Perspective’s a Bitch

Agony of Failure

Agony of Failure

The post-mortem is in full swing. Just two games ago Liverpool stood on the brink of the greatest achievement since 1965 (the year they won their first FA cup). This morning that dream lies battered and broken. Only time will tell if the wounds inflicted by a tremendous Palace fight back are to prove fatal (they probably will).

So does 2013-14 represent a golden sky or a storm? If you are like me, the answer probably changes minute to minute, much like our season. Compare how you felt after Hull City with the euphoria that greeted full-time against City at Anfield, and you see my point. It all depends how you look at it. Perspective is everything.

No player illustrates this more than Luis Suarez. Last night he cut a dejected figure on the turf at Selhurst Park. Make no mistake, this man wanted to deliver Liverpool’s 19th title just as much as the magnificent travelling Kop.

I believe his tears were genuine. The pain he felt was real and heartfelt, and made all the worse by how tantalisingly close the dream was/is. Flashback to those pre-season friendlies last summer though, and we see a very different man. Forced to train alone, sulking and begging to leave. What a difference a season makes. Perspective is everything.

Summer of discontent

Summer of discontent

Luis Suarez deserves to play at the very highest level of world football. Last summer he couldn’t see that happening at Liverpool. None of us could. Most of us thought we would struggle to achieve a top four finish. How many really believed Suarez would still be around come May?

Had someone offered us top three, and the prospect of watching ‘El Pistolero’ in the Champions League at Anfield next year back then…………. Well you get my point. The fact is we would have accepted that gleefully.

From this perspective our season represents a glorious treat. We have witnessed the most remarkable rebirth ever.

Fresh from signing a new long-term contract, the one time pariah is now cleaning up as they hand out the end of season awards. His 31 goals and 14 assists have transformed both his and Liverpool’s season, and alas our expectations too. Never has a player and a clubs journey been so perfectly in sync.

Remarkable Rebirth

Remarkable Rebirth

Luis has been a model pro on and off the field, terrorising defences in the right way. Liverpool have served up sumptuous football, lapped up by the élite of the European football. Guardiola described us as awesome only a matter of weeks ago. History seemed with us, and positives were all around.

If only we could live in that moment forever. Instead fate drags us kicking and screaming into the here and now. As hangovers both real and metaphorical begin to clear, the perspective is once again transformed.

Liverpool sit on top of the league (not the targeted fourth spot) with a game to go. An unlikely miracle may yet deliver us the holy grail, but we all greet the morning with broken hearts.

Whatever happens next Sunday, most reds will greet the summer with far more optimism than they felt in 2013. You just feel that the best players in world football will be looking at this Liverpool ‘project’ very differently now. Can anyone really see Spurs or even Chelsea and United nicking our targets now?

Next season we will be rubbing shoulders with the very cream of European football. Trouble is just as we can’t live on past glories, neither can we yet enjoy the bright future on offer. We have to live in the now.

Perspective’s a bitch.

Jeff Goulding

6th May 2014

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Home From Home

Cath Taylor

Cath Taylor

Cath Taylor shares her thoughts and experiences as an adopted Scouser, enjoy……….

1991 was the year that saw me qualify as a nurse and start work in the intensive care unit at what was then the Cardiothoracic Centre (now Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital) which was always known to patients, families and public alike as ‘the chest unit at Broadgreen’… much to their chagrin as they have always strived for independence since they split from the RLBUHT in 1991.

I did my training in my local hospital and school of nursing at Warrington. Warrington was a small (ish) town in those days and consequently, it was a relatively small hospital with no real specialities or major treatment depts. When I qualified, I had set my sights on doing different things and maybe travelling the world and finding my way through different experiences within nursing, on my way to education.

Until that is, I went to work on intensive care in Liverpool. There I was in 1991 and indeed, there I stayed in Liverpool until 2013 when my wanderlust finally caught up and I moved to Lancashire (a million miles away!). Throughout the period 1991 to 2013 I did different things at the hospital but was hooked on Liverpool right up until I left in 2013 (and looking to come back!).

July 1991 when I moved to Liverpool, was also the post first Gulf War and a plethora of other major stories that broke that year. Not unlike it is now… sad to see so many things have not changed in our world… but one thing which has changed significantly, is Liverpool. In those days Liverpool (to me) was a scary and wild… but friendly place. There were places you were advised not to go after dark and places you could walk down the street at 3am naked and no one would bat an eyelid! All that has changed now. Today it’s a joy to behold and a hotbed of cultural happenings, restaurants, bars and unlike any other city in the UK is truly embracing of a multicultural, cosmopolitan ethos.

When I moved to Liverpool I was what the patients and their families used to refer to as a ‘woolyback’. Of course, I had no idea what this meant and where it came from. It always seemed to be said with an edge of banter and humour so I didn’t take too much offense and if honest, it’s only recently that I discovered the real meaning behind it… it actually refers not only to those residents from towns around Liverpool (like Warrington) but also those who worked on the docks in Liverpool unloading wool from the ships.

Which kinda brings me to the gem of a man who sealed my love of the city. Lets call him John (not his actual name). It was 1993 and John had been a patient on my dept and was due to go home. In the evening before he was a little anxious and so whilst waiting for the handover to complete for the nightshift, I sat talking to him. He explained a lot about his life – how he’d worked on the docks and lived for his wife, kids and the rest of the family… alongside going to see his beloved Liverpool as he was a season ticket holder. John these days was a taxi-driver and a fairly young man but getting towards that of a certain age. He knew he couldn’t continue with ‘hard physical graft’ any longer and needed to rethink things. So we sat talking about what was important in life… and he told me, people… people are important. Learning about who they are, why they want to do the things they do, why they’re sad, kind, not so kind, happy etc. What makes people tick… John reckoned finding the key to what makes people tick is the answer to knowing what makes Liverpool tick.

On the way home that evening, it hit me that I’d been having a hard time settling down in Liverpool

and some of it was because I was lonely. I’d settled into the nurse’s home without a thought and then I wanted to move on and make new friends, acquaintances and build a life… I didn’t want to just always be ‘a woolyback’ and an outsider. Liverpool can be very protective of their own and very welcoming, to the right people. After a while, I settled outside the nurse’s home with a partner, we made friends and I often thought back to John and the things he said. In the end I made it my business to find out about my adopted home, the city, the people, the great things it stands for, the famous faces and places, all of those things and more. I would read up about football and decided I had to be red or blue (red) … it really didn’t matter which colour … what mattered was that I took the time to find out about an important aspect of the city and its people and culture. You don’t fit into a place like Liverpool without embracing it… but when you do, they welcome you with open arms… and often they don’t let you go.

I remember the day when I knew I was adopted. It was 1993 and I was working on a surgical ward, it was a sunny day and the ward was bright and cheery – almost everyone in my bay was recovering well and ready in the next few days to go home. So of course, there were high levels of banter amongst the men. I’d been talking about the match at the weekend between Liverpool and some unfortunate team that ended up getting pasted! When… a man asked me ‘where are you from…? Your accent isn’t scouse, but it’s not wooly either…?’ So I said I was originally from Warrington but lived now in Aigburth. One of the other chaps chimed in ‘she’s no wooly, she’s an adoptive scouser’. That day I went home for the first time in ages, feeling like I not only fitted in but it was clear, I had made a difference to these people’s lives… more to the point, they had adopted me and let me… and now were treating me as one of their own.

Since that day to this, I’ve always found it easy to work in Liverpool. I’ve always found it easy to fit in… because people from Liverpool know when you take the time to commit to somewhere, you’re not just passing them off and over like most, you’re not just seeing the surface… but you’re taking them seriously and hearing and seeing them for what they’re about. You’ve taken the time to see what makes them tick. Goes a long way with scousers does that

Cath Taylor

15 Jan 2014

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Liverpool Film Maker Shines Light on Actual Liverpool

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In pictures: 11 beautiful Liverpool sunrises to wake up to – Liverpool Echo

Check out these stunning Mersey sunrises published in the Echo

In pictures: 11 beautiful Liverpool sunrises to wake up to – Liverpool Echo.

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S.A.S. Stun Potters

Sturridge and Suarez

Sturridge and Suarez

What a season this is shaping up to be. Liverpool went into todays game knowing a win was essential, and the players looked like they knew exactly what was at stake. With all the teams around us winning yesterday, today was no time for faint hearts. So many times before our team would have wilted under such pressure, but not on this occasion.

Stoke are a team that the reds have never beaten at the Britannia in the premier league. They have held Everton, and beaten Chelsea at home, so we knew we were in for a monumental battle, and so it proved to be the case.

The first half was hard to bear. The lads raced into a 2 goal lead, courtesy of a massive deflection from a Sissoko shot (5), and a moment of genius from King Luis (32). I got carried away and allowed myself to entertain thoughts of three points and 4th spot once more. The travelling Kop seemed to agree, and their voices drowned out the usually noisy Stoke fans.

Liverpool have never done things the easy way, and two ex reds ensured this trait would continue. in the 39th minute, Crouch was allowed far too much space in the box, and headed brilliantly into Mignolet’s bottom corner, to bring Stoke back into the game. Fairplay to Crouchy he didn’t celebrate, but that was no consolation.

You could sense the equalizer coming, and another ex red Charlie Adam dutifully delivered with the kind of strike we saw far too little of in a red shirt. Half time arrived as a blessed relief. Judging by my SMS in box blue hearts were souring, and red stomach’s were sinking. If I am honest I could only see a draw or a defeat at this stage.

Liverpool have displayed quality and character in spades so far this season, and that’s compensated massively for our porous defence. I don’t know what Brendan said at half time but it worked, and out came the lads to have another go. It took just 6 minutes for the lead to be restored.

More mishaps in the stoke rear guard let Sterling in, and to be fair it didn’t take much for him to go down in the box. It may have seemed harsh on the Potters, but we (in particular Sterling) have been on the receiving end of some terrible decisions this season, so we’re not going to apologise too much when one finally goes our way. Penalty Liverpool, and up steps veteran captain Gerrard, playing his 650th game, to put us back in front.

You sensed this wasn’t going to be enough, and when Suarez linked up with Sturridge (on for the excellent Coutinho) I was out of my seat once more. The magician latched onto a great pass from his strike partner, and unleashed a fierce shot from a tight angle into the bottom corner, and our two goal lead was restored with just 19 minutes to go.

Surely that was that? Not so, and an absolute howler, by the otherwise impressive Mignolet let Stoke back into the game in the 85th minute. Cue a deluge of morbid texts from reds, and jubilant ones from blues. This was turning into a classic.

I’ll come back to that quality and character, mentioned earlier. Liverpool had just too much of it, and Stoke eventually submitted. From the moment Sturridge’s name appeared on the squad sheet for todays game, you felt the script was written, and so it proved to be.

just two minutes after Stoke sent reds into panic, Suarez delivered a sublime cross field pass, which Sturridge race onto, unleashing a great shot. I was convinced it had gone in. I was wrong, but the striker, back from a nine game absence showed no signs of rustiness. He took on the rebound and dispatched it brilliantly.

Stoke weren’t finished. There was even time for Mignolet to save spectacularly from a Gerrard header, preventing what would have been the own goal of the season. Four minutes injury time proved insufficient for any more scares, and the points were heading back to Anfield with the jubilant Travelling Kop.

Jeff Goulding

January 12th 2014

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Scouser’s in Their Own Words

Ian Golder

Ian Golder

The last census in 2011 told us there are 465,700 people living in our city. That tells me there are 465,700 stories waiting to be told. So, in the first of another new series on the site, Ian Golda (pictured above on a tour of New York) shares his experiences of living and working in Liverpool. In his own words…..

Taxi Driver


Ian Golder

I left school in the summer of 1987. I’d stayed on at school in 6th form but I’m still not sure why! I wasn’t ready for university or the leaving of Liverpool. My first job was in a carpet factory by Aintree racecourse, it lasted 3 months. We were pulled into an office to be told there were redundancies. Last in First out!

After a few useless courses that appeased the government figures more than me (some things don’t change) I found myself heading off to London. I was a little late getting on that particular gravy train and it wasn’t working out, especially as I was heading back every two weeks to watch my beloved Liverpool FC.

I had a couple of friends on the taxi’s back home and decided to try my luck, and applied to do the knowledge test. I got myself down to the Municipal buildings on Dale Street and never looked back (well I did once and smashed into the back of a 14c bus).

So by September 1991 I was beginning the journey around the streets of our great city. That journey lasted 22 years and 4 months. I often wonder how many miles I racked up around the same old roads and streets.
I have seen so many changes to the city over the years. New houses and estates popped up, The city centre changed shape from a dour somewhat dirty looking place, dragged through the mud of the Thatcher years into a vibrant, cosmopolitan and exciting place to live and be. I noticed how the clientele changed from a very localised custom to one built on tourism, as well as all those lovely local Scouse shoppers and drinkers.

Back in ’91 the hackney trade was given its first tariff rise in quite a few years. I was told I had joined the trade at a dark time. It was good money though to me and an enjoyable experience, however despite the success of the city on the whole, over the following years I would see a steady decline in living standards. Eventually in January 2013 I had to admit defeat and concentrate on my other job as a carer/support worker.

Despite the hardships of taxi driving, looking back at my time both in the Hackney trade and private hire trade, I had a fantastic experience and wouldn’t swap it for the world. I do look back on driving that big black box with fondness. There is something magical about picking up a new visitor from Lime Street station at night and the first thing they see is a well lit up St George’s Hall. The number of times I heard cries of shock as they expected to be pulled onto a dust road and told to take cover on the floor of the cab only to witness this masterpiece in all its glory!

Speke Airport was another place to behold (now known as John Lennon of course). The taxi rank at that place is colourful to say the least, characters galore and enough material to keep John Bishop going for the next 20 years (god forbid)…only kidding John! Passengers who once only came in from the Isle of Man were now flying in from all over Europe to see this wonderful place.

It could have been the eighth wonder of the world to them. Football, The Beatles, Shopping! buildings, stag and hen do’s. You name it and they came for it and still do.
Not so many years ago, there was a play on at the Playhouse Theatre called “Night Collar.”

It was obviously about a taxi drivers experiences through the night. I always remember being told I would enjoy it. I would be sat there without laughing, whilst the audience were rolling. Why? Was it because I was too familiar with the story line? Yes, it was so very true. The show was fantastic but I had seen and heard the stories and experiences so many times before. That sums it up for me, driving ‘Joe Public’ around the city, and the laughs that can come with it.

There were many highlights and a few lows…I enjoyed the footy days. Picking up fans and taking them to Anfield or Goodison. In the case of a Liverpool home game, I would park my cab up by the ground and take my usual place on the famous Spion Kop. I loved taking the old dears with their shopping from TJ Hughes’ on London Road home, or the fellas like my dad who enjoyed a pint in the many “old men” pubs with a bag of excuse, sorry I mean shopping to take home to the Mrs.

I enjoyed the Saturday nights driving from the Mathew Street side of town to Concert Square, or Hardman Street with the revellers. They talk about Magaluf or San Antonio, but I’m telling you put a heat lamp in the sky, and a few ton of Sand on the Albert Dock, and hey presto!!

Of course I also loved doing the odd Beatles Tour. I picked up visitors from all over the world, including Brazil, USA, Japan and Solihull! The looks on their faces, when they were stood outside the Strawberry Fields gates, or the homes of 4 lads who shook the world, or Eleanor Rigby’s statue and gravestone, or when they first walk down the dark steps into the Cavern club were a sight to behold. I loved talking to these people about the great architecture the City has and trying to sound intelligent. The three graces, the “bombed out church,” or the statue exceedingly bare.

I loved sitting on the Albert Dock hoping I never got a job(Joking) so I could just watch the world go by. Fred’s weather map and the building of Everton’s new ground….sorry, the Echo Arena!!

I loved it. At the time I moaned and groaned, but I loved it. It was an absolute pleasure to ferry the visitors and the great people of this city around in my tin can for all those years….I miss it. There! I’ve said it!

One last thing….If you hear a taxi driver say he’s always offered sex as payment,  he, or she is a liar! Either that or I’m an ugly bastard!

More About Ian

Ian Golder lives and works in Norris Green, Liverpool. He is 45, and has been married to Dawn since 1994. They have two children, Ashley(son) 22 and Emma Louise 17. He now works at Sedgemoor Care Home with a background in caring for people with dementia.

He describes himself as a big big Liverpool fan and a lover of music, especially ‘Celtic Rock’ band Big Country!

See Ian’s Merseyside Bands Page on Facebook

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Lambanana’s, Spiders, Giants and Iron Men

Sea Odyssey Liverpool 2012

Sea Odyssey Liverpool 2012

Liverpool has always punched above its weight. Think about it, we are a town that’s spans just 43 square miles, with a population of barely half a million, yet we have a reputation that spans the globe. We are a city of big ideas, of huge aspirations, and giant dreams. So it should surprise no one that today the city is once again buzzing. The Giants are back!

In 2012 they came to mesmerise us all with one of the most magical and moving pieces of theatre I have ever seen, and all of it acted out on our streets. Art is for the people says Jean-Luc Courcoult, Artistic Director of Royale Deluxe, the company responsible for the giants. Well he truly delivered on that philosophy, as the neighbourhoods of Anfield, and Everton welcomed the huge marionettes onto their doorsteps.

It was a story of love across time and space, of a message from a little girl that never found her father, who perished on the titanic. In the story the girls uncle (a deep sea diver) finds her fathers letter in the wreckage, and searches the streets of Liverpool for the little girl. The letter was real, and now sits in the city’s Maritime Museum. The rest belongs in Jean-Luc’s imagination. Nevertheless, I can tell you there wasn’t a dry eye on the Mersey when the pair were reunited at Kings Dock on the final day of the extravaganza.

This summer they return, but with a different tale to tell. The exact details are a closely guarded secret, but what we do know is they will be paying tribute to all those who made the ultimate sacrifice during world war one. It promises to be yet another touching  and emotional event.

Capital of Culture Legacy

Antony Gormley's Another Place, Crosby, Liverpool

Antony Gormley’s Another Place, Crosby, Liverpool

Super Rafalambanana 2008

Super Rafalambanana 2008

Giant Spider Liverpool 2008

Giant Spider Liverpool 2008

2008 seems so long ago now, that its hard to remember the scepticism that surrounded the decision to award Liverpool European Capital of Culture status. I remember being told by a colleague not from  the city, that it was a waste of time. Apparently when people visit the UK, they are only interested in London and Edinburgh. Another joked about how much the towns civic leaders must have bribed the judges in order to win the award.

Even amongst some of my Scouse friends there were doubts as to the benefits of such an honorific. Today all such naysayers should be swept aside. Liverpool now has an enhanced reputation globally as a world city, capable of staging huge events. Our obituary may have been written many times but we stand stronger and prouder than ever. We are the perennial come back king of cities.

In the last six years the most bizarre creatures have come to symbolise the spirit of Liverpool. Mutant Spiders, Lambananas, Fifty Foot Marionettes, and Iron Men. The people of the city have embraced them all. Perhaps that’s because we are perfectly in sync, larger than life and wonderfully unique. Maybe that’s why Liverpool was just voted number one tourist destination in the UK (sorry London and Edinburgh) and number three in the world, by travel bible ‘Rough Guide’.

Next year we will be number one.

Jeff Goulding

January 7th 2014

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