THRESHOLD FRINGE ACTS CALLED IN FOR QUESTIONING …………………Threshold Festival 8th-10th March

13 Mar


Yes my good people, the Threshold Festival was back once again like a Renegade Master (minus the ill behavior) and was  parading itself in full effect like a new brides hairdo. But what is a beautiful new hairdo without its fringe  to compliment the full look  because this year you all got spoilt rotten . Pan AM, Baby Blue, Maritime Museum , Siren@54st.james st and the Lomax  played host to an army of performers so eager to perpatrate we had to put out an A.P.B.

    I had to haul a few in for questioning and luckily for you they’ve all been released without charge.Now I’m no Columbo but I still managed to make them sing like a Canary when the heat was on and they were more than willing to slip a few secrets out.
fringe (2) The Perps  

SHEBEAT ( Maritime Museum Sat 9th 12.30. and 3.30pm)

EUPHONY3 ( PanAm Sun 10th 2.40pm)

The Kipple (The Lomax Sun 10th  7pm)

ALEXANDRA JAYNE Maritime Museum Sun10th 1.30pm)

DOMINIC DUNN Vinea Sun 10th 12pm)

The Questions

1.Punchline of your favorite joke?

SHEBEAT       –       because 7 8 9

EUPHONY3    –       A flat minor

THE KIPPLE   –        So he gave her one
ALEXANDRA –        Mascarpone (mask-a-pony) !!! (cheesy I know!!)

DOMINIC       –        Your Nan 

2.Have you ever swore in front of your parents?

 SHEBEAT  –   I am very sweary, can’t remember the first time… I do try not to in front of Ma & Pa but they’re ok about it and hopefully not too disappointed

EUPHONY3 –  Yes and I got told off for it! I was probably about 14

THE KIPPLEUnfortunately yes i have …. and occasionaly at them which is shockingly grim as me mum is and me dad was totally boss

ALEXANDRA –  I swore in front of my mum when i was around about seven years old and she genuinely attempted to wash my mouth out with soap – for anyone who thinks that’s an urban myth then think again!! I haven’t messed with my mum  since!

 DOMINIC I have but I don’t make a habit of it 🙂 My mum said I used to fall asleep putting two fingers up to everyone when I was a couple of months old!

3.Favorite Birthday present?

SHEBEAT –    Day trip to Dublin for my 19th.Can’t remember much you understand.

EUPHONY3Definitely my keyboard! But Michael MacIntyre tickets close second

THE KIPPLE –  My VW camper Van  that i never did up or got running, but i loved it:o)

ALEXANDRA –  I love live music, and last year a few of my mates bought me some gig tickets – but they all happened to fall one day after the next, so I saw Mumford and Sons one night, The Black Keys the next and Florence and the Machine the day after … and the day after that I had a piece of coursework in!! So a lot of pressure to get my work done but definitely worth it!
DOMINIC A 12 string guitar

4 What would you be a Gold Medalist in ?

SHEBEATHotpants haha

EUPHONY3Solo synchronised swimming

THE KIPPLEI’d be an ace third choice goalie for dutch ladies hockey team

ALEXANDRA I realise this makes me sound about 90 years old but I reckon i’d have a fair shot at winning gold in Olympic crib.

DOMINICQuoting anchorman

Interview suspended.For now but if you see them anywhere be sure to let everyone know………..

8 Mar

Liverpool Cultural Champion's Blog

Anyone who’s taken a Bus into the City centre of Liverpool recently couldn’t have helped themselves  noticing arguably the biggest Theatre poster known to humanity fronting the  Royal Court Theatre ( above ). It’s bigger than P Diddys flat screen . Hell it’s even bigger than Simon Cowells belt buckle. It advertises HOPE  the latest offering from prolific writer and actor Scot Williams who first cut his teeth writing for the theatre at the tender age of 19 with ‘Growing Young’ at the Liverpool Playhouse. Since then he’s also notched up several film roles (He played Pete Best in Backbeat y’know ) and several award winning dramas including Liverpool One in which two of  Hopes co-stars Mark and Samantha (Scouse and Spouse) Womack also starred. But this heralds a first for Scot at the Royal Court having aired his previous works virtually next door at the Playhouse . I could…

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WHAM BAM THANK YOU GLAM. Glam! The performance of Style .Tate Liverpool 8th feb – 12 may

8 Feb


     Being a 70s kid my burgeoning and non hairy toes took their first dip into the world of culture right smack bang in the middle of what could arguably be termed the  most flamboyant and colourful scene of the last century.GLAM. Whether born out of the Hippie movement ,Psychedelia, The Sexual Revolution or politically motivated, it had invited itself to the party and even if it’s name wasn’t on the list it was still coming in.

In the same vein the Tate Liverpool has thrown itself a party which in its own words attempts to ‘visually demonstrate the development of glam and it’s various manifestations in the UK and  USA through cultural material from the period’

my uncle Tom

This was an exhibition I was really looking forward to and I have to admit I had certain expectations relating to my  definition of Glam. A bit of Ziggy, Bolan, Ferry and anyone else on the bill at Top of the Pops during the early 70s. This was satisfied immediately upon entering the exhibit and viewing the Album cover mural displaying  albums such as Diamond Dogs (Bowie), In the Court of the Krimson King (King Krimson), Stranded(Roxy Music), They only come out at night (Edgar Winters group) as well as many others.They were just the ones I recognised from my own collection. Apart from a few jackets displayed alongside  (in particular a Cherry & Ladybird Jacket from Alkasura, on the Kings Road)  there was a notable absence of  Glam attire on display. I think this may  well be felt by a lot of those who visit the exhibition only because I suspect for a lot of us our  experience of Glam  were the clothes as well as the Music  .I can still recall my then cultural mentor , my uncle Tom, a cool teenager with en vogue ginger shoulder length hair and an undying love for David Bowie  tutoring me in the ways of musical righteousness. As our babysitter he introduced us to Space Oddity and coerced me and my brother and sisters to come up with a routine to perform alongside it.

But to refer to it as I did earlier, the exhibition demonstrated glam as a scene and there is no scene without it’s people. Bearing this in mind the Performance of Style exhibition  demonstrated not just that but excelled in it using popular Cultural Icons as its introduction before it identified themes and  factions within in it .Themes which unapologetically address androgyny  both pretentiously and without pretense. Works by David Hockney, Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol,  Allen Jones and Richard Hamilton exemplified this and a particular highlight was a painting by Franz Gertsch titled ‘At Lucianos House’. I had to inspect it closely to believe it was a painting. Unfortunately due to not wanting to infringe on any copyright issues you will have to see the painting for yourself but by way of trying to  make up for this I have devised a small  collection from my own personal glam gallery and although I didn’t share the same flamboyant and slightly hedonistic message to the world I was a part of, I did do a fair bit of styling and profiling.

clockwise from top right-Ginger in Red, Ginger with cap, Ginger with fur collar.

Whether you’re a music enthusiast or share an  interest in examining the components that make up a popular cultural movement or like myself  have  part of your heart firmly stuck in the 70s theres every chance (like me again) you’ll leave the Tate Liverpool with a hankering for a 7 minute album track carrying a party Seven under your arm whistling the theme tune to ‘Man about the house.’

The exhibition continues until 12th May 2013.

For more info click

6 Jul

Liverpool Cultural Champion's Blog

This weekend heralds the start of a great Liverpool musical comeback.Whats that you ask? Flock of Seagulls? Atomic Kitten? Our Kid? No you crazy fools!  TICKLE THE IVORIES  is back and I needn’t  spin the sequel by claiming its bigger, bolder,  with more stunts and car chases and all that malarkey because it really doesn’t need it.

With five pianos dotted around the L1 shopping district , dozens of different pianists and entertainers will be the star of this years summer blockbuster and for anyone who missed it last year then you really will be in for a treat. The Acts vary from Choirs, duets, quartets, classical, cabaret, singers songwriters and your lowly busker types like myself who were lucky enough to take part in last years event and are equally honoured to take part  this year.

The real beauty of this initiative, which is the brainchild of the hardworking…

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LIVERPOOL ACTORS STUDIO 36 Seel Street my second bite of the cherry

4 Jul

On Saturday just passed I made what I would consider to be  a schoolboy error in Cultural Champion terms.I walked straight past the event I was looking so forward to attending.It was a comedy  at the LIVERPOOL ACTORS STUDIO in Seel Street  called “JUSTINE AND TONY” from two very comically gifted actors Catherine Rice and Barrie Ryan English.A bittersweet comedy highlighting the trials and tribulations of the cabaret world between a performing married couple.The tagline reads “One Van One Mullet One Gob.

This faux pas seems all the more regrettable knowing that my reply to an invitation from Catherine( who is also the executive director of the Liverpool Actors Studio) was “I’m in there like swimwear.” The swimwear on this occasion it seems was an unflattering and very snug Borat styled mankini.I could only console myself with the knowledge that I’d at least seen the research in some of Catherines comedic and musical back catalogue notably JOKA and UTOPIA both of which hit the mark on all counts although I still needed to atone for my absence .

Like most people my age “If I knew back then………..” becomes a frequent platitude BUT if I’d have known back then on the 30th June that the entrance to THE LIVERPOOL ACTORS STUDIO waImages at CAFE 36 on Seel street (yeah alright I know it seems obvious now) then I’d have seen the show before English Rice Productions take it to Edinburgh.Anyway, as I said before I felt the need to make amends and I’m also keen to get my bum on an Actors Studio seat so this Thursday I’m going to walk up Seel Street, stop at CAFE 36,enter and watch the production of DESPERATE SCOUSEWIVES the play penned  by Lynne Fitzgerald and Clare Bowles,starring Lynne Fitzgerald,Clare Bowles,Phillipa Goodwin and Bernie Foley .

I think my little Saturday night Mr Magoo episode reinforces an important point which is the intention of all us Cultural Champions and that is to find these hidden gems and become a part of  all they offer and simply spread the word. As an 80 seat Theatre the Liverpool Actors Studio answers our city’s  artistic need  to promote  up and coming writers and performers , providing an intimate audience experience and without trying to sound romantic here, an “I was there” afterthought which is always a seductive draw.I’m looking forward to this coming Thursday but I think it’s best this time if I leave the mankini  at home.


for more information and for all your Liverpool Actors Studio needs contact;

L.M.A.O.( learning more about oneself) .My acronym of the weekend that didn’t pass by

13 Mar

OMG!  If I would have seen those letters together more than a year or two ago i would have believed that the band Orchestral Manoeuvres had finally come out of the dark into the garden singing “Enola Gay, you should have mowed the lawn yesterday.” So why did I find myself in mobile conversation world blurting it out in every message over the weekend. Well it was because of  my sheer impatient stupor  brought on not by a witches curse but by an incremental but overwhelming expasion of the mind.

My first cerebral episode took place  in the gallery  of the Playhouse watching  Streetcar named Desire . I was transfixed watching the actress Amanda Drew as Blanche Dubois. I’ve had my fair share of being sucked into an outstanding movie performance before now but Ive never experienced anything to the point where I’ve  been unable to function as  typical Johny , yet to decompress within the still potent atmosphere of that which I had just been swimming in. I never thought it was at all possible to be this besotted by something of limited contrivance to the screen but there I was. Orchestral Manoeuvres on the Grass indeed.

Me and my fellow Champion Andrea were in total agreement over this and she was able to cast the voodoo spell aside well enough to catalogue her account eruditely in a previous blog on this page. I on the other hand am still fantasising about saving Blanche Dubois and facilitating  her reliance on a strangers kindness. My solice though is in the knowledge that both Andrea and I left a message of congratulations on a brilliant performance to be given to Amanda Drew ( as well as our ticket stubs for an autograph). My LMAO( see title) moment came when I had researched  Amanda afterwards discovering amongst other things that she was  known for playing a psychotic Dr(May Wright) in Eastenders. Not an Eastenders viewer so DLMAO but when I discovered she played the mother in the amusing Vicks First Defence advert  nipping the childs supermarket tantrum in the bud by having one herself something profound occured to me.I wonder if  those watching the advert would  think the actress playing the mother would later be pulling off a performance worthy of an Olivier award?

Well as entertaining as the advert is, I know i wouldn’t have been expecting such a thing.Only for the mere fact that is doesn’t give us any obvious scope into Amandas extraordinay capabilities.That mode of thinking  doesnt apply  to me now and as such, constitutes my first learning experience of the weekend.

Sunday saw me reverting to type and plonking myself in a comfy corner of the Zanzibar club in Seel St at around 4.30 ready to witness all that its  Sunday Sessions had to offer. The Host Dave Owen introduced the teatime til last bus proceedings with his usual Oswaldtwistle charismatic patter ( he tells me he’s lived here 11 years but never managed to shake off the accent). Like the “Learn to Swim” public information advert of my formative years, Meet Dave. He can do anything ; Play guitar real good, look cool without trying, write songs displaying his GSOH, did I say play guitar real good?  Round about the time he was selling his wares on stage so to speak, a young girl  meekly walked to the side of the stage area and opened up her guitar bag getting herself ready to be the first official turn of the early evening. No swagger in her jip.  No ” Yeah look I’m getting my guitar. Hey I said LOOK!”  there was non of that. A demeanour almost apologetic even after Daves enthusiatic introduction. Her first words  to the crowd were something  along the lines of  ” I don’t know whether you’ll want to hear this after that ” and then the young girl Shannen Bamford played………………..Having  gigged a bit in my time I know not to subscribe to the old adage of  Those who look the part usually are the part and I’m sure we can all give our own examples of this. It’ makes it all the more  refreshing  to witness the other swing of the pendulum. Her stylishness was clearly evident and when she was on stage and in flight was a total commander  flawless in execution and truthful in heart but it was totally without warning and all the more endearing for it. No Swagger.No Ego. No big talk and unfortunately because of the hectic running format, no encore. WTH!

So travelling home that evening  weary from my death by satisfaction I became aware that a similar lesson had been learnt  to that of the previous day and if there’s anything this weekend has taught me in an aid to becoming a worthy Cultural Champion it’s expect the unexpected. Oh and when my daughter replied to my Why don’t you join me at the Zanzibar text message she didnt mean “Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark ” but “Out Meeting Danielle”

TOPOPHOBIA …The chronicles of a newbies first event.

6 Mar

As someone whos default setting on the stimulus-ometer is  Music I was keen to  attend the Topophobia Art preview on 2nd March at the Bluecoat to see if it rivalled anything I may have felt had I turned up  somewhere like  Heebies or the Zanzibar on any  afternoon or evening .Would I leave the Bluecoat eager to text a friend “youve got to get onto this” or “I was Blown away” with the same just tried chocolate for the first time enthusiam reserved for after gigs. Well I think it was a big ask but even so i was still looking forward to the event.

In my heightened state of distraction at becoming one of the new 2012 Cultural Champions I made my first schoolboy error and turned up instead at F.A.C.T. where a polite but bemused receptionist informed me “theres nothing like that here tonight love sorry.” I glanced at my invite ,realised my mistake and quickly apologised in a crimson faced stylee  bidding a hasty retreat.

Entering the foyer of the Bluecoat and witnessing the artistic collective of near clique proportions I tried my best to hide my inexperience and Billy no mates demeanour convinced that within five minutes I’d be walking round grinning awkwardly like Peter sellers in The Party muttering “Birdy Num Nums” to an unsuspecting elite. Heading towards the complimentary  wine my luck began to change. I spotted my cousin Louis  working at the bar. A face I knew and more importantly, he knew me.

Armed with a glug of wine and a familiar exchange I claimed my entitlement  and entered TOPOPHOBIA ...fear of place.Of the various exhibits there,a few in particular caught my attention. The First being Mathias Einhoff Brache Berlin2006. A short video sequence of wasteland within the area of  the Old Berlin Wall .The mix of sweeping  camera angles and  frantic urban noises gave me a feeling similar to being one twirl away from needing to get off the Waltzers. The  mischevious in me was saying “Note to self.Must show daughters.”

Next  on my list of consumption was Uta Kogelsberger Urban Myths2009. A selection of photographs depicting American Cityscapes and Landscapes.

For me whenever I view any photograph the size of a kitchen window it already has its foot in the door.I sauntered from one end of the exhibit to the other then back and then back again finally standing as far back as I could  viewing them altogether in their entiriety,equally as pleased with each perspective and wondering if, after they had done the rounds at various other venues, I might be able to take one of them home.

The last of the plaudits go to Marja Helander. She presents a series of pictures that depict her own humurous take on being caught between two worlds, Modern and Traditional. The photography is of the finest quality and its no wonder  the photo Go Between(noaidi), inara (2002) appears to be the advert for the TOPOPHOBIA event itself. It reminds me of  a front cover picture found on one of my older twin sisters set of 20 Junior Encyclopedias.Maybe it was number 5 of the collection  F  for ….Finland, Fringe collars and Funky Boots.

I left the bluecoat that evening satisfied and reassured that I’d got it wrong all along.I was always entitled to be there.I felt like I had appreciated the  intentions of each artist and had taken all that was on offer .It didn’t have to be a gig to be my thing or my mates thing when i texted him to say “you have to get down to the Bluecoat and see this.” The truth of the matter was, I had been made a very welcome guest at this party.I wasn’t Peter Sellars after all.

  • Topophobia at the Bluecoat Sat, 03 Mar 2012 – Sun, 22 Apr 2012
  • 10.00 AM – 6.00 PM

The Party“(Peter Sellars 1968) available on or you can just lend my copy.