Paul and The Pub

Liverpool is just across the way, after all
Liverpool is just across the way, after all

So we wander after formal class with a little direction to begin with, still herded as a group. We saw our first British police officers, who looked way too young to be cops, and Chip was immediately drawn to them.  He bombarded them with questions in his classic style that we would all become very familiar with throughout and by the end of the trip, primarily charming in an awkward sort of way.  And of course we had to take pictures of and with the Bobbies before going on our way.  I took one of Chip trying to look like he was being cuffed and taken in, but they weren’t playing it up much for us and Chip looks like the happiest guy ever arrested in the photo!

Shortly after that we were set loose, the herd dispersed and I finally get off on my own.  Ped seemed surprised and alarmed at this, but I have no time for compromise at this era in my life; a past, my person, were shattered by too much compromise.  And living alone for the six months preceding the trip made it hard to give up to what I wanted, when and how I wanted it, perhaps especially given the amazing opportunity to live and travel like I found myself in.  “Anyone who wants to come with me is more than welcome,” I explained, “But this is what I’m going to do today.”  Which was, a quest for bookstores and the guitar shop we past on our walking tour the first day in Liverpool, the latter I didn’t find.  In the process I went down to the waterfront and took pictures for my mom that would hopefully turn out well for her enjoyment, as well as be something my mom wanted to paint.  And then, I got lost.

The first time I got lost consisted of riding the bus too long on that first Sunday before the African Goya, which was a pretty fixable mistake.  I took the quick way on account of being exhausted and took a taxi with an awesome cabbi with a killer Scouser accent

He’d say: waryagoon?

I’d say: What?

He’d say: wAR ya goin?

I’d say: Ooohhh,

He’d say: sosya earloong?

I’d say: What?

He’d say: owloong yastye ear?

I’d say: oh yeah?  Mmmhhhh.  Cool  (still no idea what he said)

The fun part with Scousers is that sometimes when you do, in fact, correctly understand and know what words they used, you still don’t know what they said.  They take the magic of idiom in the English language to a whole new level.  He was a beacon of patience and continued to chat the whole time despite my obvious deficiency in communicated at that juncture.  We arrived at the living hall,

“Next time yoo take a taxi jus tell em Carnatic,” he said.

“What?” I said

“Carnatic, they’ll know that over Salisbury.”

“Oh.”  I paid.  I figured out the next day on the way to the bus what the hell he was talking about.  There is a huge sign at the vehicle entrance: Carnatic Halls.  It then lists the specific buildings, ours being Salisbury Hall.  It was then I realized that I did not speak the language, but seemed too, an illusion that generally made me look like an idiot.  Despite the frequent embarrassment, it made for a lot of fun.

This time I found myself and got back to the bus station, on the corner of Mulberry and Myrtle, where walking down the street was two of my instructors.  They asked me if nobody liked me. I said no, I just wasn’t afraid of being alone. And then they asked me for a drink in the Caledonia, a little local hole in the wall pub, (old guy bar they said) which I would later come to intimately love.  We talked about education differences, a little about Toxteth that I would be seeing tomorrow with one of them, that I was meeting for the first time that very moment, as guide and teacher.  I noted they vacillated back and forth between Scous and something else, English I assume because I could mostly understand it.  Given my love of all parts of language I couldn’t help but bring it up, but they were all over it.  They most definitely did talk differently to outsiders and/or friends that didn’t grow up in Liverpool.  How conscious a process was that I wondered?  So then we talked about the phenomenon we humans have of auto-edit, e.g. I’ll (for the most part) edit out my swearing around my parents and kids. As one these fine gentlemen paid for me second Guinness, I worried.

Me: You really don’t have to pay for it.

Him: Psht!  Don’t be ridiculous

Me: Well, it’s not that I’m thinking this is what your after, but back where I’m friend a guy buying you a drink generally means… ulterior motive.

Him: huh, well it doesn’t here.

It seems maybe the elder takes care of the younger, but I couldn’t be sure and never researched it, formal or informally.

Tipsy off me Guinness’s, I expressed concern for riding the bus drunk.  After which one of the instructors said, nonsense!  You’ve got to do that once in a while, one of those life experiences.   Giggling I thought, Could I have cooler, more down to earth professors?  Probably not.

The eldest of the two, who had bought the other’s drinks as well, headed off.  I was still nursing my Guinness—not like me really, but half way through it I was feeling the buzz and it occurred to me that responsible, adult-like behavior might be in order.  I envied their lack of such occurrences.

The night was cool and magically engulfing as I was escorted back across the street to the bus station.  I was seeing the world shiny.  I engaged my salutations as I saw the bus rattle up the street on the wrong side of the road—crazy Brits.  Much to my astonishment my handshake turned into a kiss on the cheek.

Me: Oh! Uh-

Him: It’s the European way!

Me: Right

Awkwardly I repeated the process for the other cheek.

See you tomorrows, then only after I paid my pound and forty pence bus ride did I remember reading literature on how the UK didn’t participate in that ritual.  What did it mean, if anything?  I would later on in my stay figure it out.

To the readers…

To the friends, family, random readers that have somehow stumbled onto this little newborn baby site, THANK YOU!!!  And, I predict approximately another two weeks before I’ve settled into a good groove with school that allows me to write and post and update this site as much as I want.  To any who want a shout out for when I do/have, let me know.  In general I’m saying thanks and keep the faith; more is coming!  I suppose in truth, this is more for me, because in my ideal world I would have already documented and posted all my Liverpool adventures.

In the Great Northwest (USA) Fall’s breath sends goosebumps down our necks and a pair of gold-colored glasses to see the world through; I love fall, second favorite season of the year!  Enjoy!

Day 3-Liverpool School

The Philharmonic Dining HallOur fearless Leader, who rightly earned the alias, ZazaZing, herded us like giddy grade-schoolers about to take a field trip, onto the bus for our first day of school. Oh so casual and everyday for the locals, the Victorian building is really quite impressive, burnt red brick and religious tower spirals in its architecture. In this living history building, we filled out forms for enrollment in the University of Liverpool and receive our weekly stipend. We discuss course materials and get coffee. Paul Adams gives us a tour of the campus and then it’s lunchtime.

Queen, Sassibility, InLove and I end up wandering together on a quest for food. We didn’t have much in the way of time, so we found in the immediate area the Philharmonic Dining Hall (restaurant) and with a shrug (we hadn’t been able to find something more appealing) went in. Again, it is a beautiful building, sculpture stone and brass décor on the outside, inside everything is a deep dark stained wood and intricately carved, as result, good lighting is impossible. A shock of black curls and a hesitant dimpled smile awaits us at the bar. He’d look good in any sort of lighting.

We order fish and chips or soup (additionally for myself, of course, a Guinness) then found a room with an impressive fireplace and stain glass window. Turns out the place used to be a gentlemen’s club of sorts and is known for its ornate urinals in the men’s room. Yes. That’s correct, ornate urinals, so men may relieve themselves surrounded by beauty…or something. Sassibility read us the entire story from the back of the menu and then here was nothing to be done but to ask to see them—I mean, we were waiting for our food anyway, right? Otherwise I’m sure we’d be too mature to go have a look-see at standing pissers—or maybe not. The day began feeling like a kid, sometimes that can linger. So-
“Psst! Edie, go ask him if we can see them”

“Oh my gosh—the cute one that took our order?”

“Yeah, go for it! You’re the single one right? Work it!” Inlove

“Wait—Queen is single too—“

“Oh, it’s okay you can go!” Queen.

“Riiight….”

Do it, do it!

Sigh. I did it.

“Excuse me,” I say walking towards the bars, “Can we see your men’s bathroom?” I use my direct and flirty gaze, in case it’s going to take some bartering, and possibly impress my new friends and myself at picking up a gorgeous guy. Plus I’m a serial flirt, it all works out.

“Yeah, people ask all the time. Go on, have a look,” Dimples and Curls replies. Ha! I think, all us crazy tourists are SO not special like we think.

His name is Jams, he’s Welsh, and very patient. We made him take pictures with us. Again, crazy tourists…or silly school girls? I couldn’t be sure.

Inside The Gentlemen's ClubFancy Urinals

Liverpool: Leadership Training Program

More than my beloved BeatlesLiverpool for most Americans, I think, makes them think of one thing; the Beatles. And that’s it. My trip and study to Liverpool involved nothing of the Beatles. I love the Beatles, but I can listen to them anywhere. The following is the written portion of a group presentation I participated in. I was exceptionally lucky to be able to work with two phenomenal individuals, both younger than me, but full of a different and educated perspective than myself, and, incidentally both majoring in International Studies. Guy grew up in Detroit and is working on his degree in Chicago. Martha grew up in Wisconsin and is working on her degree in Duluth, Minnesota. We all expressed amazement in how it all fell together so well for us. The only thing that took some coaxing was our topic, but once we found it, all went without a hiccup for the research and experience. (Martha got the nasty cold that was going around right before we had to present, on top of her migraine. No fun, but she is tough.)

Adams
July 8, 2009
Leadership Training Program
Patterson, Leisch, Roper

Art: Address, Reflect, Influence, Change

Guy Patterson aka He’s not a pimp, but he be mac-in’**

You can bring about change in a community in a variety of ways. Upon our studies here at the University of Liverpool in the past 2 weeks, we found it most interesting to research how visual and fine arts affect local communities across the world politically. Upon deciding on what we would research, we took a look at a prime example, the Heidelberg Project, in Detroit, Michigan.

A local artist of Detroit, Tyree Guyton, started the Heidelberg Project in 1986. He transformed his old neighborhood in which he grew up into a mass art project consisting of the vacant houses and rubbish left in the neighborhood. Guyton thought that Detroit has never been right since the Riots in the 1960’s.

Today the project is still growing and takes up about a two city block radius of houses, trees, cars, and discarded objects Guyton found that have been transformed into huge monuments and sculptures. This was Guyton’s way of cleaning up the neighborhood he felt connected to, to rebuild the structure of under-resourced communities and welcome people from all over.

We found similarities in the interviews of all of our artist participants in the point that art is created to help people better understand the world around them. Like one of our interviewees, local Liverpool playwright/poet, Patrick said, “Art should be used to help people understand things that cannot be verbally articulated”.

Our research consists of interviews from local artists in Liverpool such as Amish, Patrick, and Bea, whose family names are not released. They represent the fine and visual branches of art and they have given their synopsis of how their work has brought on change as well as their own personal opinions of why and how art can produce political change and awareness.

MethodologyBy order and decree of...

Based on our own personal interests, as well as related studies at our Universities in the states, we decided on the topic of Arts addressing, reflecting and influencing change. We already had connections and contact information for Bea and Patrick so we were able to email both of them and set up interviews. Edie-Marie was allocated the responsibility of contacting and interviewing Patrick and Bea, having been the person to get their contact information while touring through Toxteth as well as having closely matched areas of study. Martha sought out local museums and artists, the perfect candidate because she is working on a minor in art and is familiar with the terminology and such. She used the staff at the Fact to contact other local artists, looking for more on the visual arts verses the performing arts perspective of Bea and Patrick; following through with the artist and curator, Amish, at The Royal Standard Studio Gallery. Guy assisted both Martha and Edie-Marie with the interviews, was the initial source of the Heidelberg project, as well as responsible for researching it further.

We approached these artist interviews with the following questions:

1) What medium do you use most for your art and why did you choose it?

2) How does art influence change, or does it merely reflect what is happening?

3) What political/social issues have you addressed in your art?

a) Why?

b) How?

4) What local changes have you seen in your lifetime and in what ways was art connected?

5) What do you think would happen with movements and change if the arts were not a part of it?

6) What do you know of the Heidelberg project?

7) How does it compare with local politically charged art you’ve seen?

a) Similarities

b) Differences

Martha

The thought of finding local artists and artwork seemed impossible at the onset of the project, but by simply stumbling upon artists at the FACT they fell into my hands. I met Joshua who was working at the FACT bookstore, who turned out to be a gallery coordinator for Red Wire (a local studio/gallery). He in turn connected me with Hamish at The Royal Standard, who Guy and myself went on to interview.

After speaking with Hamish at The Royal Standard studio gallery I decided to pursue two conceptual works that were based out of the gallery. He had provided me with a base of information and I researched online from that point. I was incredibly intrigued and happily surprised with the projects titled “Mr. Democracy,” by Oliver Walker and “Mobile Sports Foundation,” by Townley and Bradby. Both projects were interactive, politically driven and based here in Liverpool.

Birdhouses in Toxteth Infamous Ken's in Toxteth

Edie-Marie

Our second day of our leadership-training program proved fated for this presentation. When we visited the Caribbean Community Centre in Toxteth, I met Patrick, playwright and poet. Being an aspiring writer myself I ended up talking with him for most of the time there and exchanging contact information. Later that day we went to the Kuumbia house also in Toxteth so we could listen in on council meetings. Here Martha and I met Bea who works in film, and engaged in conversation with her primarily to get some perspective on women’s issues that always exist with all the social problems we were being shown, though they aren’t mentioned. It bothered me that in the course content, women were a non-entity, so I was looking for outside sources supplemental to the content already provided when I was introduced to Bea, which is how our group was able to have her contact information as well.

Patrick sees and believes art is more in the realm addressing political and social situations, bringing to light issues and making people aware. From this change can and does occur, but the arts role is communication and reflection. His focus is presenting information in an accessible way through his plays and poetry.

Bea immediately expressed that art absolutely completes all three, addressing, reflecting and influencing change. She saw a significant positive change from the Capitol of Culture for local artists in that it built and boosted the art markets, set up a foundation for the art community that remained with the bigger, gimmicky projects were gone. She had not heard of the Heidelberg project but had participated in many similar art forms in the use of space, for example the building behind the Kuumbia house is used to show films and during the US 2008 president election a picture of Obama was projected on the building for a while. She also facilitates the Night Art Trail in Liverpool that occurs in the fall/winter time. It creates an art based self-guided tour of Liverpool with the street lamps projecting slides of art on the streets.

Art is an amazing way to experience a new place and we really enjoyed all the people we were able to meet with in the process of preparing and researching this presentation. We went in a bit naïve in our idealism of art as a force for movements, political and social change. However, after looking at different artists in Liverpool and the case study of the Heidelberg Project in Detroit, while we were able to retain the positives we had of arts capabilities but add to it the realities involved. As art pushes society, society pushes back, and reflects itself in art.

**(please note, Guy is a serious student, he was just using Martha’s Macbook at the time of composition. I was reprimanded for sending a copy to our Professor with his rough-draft title on it. We sent a corrected one. Tee hee, oops. And sorry again, Guy–but I still love it!)

Dancing Queens

Queen and I were roaming together come day two in Liverpool. I did not know yet that she was a dancing queen, but she is. The entire study abroad group had done a little more touring of the city that morning and bought calling cards and similar day to day maintenance things needed while living here. I had to be reprimanded because though I told someone I was going to the toilet, they neglected to tell the others and momentarily thought they’d lost me. Due to my wandering spirit it would not be the last time, but it would be doing more adventurous and fun things then visiting the toilet. (If you ask for the restroom they look at you like you’re crazy.) Now the afternoon was ours.

The dormitory we are staying at is close to a colossal and Eden-like park called Sefton Park. It is the host of the fourth annual African Goya festival. The day was bright and simultaneously overcast, a skill that this British Isle has perfected. This particular afternoon it only taunted rain, having drizzled a bit in the morning, and didn’t actually come down on us. Queen and I drifted in and out of the circle of tents and booths. All kinds of food, Jamaican/Caribbean, Arabic, Somalian and more, were available. Breathtaking colours of linens composed the clothing being sold alongside a vast array of jewellery and crafts and different medians of art. I couldn’t resist and added to my collection of hats and bought a top of royal blue shaded to a wine red and intricately embroidered.

The art of West African dance was being tutored at one of the booths. With a very little coaxing I got Queen to agree to take the next class with me. In the meantime we gravitated to the stage where Daby Toure, a phenomenal guitarist and singer was performing with his band. After about twenty minutes we were sold, and wandered to the music booth where they were selling CD’s. We weren’t the only fans, because they were sold out. I wrote down their information to track them down later and we made to doubly enjoy the rest of their performance. We ran into Chip, and Chip being Chip, he took it upon himself as a personal quest to get their CD for us. When they finished performing he went backstage and got to speak with all of them, got an autograph and pictures but—they didn’t have any extra CD’s unfortunately.

Whilst he worked at that task, Queen and I headed over to the dance booth for our class. Now, not to be disparaging to my roots, but quite frankly, we do NOT emphasize or learn dance. Queen and I come from a similar background, albeit from different sides of the lower forty-eight. The dance is spectacular and its core is being able to do body isolations; rolling the shoulders, now shifting the feet, now both at the same time then circling the ribs, the walking/knee lifting, then both followed by some hip circles. Suffice to say, Queen and I were in WAY over our heads. Lots of giggling ensued. Our instructor made it look easy and was so connected to her own body. That combined with a fantastic smile made her mesmerizing. It was fantastic to witness, how couldn’t it be? She obviously is passionate and loves what she does. I don’t know how they do it really; I can’t concentrate on that many things at once. I got the hip circling down pat, but then I had to roll my shoulders and do a 360 all at the same time. I’d forget to roll my shoulders, or somehow only roll one and end up sort of jerking one hip to get turned around. Luckily I only ran into a couple of the others learning with us. I couldn’t say how Queen did because I couldn’t spare any attention for anything else, but in comparing notes afterwards, it sounds like we have the same awkward groove. We celebrated exerting ourselves for the entire hour and our mad skills in… something other than dance. The hair jutting out of my new hat clung and dripped on my neck and my body tingled in its layer of glisten. I was a bit sore the next day too. And the best horrifying part about it is somewhere in the middle I looked over to see Chip with his camera out recording. I haven’t been able to convince him to destroy the evidence yet.

The lesson having mercifully finished, the three of us got some water and Arabic food. Chip and I engaged in our first (of many, MANY, more to come) debate on gender roles. He ordered for me, which I thought was weird, which he thought was weird. “Why don’t you just pay for me while you’re at it?” I asked. “I was going to!” he replied. “Why?” I asked, “Wow, you are so old fashioned.” I didn’t yet realize how serious he was, as I don’t believe he realized how serious I was, but we had a good time teasing and bantering for and with the man that waited on us, he thought we were hilarious. I’m sure we were.

The day couldn’t have been complete without me getting us lost on the way home. Luckily, Chip isn’t ashamed to ask for directions. And now I know the area quite well for going on runs and such.

The Travel Quote Post of the Slightly Less Renowned

“We are social animals. The only reason we aren’t extinct is because of this. Individual isn’t the most important, the group, the broad collectively…is how we find our true stature.” ~Paul Adams, University of Liverpool, Educational Opportunities Manager

“White people, Black people, Indian people–all here together in one place. This is the future.” Daby Toure, African Goya concert Sefton Park, Liverpool, June 21, 2009

“I write for fun, but it’s no joke
because what I write
is to make the thought provoke.” -Patrick Graham, Black Out Productions

“What is your favorite passion?” -Candid

“What’s your happy ending?” -InLove

“We are superficial and profound” -Vixen

“I’m this unique human individual now” -Vixen

“There are two kinds of Americans; those who can cry for their country and those who can’t” -Vixen

“She seems the most studious of our group” -Me
“No, she just does it a different way” -Pensive

“History is NOT to develop the memory at the expense of intelligence,”
“The best kind of history is pulled into the present,”
“Education is also about citizenship,”
“Lecturing is a lecturer passing their notes to the students’ notepads without it passing through the brains of either,”
“We live life in details, but think in generalities,”
“Words are elastic, always question, pin down the meaning,”
“Isn’t education about getting confidence?”-All from Professor Ron Noon’s lecture, July 8, 2009

“The trouble with words is you don’t know who else’s mouth they’ve been in.” -Dennis Potter, playwright

Number 7

Saturday morning, the 20th, we landed in Manchester to awkwardly pile into vans hired to drive us to Liverpool.  All the cars driving on the opposite side and our driver on the opposite side of the car is a head trip.  It feels like my brain has been flipped inside out  or like when I do a left-handed cartwheel (being right-handed).

The lot of us, as they say here, are a very dynamic and gregarious group.  The few quiet ones of the bunch talk plenty when badgered, then there are the perpetual vociferous few—I fear I may be one of them, though those of you who know me well would be quite shocked at how reserved (all things relative) I’ve been here.   Sheik and Curly are more on quiet side out of the women and were in the same van with me.  Curly also plays the guitar so it was fun chatting and strumming The Lovechild on the forty minute drive.  I’m embarrassed to say I can’t remember who else was in the car with us because Chip, sitting next to me, is one of the vociferous bunch and usurped most of my attention haven declared me interesting the previous day at orientation.  God only knows why specifically, I am many things good and bad, though I suppose boring isn’t one of them.

I strummed and sang back up to Chip’s brilliant improvised lyrics.  The reoccurring theme: number 7. This refers to the concept of group imposed rules concocted during orientation, and a proposed method of efficient communication if someone was breaking a rule, a numbering system.  Instead of 1, 2, 3, 4 etc. I’ve declared number 7 to stand for all of them because I think it is so funny.  Someone complaining?  Number 7!  someone use your stuff without asking?  Number 7!  And so on and so forth.

Respect the Bubble