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THE MERSEYSIDER MAGAZINE

The print edition of The Merseysider magazine is published annually. Issue 2 is now sold out, but the remaining 5 back issues (including the most recent, Issue 6 [Spring 2015]) can be bought as a special offer pack for just £7.50 including postage, a saving of £5. Individual issues cost £2.50 including postage. Visit our BUY page by clicking HERE.

MAY BLITZ

2016 marks the 75th anniversary of the May Blitz, the seven nights at the beginning of May 1941 when the bombing of Merseyside reached its peak. It was the most intense series of air raids experienced by any British city region outside of London during the war, and more than 1,700 people were killed. Lee Ruddin’s absorbing article Blitz (Di)spirit investigates how Merseysiders reacted to the attacks and to previous bombing raids. Lee’s researches reveal that the standard account of cheerful defiance in the face of adversity doesn’t quite tell the whole story. You can read his article by clicking HERE. (You can also still read on our site David Subacchi’s poem ‘May Blitz’ – click HERE.)

HILLSBOROUGH MEMORIAL SERVICE

The 27th and final annual memorial service at Anfield for those who died at Hillsborough in 1989 was an emotional and impressively dignified occasion. There was an especially moving speech by Trevor Hicks, who lost two teenage daughters in the tragedy and was at the forefront of the long campaign for new inquests. The campaign of course finally achieved its goal, and it’s to be hoped the inquest verdict will prove a just one.

I AM THOMAS

[UPDATE: You can now read our review of I Am Thomas – click HERE.] 320 years ago the equivalent of ‘Je Suis Charlie’ - the slogan coined by supporters of free speech after the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris – would have been I Am Thomas, the title of a new play at the Liverpool Playhouse. It tells the story of Thomas Aikenhead, the last person in Britain to be executed for blasphemy. Described as ‘a brutal comedy with songs’, it’s been put together by a team which includes poet Simon Armitage, who’s written the song lyrics. The play is at the Playhouse until Saturday 27 February. We’ll be reviewing it soon, but for information on tickets etc., click HERE.

KEVIN COWDALL

Popular local writer Kevin Cowdall has just released his second e-book, Assorted Bric-a-brac, on Amazon Kindle. Kevin is known for his much praised World War Two novella Paper Gods and Iron Men, as well as for his poems, which have appeared in numerous magazines, anthologies and websites (including The Merseysider). His poems have also featured on BBC local radio stations. Assorted Bric-a-brac is an anthology of fifty poems, including some drawn from previous collections and some that are newly published. To find out more about Kevin and his work, visit his website: www.kevincowdall.com

THE MASSIVE TRAGEDY OF MADAME BOVARY! 

‘Should be one massive hit’ Click HERE to read our review of The Massive Tragedy Of Madame Bovary!, which is at Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre until 27 February.

ON THE WATERFRONT EXHIBITION

On The Waterfront is an exhibition (running until 19 June 2016) at the Merseyside Maritime Museum. It marks the 300th anniversary of Liverpool’s Old Dock and aims to show how the waterfront has changed and developed in the years since, including the impact it has had on the city and the lives of local people. Lee Ruddin has visited the exhibition and you can read his interesting and informative review by clicking HERE. (Photo: Liverpool Landing Stage, 1937. Stewart Bale Collection, ©National Museums Liverpool)

LIFE ON HOPE STREET

Think of Hope Street and you probably think of public buildings such as the cathedrals at either end, the Philharmonic Hall (and the Philharmonic pub of course), the Everyman Theatre and so on. But Hope Street has always also been a place to live, and in his fascinating article Life On Hope Street, Niall McChesney looks at the history of one of Liverpool’s most famous roads from a residential perspective, focusing on who lived there during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The article includes detailed information about the individuals and families who have lived at particular addresses, providing a revealing insight into Liverpool’s past. To read Life On Hope Street, click HERE.

LORD OF THE FLIES

Photo credit: Johan Persson

Photo credit: Johan Persson

‘A spellbinding adaptation of a classic story.’ Click HERE to read our review of Lord Of The Flies, an acclaimed stage version of William Golding’s famous novel, which is at the Liverpool Playhouse from Tuesday 2 to Saturday 6 February.

OPERA STAR’S LIVERPOOL DEBUT

[UPDATE: Read our review of Yunpeng Wang’s concert by clicking HERE.]

One of world opera’s rising stars makes his British debut at Liverpool’s St George’s Hall Concert Room on Sunday 24 January (7.30pm). Yunpeng Wang, a Chinese born baritone now with New York’s Metropolitan Opera House, has been hailed for breathing new life into the genre since winning Placido Domingo’s prestigious Operalia (an international opera competition). He has regularly shared the stage with Domingo himself and critics worldwide have praised his extraordinary talent. For his concert at St George’s Hall, titled Evergreen Melodies, he will be accompanied by the pianist David Walters and the celebrated soprano Ingrid Kertesi. The programme includes pieces from Mozart’s The Marriage Of Figaro, Rossini’s The Barber Of Seville and other popular operas. For more information, click HERE.

THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE

The Haunting Of Hill House has ‘quite possibly the most remarkable special effects ever seen on a Liverpool stage’. Click HERE to read our review of Liverpool Playhouse’s stunning new supernatural drama.  

SLEEPING BEAUTY

The Christmas pantomime at the Floral Pavilion, New Brighton is always a popular event in the Wirral calendar. This year it’s Sleeping Beauty and you can read our review by clicking HERE.

MIKE BADGER: THE RHYTHM & THE TIDE

Mike Badger founded The La’s but his fascinating new book The Rhythm & The Tide: Liverpool, The La’s And Ever After is about much more than that, with reflections on Liverpool and its cultural scene, and memories of meeting everyone from Adrian Henri to Captain Beefheart. You can read our review by clicking HERE.  

RAPUNZEL: HAIRWAY TO HEAVEN

An ‘endlessly wacky and inventive’ version of the Brothers Grimm fairytale Rapunzel is this year’s pantomime at the Liverpool Everyman. You can read our review of Rapunzel: Hairway To Heaven by clicking HERE.

LAUGHTERHOUSE COMEDY CLUB

Laughterhouse Comedy have opened a new club on Liverpool’s Mathew Street. Laughterhouse have organized shows in the city for many years, notably at the Slaughter House on Fenwick Street and at the Philharmonic Hall. Laughterhouse Mathew Street was launched with a special show featuring Neil Fitzmaurice, Mick Miller and others. Click HERE to read our review.

Laughterhouse are also organizing a special Christmas show, Laughterhouse Live, at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall on Sunday 13 December 2015. The show features seven well-known acts, with Ireland’s Tommy Tiernan topping a bill that also includes Canadian comic Katherine Ryan, Paul Sinha, Gary Delaney, Jason Cook and Alun Cochrane. Neil Fitzmaurice hosts. For more information, click HERE.

MIKE BADGER

Mike Badger’s been a key figure on the Liverpool music scene for around thirty years. In the 80s he founded the La’s (of ‘There She Goes’ fame). Since then he’s been in other bands, made solo albums and set up the Viper record label, which recently released its 100th album. And throughout this time he’s had a successful parallel career as an artist and sculptor. He’s also been a close observer of Liverpool and its cultural scene, and now he’s written about all of these experiences in a fascinating memoir published by Liverpool University Press: The Rhythm & The Tide: Liverpool, The La’s And Ever After. We’ll be reviewing the book soon, but you can hear Mike Badger talk about it at a Q & A and book signing at Waterstones Liverpool One on Thursday 19 November (6.30pm). It’s followed by an after party at the Pen Factory (Hope Street), to which everyone’s invited!

PEKING OPERA HEADS FOR LIVERPOOL

UPDATE: ‘Mesmerising…unforgettable’ You can now read our REVIEW of Farewell My Concubine by clicking HERE.

The performances by the China National Peking Opera Company at Liverpool’s Echo Arena on 13 and 14 November have been justifiably billed as a once in a lifetime opportunity to see one of the world’s great opera companies. They haven’t visited the UK since 2005 and Liverpool is the only location outside London where you’ll be able to see them. They’ll be performing two classical masterpieces: Warrior Women Of Yang (13 November) and Farewell My Concubine (14 November). With spectacular costumes and acrobatic choreography to accompany the singing, the shows promise to be an unforgettable experience. For more information, click HERE.

MY ROMANTIC HISTORY

There’s only one day left to see My Romantic History, which ends its short run at Liverpool’s Lantern Theatre on Tuesday 3 November. Read our review of this ‘very funny’ play by clicking HERE.

THE DAY OF THE PUMPKINS

Here’s something to get you in the mood for Halloween: The Day Of The Pumpkins, a new poem by PVC. Click HERE to read it.

 

A MURDER IS ANNOUNCED!

[UPDATE: YOU CAN NOW READ OUR REVIEW OF A MURDER IS ANNOUNCED BY CLICKING HERE.] A classic murder mystery from the golden age of crime fiction comes to New Brighton when the Floral Pavilion presents a stage version of Agatha Christie’s A Murder Is Announced. Judy Cornwell (whose many other past roles include Daisy – Patricia Routledge’s sister – in Keeping Up Appearances) plays the legendary amateur sleuth Miss Marple in the production, which is at the theatre from Monday 26 to Saturday 31 October. For more information, click HERE

THE NEMESIS: BIRKENHEAD’S ‘DEVIL SHIP’

The UK’s trade relationship with China is much in the news just now. It actually erupted into war a century and a half ago, and a Birkenhead-built ship was integral to Britain’s success, though the sorry saga of the Opium Wars is hardly to our country’s credit. Find out more by reading our fascinating article on Birkenhead’s ‘Devil Ship’ – click HERE.

AMERICANS IN LIVERPOOL DURING WORLD WAR II  - PART 3

The third and final part of Lee Ruddin’s excellent investigative series Americans In Liverpool During The Second World War is now on our website. It’s sub-titled The Ugly, and like the rest of the series is an honest appraisal, avoiding the usual romanticised assumptions and questioning how GIs have been portrayed in films such as Saving Private Ryan and the Elvis vehicle GI Blues. But he also recognises that there was much that was good (and enduring) about America’s ‘friendly invasion’ of Liverpool. It’s another informative, surprising read – click HERE to see it.

BIDSTON LIGHTHOUSE CHESS MATCH SEEKS SPONSORS!

Tony Blades, Birkenhead chess player and coach, is now seeking business sponsors for a 2 game match against Dr Stephen Pickles of Bidston Lighthouse. The idea is to help raise much-needed funds for the upkeep of the 1873 landmark.      

Says Tony, “I so enjoyed the guided tour in September during Wirral Heritage Week. I got the idea when I discovered that Dr Pickles is a strong player.  The main idea is to publicise the importance of this Victorian structure. It deserves our funding and support. Its unique in the world, being situated over 2 miles from the sea. I’m also trying to get it onto QI as a quiz question!   But remember, this match will only happen if we can attract sponsors! Perhaps estate agents (moving pieces!), furniture makers (chess table), breweries ( a glass of beer to help you think). It’s your move!”       Local businesses & individuals who wish to sponsor this event should email Tony at:- tonyblades55@gmail.com or write to: Tony Blades, 106 Paterson Street, CH41 4BJ

 

AMERICANS IN LIVERPOOL DURING WORLD WAR II – PART 2

Part 2 of Lee Ruddin’s absorbing series on Americans In Liverpool During The Second World War, sub-titled ‘The Bar’, looks at the experiences of the black American GIs who spent time in the city. Sadly, the discrimination they faced in the United States was to a considerable extent replicated here, though there were some honourable exceptions among local residents and businesses. It’s a riveting, eye-opening read and you can access it by clicking HERE.

THE GLASS MENAGERIE

‘It’s easy to see why the play is regarded as a modern classic.’ To read our review of The Glass Menagerie at the Liverpool Playhouse (a new production of the Tennessee Williams play starring Greta Scacchi, seen above), click HERE.

THE PLASTIC TREE IN PRENTON

Let’s hope the new law requiring stores to charge customers for bags means sights such as that above become less common. A few years ago PVC, whose poems have occasionally appeared in The Merseysider, wrote The Plastic Tree In Prenton – a poem that now seems very timely. You can read it by clicking HERE.

THE ODYSSEY: MISSING PRESUMED DEAD

Simon Armitage’s entertaining and thought-provoking modern take on Homer’s The Odyssey stars Colin Tierney (above) as a politician who finds himself in a spot of bother (to put it mildly) following a diplomatic incident in Turkey. The Odyssey: Missing Presumed Dead is at the Everyman, Liverpool until 17 October. Click HERE to read our review.

AMERICANS IN LIVERPOOL DURING WORLD WAR II

GIs in Europe

GIs in Europe

As Britain’s most important transatlantic port, Liverpool has had a unique, longstanding relationship with the United States. The link was especially strong during the Second World War, when Liverpool’s crucial role in the war effort was reflected in the many Americans (politicians, GIs, military top brass) who came to the city. Lee Ruddin has now chronicled this period in his study Americans In Liverpool During The Second World War, which we’ll be publishing on The Merseysider website. Relationships between GIs and the local community, visits by American VIPs (including Eleanor Roosevelt), how friendships made during the war continued long after it was over – all this and more is covered in Lee’s fascinating account. He explains that the so-called ‘friendly invasion’ was not all sweetness and light, offering a refreshingly balanced, objective view of an important aspect of Liverpool’s history. You can read ‘The Good’, Part 1 of Americans In Liverpool During The Second World War, by clicking HERE. Parts 2 and 3 will follow soon.