I recently went on a day trip to Liverpool, in order to go to the Tate. Following directions from the station, I ended up at dockside, where I was welcomed by a biting wind, mist and a deepset drizzle.
I couldn’t see the Tate. In fact I couldn’t see much of anything, but did manage to pick out a large, modern building off in the distance. Thinking this a likely candidate, I set off towards it.
Up close, the building was impressive. A massive, modern stone and glass affair with cantilevered wings which looked very sci-fi, in a civic building kind of way. However, it wasn’t the Tate. It was the Museum of Liverpool.
The inside was even more remarkable. The entry hall was jawdropping, with a huge, circular staircase winding up to the top of the building.
I was initially disappointed with the displays. I thought them simplistic, telling sugar-coated stories of the city’s past which could only be enjoyed by backward eight-year-olds and geriatrics. But then, on reflection, I realised the Museum of Liverpool told a valuable truth: the museum presents a picture of how Liverpool would like itself to be viewed.
Sadly, not everyone will be able to visit the museum and gain these insights, so I have taken the trouble to provide you with a handy summary.
The Museum of Liverpool’s History of Liverpool
As recorded by Richard Purnell
Liverpool is the best place ever, and always has been. Its people, fondly known as Scousers, are unrivalled across land and sea for their wit, pluck, friendliness, and ability to say ‘like’ at the end of sentences in a way that sounds as if they are coughing up phlegm.
Everything that comes out of Liverpool is brilliant, and better than anything Manchester has done. Liverpool started music, with the discovery of the Merseybeat sound in the 1960s. Out of this came the three best bands in the world, ever: the Beatles, Gerry & the Pacemakers, and Cilla Black.
Football was invented in Liverpool, as a pastime for dockers relaxing after a hard day’s strike. Liverpool and Everton football clubs have always shared the league championship between themselves, with homegrown players such as Kenny Dalglish, Alan Hansen and John Barnes proving that Scousers are easily the best footballers.
However, with the advent of the Premier League in 1992, Liverpool and Everton magnanimously decided they would not compete for the title for 20 years. This was done in order to give other clubs the chance to catch up. It is expected they will resume their domination of the league soon.
Liverpool invented humour, famously known as Scouse wit. Scousers, needless to say, are the funniest people on earth – you just can’t put one over those plucky Liverpudlians! The funniest comedian ever is Ken Dodd, closely followed by Jimmy Tarbuck. This grand tradition has been carried on by John Bishop, with his oh-so canny observations on British life (and unnervingly large white teeth). Some people say that Tarby, Doddy and Bishopy are not funny. There is a name for those joyless people. They are called Mancunians.
Liverpool = good. Manchester = bad. London = who cares?
Ps: For an adult version of Liverpool’s history go to the Maritime Museum of Liverpool and International Museum of Slavery on Albert Dock. Both are fantastic.