In praise of ‘travel zoo’

Team MPA’s David Smith tells us how a weekend in Liverpool actually turned out to be much more enjoyable than he thought it would be….

“Super deal at that sparkling new Hilton Hotel in Liverpool One. We must go: two nights bed & breakfast with dinner on the first night and a free bottle of wine thrown in…”

I avoided giving an answer. How can a Salford boy even contemplate spending a whole weekend in Liverpool? Two nights would stretch to three days!

After three days of repeatedly hearing this new found enthusiasm for Liverpool I gave in.

So we went via Crosby to see the Iron Men on the beach. I love seeing them, still there with shivering barnacles, two trying to look half decent: one in a bright pair of yellow underpants, the other wearing a white helmet. Every time I see them it really is another place; the sea is different, the light is different, their position in the sands has changed…and still they stand….and stare…out to sea…to another place…..

Image: Alan Cookson

I shan’t bore you with the whole weekend and with the pain seeing Manchester United lose to those men in blue…

…went to the Tate to see one gallery of ‘This is Sculpture’. I chose this particular gallery because it had been curated by Wayne Hemmingway and his son Jack. They had access to the Tate’s own collection of sculpture and focused on human figures in their interpretation of ‘sculpture remixed’. What I loved about this particular exhibition and about the Hemmingway approach was its accessibility.

Just thinking of my own family, my mam and dad would have liked it, we liked it and my two year-old grand daughter would have loved it – why?

My dad would have liked the conservative marble 19th. century carving of Sir Joshua Reynolds, my mother, ‘The Little Dancer – aged 14’ of Edgar Degas. As you go in you pick up a set of ear-phones. You have a choice of music. In the centre of the gallery space is a disco dance floor with flashing coloured squares and yes you step on the floor and dance, me too – my grand-daughter would have loved it; but no-one else can hear the music. All they see are gyrating bodies which become a part of the exhibition! Interaction indeed – and I’ll swear that Maillol’s ‘Three Nymphs’ were smiling…. Even Antony Gormley finds a place lying on the floor; he is everywhere, very erect. Has the man no sense of modesty?


…what else this weekend? Jyll Bradley’s light boxes at the Bluecoat, superb tapas at Lunya (free bottle of wine again!….my favourite Pre-Raphaelites: Rossetti’s ‘Blessed Damozel’ & ‘Sibylla’ at the Lady Lever Gallery and, of course, my bar of ‘sunlight soap’…what more could I ask? Yes; a weekend in Liverpool is OK.


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