Liverpool Lightnight Arts Festival 2018
18th May 2018
Despite not having been on an OMD-related escapade for a while (aka about two months), the trip to Liverpool this weekend more than made up for it! For me, it began with a trek through Wolverhampton to the station and then a fairly pleasant train ride to Liverpool Lime Street. I made it to the hotel (although apparently I looked like I was local because three sets of people asked me for directions; Aidan says it must have been the John Lennon glasses!) but then discovered that I couldn’t actually check in until 3pm so had to kill a bit of time down by the docks. I say ‘had to’ as if it was a hardship- it wasn’t at all, really. The sun was out, it wasn’t massively busy but there were enough people about for it to feel like there was an atmosphere. Admittedly, the bag I was carrying was very heavy, but that was my own fault for buying a two litre bottle of Pepsi before I’d even got to Liverpool...
After finally being able to check in to the hotel, myself and Aidan walked to the Walker Art Gallery to meet Lisa. We had a quick look at the ‘Punishment Of Luxury/Lust’ painting (it’s much bigger in real life than I thought it would be) and had a chat over a drink or two in the café. Queen Avenue was our next destination, and on our arrival we were delighted to find that our suspicions that OMD were the special musical guests of the night were confirmed (the big giveaway was when we heard them sound-checking...). Marilyn also joined us at this point, and it was lovely to have a bit of a catch up with Paul, Leonor, Ali, and Ali’s lovely Irish friend (who’s name escapes me at this point!) Once we were let into the avenue itself there was a bit of a wait until the band came on to do their official set. After Lisa and I had a quick (or not so quick) Crystal Maze-level hunt for the loos, we took our spots by the stage as other people began to arrive. The band were running a little late but eventually they started at about 7pm.
I won’t go into details about their performance (we all know it was brilliant!), although it was amusing to see people appearing at the windows of the buildings on the avenue to watch and, as Andy pointed out, for the sound desk to be behind the band! (Andy: ‘it’s like driving a car with the steering wheel in the boot...’) Was also chuffed for our college show to get a bit of mention, even if it was only because Andy seemed a bit miffed about the gig being ‘so secret barely anyone had turned up’. He said he was glad to see me there and that there were probably more people at my college gig than there were at their performance (which definitely wasn’t true!).
Anyway, after a brilliant half hour/forty minute set (perhaps longer than we were initially expecting to), myself, Paul, Leonor, Marilyn, Lisa and Aidan went and found some food (although not before Marilyn had produced her rather wonderful light up flowery headbands, which four of us dutifully wore, and which proceeded to receive compliments from multiple people during the course of the evening).
Next we headed back to the art gallery to have a proper look at some of John Petch’s work. The way in particular he uses contrasting colours is fascinating, and if I could have afforded a print I definitely would have bought one. After a purchase and a photo or two, unfortunately Leonor and Paul both had to leave us to go back home (probably very sensible of them, to be honest!). On a slight spur of the moment, the remaining four of us hopped on one of the Lightnight buses (they are beautifully vintage, even though the driver had an almighty struggle to get it up large hills) and ended up at the Anglican Cathedral.
Now, honestly, if you haven’t visited this particular cathedral before, next time you are in the area I highly recommend you set aside the time to do just that. It is genuinely one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen; the stained glass windows and enormous and the ceilings are so high you almost have to bend over backwards to be able to see them in their entirety. Not only that, but for Lightnight there was some kind of art installation/performance going on (which I believe was called Imago). There were lots of strobe lights and videos and creepy sound affects, which does make you wonder why people don’t hold performances of a similar kind in venues like that (not necessarily cathedrals!) more often. More light-up headband compliments from passers-by under our belts (as well as taking a few photos that, as someone pointed out, do make us look a little like characters from a BBC3 sketch show!) and we headed back up into the main city, taking in more of the the architecture, particularly on Rodney Street, as we walked. A hunt ensued for a place to have some kind of drink (all that photograph business must have made us thirsty!) and we eventually settled on popping into The Grapes, which Aidan tells me is where the Beatles used to drink back in the ‘50s/‘60s. We realised it was about 1am at this point so decided to go back to our various hotels. Plans had been discussed for the next day and I think we all wanted to make sure we got at least *some* sleep. It had been an exciting day with plenty of welcome surprises!
P.S. For some reason my blog will now only let me upload a certain number of photos per blog post which is incredibly irritating. Anyway, here are some more via a Facebook album; some of them aren’t too bad!