

Top 3 experiences that you can’t get anywhere else?

The People, Anfield and Shorrocks Hill Night Club.

Your city is a person – choose three words that describe their personality.

Caring, ruthless and honest.

What are your top three favourite phrases or words that you won’t you hear anywhere else?

Boss, Boss and Boss.

What’s tunes should be on the ultimate soundtrack? Choose three – include song title and artist.

A Heart as Big as Liverpool, In My Life and He Aint Heavey

What three clichés about the North of England piss you off the most?

Everyone’s sad, every house is on a cobbled street, there’s always a broken down family within 3.5 meters of any given spot.

What are your Top 3 things that you are you tired of hearing about your city?

Self-pity, Luis Suarez and Calm Down Calm Down

A Sgt Pepper Album cover celebrating your city. Which three people – alive or dead, from the past or present – should be on the cover?

Bill Shankly, Anne Williams and Ricky Tomlinson

“Creative, complex, networked, innovative, realistic.” Sam Meech on the North

May 9, 2013 in Blog

sam_10_webSam Meech designed all the film and projection for Wondrous Place.

Top 3 experiences that you can’t get anywhere else?

Ship n Mitre pub
Statue of Queen Victoria with a penis
IBS Office furniture warehouse

You’ve got to emigrate to Australia. What three things would you miss most?

Everything is pretty concentrated in Liverpool – so much stuff in a small space. I’d miss that ease of walking to where-ever.

Ken Martin and the View Two Gallery on Matthew St – great bloke and lovely gallery space

My studio, and the other freelancers I work with.

Your city is a person – choose three words that describe their personality.

imaginative
narky
open

What are your top three favourite phrases or words that you won’t you hear anywhere else?

There used to be a website called Overheard in Liverpool which was brilliant, lots of absurd things people come out with, but sadly its no longer around.
In its absence, some choice word’s would be “beastin’” or “la”. But really you’re as likely to hear 20 different languages.

What’s tunes should be on the ultimate soundtrack? Choose three – include song title and artist.

Nothing by the Beatles. I used to love them but I’m fed up of them now.

I’m going for artists still based in Liverpool:

Wave Machines – Punk Spirit
John Smith – Watch Her Die
Lizzie Nunnery – Englands Loves a Poor Boy With a Gun

What three clichés about the North of England piss you off the most?

for Liverpool:

the self-inflicted reductive branding of the city skyline, as if all it is is two cathedrals, a radio tower and a lamb-banana
the self-inflicted reductive branding of culture as just the beatles and two football teams

for the North

it being ‘grim’. Its not ‘grim’. its not removed. Its extremely creative, complex, networked, innovative, realistic.

What are your Top 3 things that you are you tired of hearing about your city?

The Beatles
Liverpool FC
Everton FC

A Sgt Pepper Album cover celebrating your city. Which three people – alive or dead, from the past or present – should be on the cover?

No one, I’m not doing Sgt Pepper, for the reasons above.

“The whole city at sunrise from The View in Everton Park” Natasia on Liverpool.

May 9, 2013 in Blog

Natasia HodgeNatasia Hodge is Wondrous Place’s Assistant Stage Manager.

Top 3 Liverpool experiences that you can’t get anywhere else?

Sitting on the docks watching the river roll in and all your worries wash out.
Looking out over the whole city at sunset/sunrise at The View in Everton Park – breath taking.
Becoming best mates with anyone and everyone you meet! Be it the pub, the street or in a queue!

You’ve got to immigrate to Australia. What three things would you miss most about Liverpool?

Scouse sense of humour – everyone is a comedian!
Hope Street! Two theatres, two Cathedrals, the best bars and restaurants in the city, 1 dance studio, a yoga centre…but to name a few!
Pan of scouse and unlimited crusty cobs!

Liverpool is a person – choose three words that describe their personality.

Funny
Creative
Loyal

What your three favourite Liverpool phrases or words that you won’t you hear anywhere else?

Yer ma – insult
Boss- complement
I’m telling ya – in agreement

What’s tunes should be on the ultimate Liverpool soundtrack? Choose three – include song title and artist.

You’ll Never Walk Alone – Once Rodger and Hammerstein now 100% LFC fans
Penny Lane – The Beatles
Tell me it’s Not True – Blood Brothers

What three clichés about the North of England piss you off the most?

The North is grim and run down – Liverpool has the second largest growing economy in the UK, second to London.
It always rains up North. Yes it rains, but that’s Britain not just up North!
We’re all working class up North. We just work hard! (whatever working class means anyway, we’re all human at the end of the day!)

What are your Top 3 things that you are you tired of hearing about Liverpool?

We’ll rob your watch, and anything else we can find – Liverpool is statistically the safest city to live in the UK with the lowest crime rate after Newcastle. (good on ya Newcastle too!)
Any upset or lies regarding and surrounding our football fans.
Impressions of the scouse accent in general and sterotyping our ladies to be all dumb (Desperate Scousewives did not help mind!)

A Sgt Pepper Album cover celebrating Liverpool. Which three people – alive or dead, from the past or present – should be on the cover?

Ken Dodd
Ricky Tomlinson
John Lennon

“I live here, in this magnificent place, and I am proud.” Elise Avery on Liverpool

May 9, 2013 in Blog

Elise AveryElise Avery is Wondrous Place’s Deputy Stage Manager.

Top 3 Liverpool experiences that you can’t get anywhere else?

Arriving into Lime street station any time of the day or night and within 5 minutes having someone make you laugh or smile and feel all warm and fuzzy inside, normally without even knowing it. That’s when I know I’m home.

A pint in a plastic cup from The Cambridge sitting in the sun in Abercrombie Square. (A throwback to my uni days) Come to think of it, a decent pint in any of the great pubs- Ye Cracke, The Grapes, The Pilgrim, The Fly in the Loaf…

Standing anywhere at the docks, or in any of the churches or in any of the parks or museums or anywhere else, in fact, and watching tourists and visitors ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ and thinking ‘yes. I live here, in this magnificent place, and I am proud. This is my special place.’

You’ve got to emigrate to Australia. What three things would you miss most about Liverpool?

The huge variety in the accent and local antics
The incredible skyline, particularly at night
The purple wheelie bins
The sound of the all season ice cream van, the one you hear but never see, and apparently sells ‘special sprinkles’

Liverpool is a person – choose three words that describe their personality.

Bold
engulfing
LOUD

What your three favourite Liverpool phrases or words that you won’t you hear anywhere else?

Eh/alreet Laaaa
Our kid/ Kidda or our (insert name)
Boss

What’s tunes should be on the ultimate Liverpool soundtrack? Choose three – include song title and artist.

I detest the Wombats but the opening line of ‘lets dance to joy division’ –‘I’m back in Liverpool and everything seems the same’ pops into my head every time I return home after being away for a period of time.
You’ll never walk alone- Gerry and the Pacemakers
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother- Justice collective. (For the sentiment, and because people I know were involved in recording it)

What three clichés about the North of England piss you off the most?

Everyone is poor, on benefits, just out for what they can get.
All the women are cheap or easy.
All meals consist of pie, chips and gravy.

What are your Top 3 things that you are you tired of hearing about Liverpool?

It’s not as good as Manchester!
They have horrible accents
That your car will be on blocks if you leave it unattended for 5 minutes or other associated crime based comments. Compared to living in London I feel incredibly safe here, almost like the city scoops me up and carries me home late of a night.

A Sgt Pepper Album cover celebrating Liverpool. Which three people – alive or dead, from the past or present – should be on the cover?

John Lennon, Bill Kenwright, John Bishop

“Boss”, “Is right”, “Sound”. Adam Search’s favourite Liverpool words.

May 3, 2013 in Blog

Adam-photoAdam Search is an actor in Wondrous Place.

Top 3 experiences that you can’t get anywhere else?

. A game at Anfield
. Singing Beatles on karaoke in the city it’s from, in the street they played
. Scouse family christening/wake/party
 
 
You’ve got to emigrate to Australia. What three things would you miss most?

Comedy
Frankness/honesty
Guile/streetsmarts

Your city is a person – choose three words that describe their personality.

Witty
Tough
Clued up

What are your top three favourite phrases or words that you won’t you hear anywhere else?

Boss
Is right
Sound

What’s tunes should be on the ultimate soundtrack? Choose three – include song title and artist.

Within you without you – Beatles
YNWA – Gerry and the pacemakers
Hey Jude – Beatles
There she goes – The La’s

What three clichés about the North of England piss you off the most?

Uneducated
Uncultured
Classless

What are your Top 3 things that you are you tired of hearing about your city?

Thieves
Bitter
Uncooperative

A Sgt Pepper Album cover celebrating your city. Which three people – alive or dead, from the past or present – should be on the cover?

Stevie G
Lenoard Rossiter
Rex Harrison

“The kilt-wearing organist rises from the stage floor.” Lois Maskell on Liverpool

May 3, 2013 in Blog

Lois Maskell Photo
Lois Maskell is the Wondrous Place designer.

Top 3 Liverpool experiences that you can’t get anywhere else?

Friday night fish and chips at Boundary Farm in L26.

Watching a film at The Philharmonic. as the kilt-wearing organist (Dave Nicholas) accompanies the art deco screen rising from the stage floor!

Any night of the week, any day of the year in Ye Olde Cracke (The Crack).

You’ve got to emigrate to Australia. What three things would you miss most about Liverpool?

The pubs. Specifically, being surrounded by the most beautiful craftsmanship and feeling that you part own it. The Philharmonic, Dr. Duncan’s tiles, The crown’s ceiling…

Smithdown Independents: Dafna’s Cheesecake Factory (the Carrot Cake) and The Horse’s Head D.I.Y (where you can buy a single nail if you want – and they’d still wrap it in brown paper for you).

Its vistas. Something about the slope/rise above sea levels, the light from the water and the magnificent architecture makes them endlessly inspiring.

Liverpool is a person – choose three words that describe their personality.

Pioneering. Conscientious. Charming.

What are your three favourite Liverpool phrases or words that you won’t you hear anywhere else?

Aal – as in Aal’fella, as in Old Man, as in Father.
Alright (as a greeting, not a question).
Gobshite/Divvie.

What’s tunes should be on the ultimate Liverpool soundtrack? Choose three – include song title and artist.

In the Morning – The Coral
She’s Leaving Home – The Beatles
The Cutter – Echo And The Bunnymen

What three clichés about the North of England piss you off the most?

That there is no work (that everyone is on benefits).

That its people are inherently warmer and friendlier (there is difference up North too).

Martin Parr over Tom Wood.

What are your Top 3 things that you are you tired of hearing about Liverpool?

Jokes about theft.

That ‘the accent’ grates on people (which one specifically? The accent can depend on any number of factors – postcode, parentage, ethnicity).

The chip on the shoulder cliché. Having an opinion and voicing injustice and discrimination is not bitterness or self-pity.

A Sgt Pepper Album cover celebrating Liverpool. Which three people – alive or dead, from the past or present – should be on the cover?

Eleanor Rathbone
Peter Ellis
George Harrison

What’s fantastic about your city?

April 29, 2013 in Blog

To inspire the show, we thought we’d ask lots of people, “What’s fantastic about Liverpool…Manchester…Newcastle…Sheffield…?” Listen to what lots of different people said in this voice collage created by Caro C for A Wondrous Place:

 

 

So then we asked “What’s the best experience that you can get in your city that can’t get anywhere else?” These are our favourite Twitter and Facebook responses:

NEWCASTLE

from Twitter

@patri5h7 plodgin through the clarts on the town moor when the hoppins are on

@patri5h7 Ringtons tea delivered to your door from a basket. Minchellas in Shields after a paper of fish and chips from the Red Hut.

@NewWritingNorth It’s not Newcastle as such but North Shields fish quay for fish and chips on a cold winter’s day.

@forwardtheatre a 40p cup of tea from the caf inside grainger market.

Prof Richard Barker ?@swrb1 What makes Newcastle/ Gateshead special? @wondrous_place your answer! The Lit and Phil, Newcastle

Anth Osborne ?@AnthOsborneUK the people, the sight of the Tyne on a day like this. The buzz. The places. Awesome. Unbeaten anywhere.

Alison Bell @alisonlaurabell For starters, the beautiful bridges that connect the two.

Amanda Stewart @stewart_amanda Grey Street, jesmond dene, Grainger market, the bridges & the town moor #cowsinthecity

Cherry Cottage @crastercottage #Newcastle – it’s the Geordie passion for the area, the sight of the bridges over the River Tyne the architecture & culture

Gill Carr @ellie99 Attending a show at Ncle City Hall @cityh4ll & feeling the spirit of the fabulous people who’ve played there over the years.

 

SHEFFIELD

from Twitter

@DirtyLyle Jumping off the train, straight into The Howard for a cheeky ale ahead of a priceless time with my big sis @JillTheobald.

@Spowdog HENDERSONS RELISH, same recipe and location for over 100 years. #sheffield

@victoriacivil being able to work in places like this @SumStudios #sheffield

@danpyt a walk down the hill from Crookes to soak up the atmosphere and pubs of Kelham Island.

@JillTheobald music gigs at @Leadmill & art exhibitions at @PeteMcKee gallery

@Spowdog Famous graffiti across the walkway on Park Hill flats. ‘I love you will you marry me’. Ask Sheffield folk for the story.

@ecollyerbristow walking up Surprise View on a clear day

@Supersonic70s A magical mystery tour around Hyde Park Flats & a visit to the legendary Space Centre near Wicker Arches :)

@proletics cycling to the Peaks thru the Parks from Hunter’s Bar & gawping at the view from Ringinglow on the way

@JohnnyfromDonny Hendersons Relish.  I now live on wrong side of Pennines and just can’t buy it. 

@Fairy_Lindsay71 Well thats obvious really – going to see my family and my nan’s homemade cakes :-)

@GingerElanor there is nothing to beat the buzz of the Crucible auditorium, whether for play musical or snooker. Magical.

@GilesSearby going somewhere and seeing non-Sheffielders bemusement at being told – you can’t come in “while” we’re open

@JonWilkins easy, this weekend, Crucible, Snooker.

@jane_ide Well, @crucibletheatre for starters, obvs! ;-)

@philwbayles Any serious cinephile should check out the @showroomcinema’s monthly film quiz. Best damn cinema in the UK!

@lolpop44 Just being there!!! #LoveSheffield

Emily Spowage @Spowdog The wonderful, tree covered hills. I’ve never been to Hollywood, but I bet it’s got nowt on us.#sheffield

Christine Theobald @theobald_ reliving childhood memories of time spent with me dad in my beloved city

From Facebook in Sheffield

Nicola Smith Hendersons Relish!

Andrew Jeffrey Standing on a piece of land covered in heather that used to be a landfill beside a dry ski slope looking out over the city.

Jon Leyland Walking from your house in the city and within half and hour you’re in the beautiful moorland scenery of a National Park – the Peak District.

LIVERPOOL

Twitter

@AlabamaRoxanne Start a conversation with the first stranger you meet. Scouser’s do intimate, endlessly bizarre storytelling.

Fiona Darling @darlingfi not an experience as such but the scouse spirit which you get nowhere else & is totally unique!

Martin Richardson @_MRichardson_ Formby Point, red squirrels. Amazing.

Facebook

Maya Mitter It’s the city itself..the mix of people..it’s a unique daily experience in itself.

Christopher Rakehell Flashcannon Pint and a chat in The Phil.

Scott Carey Scouse solidarity in good times and in bad we come together as one city whatever religion, ethnicity or most importantly footy team!

Lyn Margaret Codman Riding the 82 bus …..never experienced anything more Scouse in my life !!!

George Jones Saying you’re born in the same city as The Beatles…

Jane McNulty The Anglican cathedral – magnificent! (And no, I’m not religious) 

Stan Ryan The people of Liverpool .. The humor, wit and characters!

Sally Fildes-Moss Everyone in the street appointing themselves your Scouse ‘family’ with a right to comment indulgently-but-scathingly about anything you might choose to do in said street…

Martin Kelly Terry Titter 

Louise Baines Shiverpool ghost tours…fab history and street theatre.

Anthony Proctor Sunset over the Mersey in July!

Sam Freeman Neopolitan Cheesecake from The Quarter – 3 layers of joy, utter joy…

Paul Amann Scouse at 31 Mathew Street, best there is!

Lilian T Rouble Chapman Basil Rathbone, Derek Nimmo, Tom Bell, Rex Harrison, Ken Dodd! to name but a few!

Lilian T Rouble Chapman Fake Tans Huge Rollers & Scouse Brows! xx

Tony Penman going to certain places and discovering middle earth

MANCHESTER

@MrLemur1 What is the best Manchester experience that you can’t get anywhere else and why? @wondrous_place – the humour!

@aj1_uk why a visit to the Royal Exchange theatre of course!

Donald Judge @DonaldJudge Sorry other Arts venues and organisations, but it has to be following the amazing students at @RNCMVoice.

 

 

North East Wondrous Playlist

April 11, 2013 in Blog, TYNE AND WEAR

“Fog on the Tyne” Lindesfarne original @ABSCramlington

Big River…..a tribute to the history and heritage of the River Tyne @Gateshead_Ale

‘Local Hero’ its a tune that invades brain when coming across the river (view of the bridges),being on a beach or @ football @James_Sm1th

would have to be Left us to Burn by @MGStephenson ”http://daintees.bandcamp.com/track/left-us-to-burn …. Especially this week…@nwnclaire

Local Hero, Mark Knopfler – cos it makes the hairs on many a Geordie’s neck stand on end @AmandaScurr

Manchester Wondrous Playlist

April 11, 2013 in Blog, MANCHESTER

#DreamingofSummer by @UFO_rockband “Woke up on a Manchester morning …” @NeilMay1

Nick Drake’s Northern Sky. @Emzikles

Station Approach by #Elbow great song is that. @Jim_Adnitt

John Shuttleworth’s “You’re like Manchester” ;-) @chrissycurlz

This Charming Man @JAinscough85

It’s gotta be I Am The Resurrection. Represents the rebirth and reimagining of our beautiful city. @donnaAVP

ooooh…Pounding by Doves. Reminds us of running through Manchester in the rain @monkeywood

Sheffield Wondrous Playlist

April 11, 2013 in Blog, SHEFFIELD

‘Something Changed’ by @pulp2011. My life changed in Sheffield so that’s our song! @Slingy68

Rev & the Makers: Champion of the World. Choc full of the Sheffield spirit. @jane_ide

Sheffield Sex City by Pulp! A celebration of Sheffield, tenderly described, as a lover. @Spowdog

Arctics – When The Sun Goes Down, @WayneHoyle
Richard Hawley – Open Up Your Door, @WayneHoyle
Longpigs – She Said. @WayneHoyle

Has to be the opening bars of Hi Ho Silver Lining, always raises hairs on the back of my neck #SWFC #WAWAW @GilesSearby

Cole’s Corner by Richard Hawley for mentioning THE meeting place in town and a sentiment we’ve all felt. @agathadascoyne

Manor Operatics + audience rendition each year of Tiddly Winky Woo = mutual,local help & love writ large @QuietKnoll

Anything by the Arctic Monkeys, let’s be honest. @_lukedale

I love walking home in summer a bit drunk listening to Tiger Girl by @65dos – it’s carried me along for miles that song :-) @wondrous_place

From Liverpool to Newcastle.

March 28, 2013 in Blog, LIVERPOOL, TYNE AND WEAR

Jonathan-Greenbank-Collection-of-Things-2

Handwritten Postcard by Degna for the Wondrous Place mail art project

Jonathan Greenbank’s ‘Collection of Things’ for the Wondrous Place mail art project (top). This card was sent from Liverpool to Degna Stone in Newcastle, and she created ‘You Can’t Post Yourself Home’ (below), written in response to Jonathan’s art.

Click on the images to see larger versions or here and here.

You Can’t Post Yourself Home. Degna, Newcastle

March 18, 2013 in Blog, TYNE AND WEAR, Wondrous Cities

Handwritten Postcard by Degna for the Wondrous Place mail art project

Degna’s response to Jonathan Greenbank’s Collection of Things sent from Liverpool to Newcastle.

There is a larger version of the image here.

A Collection of Things. Jonathan Greenbank, Liverpool

March 13, 2013 in Blog, LIVERPOOL, Wondrous Cities

Jonathan-Greenbank-Collection-of-Things

Jonathan Greenbank’s collection of things for the Wondrous Place mail art project. This card was sent from Liverpool to Degna Stone in Newcastle.

There is a larger version of the image here