I’d been shopping in Marks & Spencer the other day. When I walked outside I stood stock still looking like a drooling fool until one of my colleagues came along and asked if I was ok. Truth was, I’d had a sudden and overwhelming sense that I no longer knew my life.
My life used to be quiet and sedate and now here I am, a Cultural Champion, and life has become a great big massive whirl.
One of the things that’s surprised me more than anything is the sheer amount of stuff there is to see and do in Liverpool. Another is the fact that, no matter what event you go to, there are always loads of other people who already know all about it. I wasn’t prepared for this at all. Had I been living under a cultural rock all this time?
I was out with my favourite +1 friend, Vickie, one night at a packed event and we were wondering how all of these people know about all the stuff that’s going on. Now we’re a couple of generally savvy, up-and-at-em women, but we never knew about all the stuff out there. As we pondered this, Vickie quite eloquently said,
This is like An Idiot Abroad in your own city.
She couldn’t have been more right.
The other thing I’ve done is I’ve started to look up. It doesn’t sound much, but it’s made a massive difference to me. As I go about my daily business, instead of looking down, or at my phone, or, more often, inward, I’ve actually opened my eyes and looked at what’s happening around me. It’s amazing and I urge you to do it.
On my way home one night, instead of flicking through Facebook and Twitter on my phone, I looked out of the window of the bus I was on. As I did I saw adverts for shows and events I could go to and I witnessed the gorgeous sight of a guy with a guitar, an amp and a mic on the corner of Mathew Street singing Fast Car while no-one else noticed him. I wish he could’ve seen me watching him. He was great.
As we approach the last two months of being Cultural Champions, trying to pack in everything we can, I’m astonished at the sheer volume of things there are to do.
Last night as I was waiting for the bus home after a particularly great event we’d been to, I listened to two strangers having a conversation at the bus stop. One guy was from Cumbria and the other, from Liverpool, was asking him about life in the city. The guy from Cumbria talked so passionately about the culture in Liverpool, I was really proud of my city and very moved as he said, “There’s so much culture in this place, I don’t think you realise how lucky you are.”
Well I for one am starting to see that. In the next two short months, I’ll never fit in everything I want to and so I’ll simply carry on into 2013 and beyond. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Just get your family, your friends, or even – as I’ve done – people you know vaguely, and go out and see what’s on offer. Sod the housework, the ironing, the garden – they’ll all be there when you get back – and, like me, you might just find it changes everything for you. Like me, you might just find that it will change your relationships with others, your relationship with this wonderful, unique city, maybe even your life.
This Saturday 23rd June will bring a ray of sunshine to the Kensington part of Liverpool as we prepare for the Arts celebration – a celebration of all that is good in the area.
This year, the stage is set for local talent to strut their skills performing. Last year we had the event packed out with singing, dancing and martial arts demonstrations which will continue in abundance with much more on offer. We have live music, a dog agility show and birds of prey displays. Commando Joe’s Boot Camp makes an appearance with drama, sporting activities, ‘beat the goalie’, face painting and yes! Free Running!!!
Turn up between 11.00 and 16.00 and get involved. Try your hand at ‘Belly Dancing’, the climbing wall or even circus skills! If sporting activities don’t appeal to you, then partake in an adult education course or visit the NHS healthy support stalls for a blood pressure test, healthy eating tips, anti-smoking advice or just contribute to the many charity tables. If you have time, just visit me and family on the Polish table, creating garlands made from wild flowers and grasses. We are one of the many cultural stands promoting an education in East European lifestyles and can converse in Polish, Russian and Lithuanian if need be. What you make on our stand, you take and the floral arrangements certainly provide a beautiful table decoration.
The whole event is a performing, creative and visual arts festival and having been involved in its early development a few years ago it has certainly progressed well. Its aims are to promote the beautiful Newsham park, raise arts and cultural awareness, bring different cultures together, promote community cohesion, provide an opportunity for artists, agencies and providers to meet with the community.