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Quiggins and the Queens Cuz
by Red Nev
It’s been a bad month for the so-called Capital Of Culture with alternative shopping emporium, Quiggins finally closing after a long battle with the council and the developers. 3345, the popular bar/restaurant/club/gallery was also given notice by the venue’s owners, the Genesis Pension Fund (as if those dullards twats aren’t rich enough) to make way for yet more ‘luxury apartments‘ in the centre of town. With the closure of the old Trade Union Resource Centre on Hardman St which comprised the Flying Picket pub and music venue (now re-opened) the cosy cartel of political and commercial interests who seek to empower and enrich themselves off the back of the city’s ’culture’ are seemingly winning hands down. Once upon a time there would have an outcry and at least a token attempt at resistance but, as with most things today, what used to be called ’the left’ is a sorry mess of squabbling schisms who appear to have given up the fight.
It’s 25 years since Toxteth exploded and take a look around Granby and try telling anyone who lives there that the riots highlighted their cause and resulted in social empowerment and economic investment. The appalling state of Liverpool’s estates away from the square mile ’Capital-of-CultureZone’ in the city centre is a shocking indictment of political and bureaucratic incompetence. With European Objective One money swilling around for untold years, it is a disgrace that much of inner-city Liverpool remains mired in the squalid conditions of fifty or even 100 years ago.
Ofcourse the people themselves aren’t put upon and down beaten because as with Mancs, Cockneys and other inner city populations, they long ago learned that the 9 to 5 rat race was a con trick perpetrated by the same kind of ‘wealth creators’ who inevitably inherit their wealth and then exploit their connections to shit all over the ’underserving’ poor. Take Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, 6th Duke Of Westminster, KG, OBE, TD, DL for example. This ludicrous abomination of a man has amassed a fortune of 6.6 billion pounds, not through any effort or talent of his own but by simply inheriting vast swathes of Mayfair, Belgravia, Lancashire, Cheshire and Scotland. He claims to ‘own’ these plots but of course he doesn’t have a right to ANY of it. He can have a legal document stating anything he likes but he has no moral right to any of his stolen land and one day me and our kid are coming to reclaim it on behalf of the PEOPLE (whether the people like it or not).
In the UK, only Roman Abramovich is wealthier than Duke Tithead, which makes for a neat comparison. Grosvenor is OLD money which is to say, he stole his wealth centuries ago whereas Roman is NEW money, meaning he only stole his recently. Back when the west was crowing about the collapse of ‘The Evil Empire’ sharks like Abramovich grabbed all the natural resources at knock down prices from their capitalism loving pal, Boris Yeltsin. They have stolen the Russian people’s future prosperity, just as the Tsar’s did a century earlier. So, tell me how many half starved Russians did it take to buy Michael Ballack?
These new Lords of capital differ from the likes of Grosvenor in that they’ve bullied and murdered and bribed their way to riches within the past ten to fifteen years and so their crimes seem to be more immediate and disgusting but let’s not forget that this is exactly how huge tracts of the country have been handed over to despicable toffs like Gerald. And it is Ged’s firm, The Grosvenor Group who have been awarded the contract to ‘re-develop’ the Paradise Street area of Liverpool in readiness for the C of C celebrations in 2008. To do this the ‘culture’ fuhrers have decreed that places like Quiggins are not compatible with their shiny new retail vision; you know to eradicate every element of individuality and personality from the city in order to ensure it becomes as bland and soul-less as every other urban regeneration scheme.
To return to last month’s tirade about useless toffs being given meaningless military hobbies in order to present themselves as useful members of society, Grosvenor, as perhaps the single most useless inbred prick of the lot, claims to have ‘joined the TA as a private in 1970.’ Yet somehow after ‘long service’ (where exactly did he ‘serve’?) he became Honorary Colonel in Chief of several regiments including The Royal Mercian and Lancastrian Yeomanry, 7th regiment Army Air Corps and The Canadian Royal Westminster regiment. No, I’ve never heard of em either. But that’s not all because Gung Ho Gerald is also Colonel Commandant Yeomanry, Royal Armoured Corps and in 2004 was appointed to to the new post of Assistant Chief Of Defence Staff (Reserves and Cadets) with a promotion to the rank of Major-General.
Impressive eh? The first time a ’reservist’ has held such a rank since the 1930s apparently. I wonder who this other ’reservist’ Major-General was; another clueless aristo they’d never risk with real soldiers in real war situations no doubt. From ’private’ to Major-General; that’s one hell of a promotional arc. I’m sure time-served squaddies could have followed his example if they’d just applied themselves to the task in hand a bit more. But, hey that’s the forces for ya - if don’t like being a bit part player in the establishment’s feeble grip on power, then don’t join up. Funny how he’s an ’honorary’ colonel in chief which of course means he doesn’t actually do a fucking tap but simply turns up to gladhand forelock tugging TA types every now and then.
This is the kind of whopper who is responsible for ‘transforming’ Liverpool, with the benevolent assistance of the social climbing Lib-Dem maggotocracy with chief maggot, Warren Bradley leading the valiant charge towards the future. Wazza has now sacked the preposterous Aussie lesbian hippie-in-chief of C of C, Robyn Archer. From masterminding the Alice Springs Summer Pops to booking Sense Of Sound to warble old spirituals for ageing hippies in Sefton Park, Archer viewed her ’prestigious’ role in much the same way as Jurgen Klinsman approached managing Germany ie from the other side of the fucking world. Much grief has now been directed at the Culture Company, which is fair enough, except most of the complaints seem to go;
‘Why haven’t you signed up Paul McCartney to play a free concert at the Pier Head on News Year’s Eve?’
That, it appears, is the limit to most people’s imagination, a celebration of every clichéd scouse stereotype times 1000. Is this what the Capital Of Culture is supposed to be about? From Belfast to Barcelona, Salford to Stockholm, Cardiff to Copenhagen, every former dockside, wharf and harbour has been commercialised and given a funky tourist friendly sheen. The Paradise Street project, much as the Metro Zone, The Ropewalks, the East Village and all the other phoney zones and quarters and villages presents the kind of environment that tourists expect from every modern city and yet they betray nothing about the reality of the place, other than wallowing in the same old tired ‘heritage’ iconography.
When taxi drivers are heralded as a city’s cultural spearleaders you know you’re in trouble. The question has been posed ever since Liverpool won this supposedly ’coveted’ yet vaguely anonymous title; whose capital, whose culture?
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