I’d studied at Liverpool University in the early 1990s so when my wife and I decided we’d like to visit Scotland I suggested breaking up the journey with a stayover in Liverpool on the way. It had been my intention to show her where I’d shared a house for a couple of years (Fell Street) but as we drove into the city and approached that area I changed my mind – it looked a little rougher than I’d remembered – and we carried onto our hotel down by Albert Dock.
We had a very enjoyable visit to the Merseyside Maritime Museum in the dock where there was a fascinating exhibition showcasing pictures from Shackleton’s 1914 Endurance expedition to the Antarctic then set off for some general exploration. The architecture of big cities in the north of the country is always impressive as they didn’t suffer from bombardment during the war unlike Portsmouth so I always love walking amongst the huge, imposing buildings they have.
Another thing we don’t have in Portsmouth is a Chinatown but the one in Liverpool was very attractive and very similar to any other you’d see in a big city.
I had been hoping to find many of my old haunts from my university days in Liverpool but things had changed much more than I’d hoped. One of the night clubs I had fond memories of was still present, though: the Blue Angel. Situated over several floors and playing a range of music from the alternative stuff we liked back then through to the dance music we found a tolerance for once we’d had enough to drink.
Liverpool’s famous Cavern club was also still there, naturally. When we visited and had a drink the venue smelled strongly of urine. You’d think that such an obvious tourist attraction might have clean toilets but you would be wrong. I pointed out the stage to my wife where in 1992 I and several friends had got up in front of a packed club and waved, accepting the happy cheers from everyone. That was the night we’d pretended to be Danish just after Denmark had won the European cup and the DJ had invited us up. Good times. One of my friends spent the evening telling girls his name was Fleming but that all his friends called him Flem. No, he didn’t get anyone to kiss him.