Miniatur Wunderland is the largest model railway in the world! But it’s more than ‘just’ a model railway. It’s a scaled-down version of the world. It is located in Hamburg’s Speicherstadt, not far from the Elbphilharmonie and was founded in 2001 by twin brothers Frederik and Gerrit Braun.
Here are some statistics: there are 1040 locomotives, 280 moving cars, 390,000 lights, 263,000 miniature figures and 15,400 metres of track. The layout has an area of more than 1,499 square metres and is controlled by 50 computers.
The model world is populated by thousands of miniature figures. They are called ‘Preiserlein’ after the company that makes them, Paul M. Preiser GmbH. There are different areas: Hamburg, Scandinavia, America, Austria, Switzerland, Central Germany, Italy, Venice and the airport.
Every 15 minutes it goes dark and thousands of LEDs are switched on. The effect is beautiful. There’s no Berlin but Hamburg is proudly represented. The Elbe, the Landungsbrücken, the Hochbahn, the S-Bahn,the Hauptbahnhof, the TV tower and the Elbphilharmonie are all therre. We see the port, the ships and the Köhlbrand bridge by daylight and at night.
All models are designed to be as lifelike as possible. As in the real Sweden, the trains run on the left. In America we start in Key West and right next to it is Las Vegas. At dusk, the city looks fantastic We continue to the Grand Canyon, but there is no Chicago or New York.
The small trains come from all directions. We don’t know where they are coming from or where they are going. A few metres further and we’re in hilly Mitteldeutschland. The ICE crosses a modern railway bridge. At night, a UFO flies down from the sky. An alien hunter is waiting. Famous conspiracy theories are represented humorously. In an underground studio, for example, the moon landings are filmed.
The airport is probably the smallest commercial airport in the world. More than 40 miniature planes take off and land just like real planes. I don’t know exactly how it works. Every now and then a Star Wars spaceship or a big bee flies along the runway. The model of Venice was completed in 2018. There is also Rome, Vatican City and other regions in Italy here.
The layout is constantly being expanded. Coming soon is Provence and a working Monaco Grand Prix. Britain was due to arrive in 2020, but it seems to have gone off the radar. You can look at the workshops and take a behind-the-scenes tour.
The attraction is open 365 days a year. Millions of people have visited Miniatur Wunderland. The model world so detailed, so impressive and so realistic that you look at the real world with completely new eyes. At Miniatur Wunderland, the keyword is wonder. Here you can really learn to… bewundern – to look in wonder at our world. Soon the real world starts to look like a model, as here, the Alexanderplatz seen from the Berlin TV Tower.
Miniatur Wunderland is an expression of the European idea as not only Germany is presented, but also several European countries as well as regions on other continents.
Soon visitors will be able to walk on a new footbridge over the water into the neighbouring warehouse to see South America. The future at Miniatur Wunderland looks exciting.
More info about the video and this article
This is a new version of an older video, now in German with English subtitles.
I’m attracted to Miniatur Wunderland because I love all types of models and I love trains and all forms of transport. It fits into the AVZINE channel’s theme of cities and journeys, as a number of cities are represented in miniature size – Hamburg, Rome, Venice, Las Vegas and others, but not Berlin, New York or Chicago.
It’s also about journeys as the trains run on thousands of journeys each day. There are also ships, planes, buses, cars, vans, a UFO and a strange bee-like creature.
The music is by the amazing Bad Snacks – the Los Angeles based musician, a genius with synthesizers and the violin, which she has played since she was a child. Thanks to her as always for making her music available via the YouTube Audio Library.
There is a students’ PDF for this video with script, side by side translation and questions. It’s available to my students, or just contact me and I’ll send you a copy.
Do Not Refreeze was an exhibition at the Cornerhouse Manchester that was on in 2007. I wrote an article about it, uploaded on the 26th of April 2oo7. It went offline due to technical issues with my legacy aidan.co.uk website. After receiving a request to see the article, I imported it and the photos into my main aidan.co.uk WordPress site. Since 2007 I have returned to teaching German and it is now my main career alongside producing multilingual articles, podcasts and videos for my AVZINE YouTube channel. The Cornerhouse closed in 2015 and the nearby HOME became Manchester’s premier combined centre for cinema, theatre and art. Below is the article I wrote back in 2007. The photos are as powerful as ever. And I am going to recommend this article to my many German language students. Many thanks to Julian Pardo for requesting to see the article.
Do Not Refreeze is an exhibition of photographs by East German photographers from the 1950s to the 1980s. It’s a big exhibition, laid out on three floors with a huge variety of images. It takes you on a journey through the changing cityscapes of the GDR, and the people who inhabited that mostly grey and decrepit country. Despite the restrictions, life behind the Berlin Wall could be surprisingly rich, though not in a material sense. That’s the message we get from this remarkable and fascinating exhibition.
The first level of the exhibition takes us into the GDR during the 1950s. The first and only socialist state on German soil was founded in 1949, but it continued to be referred to by many as ‘the Zone’, short for Soviet Zone of Occupation, for many years after.
In the first photos by Arno Fischer (28 years old in 1955) we see people standing in bombed out buildings with pockmarked facades, a familiar theme of photography in Europe in the years just after the war. But in East Germany the ruins survived into the 1950s and beyond, often standing side by side with new construction.
In another image by Arno Fischer, a Tatra car, preferred transport of the communist elite of that time, is pictured on an empty Strausberger Platz, just off Karl-Marx-Allee in East Berlin. It’s surrounded by recently built Soviet-style residential blocks.
Cars are a recurring theme and mark the passage of time.
Like other photographers in the exhibition Arno Fischer focuses on individuals within crowd scenes. Their expressions give a clue as to what people really about their situation, especially in the two photographs at the funeral of Wilhelm Pieck in 1960.
Funeral of Wilhelm Pieck 1960 photo by Arno Fischer
In the GDR, all arts were subject to rigid guidelines. Socialist Realism was the only permitted style. Workers and peasants were to be depicted heroically defending and supporting the communist state and its authoritarian leaders.
Photography was however regarded as an applied art and not as prestigious as painting or sculpture. For this reason, photographers were able to achieve a much greater degree of realism and creative independence than their colleagues working in other media.
All of the photographers featured in this exhibition attended the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig. It was the only place in the GDR where it was possible to study photography and it continues to be an important institution today. One of the photographers featured in the exhibition, Erasmus Schröter, teaches photography there.
Arno Fischer’s striking portrait of John Heartfield, whose subversive pro-communist posters and paintings created a stir in the Weimar Republic three decades earlier, is another gem of the exhibition. Heartfield settled in the GDR after the war, but looking at his face we can only speculate on what he thought of his adopted country.
Arno Fischer photographed Marlene Dietrich in Leningrad 1964 as well as workers in Ecuatorial Guinea, who are given the stark monochrome ‘GDR’ treatment.
The GDR at the time had interests and projects in various parts of the world. Photographers had to be in favour with the authorities in order to be allowed to travel to ‘non-Socialist’ parts of the world.
Sibylle Bergemann’s views of East Berlin, the Soviet Union and a wintry Sellin on the Balitic are haunting. Startlingly she also has a photograph from Hollywood – it’s a half derelict looking house, perhaps part of a film lot.
Another recurring theme in this exhibition is the enigmatic quality of many of the photos, which raise more questions than they answer. There is no description or background information with any of the images, just a title. The intention is for people to look and form their own impressions. Background information is available in the book to accompany the exhibition (see cover image upper left).
The photography of East Germany is mostly unknown in the UK, but if we can speak of an archetypal image, it’s of decrepit half derelict buildings and empty streets with lone figures and parked Trabants. This may have been the sad reality that people had to live through for 40 years but it makes an ideal photographic subject for black and white photography.
Some of Sibylle Bergemann’s photos fulfil this archetype and they are superbly crafted and fascinating to look at.
In her ‘Berlin Palace of the Republic’, we return to the theme of faces within a crowd. Looking at the ceiling lamps in the upper part of the picture we can see why people called it ‘Erichs Lampenladen’ or ‘Erich’s lamp shop’.
Under the lamps, we see the backs of people looking down over a balcony. Our eyes are drawn to the child in the lower right. What is that child doing now?
I went into that building many times on my visits to East Berlin, and in the restaurants there, ate delicious and very cheap meals often with Soviet-influenced names.
That’s also a question we ask of the signature image of a pale-faced blond-haired 10-year-old girl. The picture is entitled ‘Kirsten Hoppenrade’ and also appears on the cover of the catalogue (upper left).
To me it doesn’t really sum up the content of the exhibition, but it is a haunting image that should capture the attention of a wide audience and draw them in.
Some images from the Communist East can defy expectations. This is the case of the fashion-style images of women by the river in east Berlin taken in the 80s. This could almost be Paris.
These images taken by Sibylle Bergemann appeared in the GDR fashion magazine, also coincidentally named Sibylle.
The exhibition contains much that is unexpected and perhaps the most surprising thing of all is that these images by virtually unknown photographers are of a standard equal to the best photographers of the 20th century. Forgotten and ignored for decades, they can now be seen in this exhibition.
We continue on Level 2 with images by Evelyn Richter (30 years old in 1960)
Her photos carve out a sharp and grainy monochrome vision of her homeland. Her technical and creative powers are evident from the first glance.
At Plänterwald Station, East Berlin we can just see the blocks of flats through the open doors of one of the 1930s style suburban railway trains that were a signature of Berlin until quite recently. Another image of hers taken at Plänterwald Station shows just the blocks of flats which have a monolithic quality.
The same is true of her startling image of tenement blocks in Magdeburg seen over empty ground and tramlines. These are familiar images of the east: grim, grainy and haunting.
But by contrast, the photo of the River Spree in East Berlin by Museum Island has a Parisian quality, softened by the mist. An element of irony is provided by the passing barge whose title is ‘Traumland’ or Dreamland. What were the East Berliners dreaming of? Paris maybe?
In many of Evelyn Richter’s photos there is a picture within a picture, giving an extra dimension of meaning to the image.
Ursula Arnold (born 1929) presents us with candid images of people within the streetscape of 1950s Leipzig. There is an old woman bent over and shadowy staircase, a couple just married and celebrating within a cobbled street overlooked by crumbling tenement facades. Children are pictured playing on a similar street, and here I’m reminded of the street photos of Shirley Baker taken in Salford during the 1960s.
The street scenes are a stark reminder of how the East was and now mostly no longer looks today.
Cars and other forms of transport are a focal point and give some clues as to when the photos were taken, though many vehicles were kept running for years so dating a picture can be difficult. The clapped out three-wheeled vehicle in Rykestrasse looks like something from another age. There are decrepit trams, vans, and other vehicles it’s now very difficult to put a name to. We are looking at a lost world, which thank goodness, these photographers have captured for posterity.
In more of Ursula Arnold’s photos, we return to the theme of faces within a crowd, especially those of children. The little boy with the balloon, May 1965 stands out.
A prominent feature of Ostalgie or nostalgia for the GDR is the memory of brand names a few of which are visible in some of the photos.
Helga Paris (born 1938) continues the familiar theme of East Germans portrayed in their environment. Despite the decrepitude of the surroundings, the individuality and humanity of the people shines through.
As a photographer of street scenes myself, I am irresistibly drawn to the images of the empty, ghostly streets of the east, particularly the unnamed street in Halle, devoid of anything apart from three figures and a parked Trabant.
In one photo by Helga Paris we have what looks like a sports car from the 1950s, next to a Wartburg and a Trabant. In matters automotive, variety wasn’t the spice of life in East Germany
Further street scenes provide a precious document of Halle as it once looked. In fact most of East Germany and the communist east looked like this. And I can also remember the ever-present smell of two-stroke mix from the 3 cylinder engines.
It is still shocking to see beautiful original half-timbered houses abandoned and practically falling down. How many of them are still there today?
A shop window is almost empty, like the street it looks onto, which is reflected in the glass. Such was the reality of life in East Germany.
In one wintry image, the snow seems to mask the decay, until you look more closely and see that between the snow-covered roof timbers there is nothing at all, as the roof has fallen in.
If there is beauty in dereliction and decay, then the GDR was the most beautiful country in the world!
I’m reminded here of the paintings and drawings of Trevor Grimshaw, who found a stark beauty in the townscapes of northern England.
We have now reached the top floor of the Cornerhouse gallery, and Erasmus Schröter’s large format images of street scenes continue the theme of derelict but atmospheric cityscapes, with more of those ubiquitous Trabants and Wartburgs.
It’s a vision that’s often empty of people but it starts to take on a grim fascination the more you stare at it. The photo of Dresden tramlines over cobblestones with a blank wall and peeling paintwork speaks volumes about the economic state of the GDR in its fourth decade of existence. Even if colour film had been used, it wouldn’t have picked out very much, apart from the peeling day-glow orange paint I remember seeing on roadside railings in the East.
These large size photos are of superb quality and are original GDR prints. I wonder how these street scenes look today. And it’s impossible to appreciate the quality and detail unless you come to the exhibition. A web page image cannot do justice to the original
Erasmus Schröter’s infra-red night scenes provide a totally unexpected view of the East and caused a sensation when they were first exhibited in the West. He used an infra-red flash, which is invisible to the human eye. The subjects – including the llama being led into a ballroom – didn’t know they were being photographed. The effect is surreal and humorous.
Llama Leipzig 1981 by Erasmus Schröter
In the photos of Maria Sewcz (25 years old in 1985) we get a different focus, directed towards details of the now-familiar East Berlin streetscape. Cars feature again prominently and signal the progression of time. We are in the eighties, the final decade of the GDR, though almost no one foresaw it at the time.
Her photo of parked Volvo cars and drivers may present a puzzle to the uninitiated. As a regular visitor to East Berlin, I recognise the location: It’s behind the Palace of the Republic, the ‘Erich’s lamp shop’ building we saw earlier, which also housed the GDR’s rubber-stamp parliament, the Volkskammer. The cars – all Volvos – are the official transport of the Communist elite. By this time they had given up on the Tatras and Zils of earlier decades.
East Berlin 1984 Photo by Maria Sewcz
Maria told me she took this photo surreptitiously with an Olympus compact camera loaded with East German ORWO film. She ran quite a risk in capturing this photo. She had applied to be an official photographer at the event but had been turned down. As a kind of revenge, she took this photo which was to be ‘her’ record of the of the event from which she had been excluded.
Another of her photos is of a plane seen above a building facade. Again, local knowledge allows me to read a meaning into this photo which others might not be aware of. East Berliners saw British and French airliners banking over East Berlin on their final approach to Tegel Airport in the West. The planes were a constant reminder of the world beyond the Berlin Wall and all the exotic travel destinations which people in the east could only dream of. But not for long.
A sequence from the GDR film Solo Sunny, made in 1980, features a longing glance at a British BAC 1-11 flying over East Berlin.
Maria insists that her photos should not be described in any way, not even with a title. Originally this was a way of beating the censor, but this principle is still adhered to.
More Wartburgs, trams and Trabants, shot from the hip in an East Berlin that was about to experience its biggest upheaval in decades, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
A sign of the times is a West German tv crew photographed on a street in East Berlin in mid-1989, which Maria took spontaneously from the hip as she was passing.
The series by Ulrich Wüst depicting statues departs from the main theme, though there are some inescapable icons of Communism, such as the face of Karl Marx.
In the end room, the series by Gundula Schulze-Eldowy (31 in 1985) entitled ‘Berlin on a Dog’s Night’ begins with an unexpectedly frivolous self-portrait of the photographer with an unknown man who has his head under her jumper.
Her landscapes of East Germany and Poland are filled with a chilly beauty. I loved the dusk view of the train at a station with a misty backdrop, but where is this?
Her series of photos of an old lady in stages of decline is shocking, partly because of the subject matter, and partly because we wonder how on earth any photographer could get away with producing images like this in the GDR. Some might see the old lady a symbol of the decline of the East German state but that might be going a bit too far with the symbolism.
Her portraits of East Germans clothed and unclothed continues a theme of unflinching and unflattering realism, but as before the individuality and dignity of the sitters comes through.
Her series of street photographs seems at first sight to satisfy the dictates of Socialist Realism, but on closer inspection it is subverted by the eccentricity of the people, some of whom appear to be on the edge of madness and have a surreal ‘Diane Arbus’ quality. It’s a good example of how the photographers were able to be subversive, while the authorities were not perceptive enough – or maybe not intelligent enough – to notice.
One very striking image sums up the East German regime very well. It’s the photo of Hoffman, Kulikowski and Mielke at the May 1st parade 1984. Mielke was the head of the Stasi from 1957 until 1989. They are indulging in some Soviet-GDR pleasantries on the podium at the foot of which, a stern and comical plainclothes security man peers suspiciously to one side, lips pursed. This seems to sum up the GDR as a state of party functionaries and military big wigs in big Soviet-style hats supported and protected by an army of zealous and petty-minded Stasi agents. This might perhaps have been my choice as signature image for the exhibition, but I doubt if it would have the pulling power of ‘Kirsten Hopperade’.
The date above the podium is May 1984. Five and a half years later the entire structure of Communist control in East Germany would have collapsed, and soon the big Soviet hats would be on sale as souvenirs in front of the re-opened Brandenburg gate. Few realised how close the end was, least of all Erich Honecker, who predicted the Wall would still be there in ’50 and even 100 years’. I also had no idea of what was around the corner.
Do Not Refreeze takes us on a journey through a lost world, which then as now, has been seriously neglected and overlooked both here in the UK and in West Germany.
The photographs touch on a very wide range of themes and use many different techniques and formats, though colour photography isn’t one of them, and I think the exhibition is all the better for this. East Germany was often described as ‘grau in grau’ or ‘grey in grey’ and so black and white is the ideal medium in which to depict it. In any case, colour film was for most photographers in the East prohibitively expensive.
Anyone who appreciates photography – particularly black and white photography – will enjoy these pictures as they are of world-class quality.
And anyone with any knowledge of the eastern part of Germany whether before the Wall came down or in more recent times should find these images irrisistably fascinating, and of great historical value.
The exhibition was curated by Matthew Shaul, Head of Programming at the University of Hertfordshire Galleries. He told me the idea for the exhibition came to him after seeing some of the work of East German photographers at an exhibition at the Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin in 2003. Though he found the sculptures and paintings mostly little more than historical curios, he was bowled over by the quality and universal appeal of the photography and resolved to bring an exhibition of these photographs the UK.
After four years and a huge amount of work, ‘Do Not Refreeze’ is the result, and it is fantastic.
Only someone with first-hand experience of Germany could have pulled this exhibition together. With his excellent knowledge of the language and professional awareness of the artistic and cultural scene in both countries, Matthew provides the essential link between the UK and Germany. A German curator would probably have found it difficult to find their way around the British art scene. And no British curator would have been aware of the depth and quality of the East German photographers without being introduced to it in Germany, as Matthew Shaul was.
He is very pleased that the exhibition was taken up so enthusiastically by Manchester’s Cornerhouse, which he regards as the pre-eminent exhibition space in the North West.
If I was still teaching German I would have instructed every student of mine to go to the Cornerhouse and see it.
This is a five-star exhibition of world-class photography and I recommend everyone to go and see it.
After Cornerhouse Manchester, the show is moving to the University of Hertfordshire’s gallery in Hatfield, then Focal Point Southampton and finally the Wolverhampton Art Gallery and Museum.
Admission is free so you there is no excuse whatsoever for not attending! Learn about photography, learn about an important and forgotten world that is part of the history of Europe, go and see ‘Do Not Refreeze Photography Behind the Berlin Wall’ while you can!
In this feature, we go on a tour of 47 Beatles locations in Liverpool and Wirral. In 2018 I created a video featuring 38 locations, with English and Japanese subtitles and no voiceover. I decided to make a new version of the video using the format of my AVZINE channel, launched in September 2020.
I was inspired by the Beatles in my childhood and loved Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields. Through my research, I’ve learned a lot about the Beatles and the places they are associated with. I intend to do a feature about the Beatles in Hamburg. I’ve also created an audio-only podcast version of the feature in German, with original Beatles songs. It’s available exclusively to my students.
I have included a few of the photos in this article but to see all the pictures, please watch the video. As I always request, please click the ‘like’ button, subscribe to the channel and click the ‘bell’ button for notifications.
A tour of 47 Beatles locations in Liverpool and Wirral
The familiar double decker open top tour buses will take you around most of the important sights in Liverpool.
The Magical Mystery Tour is a specialised two hour Beatles tour.
And for a personalised Beatles tour you can take one of the Fab Four Taxis. The driver will share lots of knowledge and there’s a recorded commentary in several different languages.
Our tour begins at the airport, 7.5 miles or 12 kilometres south of the city centre. In 2001 it was named Liverpool John Lennon Airport.
1. John Lennon Statue, Liverpool John Lennon Airport terminal
The new terminal opened in 2002. Inside the terminal, there’s a statue of John Lennon by Tom Murphy. The nearby plaque reminds us EU funding helped to finance the terminal and the nearby business park.
2. The Yellow Submarine
The Yellow Submarine stands in front of the terminal. It used to be on the waterfront and was originally constructed by shipbuilding apprentices from Cammell Laird for the International Garden Festival that was held in 1984. The song ‘Yellow Submarine’ was released in 1966, the film came out in 1968.
3. The old airport terminal
The old airport terminal was opened in 1938. In 1964 thousands of fans welcomed the Beatles after their US tour. Today, you can stay here, as it’s the Crowne Plaza Liverpool John Lennon Airport Hotel.
4. The 85 bus
We are now at Liverpool South Parkway station. The 86 is a local bus operated by private company Stagecoach. In the 1950s Liverpool had its own municipal buses. They were painted in a distinctive green livery that was part of the character of the city. The 86 passes close to Paul’s house. He took the 86 to school every day. It’s said that riding on the bus influenced his songwriting.
There were adverts on buses for the ‘Double Fantasy’ exhibition which was on at the Museum of Liverpool during 2018 and19. We’ll take the 86 along Mather Avenue. Paul’s house is to the left. We’ll go there later.
5. The Sergeant Pepper Bistro
We get off near the Sergeant Pepper Bistro. This building was the ‘shelter in the middle of the roundabout’ in the song ‘Penny Lane’. An extra floor was added when it became the Bistro. Unfortunately, it’s been closed for a few years. Paul, John and George often met at this former bus shelter.
6. Penny Lane
‘Penny Lane’ was released in February 1967 as a double A-side single with ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’. There was controversy in 2020 when the sign was spray painted and the word ‘racist’ was written above it. The graffiti artist should have checked his facts. The name has no connection with slave-ship owner James Penny. A muddy lane out in the countryside would in any case not be named after a prominent trader in the city.
The song was written as a tribute to Penny Lane, but now Penny Lane is famous because of the song, which captivated me as a child.
In June 2018, Paul returned to Penny Lane for the Late Late Show with James Corden and wrote his autograph on the sign painted on the wall further down Penny Lane.
7. Strawberry Field gates
We’ll stop at the Strawberry Field gates, on Beaconsfield Road, not far from the house where John Lennon lived with his aunt Mimi. Fans from all over the world visit the gates and write messages. The gates are actually replica of the real ones. In the song, John remembers his childhood and this song too inspired me very much as a child.
Since 2020 it’s possible to step through the red gates and into the famous site. The visitors centre has an exhibition and many other attractions. It’s owned and run by the Salvation Army.
8. Calderstones Park
Not many people know that in Calderstones Park, there is a Japanese garden. Calderstones Park has many associations with the Beatles in their early years. I wonder if John ever imagined that one day he would marry a woman from Japan.
9. The Eleanor Rigby gravestone
We continue to St Peter’s Church the village of Woolton. Here we find the famous gravestone inscribed with the name ‘Eleanor Rigby’. The name may have inspired the famous song. Paul McCartney explains more in an interesting and spooky story. Try Googling it.
10. St Peter’s Church, Woolton.
In 1957, John and Paul met for the first time at a village fête behind St Peter’s Church.
11. Number 9 Madryn Street
We’ll head into the city centre and on the way, we’ll visit the Welsh Streets area. Ringo Starr was born at 9 Madryn Street. The house, as well as most of the Welsh Streets district, was to have been demolished. Beatles fans came here and wrote messages on the façade. But there was a change of plan. The Welsh Streets district was renovated and today the house looks almost new.
12. Number 10 Admiral Grove
Ringo Starr’s family moved to number 10 Admiral Grove, just a short distance from 9 Madryn Street. Ringo lived here until he became famous in 1963.
13. Number 12 Arnold Grove
In 1943, George Harrison was born at 12 Arnold Grove, a small terraced house in Wavertree. His family later moved to a house in Speke.
14. Liverpool town hall
Next, we return to the city centre. In 1964, the Beatles stood on the balcony of the town hall in front of thousands of screaming fans. 20 years later they were awarded the Freedom of the City. Inside the lobby, you’ll find a plaque bearing the names of the Fab Four. Sadly John wasn’t there to experience the honour.
Now we’ll walk up through Liverpool’s Creative Quarter not far from the University.
15. Number 3 Gambier Terrace
John Lennon lived at 3 Gambier Terrace in 1960 with former Beatles bassist Stuart Sutcliffe and others including artist Margaret Chapman. They were all students at the nearby Liverpool College of Art.
16. Falkner Street
Historic Falkner Street was built in the early to mid 19th century and it often features in historical dramas. Beatles manager Brian Epstein lived on Falkner Street and he owned the ground floor flat at 36 Falkner Street. He offered it to John Lennon and his first wife Cynthia. They lived here from 1962 to 1963.
17. The Liverpool Institute
A short distance away is Mount Street where we come across a distinctive Roman-style portico. On it are the words ‘Liverpool Institute and School of Art 1825’. Paul McCartney and George Harrison went to the Liverpool Institute when it was a boys’ grammar school. Today it’s the Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts, co-founded by Paul McCartney and Mark Featherstone-Witty. Initial funding for the Institute was provided through Liverpool City Challenge, The European Union and the private sector.
18. The Cracke Pub
The Beatles often visited Ye Cracke pub on Rice Street. It’s filled with Beatles memorabilia and has a quaint, homely atmosphere inside.
19. The Philharmonic Dining Rooms
The Philharmonic Hall is on Hope Street. Diagonally opposite is the Philharmonic pub and it’s one of the biggest and most magnificent pubs in the city. In June 2018 Paul gave a surprise concert inside the pub for the Late Late Show with James Corden. I wish I’d been there!
20. Former Liverpool Maternity Hospital
John Lennon was born on the 9th of October 1940 in the former Liverpool Maternity Hospital. There’s an interesting plaque next to the entrance. It’s now a university residence.
21. 4 Rodney Street
Brian Epstein was born at 4 Rodney Street. A beautifully designed plaque provides information about his life and tragic death at the age of 32.
22. The Blue Angel Night Club
In the 1960s the Beatles and other famous bands played at the Blue Angel Night Club. It’s on Seel Street in Chinatown.
23. The Jacaranda
The Jacaranda is a legendary music venue closely associated with the rise of Merseybeat in the 1960s. It was opened by The Beatles’ first manager Allan Williams in 1958. The Jacaranda Twitter profile says that it’s “A re-imagining of the first place The Beatles ever played. Gig venue, Bar, Club and Vinyl Record store.”
From here, we’ll walk down to the Pier Head. It should take about 15 minutes.
24. The Museum of Liverpool
In the Museum of Liverpool, you can learn about the city where the Beatles grew up. The Double Fantasy exhibition was on here from 2018 to 2019. The Museum of Liverpool tells the story of Liverpool and it’s a major attraction in the city. It received funding from various sources, including the EU’s European Regional Development Fund and opened in 2011.
25. The British Music Experience
At the British Music Experience, you can find out all about British pop music including many other famous Liverpool bands who are perhaps overshadowed by the omnipresent Beatles.
26. The Beatles Statue
The Beatles Statue was designed by Andrew Edwards and is probably Liverpool’s number one selfie opportunity. The four larger than life figures were unveiled in December 2015, fifty years after the Beatles’ final show in the city
27. The site of The Tower Ballroom
On the other side of the Mersey in New Brighton, we visit the site of the Tower Ballroom. On top of the building once stood the tallest tower in Britain. It was taken down around 1919 and in 1969, the building was damaged by fire and pulled down. The Beatles played here 27 times between 1961 and 1963.
28. New Brighton Pier
The Beatles gave just one concert on New Brighton Pier, which was built in the mid-19th century and sadly demolished in the early 1970s.
29. The MV Royal Iris
The MV Royal Iris was built in 1950 and served as one of the Mersey ferries. In the 1960s, the Beatles and Gerry and the Pacemakers played on Cavern cruises on the Mersey. Plans to turn it into a floating night club came to nothing and in 2019 she lay by the Thames in Woolwich, London, taking in water.
30. The Grosvenor Ballroom
The Beatles played at many venues on the Wirral, including the Grosvenor Ballroom in Liscard, not far from New Brighton. The hall looks the same as it did in the early sixties. It’s used for dances and community events.
31. The Apollo Roller Rink
The Beatles made one appearance at the Apollo Roller Rink in Moreton, not far from the sea. It was in 1962 and promoted by the Beatles’ poster artist Tony Booth. It’s now a dancing school.
32. The Majestic Ballroom
The Majestic Ballroom, Birkenhead played an important role in the Merseyside music scene during the 1960s. The Beatles played here on 17 occasions between 1961 and 1963. The building was later used as a Chinese restaurant.
33. The Victoria Hall
Paul often came to the area near The Victoria Hall, Higher Bebington visiting relatives.The Beatles played here on the 4th of August 1962.
34. Hulme Hall, Port Sunlight
Many tourists come to the model village of Port Sunlight for its art gallery and beautiful houses. Port Sunlight was built in the late 19th century by the wealthy soap manufacturer Lord Leverhulme for his employees. In Hulme Hall on the 18th of August 1962, the Beatles played their first concert with Ringo Starr as drummer.
We’ll take the train back to Liverpool city centre and we’ll go to the Cavern Quarter.
35. The Eleanor Rigby Statue
The Eleanor Rigby statue is in Stanley Street not far from Mathew Street. It was created by singer and artist Tommy Steele and presented to Liverpool in 1982.
36. Mathew Street
Mathew Street is dedicated to the Beatles, as well as other famous Liverpool stars including Cilla Black. In the evening and at weekends the street is full of people.
37. The Hard Day’s Night Hotel
The Hard Days Night Hotel is a Beatles theme hotel. The £8 million project was awarded an EU grant of £2.3 million and opened in 2004. High up on the façade, there are some slightly comical statues of the Beatles. The John Lennon statue is the best one.
38. The John Lennon Statue, Mathew Street
The statue of John Lennon on Mathew Street portrays him as a young man wearing a leather jacket. Many people from all over the world stop to have their photo taken next to John.
39. The Cavern Club
Between 1961 and 1963, the Beatles played in the Cavern Club 292 times. This isn’t the original Cavern Club. The building it was in was unfortunately demolished. This new Cavern Club is a very good reproduction of the original.
40. The Grapes Pub, Mathew Street
Before they went on stage, the Beatles often went to the Grapes Pub further down Mathew Street.
41. Four Lads Who Shook the World’
Mounted high on a wall on Mathew Street is the artwork named ‘Four Lads Who Shook the World’. It was created by Arthur Dooley. John Lennon is represented as a baby.
42. The Magical History Museum
The Magical History Museum contains a gigantic collection of Beatles memorabilia on three floors. It commemorates not just the Fab Four but drummer Pete Best who was replaced by Ringo Starr and bass guitarist Stuart Sutcliffe who died in Hamburg at the age of 21.
43. The Casbah Coffee Club
Now we’ll travel three and a half miles or five and a half kilometres from the city centre to the suburb of West Derby. In the cellar of a large house on the road named Haymans Green is the Casbah Coffee Club. Here, Paul, John, George and Pete Best played their first concerts. It’s full of fascinating photographs and memorabilia that transport you back to the late 1950s and early 1960s.The Casbah Coffee Club was owned and run by Pete Best’s mother Mona. It’s back to the city centre now for the final section of the tour.
44. The Beatles Story
The Beatles Story in the Albert Dock is about the remarkable success story of the Fab Four and it’s an award-winning attraction. The White Room is striking and memorable.
45. The European Peace Monument or The John Lennon Peace Monument
The European Peace Monument or The John Lennon Peace Monument was given to the people of Europe on the occasion of John Lennon’s 70th birthday. It was commissioned by the Global Peace Initiative and designed by artist Lauren Voiers when she was only 19. It was unveiled in Chevasse Park near the Hilton Hotel on the 9th of October 2010. Later it was moved to its present site in front of Jury’s Inn Hotel.
We’re going to take the National Trust minibus to visit the Beatles’ childhood homes. To get your ticket to ride, you’ll need to book in advance.
46. Number 20 Forthlin Road
Paul McCartney lived with his family at 20 Forthlin Road, Allerton from 1955 till 1964. The interior of the small terraced house is decorated with furniture and memorabilia from the 1950s. It’s easy to imagine Paul and his family sitting in the front room having a sing-song. Photos of the interior are not allowed.
47. Number 251 Menlove Avenue
We continue to the last Beatles location on the tour, number 251 Menlove Avenue, Woolton, where John Lennon lived with his Aunt Mimi. It’s quite a large semi-detached house with gardens front and rear. The house is a time capsule of the early 1960s and please note photography is not permitted.
On our long and winding tour of 47 Beatles locations in Liverpool and Wirral, we’ve coincidentally covered a distance of around 47 miles as the crow flies. and that’s about or 75 kilometres,
If you’re interested in a shorter tour, you can come on one of my Liverpool Photo Walks.
Please watch the video, click the ‘like’ button, post a comment and subscribe to my AVZINE channel for more on the subject of cities and journeys, including a feature on the Beatles in Hamburg.
So it’s Auf Wiedersehen from me and I’ll leave you with these words by an unnamed writer on the John Lennon Peace Movement website:
“John Lennon taught us to stand up for what we believe in and dream big. He protested for peace, and many people listened. This is why John Lennon will be remembered as a peace activist. His legendary ideas will be remembered forever as long as we all shall live.”
Art defines cities. The Impressionists painted Paris and captured the Zeitgeist – the spirit of the age, the Expressionists did the same in Berlin.
Art can be big business. Paintings by LS Lowry sell for huge amounts. And yet the true value of art is in its vision.
I’ve chosen these artists because I know them personally and in fact one of them used my photo of the Hacienda as source material, with my permission of course. That’s how I got to know her.
A quick word about the text on screen. I’m a photographer and writer. I’m interested in words and images and I like to see them side by side on screen. It’s also useful for people with a disability, for language learners and also for anyone who for any reason has to have the sound down.
Okay, so let’s go to the exhibition area and take a look…
Caroline Johnson, fine artist and printmaker studied Fine Art and lived in France for 20 years. For her illustration of the Haçienda night club, I’m glad to say she used my photo as source material. With an analytical eye, she depicts the curved façade of the now-demolished building with its salmon-coloured bricks. Magazine cuttings add to the mystery.
St Peters Square is one of many locations she has recorded. This is St Peters Square prior to the renovation, looking towards the Bridgewater Hall. There are modern buildings on the left and on the right the ornate brown-tiled Midland Hotel, with the tram stop in its former location in front of the Central Library. There are strong verticals and the people are dressed for a Manchester winter.
Using relaxed lines she draws the old Cornerhouse arts centre, filled with solid blocks of colour, photo collage and other mixed media. In 2015, HOME became Manchester’s main arts centre.
Her depiction of the Deaf Institute music venue is beautifully detailed. Parked cars and barriers are part of the composition. Empty spaces in the drawing are filled using magazine cutouts with typography.
The curved red brick façade of the Black Lion pub on Chapel Street Salford is rendered in a piercing reddish-brown hue. Outer sections of the drawing are left uncoloured.
I love to photograph the shadowy grey Castlefield railway viaducts, but Caroline has drawn them in an eerie luminous green. The lines are slightly off the vertical, giving a feeling of dizziness as we gaze in awe at these structures.
And now we are looking through the eyes of Karen McBride, the celebrated Manchester music photographer. She started out as an artist, achieved fame and later returned to painting.
Now we see a different vision of Castlefield. At the top, a riot of gold paint and darker shades, and as we look more closely, the familiar shapes of the viaduct emerge, reflected in the murky water. Karen paints in an Expressionist style that’s rooted in memory and emotion.
The Old Town Hall Portico in Heaton Park is engulfed in an angry, warlike red, the paint spilling over and down the pillars, giving a sense of turmoil. Expressionism is defined as ‘using a subjective perspective and distorting it radically for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas’. That definition from Wikipedia fits Karen’s work perfectly.
In Karen’s painting, the tower of the former Refuge Assurance, now a hotel, stands defiant, with sections of the building arranged below it, like protagonists in a play.
Precise sections of window dissolve into a blizzard of brown and grey. The bridge over the Medlock tries to bind the elements together, but is dominated by them.
Karen was born and grew up in Harpurhey, north Manchester. From the bus on Rochdale Road, she often saw a brown, tiled building on a triangular site. Her depiction of the end façade is a curious combination of architectural precision and the chaos of graffiti.
Gary Taylor is from east Manchester. His paintings recreate the old industrial city. His style is simple and direct but the effects are sophisticated and full of atmosphere. Moonlight is reflected on a wet street. Smoke and steam emanate from the power station, as an old-style red Manchester double-decker 53 bus makes its way along Hulme Hall Lane.
According to Wikipedia, ‘Impressionism is characterised by small, thin, yet visible brush strokes, open composition, with an emphasis on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities’. That description fits Gary Taylor’s work quite well.
With simple strokes and a few dots of paint on the canvas, Gary recreates a lost world. Above the trees, we can see the art deco façade of the former Rylands, later Debenhams. Vivid green is punctuated by red flowers, with a blue sky above. The red lettering on the Arndale Tower and the windows below are rendered in just a few casual brush strokes.
In monochrome, Gary Taylor paints a street leading to a humpback bridge over a canal, with houses, warehouses and chimneys beyond. A woman in a white 1950s-style dress crosses the street and man waits on the corner. Scribbled advertising hoardings bear silent witness to this mysterious scene.
In east Manchester, there were countless, streets, factories and smoking chimney pots. Boy met girl at bus stops, rode the old red and ochre 53 bus and went to the pub. Gary’s painting could be the inspiration for a 1960s kitchen sink drama.
In shades of grey, Gary Taylor conjures up the Manchester Docks. An old sailor leans on the railing, smoking a pipe. He looks out over the dark, oily canal water at the ships, masts, funnels and smoke. What’s in his mind’s eye is what’s there in front of us. The wooden cross, like a grim signpost, adds an ominous element.
It’s easy to idealise the past, but in Gary Taylor’s cityscape of Gorton, we see a monochrome landscape with a modern white block on the left, blackened terraced houses on the right and in the distance under a smoky, grey sky, the outline of Gorton Monastery.
Len Grant is from south Manchester and went to the same school as me, Xaverian College, when it was a boys’ grammar school. After a career change into photography and many years of success, he turned to sketching. As we see in his sketch of the Albert Memorial, his linework is playful and confident. He uses a fountain pen filled with permanent black ink. Then he applies watercolours.
The Bridgewater Hall and its surroundings are unmistakable in a drawing that’s arranged like a triptych using sketchy linework and casually daubed watercolour.
Like Caroline Johnson, Len has depicted the Cornerhouse on Oxford Road, its familiar narrow façade framed between architectural elements that are not that close together in real life. He is able to bend reality in a way that’s impossible in photography.
Len Grant doesn’t just draw pictures. He engages in community-based projects, mingling with people, drawing them and their familiar locations. The results are published in miniature books.
Eamonn Murphy was born in Chester and lives in Stockport. He has worked in advertising and graphic design. His post-minimalist illustrations have the precision of architectural drawings but the homely appeal of brightly coloured railway posters. Through Eamonn Murphy’s eyes, HOME arts centre looks as shiny and pristine as on the day it opened.
Using digital illustration, he is able to reduce complex architecture down to its simplest forms, revealing its essential character. It works for modern styles of architecture and traditional ones too, like the Central Library.
He can bring out the best in modern buildings, which some people might consider as not so attractive. The Beetham tower is an abstract pattern of lines and parallelograms in pastel shades. The beam of light from above looks like a straightened, colourless rainbow.
The church-like windows of the John Rylands Library, its pinnacles, battlements and brown sandstone walls are reduced to a simple set of shapes, revealing things you might not have noticed, for instance that the windows on the front are not symmetrical.
Manchester Central, the former Central Station, is perhaps the ideal subject matter for Eamonn Murphy, an exercise in geometric forms, rectangles, triangles and curves, with the asymmetrical modern entrance at the front. The old fashioned clock has incredible detail. A combination of modern and traditional, sometimes harmonious, sometimes not, that’s Manchester.
Five artists, each one with their own vision, one city, actually two, Manchester and Salford.
To see local scenes depicted in art I recommend going to Manchester Art Gallery or the Lowry Salford Quays. You can also browse the windows of the private galleries in Manchester city centre or go to Manchester Central Library.
More details in the description below and of course, don’t forget to like this video, subscribe to the channel and click the ‘bell’ button for notifications. And tell other people about these artists.
That’s all from me so it’s auf Wiedersehen, see you soon!
I’m interested in cities. I love to explore them, photograph them and see how they develop. Unfortunately, sometimes things go wrong.
In 1999 on my Eyewitness in Manchester website, I wrote an open letter to Manchester City Council, protesting against their plans for Piccadilly Gardens.
20 years later, it’s clear that it was a mistake and some people think it was a disaster.
I think Manchester is far too inward-looking. We need to look to other parts of Europe and the world to compare and to contrast and maybe to get some inspiration.
And so, we are going to visit another city I know well, Leipzig in eastern Germany and we’re going to find out about something that happened in the main square there, that I still find shocking even today.
Are there any parallels between Manchester and Leipzig? Please write in the comments.
For my students and the German-speaking audience, As well as the English version, I’ve also produced a German version of the video. To follow this video in English, just activate the subtitles.
I’ve waited a long time to tell this story, so please help me out by liking the video and subscribing to te AVZINE channel.
MAIN ARTICLE & VIDEO SCRIPT
From the airport, the tram will take you in 50 minutes to Piccadilly Gardens, a once beautiful open space in the centre of the great city of Manchester, which lies 180 miles or 300 km north west of London.
Its origins go back a century or so. The old infirmary was demolished in the 1900s leaving an empty space. The foundations of the hospital were turned into sunken gardens. An art gallery was planned but never built.
Manchester was badly bombed in WW2. Through demolition, the square became even wider.
Actually, it was never referred to as a square, only ‘Gardens’.
Piccadilly Gardens had their heyday in the post-war decades. Everyone came here to relax, have lunch, read the paper or admire the lawns and flowers.
The gardens are overlooked by many interesting buildings, for example, mid-19th century warehouses and a very interesting Indian style facade that used to be Lyons Popular Cafe.
On the other side was the futuristic Piccadilly Plaza completed in 1965, with its tall tower, hotel on stilts and a smaller building, Bernard House, with a very unusual roof.
In 1992 the first part of the Metrolink tram system was built. The tracks encroached onto the gardens a little, but not too much.
Manchester City Council, unfortunately, failed to maintain the gardens or cut the trees and so the area slowly became run down, a place of drinking, drug-taking and criminal activities.
But on sunny days, the gardens still looked good.
Because the area had become run down, so Manchester City Council reasoned, it needed to be completely revamped.
And so in 1999, they announced a new plan. When I opened City Life magazine and saw it, I was shocked.
Sunken gardens would be filled in, a new office block a concrete pavilion and a wall were to be built on the green space.
It immediately reminded me of the Berlin Wall. I joined others and objected. Our objections were overruled and the new gardens were built.
They seemed alien to the surroundings as if someone had unrolled a carpet onto the square, or some giant extra-terrestrial board game. It seemed like a false intrusion.
Manchester City Council said they were sure Mancunians would love their exciting gardens, designed by leading Japanese architect Tadao Andō. I later read that he had never actually visited Manchester. His team did the work.
Other changes took place. Bernard House and the Indian style facade were both torn down and replaced with inferior structures.
The Wall was ugly and blocked sightlines. It looked best at night when you couldn’t see it properly. But at least the fountains were an attraction.
In the summer, the new gardens were well used. But there were problems with the grass and the fountains.
Talking to people, I heard them say: „Why on earth have they built this wall?.“
The Japanese architect Tadao Andō is world-famous. His preferred building material is bare concrete. He has designed museums in Japan, Germany and the USA. His creations probably look better in a dry climate where there is a lot of sun.
An open square in the centre of a northern English city is simply not the best place for his work.
In April 2014 the Manchester Evening News ran an opinion poll. Three-quarters of readers who responded hated it.
Six years and seven months later, in the early hours of Monday 24 November 2020, the freestanding section of the wall came down.
But the concrete pavilion and the office block remain.
The story is not over.
Now let’s fly over to the great city of Leipzig, about 150 kilometres or 90 miles south of Berlin
From the airport, it’s a 30-minute journey by train to the Augustusplatz, an open square in Leipzig city centre.
Its origins go back a few centuries. The old city walls were pulled down, leaving an open area on the east side of the old town.
Many interesting buildings appeared near the square.
In the 19th century, the Opera House, an art gallery and the Mendel fountain were built. The Krochhhaus from the 1920s was one of the first tall buildings in Germany.
The Paulinerkirche was built in 1231. Martin Luther inaugurated the church in 1545, when it became a part of the university., Johann Sebastian Bach was a director of music here.
Leipzig was badly bombed in WW2. Most of the older buildings were destroyed. Fortunately the Paulinerkirche survived virtually intact.
The Soviet Zone became the GDR. Gradually the city was rebuilt according to Communist principles.
A new opera house appeared on the Augustusplatz.
The Paulinerkirche was used for services and concerts, but on the 30th of May 1968, after a decision taken by the Communist-led city and university authorities, the Paulinerkirche was blown up.
It had to make way for new university buildings.
‘Das Ding muss weg’ – ‘That thing must go’, the East German leader Walter Ulbricht is reported to have said.
Many people came to witness the destruction. Protesters were arrested.
There was shock and resignation, echoing events in neighbouring Czechoslovakia that same year, 1968
The university tower was designed by Hermann Henselmann. It was intended to look like a book, and became a symbol of Leipzig.
A new concert hall for the Gewandhaus orchestra was opened in 1988. With its large windows artwork and geometric design, it is reminiscent of Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall.
In 1989, the Monday Demonstrations met on the Augustusplatz. Soon the Wall and the GDR fell, and on 3 Oct 1990 Germany was reunified.
New construction began. The Augustusplatz was remodelled. An underground car park was built and a pond and fountain were added. Not everyone was happy. People said the air vents looked like giant candles.
Regarding the Paulinerkirche, some wanted it to be rebuilt like the Frauenkirche in Dresden, but the university had other plans. Architect Erick van Egeraat created a building that pays homage to the Paulinerkirche but doesn’t try to recreate it.
The interior is impressive. It’s used as the university church and meeting hall.
Controversies continue. Across the Augustusplatz, there were protests in 2015 against plans for the post office building.
The story is not over. In fact, it will never be over. Cities change. Cities are changed for better or for worse by politicians and planners. Let’s hope that, despite all this, the true character of the city can shine through.
So if you watch the video above and read the article below, you will learn a lot about this amazing building.
But there are still some questions that are unanswered, which I list at the bottom of the page. If you have any answers please leave a message. In honour of Carl Bernard Bartels, I have also produced a German-language version of the video. Many thanks for watching and please subscribe to my AVZINE channel.
The Royal Liver Building is the most famous building in Liverpool and it is admired and loved by both local people and visitors. It’s located on the Pier Head, overlooking the River Mersey. Its two clock towers, and the two iconic Liver birds standing on top of them, can be seen from all over the city. It was constructed between 1908 and 1911 and is one of the so-called Three Graces. The other two are the Cunard Building, built 1914-1917, and the Port of Liverpool building, 1904-1907.
The Liver Building is one of the most familiar sights in Liverpool and you’ll find plenty of information about it in tourist guides and on websites. But certain facts about the Liver Building are shrouded in mystery, and there are some questions to which I’ve not found any clear answers. I will list them at the end.
1. The Liver Building is made out of reinforced concrete with a granite façade.
You’ll read that the Liver Building is made out of reinforced concrete. Its use of reinforced concrete for the structure of the building was ground-breaking at the time it was built. But it’s also important to know that the exterior is clad – or covered – in granite. The granite has a pale shade of brown, unlike the white Portland stone used on the Cunard and Port of Liverpool buildings. I’ve heard people say this colour is not very attractive but I don’t find that. It’s part of its unique character.
2. The Liver Building is built on one-third of a filled-in dock.
I used to wonder, why is it that on Liverpool’s Pier Head, there are three magnificent buildings, rectangular in floor plan, standing side by side? And then I discovered that all three were constructed on what used to be St George’s Dock. It was drained and the site was prepared for new buildings.
Water Street and Brunswick Street were extended across the former dock, dividing it into three. Three buildings then appeared where ships used to moor. And here’s another hidden fact: if you turned the clock back a few centuries, and looked from St Nicholas church, the Three Graces would be out in the river. The entire Pier Head and dock system is built on reclaimed land.
3. The inner courtyard walls have been covered with a modern glass façade.
In 2011, I visited the Liver Building to take photographs for the book ‘Liverpool Then and Now’, and I was shocked to discover that the interior facade has been covered in a glass skin similar to a 1960s office block. I didn’t take a photograph of it, as I didn’t want to spoil the image I had in my mind. Since its completion in 1911 the Liver Building, like most commercial buildings, has been altered and renovated, but I’m not sure when the glass wall was added. That’s another one of my questions at the end.
4. The riverside clock tower has three faces, the landside tower has only one.
I’ve been looking at the Liver Building for many years but had never quite fully noticed that the four clock faces are split between the two clock towers. On the west tower, there are three clock faces looking north, west and south, respectively.
On the east tower, there is only one clock face, looking east over the city centre. And here’s another hidden fact: all four clocks are controlled by the same mechanism. I don’t quite understand how that works, so that’s another question, which I’ve added to the list at the end.
5. The clock faces are bigger than those on the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster in London.
The clock faces of the Liver Building are bigger than the ones on the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament, completed in 1859. These are 23 feet or seven metres wide but the Liver Building clock faces are 25 feet wide or 7.6 m.
One information source stated that the clock on the front of Shell Mex House, further down the Thames, is bigger. But it’s not a proper clock face, just a section of the façade onto which clock hands and hour markers have been fixed. The Liver Building clock faces are proper clock faces made of metal and opaque glass, and they are recognised as the biggest in the UK.
6. It looks similar to some early skyscrapers in the United States.
The Liver Building is said to closely resemble the Allegheny Court House in Pittsburgh, built in 1884 and Adler & Sullivan’s Schiller Theatre in Chicago, built in 1891 and demolished in 1961.
I think it looks very similar to the Wrigley Building in Chicago, but that building dates from 1924. Could the Liver Building have influenced architecture on the other side of the Atlantic, just as Birkenhead Park influenced Central Park in New York?
7. The clock faces are the largest electronically driven clocks in the UK.
The Liver Building clocks are the biggest electronically driven clocks in the UK and this is a reminder that the building brings together both traditional and modern elements. The ornamented clock tower conforms to classic architectural principles you’ll see in world architecture, including Islamic architecture, but the mechanism of the clock is pure 20th century.
8. There are no bells inside the towers of the Liver Building.
There are bell towers on town halls and cathedrals including Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, and you can often hear them ringing. But inside the clock towers of the Liver Building, there are no bells. It made no sound at all until 1953 when a chiming mechanism was installed in memory of Royal Liver staff killed during two world wars.
The chimes were made using piano wires hit by hammers and the sound was amplified using a microphone, amplifier and speaker. This device gradually deteriorated and was out of operation for around four years. But in 2016, the chimes returned, thanks to the Cumbrian Clock Company, who are responsible for the maintenance of the clocks. They recorded the old chimes and saved the audio onto a hard drive. This sound is played throughout the day and the evening through a large speaker located under the cupola of the west tower.
It doesn’t sound quite like a real bell, but it’s better than no bell at all. I was intrigued to discover that when the building was under construction, there had been plans to put real bells in the tower and some space was set aside to accommodate them. But in the end, no bells were installed for fear that they would be too heavy for the new style of construction using reinforced concrete.
9. The Liver Birds were designed by a German.
This fact was remained hidden from many many years. It was only in recent years that the identity of the person who created the metal cormorant-like birds was revealed. He was Carl Bernard Bartels, a German emigré artist born in Stuttgart. He came to live in England in 1887 after falling in love with the country. A competition was held to design and build the two birds that would be placed on the roof of the Liver Building, and he won.
A few years after the Liver Building was completed, the First World War began and there was a strong anti-German feeling. Carl Bernard Bartels was interned on the Isle of Man as an enemy alien and deported in 1918. He returned to England in the mid-twenties and spent the rest of his life there. Carl Bernard Bartels created Liverpool’s most famous pair of icons, but this fact was kept hidden until the late 20th century because he was German. Inside the Liver Building, there is now a plaque in his honour.
So, those are what I believe to be the surprising facts – at least, they surprised me when I first found out about them. Let’s continue with more generally known facts.
10. The Liver Building was designed by local architect Walter Aubrey Thomas
The Royal Liver Building was designed by Walter Aubrey Thomas, a Liverpool-based architect who was born in New Brighton, Cheshire in 1864. He designed many buildings in Liverpool city centre. I was interested to discover he designed a listed building on Lord Street which has distinctive stripes and an arch.
I took a picture of the Liver Building from the corner of Water Street, zooming in on the clock tower. There’s another building to the right, a white building. That other building is the Tower Building, which pre-dates the Liver Building by several years. You can see it in old photos. It’s quite similar, with arches and those ‘curled’ motifs. In fact, the Tower Building was also designed by Walter Aubrey Thomas, something that is rarely mentioned, even though it stands directly opposite the Liver Building and could be seen as its precursor.
11. The Liver Building is a listed building, part of the UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Liver Building is a Grade 1 listed building (not Grade 1*, as one person mentioned. There is only Grade II*). A Grade 1 listed building is recognised as being of outstanding architectural merit and of national significance. That’s certainly true of the Liver Building.
It is also recognised as an important part of the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City. That puts the area on a par with the Taj Mahal, the Pyramids and Angkor Wat. But on the UNESCO list, it’s marked in red, because its quality and uniqueness are under threat due to proposed construction projects nearby.
12. The clock faces have no numerals.
This may seem of little importance at first sight, but if we look at other historic clock towers, maybe ones that are slightly older, we find that most have numerals, either Arabic or Roman style, like the town halls of Birkenhead, Bradford, Rochdale and the Tower of Westminster (‘Big Ben’). With its plain clock faces, the Liver Building clocks look towards a more modern style.
13. The Liver Building clocks are called the George Clocks.
They’re called the George clocks because they were set in motion at 1.40 pm on Thursday, 22 June 1911, when George Frederick Ernest Albert Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the Prince of Wales, officially became King George V. The clocks were made by Gent & Co of Leicester.
14. One of the clock faces was once used as a dinner table.
There is a photograph of one of the clock faces, which was turned into a huge banqueting table during the construction of the Liver Building. Sitting at the table are senior people from the Liver Assurance Group and Liverpool Corporation. The clock faces were later hauled up to the top of the building.
15. For many years it was the tallest building in Britain.
The Liver Building is said to be the UK’s first skyscraper, though at just 13 storeys, it doesn’t seem like much of a skyscraper. Already buildings in the United States were reaching much greater heights. But it remained the tallest building in Britain for many years. It’s 322 feet or 98.2 m to the top of the spires. It remains one of the tallest buildings in north-west England.
16. Each of the two Liver Birds holds something in its beak, but what is it?
The birds on the Liver Building have a wingspan of 24 feet or 7.3 metres and are 18 feet 5.5 metres high. If you look closely or zoom in with a camera, you will see that each Liver Bird is carrying something in its beak. It looks like a small twig or branch of a tree. It’s got four leaves. In most descriptions, this is identified as a piece of laver, or seaweed. The name ‘laver’ is a pun on the name ‘Liverpool’.
However, I’ve also read that it’s an olive branch. And the French language Wikipedia page states that the Liver bird holds in its beak a branch of genêt, the French word for broom, a type of bush with a yellow flower that appears in spring. Genêt is said to be a reference to the Plantagenet dynasty, who ruled England in the middle ages. Is this true? That’s another question to add to my list at the end! The Liver bird is a mythical bird, said to date back to 1207, when King John founded the borough of Liverpool by royal charter and used a bird on the seal.
17. It is named after the Royal Liver Assurance Company, but they are no longer in the building.
The building is named after the Royal Liver Assurance Company which was a friendly society. Around the turn of the 20th century they decided to construct a new building for their 6000 staff. It remained the headquarters until Royal Liver Assurance merged with the Royal London Group in 2011. The group subsequently moved out of the building. In 2019 it’s reported to accommodate around 2000 staff working in a range of companies.
Luxembourg-based investment group, Corestate Capital, bought the building for £48 million in February 2017 along with Everton F.C. majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri. So, Liverpool’s most potent and best-loved symbol is a privately-owned office building. That’s an interesting fact. There must be very few other commercial office buildings with such an exalted status. Perhaps it’s symbolic, because Liverpool is a mercantile city whose wealth is built on business and trade (including, sadly, the slave trade).
18. The Liver Building was renovated in 2019 and also in the past.
In 2019, the Liver Building was renovated to bring it up to the standards required by today’s companies. Looking on the royalliverbuilding.com website, I see many changes have been carried out. There’s a photo of empty floor space with those semi-circular windows. But the building has not been preserved in its original state. That’s the way it is with working buildings, they have to be adapted for changing times, though seen from the outside, it looks as it did when it was first built.
And now we move from facts to popular legends.
19. The birds are called Bella and Bertie and if they fly away, Liverpool will cease to exist.
I’ve read from many sources, that the birds are called Bella and Bertie, but who exactly called them that? We are told that if they break away from their shackles and fly away, that will be the end of Liverpool. This story sounds like it was inspired by the ravens of the Tower of London. It’s said that if they leave the tower, the kingdom and the Tower of London will fall.
The difference is that the ravens are real birds, whereas the Liver Birds are copper sculptures weighing several tons and they’re tied down with cables. The birds face in opposite directions. It’s said that if they were facing each other, they might mate and break their moorings, causing the downfall of the city. According to another account, Bella watches over the ships and their crews while Bertie watches over the city and its people.
A variant of this is that Bella is on the lookout for handsome sailors on the arriving ships, while Bertie is checking that the pubs are open. What must he have been thinking during the 2020 Coronavirus crisis! A typically Scouse piece of humour is that the Liver Birds flap their wings every time a virgin walks along the Pier Head.
20. The views from the top of the Liver Building are fantastic!
There is no doubt that the views from the roof of the Liver Building are fantastic. When I wrote the previous version of this article in 2015, it wasn’t possible for the general public to enter the building and go up to the tower. Now it is! Read my review below to find out what I thought of the Royal Liver 360 visitor experience and why I was a little bit disappointed.
Personal observations and reminiscences.
The Liver Building was begun in the same year my father was born, 1908. He was christened Bertie, presumably after the popular name of George, who became King in 1911.
I remember visiting the Pier Head with my mother in the 1960s and taking the ferry to Woodside. I was captivated by the Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool building. They had just been cleaned and looked as if they were made out of icing sugar. They seemed to ‘sing’, I can’t quite explain it. At that time, all the buildings in Manchester were still covered in black soot from the factories. I can’t remember much about the Liver Building, except that there were rows of green Liverpool Corporation buses parked in front of it.
Another memory from the sixties is the opening credits of the Liver Birds tv series, starring Nerys Hughes and Polly James. The grimy Liver Building can be seen from the ferry. There is an iconic shot looking up at the glamorous Nerys Hughes standing on the back of a bus, with the tower of the Liver Building behind.
In recent years I’ve followed all the changes on the Pier Head, I’ve taken photos and video of many festivals, including the Giants, I took ‘now’ shot of the building for the book ‘Liverpool Then and Now’ and went inside to capture the view of where the Liverpool Overhead Railway used to be. That’s when I saw the glass interior wall for the first time.
I’ve done some drawings too, which I am featuring on this page.
I love the Liver Building, its design, its location, the Liver Birds that stand on top of it, and all the associations it has with the history of Liverpool. I will go on admiring it and taking photos of it, like every local person and every visitor to the city. I hope to find out even more hidden facts about the Liver Building, which I will add to this page.
- But I have some unanswered questions, some facts about the Liver Building that remain hidden, or at least not 100% clear. Can you provide any information?
- Who exactly named the Liver Birds Bella and Bertie?
- How are the four clocks, including one in a separate tower, controlled by one mechanism?
- Exactly what type of branch are the Liver Birds holding in their beaks?
- Which clock face was the one used as a dinner table?
- Since when clock tower had an amber coloured light? I seem to remember that in the past, the light was white. Was it?
- When was the earlier renovation carried out, during which the glass interior façade was added?
- In what year were the Three Graces first cleaned? Was it in 1968?
- What is the exact weight of each Liver Bird?
And here’s one extra fact: At around 11 pm on the evening of Friday 26 June, 2020, while crowds celebrated Liverpool FC’s Premier League win, someone threw a firework at the Liver Building and it started a fire on the front of the building. Mobile phone images show a blaze in front of the semi-circular window below the west tower. The fire was put out by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service. Comment: Setting fire to Liverpool’s most iconic building is not the best way to celebrate Liverpool FC’s win.
This is a new version of my video from 2019 with some extra airport scenes from 2020.
It’s now in my AVZ channel format with text on screen and bilingual subtitles.
For my students, there’s PDF file of the script with vocab and follow-up assignments.
There are English and German versions, this is the German version.
And do you know what this strange-looking thing is called in German?
Watch and find out!
In the video we see chilling scenes of the airport in lockdown and we look back at airlines and aircraft that have sadly gone from our skies.
So let’s go now to our starting point.
Wir fahren mit dem Fahrrad um den Flughafen Manchester herum und zwar mit einem E-Bike.
Unser Startpunkt befindet sich eine Meile oder 1,6 Kilometer östlich des Flughafens.
Unterwegs halten wir an Orten, wo man die Flugzeuge ansehen, fotografieren oder filmen kann.
Jetzt stehen wir direkt unter dem Anflug auf die Start- und Landebahn 23R/05L (twenty-three right zero five left).
Diese Häuser wurden wegen Sicherheitsvorschriften abgerissen. So sieht es heutzutage aus.
Der Name „Shadowmoss Road“ erinnert mich an den „Shadowmoss Road“ Flugzeugabsturz von 1957, Manchesters vergessene Luftkatastrophe.
Heute gibt es am Flughafen Manchester jeden Tag ungefähr 500 Flugbewegungen. Die Sicherheitsstandards sind sehr hoch.
Die Flugzeuge landen aus dem Nordosten und starten in Richtung Südwesten. Bei Ostwind starten sie in Richtung Nordosten.
Das „Airport Hotel“ ist ein Pub mit einem Garten, wo man die Flugzeuge beim Starten beobachten kann.
Hier ist mein Foto einer A320 der Aer Lingus, die ich 2007 aufgenommen habe.
Mit dem iPhone können wir durch den Zaun die Flugzeuge fotografieren und filmen.
Fast ein Jahr später, am Sonntag, dem 2. Mai 2020. Keine Passagiere. Geparkte Flugzeuge. Ein stiller Flughafen.
Nun zurück zum Mai 2019.
Bitte beachten Sie, dass im Terminal 3 die Drop Off Area kostenpflichtig ist.
Und jetzt wieder zwölf Monate später. Terminal 3 war geschlossen. Es herrschte eine unheimliche Stille.
Zurück zu 2019
Dieses Gebäude stammt aus 1962, als ein neues Terminal gebaut wurde.
Die Fluglotsen zogen 2013 in einen neuen Tower.
Ich habe als Kind den Flughafen besucht. Die schönen Aussichtsterrassen wurden in den 70er Jahren geschlossen.
Nach der Uni habe ich am Flughafen Manchester gearbeitet und zwar am Informationsschalter. Es war ein spannender Job.
Im Laufe der Jahre wurde das Terminal erweitert.
Die Architektur des Radisson Blu Hotel passt sehr gut in einen Flughafen. Die Business Class Lounge bietet eine großartige Aussicht über das Vorfeld. Hinter der Hecke steht eine Boeing 787 Dreamliner der Ethiopian Airlines.
Das ist „The Station“, die von Zügen, Straßenbahnen und Bussen genutzt wird. Im „Skylink“ gibt es Fahrsteige, die nicht immer funktionieren!
Das Parken ist am Flughafen Manchester ziemlich teuer. Am besten mit öffentlichen Verkehrsmitteln ankommen, beziehungsweise die kostenlose Drop Off Area nutzen.
Das Terminal 2 wird ausgebaut. Die Fertigstellung ist für 2020 geplant. Als ich hier arbeitete, gab es nur leere Felder hier.
Direkt neben dem Flughafen befindet sich ein altes Fachwerkhaus.
Auf dem Weg zum Cargocenter habe ich dieses handgemachte Straßenschild gesehen.
SLOW SLIPPY BEND
(Schleudergefahr an der Kurve)
„Slippery“ heißt im Manchester Dialekt „slippy“.
Wir sind am World Freight Terminal. Das ist der neue Tower.
Der „Romper“ Pub ist unter dem Flughafenpersonal sehr beliebt.
Der Flughafen wurde nach dem benachbarten Dorf „Ringway“ benannt. Es ist komisch, dass der uralte Name „Ringway“ wie das Wort „runway klingt“.
Am „Runway Visitor Park“ kann man die Flugzeuge ansehen. Der Eintritt ist für Radfahrer und Fußgänger kostenlos.
Die größte Attraktion hier ist die Concorde. Man kann eine Concorde-Tour auf der Website buchen.
Hier ist mein Foto der Concorde am 22. Oktober 2003 nach ihrem letzten Flug.
An Sonntagen kommen Familien hierher.
Über dem Lautsprecher gibt es sogar einen laufenden Kommentar.
Wir fahren jetzt weiter die „A538“ entlang und passieren eine nagelneue Tankstelle.
Mein erstes Auto war ein Triumph Spitfire. An genau dieser Stelle ging mir einmal das Benzin aus!
Wir befinden uns zwischen den beiden Tunneln. Der neue Tunnel verläuft unter der zweiten Start- und Landebahn – „23L/05R“ two three left zero five right.
An diesem Kreisverkehr biegen wir links ab.
Vor 20 Jahren protestierten Umweltaktivisten in den Bäumen und unter der Erde gegen den Bau der zweiten Start- und Landebahn.
Wir können durch das Grundstück „Styal“ der National Trust weiterfahren.
Der Flughafen liegt direkt hinter den Bäumen.
Wir rollen auf dem Schotterweg am südlichen Rand des Flughafens entlang.
Hier können wir anhalten, und von einem kleinen Hügel aus die Flugzeuge beobachten.
Hier einige Archivfotos. Die BMI A330. BMI hat 2019 den Flugbetrieb eingestellt. Hier eine American Airlines Boeing 767 in der alten Lackierung…
…und das ist die neue Lackierung. Thomas Cook Airlines ging im September 2019 in Konkurs. Majestätisch rollt die ‘Queen of the Skies‘ die Königin der Lüfte, zur Startbahn.
Virgin Atlantic hat im Mai 2020 ihre letzten Boeing 747 ausgeflottet.
Die Emirates Airbus A380 ist eine große Attraktion.
Dieser Bereich ist nicht offiziell als Spotter-Point vom National Trust genehmigt.
Hier führt die „Altrincham Road“ weiter in Richtung Osten. Auf beiden Seiten sind Häuser und Bauernhöfe.
Und hier beim Sonnenuntergang finden wir eine Pferdekoppel. Der Flughafen liegt direkt dahinter.
Der Akku hat noch Strom, also fahren wir weiter. Hier links sehen wir die Flugzeugattrappe der Flughafenfeuerwehr.
Am Ende dieser Straße biegen wir links in die „Styal Road“ ab und bald sind wir wieder an Ausgangspunkt. Wir haben eine Strecke von 7,2 Meilen oder 12 km zurückgelegt.
Das Video wurde mit dem iPhone aufgenommen und bearbeitet. Ich habe auch eine Panasonic TZ70 verwendet.
Zum Schluss ein Sonnenuntergang über der „A555“ , den ich vor ein paar Wochen aufgenommen habe.
Das Video wurde im Mai 2019 erstellt, mit zusätzlichem Material aus Mai 2020.
Leider ist mein E-Bike kaputt gegangen und ich musste ihn in Rente schicken.
Aber ich habe jetzt ein neues Fahrrad und zwar ein Brompton B75! Es ist fantastisch!
Also, welchen Effekt wird die Corona-Krise haben auf den Luftfahrtindustrie? Schwierige Frage.
Das ist schwer zu sagen.
Jedenfalls danke fürs Zuschauen, Zuhören und Lesen und bis bald!
In Manchester herrscht seit einigen Jahren ein regelrechter Bauboom. In vielen Teilen der Stadt entstehen neue Gebäude. Überall sieht man Kräne. An jeder Ecke hört man Presslufthämmer, Motorsägen und Bohrmaschinen.
Aus der Ferne, zum Beispiel vom Flughafen aus, etwa 13 Kilometer im Süden, sehen die neuen Türme vom Deansgate Square tatsächlich wie ein kleines Manhattan aus. Die Form der engen Wohntürme erinnert mich stark an die Twin Towers von New York. In Manchester herrscht seit einigen Jahren ein regelrechter Bauboom. In vielen Teilen der Stadt entstehen neue Gebäude. Überall sieht man Kräne. An jeder Ecke hört man Presslufthämmer, Motorsägen und Bohrmaschinen.
Aus der Ferne, zum Beispiel vom Flughafen aus, etwa 13 Kilometer im Süden, sehen die neuen Türme vom Deansgate Square tatsächlich wie ein kleines Manhattan aus. Die Form der engen Wohntürme erinnert mich stark an die Twin Towers von New York. In Manchester herrscht seit einigen Jahren ein regelrechter Bauboom. In vielen Teilen der Stadt entstehen neue Gebäude. Überall sieht man Kräne. An jeder Ecke hört man Presslufthämmer, Motorsägen und Bohrmaschinen.
Aus der Ferne, zum Beispiel vom Flughafen aus, etwa 13 Kilometer im Süden, sehen die neuen Türme vom Deansgate Square tatsächlich wie ein kleines Manhattan aus. Die Form der engen Wohntürme erinnert mich stark an die Twin Towers von New York.
Hatten die Designer diese Idee im Kopf, als sie die ersten Umrisse auf der Rückseite eines Briefumschlages machten? Das möchte ich herausfinden!
Auf brachliegendem Gelände entstehen neue Stadtviertel, Gewerbeprojekte, Bürogebäude mit Coworking-Flächen, Apartmenthäuser, Parkhäuser, Geschäfte, Cafes, Restaurants, Gärten und Infrastruktur wie Zugangsstraßen, Fußwege und Fußgängerbrücken.
Laut Office of National Statistics lag 2018 die Bautätigkeit in Manchester zehnmal so hoch wie der nationale Durchschnittswert.
In Manchester sind die Bauregeln anders als in anderen britischen Großstädten. Es gibt keine Höhenbegrenzungen. Das Planungbüro der Stadt lässt den Projektenwicklern freien Spielraum.
Vor allem wird eine Vielzahl neuer Hochhäuser die Skyline der Stadt prägen. In den sechziger Jahren bekam Manchester den CIS Tower und ein paar andere Hochhäuser. In den 80er und 90er Jahren lag die Entwicklung der Stadt im Dornröschenschlaf.
Die IRA-Bombe vom 15. Juni 1996 zerstörte ein ganzes Stadtviertel. Glücklicherweise wurden keine Menschen getötet, obwohl ungefähr 200 verletzt wurden.
In den Jahren danach wurde ein großer Teil der Innenstadt wieder aufgebaut. Leider gingen in dieser Zeit einige historische Gebäude verloren. Sie gerieten bald in Vergessenheit und die Umgestaltung der Stadt ging weiter.
Im Jahre 2006 wurde der Beetham Tower zum höchsten Gebäude der Stadt
Nun folgen mehrere Bauprojekte, die die Höhe des Beetham Towers weit übertreffen werden.
So wird Manchester zu ‘Manc-hattan’, obwohl seine neue Wolkenkratzer viel kleiner sind als die von New York! Manc-topia heißt ein BBC-Dokumentar, der einen Einblick hinter die Kulissen auf die neuen ‘Macher von Manchester’ gibt.
Die meisten Gewerbeprojekte werden am Rand der Innenstadt auf brachliegenden Flächen gebaut. Einst standen hier Fabriken und Industriegebäude, die abgerissen wurden. Diese Flächen wurden meistens als Parkplätze genutzt, bis vor einigen Jahren der Bauboom einsetzte.
Es gibt mehrere ‘Hotspots’, wo neue Bauprojekte in die Höhe wachsen.
Das spektakulärste Beispiel befindet sich etwas südlich der Stadtmitte.
Der Deansgate Square besteht aus vier Hochhäusern unterschiedlicher Höhe mit Eigentumswohnungen ab 259.000 Pfund (ca. 280.000 Euro). Im Jahre 2018 wurde der South Tower mit 201 Metern und 65 Stockwerken zum höchsten Gebäude in Manchester. Entwickelt wird das Projekt vom Unternehmen Renaker.
Auf dem ehemaligen Gelände der BBC an der Oxford Road entsteht Circle Square, ein neues Stadtviertel mit Apartmenthäusern, Wohnflächen für Studenten und Berufstätige, Arbeitsflächen und einen neuen Stadtpark.
Das neue Projekt kontrastiert mit dem alten sechsstöckigen BBC-Gebäude. Hier haben die Türme ungefähr zehn bis fünfzehn Stockwerke. Bauentwicker sind Bruntwood und Vita.
Als kritischer Architekturfan finde ich die Gebäude mit ihren dunklen Farben und massiven Formen nicht besonders attraktiv. Ich warte aber, bis sie fertig sind, bevor ich ich mir eine endgültige Meinung bilde.
Es gibt viele weitere Projekte, hier nenne ich noch ein paar Beispiele:
Das Mayfield Depot, wo aus einem ehemaligen Bahnhofsgebäude und seinem Umfeld ein neues Stadtviertel entstehen wird.
An der Ostseite der Stadtmitte werden weitere Apartmentgebäude neben dem Ashton Canal und der neuen Marina gebaut.
Leider wurde der Umbau der ehemaligen Ancoats Dispensary gestoppt. Ein Antrag an den Heritage Lottery Fund wurde abgelehnt. Im Moment steht das Renovierungsprojekt auf Eis.
Ich finde es eine Schande, dass Summen in Millionenhöhe für Bauprojekte in Ancoats ausgegeben werden, während dieses wichtige und historische Gebäude leer und baufällig dasteht.
Meiner Meinung nach sollten die Bauentwickler einen Teil ihres Gewinns nutzen, um dieses Projekt endlich umzusetzen.
Und jetzt noch ein paar neue Projekte:
Die ‘Blade’ und ‘Cylinder’ Türme in der Nähe von Deansgate South werden 855 Apartments anbieten.
Mehrere neue Projekte bieten ausschließlich Mietwohnungen, dazu Einrichtungen wie Fitnesszentrum, Restaurants und kommunale Flächen. Ein Gesuch für die Südseite des Stadtzentrums ist schon eingereicht.
Angel Gardens auf der Nordseite der Stadtmitte ist seit einiger Zeit fertig. Hier gibt es Studioapartments ab 1000 Pfund pro Monat. Dazu stehen ein Fitnesszentrum, ein Kino, Arbeitsräume, eine Bibliothek, ein Bewohnerverein und andere Einrichtungen zur Verfügung.
Bezahlbarer Wohnraum ist ein wichtiges Thema. Manchester ist eine Stadt von Kontrasten. Hier begegnet man Menschen aus allen Einkommensschichten, vom Obdachlosen bis hin zum Millionär. Leider bieten viele der neuen Projekte wenig oder überhaupt keine bezahlbare Wohnungen an.
Das größte und markanteste Projekt ist wahrscheinlich Trinity Islands. Es wurde 2017 genehmigt und wird am Südwestrand der Stadtmitte auf einem ehemaligen Parkplatz neben dem Fluss Irwell entstehen.
Das Projekt bietet fast 1400 Appartements und besteht aus fünf Türmen. Der größte, Tower X mit 67 Stockwerken wird eine Höhe von 213 Metern erreichen. So wird er zum höchsten Gebäude von Greater Manchester und das höchste in Großbritannien außerhalb von London werden.
„Ein vertikales Dorf mit Gärten und Gemeinschaftsflächen in der Höhe” – so wird das Projekt in Werbeprospekten beschrieben. Bezahlbare Wohnungen für Arbeiter in der Stadtmitte sollen auch dabei sein. Es freut mich zu hören, dass das Projekt eine öffentliche Aussichtsplattform anbieten wird.
Wie wird also das neue Manchester aussehen? Werden alle Einkommensgruppen auch Anteil daran haben? Wird das neue ‘Manc-hattan’ ein Ort sein, wo man bleiben möchte, oder werden die Leute später in die Vorstädte ziehen, um in einem Haus zu wohnen? Wie lange wird der Bauboom noch anhalten? Welchen Effekt wird die Corona-Krise auf die Stadtentwicklung von Manchester haben?
Das sind Fragen, für die ich noch keine Antwort habe, aber ich werde aus der Ferne die Entwicklung von Manc-hattan weiter beobachten.
Hello students, hello everyone! And welcome to my channel, the Audio Visual Zine. I am presenting a newer version of my video from 2019 with some extra airport scenes from 2020. It’s now in my AVZ channel format with text on screen and bilingual subtitles.
For my students, there’s a PDF file of the script with vocab and follow-up assignments. There are English and German versions, this is the English version. And do you know what this strange-looking thing is called in English?
Watch and find out! In the video we see chilling scenes of the airport in lockdown and we look back at airlines and aircraft that have sadly gone from our skies. So let’s go now to our starting point
* * * *
We’re going to cycle around Manchester Airport and our mode of transport will be an electric bike.
Our starting point is one mile or 1.6 kilometres east of the airport.
On the way we will stop at places where you can view, photograph or video the aircraft.
Now we are standing directly under the approach to runway 23R/05L (twenty-three right zero five left).
These houses were demolished due to safety regulations. This is what it looks like today.
The name Shadowmoss Road reminds me of the Shadowmoss plane crash of 1957, Manchester’s forgotten air disaster.
Today there are about 500 aircraft movements every day at Manchester Airport. Safety standards are very high.
Aircraft land from the north-east and take off towards the south-west. When the wind blows from the east, they take off towards the north-east.
The Airport Hotel is a pub, and there’s a garden where you can watch the planes taking off.
Here is my photo of an Aer Lingus A320, which I took in 2007.
With the iPhone we can photograph and video the planes through the fence.
This is what the scene looked like almost a year later, on Sunday the 2nd of May, 2020. No passengers. Planes parked. A silent airport.
Now back to May 2019.
At Terminal 3 Please note, there’s a charge for using the Drop Off Area.
And now again twelve months later. Terminal 3 was closed. There was an eerie silence.
Back to 2019
This block dates from 1962, when a new terminal was built.
The Air traffic controllers moved to a new tower in 2013.
I visited the airport as a child. The beautiful viewing terraces were closed in the 70s.
After university, I worked at Manchester Airport at the information desk. It was an exciting job.
Over the years the terminal has been extended.
The architecture of the Radisson Blu Hotel fits well into an airport
The Business Class Lounge has a great view over the apron. Behind the hedge is a Boeing 787 Dreamliner of Ethiopian Airlines.
This is The Station, which is used by trains, trams and buses. In the Skyline there are moving walkways that are not always working.
Parking is quite expensive at Manchester Airport. The best way to get there is by public transport or use the free drop off area.
Terminal 2 is being extended. Completion is planned for 2020. When I worked here, there were only empty fields.
Right next to the airport there is an old half-timbered house.
On the way to the cargo centre I saw this handmade road sign.
SLOW SLIPPY BEND
Slippery is “slippy” in the Manchester dialect.
We are at the World Freight Terminal. This is the new control tower.
The Romper Pub is very popular among the airport staff.
The airport was named after the neighbouring village of Ringway. It is strange that the ancient name ‘Ringway’ sounds like the modern word ‘runway’.
At Runway Viewing Park you can watch the planes. Admission is free for cyclists and pedestrians.
The biggest attraction here is Concorde. You can book a Concorde tour on the website.
Here is my photo of Concorde on the 22nd of October 2003 after her final flight.
On Sundays families come here.
Over the PA there’s is even a running commentary.
We now continue along the A538 and pass a brand new petrol station.
My first car was a Triumph Spitfire. I once ran out of petrol at exactly this point!
We are between the two tunnels. The new tunnel runs under the second runway – ‘23L/05R’ two three left zero five right.
At this roundabout, we turn left.
20 years ago, environmental activists protested in the trees and under the ground against the construction of the second runway.
At that time, this road, Altrincham Rd closed.
We can continue through the National Trust’s Styal property.
The airport is just behind the trees.
We are cycling along the gravel path by the southern perimeter of the airport.
Here we can stop and watch the planes from a small hill.
Here are some archive photos. The BMI A330. BMI ceased operations in 2019. Here an American Airlines Boeing 767 in the old livery…
…and this is the new livery. Thomas Cook Airlines went into administration in September 2019. And taxiing majestically to the runway, the ‘Queen of the Skies’
Virgin Atlantic retired the last Boeing 747s from its fleet in May 2020.
The Emirates Airbus A380 is a major attraction.
This area is not officially approved as a viewing area by the National Trust.
Here Altrincham Road continues east. On both sides are houses and farms.
And here at sunset we find a field with horses. The airport lies directly behind it.
The battery still has some power, so let’s continue. Here on the left we see the mock-up aircraft of the airport fire services.
At the end of this road, we turn left into Styal Road and soon we are back at our starting point.
We have covered a distance of 7.5 miles or 12 km.
This video was recorded and edited on the iPhone. I also used a Panasonic TZ70.
Finally a sunset over the A555, which I captured a few weeks ago.
Unfortunately, my electric bike became unserviceable – kaputt in plain language – and I had to retire it. But now I have a new bike, it’s a Brompton B75! It’s fantastic.
So, what effect will the Corona crisis have on the airline industry? That’s difficult to say. Many thanks for watching the video and/or reading this article.
In Manchester, for quite a few years now, a massive construction boom has been going on. From a distance, for instance from the airport some 8 miles or 13 kilometres to the south, the new towers of Deansgate Square actually look like a small Manhattan.
New buildings are appearing in many parts of the city. Everywhere you can see cranes. On every corner you can hear the sound of pneumatic hammers, power saws and drills.
The shape of the slim residential towers reminds me a lot of the Twin Towers of New York
Did the designers have this idea in mind when they first drew outlines on the back of an envelope? I would like to find out!
On brownfield sites, we can see new city districts, commercial developments, office buildings with co-working spaces, apartment buildings, multi-storey car parks, shops, cafes, restaurants, gardens and infrastructure such as access roads, footpaths and pedestrian bridges being built
According to the Office of National Statistics, construction levels in Manchester in 2018 were ten times the national average.
In Manchester, building regulations are different to other major British cities. There are no height restrictions. The city’s planning department gives the project developers free rein.
In the 1960s, Manchester got the CIS Tower and a few other high-rise buildings. In the 80s and 90s, development in the city remained dormant.
On the 15th of June 1996, an IRA bomb exploded on Corporation Street. It destroyed an entire city district. Fortunately, no people were killed, although around 200 were injured.
In the years that followed, a large part of the city centre was rebuilt. Unfortunately, some historic buildings were lost during this time. They were soon forgotten and the transformation of the city continued.
In 2006 the Beetham Tower became the tallest building in Manchester, overtaking the CIS building.
Now, several projects under construction will far exceed the height of the Beetham Tower.
And so we can see how Manchester is becoming ‘Manc-hattan’, even though its new skyscrapers are much smaller than those in New York! Manc-topia is the name of a BBC documentary which takes a look behind the scenes at the new ‘makers of Manchester’.
Most commercial projects are being built on the edge of the city centre on brownfield sites. Here once stood factories and industrial buildings that were demolished.
These areas were mostly used as car parks until a few years ago, when the building boom took hold.
There are several “hotspots” where new construction projects are reaching higher and higher into the sky.
The most spectacular example is located a little bit south of the city centre.
The Deansgate Square development consists of four towers of various heights with apartments starting at around 259,000 pounds or 280,000 euros.
In 2018 the South Tower became the tallest building in Manchester at a height of 201 metres or 660 feet, with 65 floors. The project is being developed by Renaker.
On the former site of the BBC on Oxford Road, Circle Square is being built, a new district with apartment buildings, living space for students and professionals, workspaces and a new city park.
The new project contrasts with the old six-storey BBC building. Developers are Bruntwood and Vita.
There are many other projects, here are a few more examples:
The Mayfield Depot, where a new city district will emerge from a former station building and its surroundings.
On the east side of the city centre, further apartment buildings are being built next to the Ashton Canal and the new marina
Unfortunately, the renovation of the former Ancoats Dispensary has been stopped. An application to the Heritage Lottery Fund was rejected. At the moment the renovation project is being kept on ice.
I find it scandalous that while millions of pounds are being spent on new construction projects in Ancoats, this important historic building stands empty and derelict.
In my opinion, the developers should use some of their profits to help to finally bring this project to realisation.
And now a few more new projects: On Crown Street, Elizabeth Tower and Victoria Tower are under construction with 664 apartments and a swimming pool on the 44th floor.
the ‘Blade’ and Cylinder’ towers will offer 855 apartments.
Several new projects offer only rental apartments, plus facilities such as fitness centres, restaurants and communal areas.
Angel Gardens on the north side of the city centre has been completed for some time now. There are studio apartments available here from £1,000 a month. This includes access to a fitness centre, cinema, workspace, library, residents’ association and other facilities.
Affordable housing is an important issue. Manchester is a city of contrasts. Here on the street you will encounter people from all income groups from the homeless to millionaires.
Unfortunately, many of the new projects offer little or no affordable housing.
On the former site of Granada Studios, ‘The Factory’ cultural centre is under construction. The architect is Rem Koolhass from the Netherlands, and his company Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA)
The largest and most distinctive project is probably Trinity Islands. It was approved in 2017 and will be built on the southwest edge of the city centre on a former car park next to the River Irwell.
The project offers almost 1,400 apartments and consists of five towers. The largest, Tower X with 67 floors, will reach to a height of 213 metres or nearly 700 feet. It will be the tallest building in Greater Manchester and the tallest in Britain outside London.
‘A vertical village with gardens and communal areas in the sky’ is how the project is described in publicity materials. Affordable apartments for city centre workers are also said to be part of the scheme, and I’m glad to hear it will offer a public observation platform.
So how will the new Manchester look? Will all income groups have a share in it? Will the new ‘Manc-hattan’ be a place where people will want to stay or will they later move out into the suburbs to live in a house?
How long will the construction boom last? What effect will the corona crisis have on the development of Manchester.
These are questions to which I do not have an answer, but I will continue – from a distance – to observe the development of Manc-hattan.
Es gibt viele Verbindungen zwischen Liverpool und Wales. Es wird gesagt, dass viele Menschen in Nordwales Liverpool als ihre Hauptstadt ansehen, nicht Cardiff. Der walisische Dialekt hat den Liverpooler Dialekt beeinflusst. Die Grenze zu Wales liegt nur 20 Kilometer von Birkenhead entfernt. Man kann die Hügel in Wales von vielen Teilen der Stadt sehen, auch von Toxteth im Süden.
Der Blick von der A55 in Flintshire, Nord-Wales auf die Region Liverpool ist großartig.
Einwanderer aus Wales begannen im frühen 18. Jahrhundert nach Liverpool zu kommen.
Im Jahre 1813 lebten ungefähr 8000 Menschen walisischer Herkunft in Liverpool, etwa 10 Prozent der Einwohner.
Sie gründeten Gemeinden überall in der Stadt. Walisisch war dort die dominierende Sprache.
Wie in anderen britischen Städten gibt es Straßen, die nach Orten in Wales benannt sind, zum Beispiel Denbigh Road in Walton und Barmouth Way in Vauxhall.
Das wichtigste Symbol des walisischen Einflusses in Liverpool ist jedoch das Viertel der Welsh Streets in Toxteth, in der Nähe des Princes Park. Sie liegt ungefähr 10 Minuten mit dem Bus südlich des Stadtzentrums.
Die Straßen sind nach Ortsnamen in Wales benannt. Ich versuche sie auf walisische Art zu sagen: Die Wynnstay Street, die Voelas Street, die Rhiwlas Street, die Powis Street, die Madryn Street, die Kinmel Street, die Gwydir Street, die Pengwern Srteet, die Treborth Street, die Dovey Street, die Teilo Street und die Elwy Street.
Diese Straßen wurden im 19. Jahrhundert von walisischen Bauarbeitern gebaut. Die Häuser wurden vom walisischen Architekten Richard Owens entworfen, der auch viele Reihenhäuser in Liverpool, sowie Kirchen in Nordwales entwarf.
Im Laufe der Jahre ist das Viertel heruntergekommen. In den 2000er Jahren gab es Pläne, die Welsh Streets komplett abzureißen, auch das Haus, in dem Ringo Starr geboren wurde, Madryn Street 9.
Die Anwohner waren generell für die Sanierung und nicht für den Abriss, aber die Häuser wurden geräumt und für den Abbruch vorbereitet.
Die Beatles-Touren haben die Madryn Street weiterbesucht. Die Fans schrieben Mitteilungen an die Fassade des kleinen Hauses.
Die Organisationen SAVE Britain’s Heritage und der National Trust setzten sich für die Renovierung des Viertels ein, insbesondere wegen seiner Bedeutung in der Geschichte der Beatles.
Ein neuer Plan wurde von Placefirst ausgearbeitet. Placefirst ist ein in Manchester ansässiges Unternehmen, das Mietwohnungen entwirft, baut und renoviert. Rund drei Viertel der Häuser in den Welsh Streets wurden erhalten und renoviert. Heute sieht das alte Haus von Ringo Starr fast neu aus.
Im Oktober 2019 wurde die Umgestaltung der Welsh Streets durch Placefirst zum besten Wohnprojekt Großbritanniens im Wettbewerb der Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors ernannt.
Der walisische Einfluss in Liverpool nahm im 20. Jahrhundert ab. Laut der Volkszählung von 2001 sind nur 1,17% der Bevölkerung in Wales geboren, aber es gibt noch viele andere Menschen, die walisische Vorfahren haben.
Für mich ist der Dialekt von Liverpool, der sogenannte Scouse, der deutlichste Beweis für den walisischen Einfluss in Liverpool. Seine Auf- und Ab-Intonation erinnert an den walisischen Dialekt auf Englisch oder an die walisische Sprache selbst. Beim Scouse-Dialekt können wir den Einfluss der walisischen Einwanderer aus vergangenen Jahrhunderten tatsächlich hören.
Es gibt auch einen irischen Einfluss auf den Scouse, aber das ist eine andere Geschichte.
Der Schutzpatron von Wales ist Sankt David oder Dewi Sant auf Walisisch. Der Tag des Heiligen David wird jedes Jahr am 1. März in Liverpool, in Wales und auf der ganzen Welt gefeiert.
I am a coach in languages and I’m keen to explore issues concerning the UK and Germany. This presentation is mostly in English but I also include some examples of German words and phrases to do with healthcare. You can’t talk about healthcare in Germany without using some German.
Following a suggestion from a fellow pro-European campaigner, she was campaigning in favour of the NHS, I decided to look at the question of how the UK’s National Health Service compares to the health system in Germany.
This is just a very brief overview of a complex subject. I’m going to give some personal opinions as well as general information based on my research. There are some statistics as well.
I’ve tried to ensure everything is factually correct, though some information may not be completely accurate and it will go out of date.
Revised version published by Aidan O’Rourke | Sunday the 30th of August, 2020
So which health system is better? The British NHS or the German healthcare system?
Es ist kompliziert! It’s complicated!
OK, so what is the fundamental difference between the UK system and the German system?
The UK’s NHS is owned and run by the state and it’s free at the point of use.
The German system is mostly free at the point of use but it’s paid for through contributions to a health insurance scheme that’s closely regulated by the state.
The money to pay for your healthcare is taken directly out of your salary. The amount appears on your wage slip. This money goes into a health fund – ein Gesundheitsfonds and then into your chosen Krankenkasse or health insurance ‘pot’. In the UK, the money to support the health system is provided by the government, mostly through general taxation.
The NHS was launched in 1948 at what was then called Park Hospital in Urmston near Manchester. Today it’s Trafford General Hospital. A blue plaque commemorates the launch.
British people are proud of their NHS and they often compare it to the US system. They like the fact that it’s free, unlike the American system which relies mostly on private health insurance.
Aneurin Bevan – he was from Wales and that’s a Welsh name – was Labour health minister from 1945 and he is credited as the father of the NHS. There’s a statue of him on Queen Street in the Welsh capital, Cardiff.
The UK system is more like the old GDR system and that’s not a criticism. The East German health system provided a good, basic service, though without the expensive equipment found in the West.
After the end of Communism – nach der Wende – the West German system was introduced into the East.
The German system goes back to the late 19th century, when under Otto von Bismarck, Germany pioneered the welfare state.
That system is still in use today. Krankenkassen are non-profit making organisations that are governed by strict regulations.
The biggest state-run Krankenkasse is the Allgemeine Ortskrankenkasse – which you could translate as the general local health insurance organisation. It’s not easy to translate so we’ll just say Krankenkasse.
You’ll find a wide range of private Krankenkassen offering a range of health insurance packages at different contribution levels.
You are required by law to pay into a Krankenkasse. If you earn above a certain amount, you can insure yourself with a private Krankenkasse. Many cater for specific professions.
In the UK, the National Health Service is paid for by the government. The amount paid by the government varies depending on which political party is in power.
Statistics indicate that the NHS received considerably more money under Labour governments than the Conservatives, though of course, the Conservatives dispute this.
It’s important to note that the UK also has a private healthcare system which people can gain access to by paying for private health insurance. People also receive private healthcare as a benefit or perk of their job.
So in theory, whether you are in Germany or in the UK, if you have a higher income and/or a better job, you can get better healthcare by paying more.
The NHS has had a funding crisis for many years – German system is not perfect but it’s well-funded.
Due to Brexit, the NHS now has a serious staffing crisis. Many staff have left and fewer people than before are being recruited from the rest of Europe.
Brexit is bad for the NHS for three reasons: The staffing problems, the effects on the NHS of a possible US trade deal and simply the fact that the NHS is paid for through ongoing taxation.
Brexit is costing the UK a huge amount. Less money from taxation means less money for the NHS.
The claim by the Leave campaign that the UK sends £350m a week to the EU and that this money can instead be paid to the NHS was false and deliberately misleading.
Which hospitals are reputed to be the best in the UK and in Germany? I don’t think it’s possible to give a reliable answer to that question, but there are certainly some famous hospitals: in the UK, Guy’s Hospital in London, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, The Christie in Manchester and more.
In Germany we would think of the Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg, the Charité in Berlin, Asklepios Klinik Barmbek – Hamburg and the Uniklinikum Köln, are all highly regarded. And by the way Klinik in German can refer to a hospital, not just a small health centre, as in English.
So what are the practical differences between UK and German hospitals? To gain an impression, I went for a walk around a few hospitals in the UK and in Germany.
One thing I noticed walking around the Uniklinik in Cologne is that each department or unit functions as an independent practice. For instance I saw a Notfallpraxis – an emergency practice for children and young people.
In the UK most departments and units display the NHS logo. Healthcare services including hospitals, health centres and emergency ambulance services are organised under NHS trusts. An NHS trust is a non-profit making organisation set up to provide healthcare services.
As of April 2020 there are 217 trusts, and they employ around 800,000 of the NHS’s 1.2 million staff, information from Wikipedia.
Many hospitals in Germany are run by religious organisations, such as the Evangelische Kirche, Germany’s Lutheran Protestant church.
Some medical services are provided to the NHS by outside companies, for instance Fresenius, a German-based company that provides dialysis services.
At UK hospitals you’ll see adverts for fundraising – which is often needed to pay for basic hospital equipment, such as scanners.
In Germany you just don’t see this. Pretty much all the main medical services in Germany are fully funded. This is especially true of hospices. St Ann’s Hospice near Manchester receives just over a third of its funding from the NHS. That means it needs to raise around £20,000 every day just to keep the hospice running.
They organise glamorous celebrity dinners, midnight runs and many other events. They also run charity shops, but is it right that a facility providing a basic healthcare service needs to do this to raise money? In Germany hospices are fully funded.
Here are some more differences I found: The emergency ambulances in Germany have a two-tone sound, but in the UK, they have an oscillating tone. The German siren is called the Martinshorn, named after the company that makes it.
In the UK the emergency ambulances are yellow and green and in Germany they’re red, like the trains. In both countries you’ll often see the same basic vehicle, the German-built Mercedes Sprinter.
On the side of the ambulance in the UK, you’ll see the emergency number 999 and you can dial 111 for non-emergency medical issues and advice.
In Germany and other mainland European countries, the emergency number for fire brigade and ambulance is 112. The 112 number also works in the UK and on any GSM phone anywhere in the world.
In recent years in the UK, smaller hospitals have closed and their services, including A&E – Accident and Emergency – have transferred to larger single-site hospitals.
At hospitals in Germany, car parking is generally free for a period, then there’s a charge. This is also the case in Britain, though some have very expensive charges, for instance Stepping Hill hospital in Stockport.
If you are a citizen of another EU state visiting Germany, you can receive healthcare on the same basis as German nationals
This is one of the many advantages of EU membership. The cost of any treatment is charged to the home country of the visitor.
You can travel throughout the whole of the EU plus some additional countries, and receive treatment on the same basis as nationals. It’s not necessary to take out medical insurance, as you do when travelling to the United States, for instance.
I once had a bike accident in Germany, and I was given first class treatment at the local hospital. I just showed them my British passport, the bill was charged to the UK. I didn’t have to pay anything.
The loss of this intelligent and cost-effective healthcare arrangement for the UK and its citizens, especially older people living in other parts of Europe, is one of the many dreadful consequences of Brexit.
If you’re from the UK and suffer illness or have an accident in Germany, you will, thanks to Brexit, most likely have to pay for it yourself, or buy travel insurance before you leave.
At least you’ll be able to gain first hand experience of healthcare in Germany and so you’ll be better able to answer the question of which country has the better system, the UK or Germany.
In the course of my research I found an interesting video on the BBC website with some useful information:
Waiting times for operations are shorter in Germany, typically three to four weeks. In England most people have to wait 22 months for orthopaedic operations. Orthopaedic, that’s the branch of medicine that deals with problems of bones or muscles.
- Germany has three doctors per 1000 population. The UK has two.
- Germany has three times as many hospital beds compared to the UK.
- Germany spends 11.7% of its GDP on health, Britain 10%.
- Most Germans pay 7% of their income for healthcare. Their employer pays the same.
Most people I’ve spoken to who are familiar with the German healthcare system say it offers a higher standard of service.But people in Germany have to pay for their system directly out of their salary. Some pay many hundreds of euros each month. That’s possible because of Germany’s strong economy.
The British healthcare system provides a good service, and though people don’t pay contributions directly towards the health system, the NHS is paid for through taxation and a share of National Insurance contributions.
Despite its current difficulties, the majority of people in Britain are proud of their health service and they appreciate the work done by medical professionals at all levels.
By a large majority they still support the original idea of the NHS, that is, to provide universal healthcare that’s free at the point of use.
So that’s it, a quick, hopefully informative and maybe entertaining overview of a very complex subject, which I hope will arouse your curiosity to find out more.
If you’re interested in learning German, go to www.aidan.co.uk.
If you’re visiting Germany, I wish you gute Reise! and if you’ve visiting the UK, enjoy your trip. And to all EU nationals visiting another EU country, don’t forget to bring your EHIC card!
Here’s the link to the BBC video I found.
The view over the Liverpool region from the A55 in Flintshire, North Wales, is magnificent.
Welsh people started to migrate to Liverpool in the 18th century. In 1813 around 8000 people or 10% of the residents of Liverpool were Welsh.
They created communities around the city and Welsh was the dominant language in those places.
As in other British cities there are streets named after places in Wales such as Denbigh Road in Walton und Barmouth Way in Vauxhall.
But the most important symbol of the Welsh influence in Liverpool is the area called the Welsh streets in Toxteth, next to Princes Park, about a 10 minute bus ride south of the city centre.
The street names, and I’ll try and say them Welsh-style, include Wynnstay Street, Voelas Street, Rhiwlas Street, Powis Street, Madryn Street, Kinmel Street, Gwydir Street, Pengwern Steet, Treborth Street, Dovey Street, Teilo Street and Elwy Street.
These streets were built by Welsh building workers during the 19th century. The houses were designed by Welsh architect Richard Owens, who also designed many terraced houses in Liverpool as well as churches in North Wales.
Over the years the area became became run down. In the 2000s, there was plans to demolish the Welsh Streets, including the house where Ringo Starr was born – 9 Madryn Street. Local residents were generally in favour of refurbishment rather than demolition. The houses were vacated and prepared for being pulled down.
Beatles tours continued to the area, fans wrote messages on the front of the boarded up house.
The organisations SAVE Britain’s Heritage and the National Trust campaigned for the area to be renovated, especially because of its significance in the story of the Beatles.
A new plan was drawn up by Placefirst, a company based in Manchester that designs, builds and refurbishes homes for rent. Around three quarters of the houses in the Welsh Streets have been retained and renovated. Today, Ringo Starr’s old house looks almost new.
In October 2019 the Transformation of Welsh Streets by Placefirst was named UK’s Best Residential Project in the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors awards.
The Welsh influence in Liverpool declined during the 20th century. According to the 2001 census, around 1.17% of the population were born in Wales, but there are plenty more people in the city who have Welsh ancestors.
For me the clearest evidence of the Welsh influence in Liverpool is the accent. The up-and-down intonation of the Scouse accent is similar to the Welsh accent in English or with the Welsh language, yr iaith Gymraeg. In the Scouse accent, we can literally hear the influence of all those people who migrated from Wales to Liverpool in past centuries.
There’s also an Irish influence on the Liverpool accent but that’s another story.
The patron saint of Wales is Saint David, or Dewi Sant in Welsh. Saint David’s Day is celebrated every year in Liverpool, in Wales and around the world, on 1 March.
This feature is about two music events in Europe: Bayreuth and Glyndebourne.
Both festivals are family-run enterprises and take place every year.
On the ‘Green Hill’ in Bayreuth, the Bayreuth Festival has taken place since 1876.
On the programme are Richard Wagner’s final ten operas. Occasionally Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is also played.
The festival runs from late July to late August. Performances generally start at 4:00 pm and finish around 10:00 pm.
There are breaks of one hour each, when guests can sample the cuisine, or go for a walk in the beautiful gardens.
The premieres are attended by VIPs such as the President of Germany, the Bavarian Prime Minister and the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel.
Richard Wagner was born in Leipzig in 1813. His works had a great influence on European music.
He chose the city of Bayreuth for his vision: a festival theatre with a unique design and special acoustics.
Only his works were to be performed there.
The festival was financed through certificates of patronage. King Ludwig II of Bavaria offered a loan.
The first festival began on the 13th of August 1876 with the complete Ring des Nibelungen.
Wagner died in Venice in 1883. His widow Cosima directed the festival from 1886.
In the beginning there were financial problems, but things got better over the years.
In 1908 Cosima gave her son Siegfried Wagner the management of the festival. His wife was Winifred Wagner who was born in London.
Prominent guests at this time were Thomas Mann, Igor Stravinsky and William Somerset Maugham.
After the First World War, patronage certificates were sold again.
In 1930 Siegfried Wagner died at the age of 61 and Winifred took over the management of the festival.
She was a friend of Adolf Hitler and after 1933 the festival received state funding. Later it was misused by the Nazi regime for propaganda purposes.
After the war, Winifred handed the management over to her sons Wieland and Wolfgang, grandchildren of Richard Wagner.
The festival has taken place every year since 1950, apart from 2020.
Katharina Wagner, great-granddaughter of the composer, is director today.
With its grand atmosphere, the festival is a unique experience. Visitors say that the spirit of Richard Wagner can still be felt on the Green Hill – ‘auf dem Grünen Hügel’.
And now we go to Glyndebourne in the south of England. The opera house was built in 1933 in the grounds of Glyndebourne House, a 16th century country manor.
The festival was founded by John Christie, a wealthy landowner and music lover.
In 1931 he married the Canadian soprano Audrey Mildmay. Together they visited the Salzburg and Bayreuth festivals.
They planned their own festival with a focus on the Mozart repertoire.
At this time the conductor Fritz Busch from Dresden and Carl Ebert, artistic director of the Städtische Oper Berlin, came to England.
Both were against the expulsion of Jewish musicians and therefore had to leave Germany. In addition, there was opera director Rudolf Bing from Austria, who came from a Jewish family.
Together with John Christie they founded the Glyndebourne Festival Opera in 1934.
The first festival opened on the 28th of May 1934 with Mozart’s The Wedding of Figaro and Così fan tutte. It was a great success. There were no festivals held in the war years.
After the death of John Christie in 1962, his son George took over as director, and from 2000 George’s son Gus.
Between 1992 and 1994 a new opera house with 1200 seats was built. The architect was Michael Hopkins.
It’s said that Glyndebourne is a very British-style musical experience. Opera fans traditionally use the long intermissions to have a picnic in the park, where there are beautiful views of the Sussex countryside.
It wasn’t until 2003 that for the first time, a Wagner opera was performed, namely Tristan and Isolde.
It was the original idea of founder John Christie to establish a British Bayreuth.
Whether in England or Germany, classical music belongs to Europe and the world.
Bayreuth and Glyndebourne are great examples of European cultural cooperation.
Warum wurde der einst größte Flughafen der Welt mitten in einer Wildnis gebaut?
Die Antwort ist ganz einfach.
Gander International Airport befindet sich auf der Insel Neufundland im Nordosten von Kanada.
Der Flughafen wurde in den 30er Jahren nördlich des Gander Lake gebaut, ungefähr 60 km westlich der Küste, die oft in Nebel liegt. Dort gab es auch eine Eisenbahnlinie.
Die Reichweite der damaligen Maschinen war für Direktflüge zwischen Europa und Nordamerika nicht genug. Sie mussten einen Zwischenstopp einlegen und auftanken. Gander und auch der irische Flughafen Shannon wurden zu wichtigen Sprungbrettern über den Atlantik.
Beide Flughäfen liegen auf der Route zwischen Nordwesteuropa und Nordostamerika. Es war die kürzeste Verbindung zwischen den beiden Kontinenten.
Die Bauarbeiten begannen im Juni 1936. Damals war Neufundland ein selbstverwaltetes britisches Dominion. Die Stadt Gander entstand als Wohnort für die Bauleute und die Flughafenmitarbeiter.
Das erste Flugzeug landete am 11. Januar 1938. Im November des gleichen Jahres wurde der Betrieb aufgenommen. Vier gepflasterte Flugpisten wurden gebaut, die längste mit Namen 03/21, mit einer Länge von 10.200 Fuß oder 3109 Metern. Gander wurde schnell nach seiner Eröffnung zum größten Flughafen der Welt.
Im Zweiten Weltkrieg war die Station Gander der Royal Canadian Air Force von großer strategischer Bedeutung. Am 10. November 1940 flogen sieben amerikanische Militärflugzeuge einen Testflug von Gander nach Belfast. Alle sieben Flugzeuge landeten dort ohne Probleme.
Danach flogen mehr als 20.000 Kampfflugzeuge von den USA mit einem Tankstopp in Gander nach Europa.
Nachschub wurde nach Großbritannien und an die europäische Front gebracht.
Ungefähr 20.000 Menschen der US-Air Force lebten rund um die Flugbasis.
Nach dem Krieg wurden die Lokalbehörden für den Flughafen wieder zuständig.
Es dauerte nicht lange, bis der zivile Flugverkehr aufgenommen wurde.
Damals war das Fliegen riskant. Die strengen Sicherheitsstandards von heute gab es nicht. Trotz der Risiken wollten immer mehr Leute fliegen. Bald machten die großen Propellermaschinen von BOAC, Pan Am und TWA den Flug über den Atlantik.
Damals konnte die Reise von London nach New York bis zu 18 Stunden dauern.
Gander wurde zum Knotenpunkt der kommerziellen Luftfahrt „Crossroads of the World“ – „Kreuzung der Welt“ war der Slogan.
In den 50er Jahren landeten und starteten jährlich am Flughafen Gander 13.000 Flugzeuge, bzw. 250.000 Passagiere.
Die Fluggäste waren zu dieser Zeit oft Privilegierte, Filmstars und führende Politiker. In den Boomjahren kamen die Schönen und Berühmten in die improvisierte Abflughalle, tranken Cocktails und wurden fotografiert. Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne, Elizabeth Taylor und Winston Churchill waren Besucher in Gander.
Am 29. Juni 1959 wurde ein neues Terminal von der Queen eröffnet, aber die Boomjahre sollten bald enden. Die DC4, Stratocruiser und Constellations der vierziger und fünfziger Jahre wurden schnell überholt.
Die Boeing 707 revolutionierte den transatlantischen Flugverkehr.
Diese Düsenmaschine hatte eine Reichweite von 8000 Kilometern und konnte den Atlantik direkt von London nach New York in nur acht Stunden zurücklegen.
So nahm das Verkehrsaufkommen von Gander in den sechziger Jahren schnell ab, aber der Flughafen war für militärische Zwecke noch wichtig.
1964 wurde Jack James Geschäftsführer des Flughafens. Nicht nur arbeitete er hier, er wohnte hier. Der Flughafen war sein Leben. Er widmete sich dem kommerziellen Erfolg von Gander.
In den späten sechziger Jahren zielte er auf die Ostblockstaaten. Ihre Tupolews und Iljuschins verbrauchten zu viel Treibstoff für längere Flüge.
Sie flogen regelmäßig zum kommunistischen Kuba hin und zurück. Die Flugzeuge der Aeroflot und der DDR-Fluggesellschaft Interflug wurden zu regelmäßigen Besuchern in Gander.
Aeroflot kam mit ungefähr 60 Flügen pro Woche. Die Crews wurden in Gander stationiert. Die Ostblock-Airlines eröffneten Büros am Flughafen oder in Gander.
Ostblock-Staatschefs wie Breschnew und Honecker wurden vom Flughafendirektor persönlich begrüßt. Fidel Castro erlebte in Gander sein erstes Winterwunderland als er als Gast der Flughafendirektion im Schnee auf einem Schlitten rodelte.
Die kommunistischen Machthaber waren die neuen Privilegierten am Flughafen, aber ihre Untertanen sahen hier eine Fluchtmöglichkeit.
Nach dem Landen kamen die Passagiere immer ins Terminal, während das Flugzeug aufgetankt wurde. Der Warteraum gehörte offiziell nicht zu Kanada, aber wenn ein Reisender in Kanada bleiben wollte, war es möglich.
Man konnte zu einem Mitglied des Sicherheitspersonals gehen und einfach die Worte ‘Save me’ sagen. Das bedeutete, dass die Person um politisches Asyl bitten wollte. Ab diesem Moment wurden sie von den kanadischen Behörden übernommen. Die Sicherheitspolizisten des jeweiligen kommunistischen Landes konnten nichts tun.
Im Dokumentarfilm „Gander, der Flughafen am Ende der Welt“, von Roland May erzählt Wolfgang Jörn aus Neubukow in der DDR, wie er und seine damalige Freundin von Berlin-Schönefeld nach Kuba flogen. Sie hatten sich aber schon vorher entschieden, nicht mehr in ihre sozialistische Heimat zurückzukehren.
Er beschreibt, wie er auf dem Rückweg aus der Interflug-Maschine in Gander ausstieg und in den Wartesaal kam. Er hatte seine Tasche vom Flugzeug mitgebracht. Seine Freundin ging zum Sicherheitsbeamten und sagte ‘Save me’.
Glücklicherweise waren er und seine Freundin erfolgreich. Er lebt noch in der Nähe von Toronto und im Jahre 2018 ging er zum ersten Mal seit 30 Jahren zu seiner Heimatstadt zurück.
Als am Anfang der 90er Jahre das Ende des Kommunismus kam, mussten die Ostblock-Airlines ihre Büros schließen. Es war für die Mitarbeiter auf beiden Seiten eine traurige Zeit.
Das Flugzeug ist das sicherste Transportmittel. Das wissen wir schon. Das letzte schwere Flugzeugunglück in der Nähe von Gander ereignete sich in den 1980er Jahren.
Eine gecharterte Douglas DC-8 der Arrow Air machte am 12. Dezember 1985 einen Tankstopp in Gander. Sie brachte US-Soldaten der Sinai-Friedenstruppe nach Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Nach dem Start kam es zu einem Strömungsabriss und das Flugzeug stürzte ab. Alle 256 Menschen an Bord kamen ums Leben.
Vermutliche Ursache: Eis auf den Tragflächen.
Es gab zwei andere schwere Flugzeugunglücke in der Nähe von Gander: Eine tschechoslowakische IL-18 im Jahre 1968 und eine DC4 der Sabena, 1946.
In den 1990er Jahren kamen immer weniger internationale Airlines zum Flughafen Gander. Seine Zukunft schien unsicher, bis im Nordosten der USA eine unvorstellbare Tragödie eine Krise auslöste.
Am 11. September 2001 wurden nach den Terroranschlägen 39 Flugzeuge nach Gander umgeleitet. 6122 Fluggäste und 473 Crewmitglieder waren dort gestrandet und mussten viele Stunden im Flugzeug warten.
Dann wurden die Passagiere von den ungefähr 10.000 Bewohnern der Stadt Gander aufgenommen. Sie wurden wie Familienmitglieder behandelt. Die Gäste und ihre Gastgeber wurden zu engen Freunden. Als es Zeit war weiterzufliegen, nahmen viele mit Tränen Abschied.
Als Würdigung dazu nannte die Lufthansa 2002 ihren neuen Airbus A340 „Gander/Halifax“.
Heutzutage landen nicht viele Flugzeuge in Gander, aber 10.000 Meter in der Höhe überfliegen an einem normalen Tag etwa 1500 Flugzeuge Neufundland.
Das Kontrollzentrum der kanadischen Flugsicherung für Kanada und den Nordatlantik, Nav Canada, befindet sich nicht weit vom Flughafen und ist ein wichtiger Arbeitgeber in der Region.
Gander International Airport ist heute ein Flughafen für kleine Passagierflugzeuge, Privatjets, für einige regionale Airlines, für Frachtflugzeuge und Militärmaschinen.
Es befindet sich hier eine wichtige Flugschule, Gander Flight Training. Sie geht auf das Jahr 1992 zurück, als der Gründer Patrick White eine Cessna 150 kaufte und als Flugtrainer begann.
Heute bietet die Schule eine breite Palette von Flugkursen. Studenten kommen aus Kanada und aus dem Ausland um hier ihre Pilotenausbildung zu machen.
Mit seiner langen Tradition im Luftverkehr beweist Gander seine Leidenschaft für das Fliegen.
Die Menschen hier sind von Flugzeugen und vom Fliegen fasziniert.
Das macht Gander zu einem idealen Ort für Flugtraining. Neufundland ist ein kalter und manchmal nasser Ort mit Schnee, Eis und Wind. Viele Leute weltweit sagen, wenn man hier das Fliegen lernt, kann man überall auf der Welt fliegen.
Aber der Flughafen Gander hat, wie sein Schwesterflughafen Shannon, auch eine wichtige Rolle als Notlandeplatz für Flugzeuge, die über dem Atlantik in Schwierigkeiten geraten.
Das Coronavirus brachte 2020 neue Herausforderungen für Gander und alle anderen Flughäfen. Gander International Airport hat in der Vergangenheit schon viele Höhen und Tiefen erlebt.
Hoffentlich bleibt die Existenz dieses historischen Flughafens auch in der Zukunft sicher.
Why was the airport that was once the biggest in the world built in the middle of a wilderness? The answer is actually quite simple.
Gander International Airport is situated on the island of Newfoundland in the north-east of Canada
The airport was built in the 1930s north of Gander Lake around 60 km west of the coast which is often fog-bound. There was also a railway line there.
The range of the aircraft of that time was insufficient for direct flights between Europe and North America. They had to make an intermediate stop and refuel.
Gander and also the Irish airport Shannon became important springboards across the Atlantic. Both airports lie on the route between north-west Europe and north-east America, the shortest connection between the two continents.
Building work began in June 1936. At that time, Newfoundland was a self-governing British Dominion. The town of Gander was built to house the building workers and airport employees.
The first aircraft landed on the 11th of January 1938. In November of the same year operations began. Four paved runways were built, the longest named 03/21, with a length of 10,200 feet or 3109 metres.
After it opened, Gander quickly became biggest airport in the world. In the Second World War, the Gander station of the Royal Canadian Air Force was of great strategic importance.
On the 10th of November 1940 seven American military aircraft departed on a test flight from Gander to Belfast. All seven landed there safely.
After that, more than 20,000 fighter planes flew from the USA to Europe, with a refuelling stop in Gander. Supplies were brought to Britain and to the European front.
Approximately 20,000 people from the U.S. Air Force lived around the airbase.
After the war the local authorities regained responsibility for the airport and it wasn’t long until civilian aviation started.
At that time flying was risky. The strict safety standards of today did not exist.
Despite the risks, more and more people wanted to fly. Soon the big propeller airliners of BOAC, Pan Am and TWA were making the flight across the Atlantic.
At that time the journey from London to New York could take up to 18 hours.
Gander became the hub of commercial aviation ‘Crossroads of the World’ was the slogan.
In the 1950s, 13,000 aircraft carrying 25,000 passengers landed and took off every year at Gander airport.
The passengers at this time were often privileged people, such as film stars and leading politicians.
In the boom years, the rich and famous came into the improvised departure lounge, where they drank cocktails and were photographed. Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne, Elizabeth Taylor and Winston Churchill were visitors to Gander.
On the 29th of June, 1959 a new terminal was opened by the Queen, but the boom years were to end soon. The DC4s, Stratocruisers and Constellations of the 40s and 50s soon became outmoded.
The Boeing 707 revolutionised transatlantic air travel.
This jet aircraft had a range of 8000 kilometres and could cross the Atlantic direct from London to New York in only eight hours.
And so traffic at Gander decreased rapidly during the 1960s, but the airport was still important for military purposes.
In 1964 Jack James became Airport General Manager. He didn’t just work here, he lived here. The airport was his life and he devoted himself to the commercial success of Gander.
In the late 60s, he targeted the Eastern Block countries. Their Tupolevs and Ilyushins used too much fuel for longer flights.
They flew regularly back and forth to Communist Cuba. Aircraft belonging to Aeroflot and the GDR airline Interflug became regular visitors to Gander.
Aeroflot came with around 60 flights per week. The crews were stationed at Gander. The Eastern Block airlines opened offices at the airport or in Gander.
Eastern Block heads of state such as Brezhnev and Honecker were personally welcomed by the airport director. Fidel Castro had his first ‘winter wonderland’ when as a guest of the airport management, he rode a toboggan in the snow.
Communist rulers were the new VIPs at the airport but their subjects saw an opportunity to escape.
After landing, the passengers always came into the terminal while the plane was being refuelled.
The waiting area did not officially belong to Canada, but if a passenger wanted to stay in Canada it was possible.
He or she could go to a member of the security staff and simply say the words ‘Save me’. That meant that the person was asking for political asylum.
From that moment on they were accepted by the Canadian authorities. The security police of the Communist country they had come from could do nothing.
In the documentary film ‘Gander, the airport in the middle of nowhere’ by Roland May, Wolfgang Jörn from Neubukow in the GDR describes how he and his girlfriend of that time flew from Berlin Schönefeld to Cuba.
They had however already decided that they would not be returning to their socialist fatherland.
He describes how, on the return flight, he got off the Interflug plane in Gander and came into the waiting hall. He had brought his bag with him from the aircraft.
His girlfriend went to the security guard and said ‘Save me’.
Thankfully, he and his girlfriend were successful.
He still lives near Toronto and in 2018 he went back to his home town for the first time in thirty years.
When at the beginning of the 1990s, the end of Communism came the Eastern Block airlines had to close their offices. It was a sad time for colleagues on both sides.
The plane is the safest form of transport. We know that. The last major air crash near Gander happened in the 1980s.
On the 12th of December, 1985, a chartered Douglas DC-8 of the airline Arrow Air made a refuelling stop in Gander. It was bringing US solders who had been on a peacekeeping mission in the Sinai to Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
After take-off, the plane got into a stall and crashed. All 256 people on board were killed.
Presumed cause: Ice on the wings. Two other serious accidents took place near Gander: A Czechoslovak Ilyushin 18 in 1968 and a Sabena DC4 in 1946.
In the 1990s fewer and fewer International airlines came to Gander Airport. Its future seemed uncertain until in the north-east of the USA an unimaginable tragedy caused a crisis.
On the 11th of September 2001 after the terrorist attacks, 39 aircraft were diverted to Gander. 6122 passengers and 473 crew were stranded there and had to wait many hours in their aircraft.
Then the passengers were welcomed by the 10,000 inhabitants of the town of Gander. They were treated like members of the family. The guests and their hosts became close friends. When the time came to fly on, many parted with tears in their eyes.
In recognition of this, Lufthansa named its new Airbus 340 Gander/Halifax in 2002.
Nowadays not many aircraft land at Gander but at a height of 30,000 feet and above, around 1500 aircraft overfly Newfoundland on a normal day.
The control centre of the Canadian air traffic control for Canada and the North Atlantic, Nav Canada, is situated not far from the airport and is an important employer in the area.
Gander airport today is an airport for small passenger aircraft, private jets, regional airlines, freighters and military aircraft.
There’s an important flying school here: Gander Flight Training. It dates back to the year 1992, when its founder Patrick White bought a Cessna 150 and began as a flying instructor.
Today the school offers a wide range of flying courses. Students come from Canada and abroad to do their pilot training here.
With its long tradition in aviation, Gander is a place with a passion for flight. The people here are fascinated by planes and flying.
That makes Gander an ideal place for flight training. Newfoundland is a cold and often wet place with snow, ice and wind. Many people all over the world say, if you have learned to fly here, you can fly anywhere in the world.
But Gander like its sister airport Shannon, also has an important role as an emergency landing site for aircraft that get into difficulties over the Atlantic.
The coronavirus of 2020 brought new challenges for Gander and all other airports.
Gander International Airport has seen many highs and lows in the past.
Hopefully as the time moves on for this historic and remarkable airport, its future will remain secure.
Es geht in diesem Beitrag um zwei Musik-Events in Europa: Bayreuth und Glyndebourne.
Beide Festivals sind Familienbetriebe und finden jedes Jahr statt.
Auf dem ‘Grünen Hügel’ in Bayreuth gibt es seit 1876 die Bayreuther Festspiele.
Auf dem Spielplan stehen die letzten zehn Opern von Richard Wagner. Ab und zu wird auch Beethovens Neunte Sinfonie gespielt.
Die Festspiele laufen von Ende Juli bis Ende August. Die Aufführungen beginnen generell um 16:00 Uhr und enden gegen 22:00 Uhr.
Es gibt zwei Pausen von je einer Stunde. In dieser Zeit können die Gäste die Gastronomie ausprobieren oder im schönen Garten spazieren gehen.
Zu den Premieren kommen Prominente wie der Bundespräsident, der bayerische Ministerpräsident und Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel.
Richard Wagner wurde 1813 in Leipzig geboren. Seine Werke hatten einen großen Einfluss auf die europäische Musik. Er wählte die Stadt Bayreuth für seine Vision: Ein Festspielhaus mit einmaligem Design und besonderer Akustik. Dort sollen nur seine Werke gespielt werden.
Die Finanzierung der Festspiele erfolgte durch Patronatsscheine. König Ludwig II von Bayern bot einen Kredit an.
Die ersten Festspiele begannen am 13. August 1876 mit dem kompletten Ring des Nibelungen.
Wagner starb 1883 in Venedig. Seine Witwe Cosima führte ab 1886 Regie.
Am Anfang gab es finanzielle Probleme, aber die Lage wurde im Laufe der Jahre besser.
1908 gab Cosima ihrem Sohn Siegfried Wagner die Leitung der Festspiele. Seine Frau war die in London geborene Winifred Wagner.
Prominente Gäste zu dieser Zeit waren Thomas Mann, Igor Strawinsky und William Somerset Maugham.
Nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg wurden wieder Patronatsscheine verkauft.
1930 starb Siegfried Wagner im Alter von 61 und Winifred übernahm die Leitung der Festspiele.
Sie war eine Freundin Adolf Hitlers und nach 1933 bekamen die Festspiele staatliche Finanzierung.
Später wurden sie vom NSDAP-Regime zu propagandistischen Zwecken missbraucht.
Nach dem Krieg übergab Winifred die Leitung an ihre Söhne Wieland und Wolfgang, Enkelkinder von Richard Wagner.
Seit 1950 finden die Festspiele jedes Jahr außer 2020 statt.
Katharina Wagner, Urenkelin des Komponisten, ist heute Leiterin.
Mit seiner glanzvollen Atmosphäre ist das Festival ein einmaliges Erlebnis. Besucher sagen, der Geist von Richard Wagner sei auf dem Grünen Hügel noch zu spüren.
Und jetzt gehen wir zu Glyndebourne in Südengland. Das Opernhaus entstand 1933 auf dem Grundstück von Glyndebourne House, einem Landhaus aus dem 16. Jahrhundert.
Gründer des Festivals war John Christie, ein reicher Landbesitzer und Musikfreund.
1931 heiratete er die kanadische Sopranistin Audrey Mildmay. Zusammen besuchten sie die Salzburger und Bayreuther Festspiele.
Sie planten ein eigenes Festival mit Schwerpunkt im Mozart-Repertoire.
Zu dieser Zeit kamen der Dirigent Fritz Busch aus Dresden und Carl Ebert, Intendant der Städtischen Oper Berlin, nach England.
Beide waren gegen die Vertreibung von jüdischen Musikern und mussten deshalb Deutschland verlassen. Dazu kam aus Österreich der Operndirektor Rudolf Bing, der aus einer jüdischen Familie stammte.
Zusammen mit John Christie gründeten sie 1934 die Glyndebourne Festival Opera.
Das erste Festival wurde am 28. Mai 1934 mit Mozarts Hochzeit des Figaro und Così fan tutte eröffnet.
Es war ein großer Erfolg.
In den Kriegsjahren gab es kein Festival.
Nach dem Tod von John Christie 1962 übernahm sein Sohn George und ab 2000 dessen Sohn Gus die Leitung des Festivals.
Zwischen 1992 und 1994 wurde ein neues Opernhaus mit 1200 Sitzplätzen gebaut. Architekt war Michael Hopkins.
Man sagt, Glyndebourne sei ein Musikerlebnis britischer Art. Die Opernfreunde nutzen die langen Pausen traditionell für ein Picknick im Park, wo es schöne Aussichten auf die Landschaft von Sussex gibt.
Erst im Jahre 2003 wurde zum ersten Mal eine Wagner-Oper aufgeführt, nämlich Tristan und Isolde.
Es war die ursprüngliche Idee des Gründers John Christie, ein britisches Bayreuth zu errichten.
Ob in England oder Deutschland: Die klassische Musik gehört zu Europa und der Welt.
Bayreuth und Glyndebourne sind schöne Beispiele der europäischen kulturellen Zusammenarbeit.
I recorded this interview with CP Lee on Friday the 28th of July 2006 and the recording has been available on my aidan.co.uk site ever since. For some time, I’d been planning to do an improved version with better sound quality and with a transcript.
And then on the 25th of July, 2020 came the terrible news about Chris so I decided to move ahead and complete this improved version and here it is. It’s presented using my ‘talking book’ or ‘visual podcast’ style or it could be described as Audio Visual Magazine style. Words and images are presented side by side on screen. Most of the photographs are by me. A few are from public domain sources.
Please check the subtitles for foreign language translations, and also please like the video and subscribe to the channel.
Published by Aidan O’Rourke | Sunday the 2nd of August, 2020
Told you I was missing, but I wasn’t lost
and I was walking through streets in the cold and frost of Manchester.
Looking for the place that I used to know
and then I saw some people and it started to snow on Manchester.
Manchester Anthem by James Herring
What is it about Manchester that makes it such a pre-eminent city of music?
Well that’s the question that’s bothered musicologists for quite some time. It is a city that seems to be uniquely placed in the history of popular music, because it repeatedly jumps in feet-first into great music, great scenes, and on an international level. And we can look at places like Newcastle, Birmingham, Bristol, we see groups come from there, but it’s never as consistent as it has been from Manchester. And I think that that’s because Manchester, if you look very closely, you can see the tracer bullets being fired throughout history.
There’s always been a tremendous musicians’ infrastructure here in Manchester that’s enabled the different movements or genres or waves of music to happen and to continue and carry on so that one builds on the other. And we can look right back into the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century. Mancunians demanded and devoured music at an incredible rate.
We’ve got the birth of the Hallé Orchestra, one of the great international classical orchestras. It’s here in 1855, but you go back in 1780 the Gentleman’s Concerts is the beginning of the Hallé. They would get audiences of two and a half, sometimes five thousand people wanting to hear the latest classical music, which if you think about it is very punk. This stuff, it wasn’t classical then it was contemporary but they wanted to hear it.
Also mixed in with that you’ve got the Jewish elements, you’ve got Celtic elements, you’ve got folk elements, all of them pouring into the city, devouringpeople at an astonishing rate, but also producing culture at an astonishing rate. So if you look at say The Making of the English Working Class by EP Thompson, he writes at length about the creation of working class culture, and music was an essential part of that. It’s not particularly radicalised or political. It’s there as a release mechanism, it’s there as a carriage system to take you away for an evening into a transport of delight.
So by the 20th century, we’ve got the dance bands, we’ve got working-class unemployed jazz bands, groups of people playing kazoos, wearing costumes, trying to outdo each other. They’d go to a football pitch or a recreation ground, then you’d get different jazz bands. Each street would have one, neighbourhoods would have them, cities would have one and by the 1930s they’d have competitions against each other. Who were the best marching jazz bands?
By the 1950s, because of the Second World War we’ve got Burtonwood Aerodrome, Burtonwood American base, which is 25 miles away Manchester and it means that every weekend we get an influx of American musicians who are based there coming into Manchester, also going into Liverpool at the same time, and feeding into the groups that exist, principally, at that time, jazz bands. And the jazz bands were not your kind of Acker Bilk trad, these were modernists, these were people who were influenced by Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, and they wanted authentic black American players if they could get them, but they’d settle for white ones if they had the chops.
A great interest began in Manchester to trace jazz back to its roots and those roots come from folk blues, from whatever. And this led to an interest in people like Muddy Waters, Chicago R&B. So that at the end of the 1950’s, you’ve got a lot of groups who’ve come up watching the emerging rock and roll scene on television or at the cinema. They’ve come through skiffle, so they’ve got instruments, they can play them, but the music that’s being developed is beat music, which essentially a kind of white English version of R&B. But it’s music with a beat, it’s music for dancing to.
And we get by 1964, we can find over 200 beat clubs in the Greater Manchester area. Some have come, some have gone, some are there for the whole period, but it’s an astonishing amount of beat clubs.
Now this mirrors what’s going on in Liverpool at the same time with what is known as Merseybeat, again the word ‘
beat’ races up there. But we get this strange separation. At one time both scenes were mutually symbiotic. It’s only 30 miles away (along) the East Lancs Road. In the early 60s groups from each city would be passing one another on the East Lancs, waving to one another, playing each other’s gigs, going backwards and forwards. People like Epstein, the promoters at Wooler at the Cavern, Danny Petacchi in Manchester, the Abadi brothers would book bands from Liverpool, Manchester, as I say, mutually symbiotic.
But then came The Beatles and The Beatles, for better or for worse, kind of destroyed that amicable relationship, because internationally, people only saw Liverpool and the Mersey poets, the Mersey scene, the Mersey beats, or whatever and Manchester, kind of, became the poor neighbour in musicological terms, so that even though Herman and the Hermit’s, (Herman’s Hermits) who were the second biggest selling English group in America after the Beatles, were from Manchester, if you asked an American, they would say that they were from Liverpool, because they thought there was only Liverpool.
Manchester began to emerge from under that shadow I would say with 10cc at the end of the 1960s, early 1970s, because they brought a studio to Stockport, and this is a major studio, and I think a very under-sung achievement. They put Manchester, Stockport on the map in terms of… “Oh yeah!”, I mean, people came from America to record there. Fascinating place.
So the next wave is created by the musicians themselves. It was in 1972 because there were so few gigs because, not a lot of people know this, Manchester is the only city that I’ve come across that had an Act of Parliament passed to stop beat clubs. They were so, I don’t know, morally outraged at the beat clubs that the 1965 Corporation Act which came into force oddly enough on the first of January in 1966, was designed specifically to stop beat clubs and crush teenage rebellion. Not that it was particularly rebellious, but there you go.
So there were very very few venues for musicians. And when I started playing in the mid-60s, I could play every night of the week in the Greater Manchester area. By 1970 you were lucky if there was one gig a week. So in 1972 Victor Brocks organised a meeting at the Bierkeller off Piccadilly and the Music Force was founded, which was a musician’s cooperative. And it was a socialist organisation which was going to be, and indeed was musicians taking control of their own destinies.
Now that meant that they had an office where they would ring up, create venues, force venues into taking Mancunian groups. They would provide the transport if it was needed, they rent out PAs, they’d do the posters. Now, all this infrastructure, they even had a newspaper called Hot Flash, a music paper, all of this infrastructure was in place when Howard Trafford, who becomes Howard Devoto, turns up in 1976 at the Music Force offices asking where he might put on the Sex Pistols. And they direct him to the Lesser Free Trade Hall and the rest, as they say, is history. Because we then get with Buzzcocks and Spiral Scratch, which set a template for the punk DIY ethos.
This is the first kind of internationally recognised Manchester music scene, which by 1983 we can lump in The Smiths, the Haçienda has opened, by 1988 we’ve got the whole Madchester scene, by 1996 we’ve got the international recognition of Oasis, by 2000 we’ve got Badly Drawn Boy, we’ve had M People, and it continues to roll. It goes on and on and on.
Manchester is a place that musicians now gravitate to. It’s a place which produces again and again consistently good acts which are capable of breaking it on an international scale.
I can’t remember who actually said this so my apologies, but it’s impossible to talk about Manchester without talking about music and it’s impossible to talk about music without talking about Manchester. I think it’s Haslam.
So it’s not just the fact that we have lots of different nationalities and it’s a place where people come to live, migrate, the point you’re making is also that there is an infrastructure there, going back a long time, that laid the foundation to organising bands and organising music and performances, that that’s also an important reason, which I wasn’t aware of.
I think that it’s definitely my take on it, that infrastructure has always enabled musicians to operate to their maximum ability. It encourages them and it doesn’t necessarily facilitate them in getting a van. I mean, nowadays we’ve got the Manchester Musicians Online, which is a kind of self-help agency. North West Arts are now very interested in… Why are all these musicians in Manchester? They’re also… North West Arts now interested in facilitating recording studios and that kind of thing, which I suppose is good.
We’ve got the Manchester District Music Archive, which I’m one of the trustees of. Even Urbis is very supportive of local musicians and the local music scene, in terms of looking at the graphic design, the posters, album covers, t-shirts, wellington boots. But, no, for me it was the I would argue it’s the fact that there was always an infrastructure there. The cultural influences, I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of that, it’s fascinating. Yes, the Irish and the Jews have a lot to answer for.
And maybe something in the water, who was it said that there was something in the water?
Peter Hook said to me, he thought that it was definitely something in the water, when I put the question to him, and we both decided that we would agree on that, which would have been a much shorter answer for you.
What about the American influence and the Northern Soul thing. First of all, maybe you could explain what Northern Soul is. You recently did an excellent BBC radio programme about Northern Soul but for people who don’t know what it is, what is Northern Soul and why was it so popular in Manchester in the north of England?
Um, gosh, that’s like asking what is it about Manchester that makes musicians? Northern Soul is a genre, it’s a musical genre and it applies specifically to a kind of urban Black, urban American dance music that’s still being produced today, but over the sixties let’s say. So a grotesque example would be Tamla, though I know that that’s anathema to most Northern Soul… People would understand that. Black dance music, good good poppy, catchy dance music.
The phrase Northern Soul was originated by writer and promoter and all round genius Dave Godin in an article in 1971, where he’d come to Manchester and seen what was happening at the Twisted Wheel, and said “If this has to have a name, let’s call it Northern Soul” because Mancunian DJs had chosen a specific avenue of Black American music that was very popular in the North West of England.
Now it goes back to 1845 when the first blackface minstrel troupe, the Christy Minstrels appeared in Manchester. Now this might sound quite bizarre but it began a fascination with Black American music. The Blackface Minstrels were playing an approximation of black American music. That strangely enough filtered into Irish traditional music in the shape of the banjo and the bones. They saw them in Dublin and within 10 years people were playing banjos in pubs in Dublin and Galway and what have you, and the bones, which are free, if you’ve killed a cow. So the people in Manchester developed it, they loved it. They couldn’t get enough of this kind of entertainment and they came back again and again throughout the 19th century.
Now in the middle of the 19th century the American Civil War was a period of a great hardship in the North West of England. We’ve survived on cotton and cotton couldn’t get through, because the Union fleets were blockading the Southern ports. Now the cotton workers of the Greater Manchester area were starving, but they marched in their thousands to support President Lincoln for the emancipation of slaves, even if it meant that they would starve.
So it there had always been this very very close affinity between… or a recognition of African Americans and the struggle for freedom, for equality, which carries through into an appreciation of the music, up to a point in the mid 20th century where it becomes almost obsessive.
I think because there was a kind of a recognition or an empathy, a feeling that if you were a white working class kid in the great Industrial North, you in your own way were oppressed and you could look towards Black American music either providing you with a voice, in terms of Blues, or an articulation of your plight, or as a point of release. Within Northern Soul dance music it’s a release. It’s an effective system for carrying you out of your physical body for three minute bursts. As long as the song lasts, you’re dancing and you’re away.
And it also, to go out in another direction, there’s a kind of exclusivity with Northern Soul where people, I think, felt that they were onto something that nobody else was aware of, and that forms a very very tight bond with all the other people who had gathered there with you. So it’s very tribal and I think in the North, whether we’ve been one generation in Manchester or twenty generations, we are very tribal about being Mancunians.
What other influences do you think or connections are between America and Manchester? You mentioned about the cotton industry and how much of an effect…?
Well the River Mersey finishes, it flows down the Pennines and it finishes in New York. So you’ve got that direct straight line across the Atlantic, and will leapfrog over Liverpool. I mean Liverpool must have been so fed up when the Manchester Ship Canal said “Well, we’ll just bring the cotton to Manchester up this big river.”
Do you know it was supposed to end in Didsbury? The original Ship Canal Company had their first meeting at Fletcher Moss and the guy lived there, and he envisaged it being like on his doorstep, so you just step onto the ship and go to America whenever he wanted to. So it would have carried on through Northenden up to Didsbury Village, which… Imagine what it would have been like!
The affinities with America, that direct line, emigration, immigration, a two-way street. Lots and lots of business was with America, particularly Cottonopolis, which we’ve already talked about. Entertainment, musicians, Stan Laurel is from here, Charlie Chaplin was in the seven Lancashire Lads clog dancing troupe, before going with Fred Karno to America.
So the Mancunian Film Studios existed in the 1920s doing silents and then gave up when sound came along. But a guy called Burt Tracy who was from Droylsden had gone to Hollywood with Stan Laurel and had worked for Mack Sennett came back to Manchester and Laurel and Hardy were coming to visit at the Midland Hotel, and he said to Johnny Blakeley from Mancunian film company: “Oh, come along and meet the lads”. And they got there and Stan Laurel said “Well why aren’t you making films any more,” and he said “Wow, it’s too expensive,” and he said, “Well just hire a studio.” So they did and they made the first George Formby movie, which is a massive hit.
All because Laurel and Hardy came to Manchester and Burt Tracy knew them, Mancunian knew them, and we get the birth of the proper Mancunian Film Company, which feeds into Granada Television and the BBC in a direct bloodline in the same way that music is feeding in, in that Steve… I can’t remember his second name… sadly he’s been dead for a long time, if you look at the logo for Band On The Wall, there’s a man with glasses and a little beard and a beret, and that was Steve who revitalised the Band on the Wall in the 1970s.
Now in the thirties he’d been in the schoolboy jazz team in Ancoats, the Little Rascals jazz band and they played at the Cotton Club in Harlem. So he’d gone from Ancoats to Harlem, as a kind of novelty act, played there, came back obsessed with jazz and we get that whole thing in the 1950s, which feeds back into a desire to discover the roots of jazz, which takes them to see people like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker, who were all regular performers in Manchester. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, all these people loved playing in Manchester, and they also they used to say things like it reminded of America, probably just being nice. But Alexis Korner who’s one of the founders of the British Blues had a flat in Manchester because he played up here so much because kids wanted R&B, they wanted Blues.
Elton John when he was in Steampacket with Rod Stewart said that the greatest place on the planet to play in terms of audience reaction was The Twisted Wheel. If they liked you, that was it, you were made, you were back there every other week and you know, people had permanent residencies then, and Spencer Davis, Steampacket etcetera.
People like Neville who’s in one of my books about Bob Dylan, the first book I wrote, Like the Night, Neville worked at ABC television in Didsbury and every penny he had went on collecting Blues records. And he couldn’t believe it one night when Spencer Davis said:
“Oh, we need somewhere to stay for the night.”
He said: “You can stay at my ’ouse,”
and he lived in a council house in Wythenshawe with his mum. He took Spencer Davis group back. And he had a reel-to-reel tape recorder and they just sat in his front room all night and played Blues for him.
And you hear stories about kids in back-to-back terraced houses in the 1970s with lino on the floor paying fifty quid for a single because they’re that obsessed with the ownership, of that authenticity, of that belonging.
I’m out of the loop in a way now, but I don’t know if there’s still quite that same obsession with the authenticity and how House music pans out into Black dance music. Is Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez a black New York DJ or a white New York DJ? I wouldn’t know. But for years and years and years the white working-class kids in the north west of England were very very obsessive and very very possessive about Blues music because they had an affinity for it and they had a recognition of it.
I think I understand a bit more now actually from what you’ve been saying about why it is that Manchester has just got this magic, what I call magic about it, in terms of music. But you’ve really just scratched the surface. You’ve written… how many books have you written on music?
Specifically I’ve written, had published three books, one on Bob Dylan’s films, which we’ll forget about, even though it’s very good, but the first one is about Bob Dylan playing at the Manchester Free Trade Hall in 1966, which is a very pivotal moment for music generally.
What’s the book called?
That’s called Like the Night and in a sense it was the pivotal moment of the documentary last year, the Scorsese documentary, the ‘Judas’ shout, and it’s one of the great climactic moments in music history.
Now the most important book relevant to this is Shake Rattle and Rain, which is a history of popular music in Manchester from 1955 to 95, and if I only have the wherewithal, I would write Shake Rattle and Rain 2, which would be the history of popular music 1855 to 1995, because I just keep discovering more and more about it all the time, and how they all interlink.
And just as a little aside, tell me about a few of the famous musicians that you’ve interviewed, maybe Manchester ones, maybe other ones.
Well, met or interviewed in my time, I met Jimi Hendrix, Pete Townsend, it’s very hard to remember … Everybody! Because I was a professional musician for years and years.
And the name of the band that you played in?
Well, the first band was Greasy Bear then the next band was The Albertos or Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias, and we played our way around Europe and did the obligatory bit of America.
But in terms of interviews for the book, I got hold of as many people as I possibly could. So Peter Hook, Clint Boon, Pete Farrow, an old beat group member, yes he is old, so he’s an old beat group member.
Basically anybody I could get hold of. Bruce Mitchell, who’s been playing since 1955 and is still playing with the Durutti Column, Vini Reilly, Ed Banger, Howard Devoto, Pete Shelley, but then also other people like Richard Boon, who is essential to the history of Manchester music. He ran New Hormones, which was Buzzcocks’ management company, but they also facilitated Linda Sterling and John Savage. At the moment I’m compiling a list of people who are to do with Manchester music. Not musicians per se, because they get neglected.
And many of them are still around
But most people wouldn’t know they were.
And yet they’re enormously influential.
Very very influential.
Can you give me an example of one of these influential people that you would see around?
Um, well, if you were in Stoke Newington, you’d see Richard. In Manchester you generally can find…
Tosh. Now what would we say about Tosh? I mean, the founder of Rabid Records, he was a jazz saxophonist in the 1950s. In the 1960s played with Victor Brock’s Blues Train. He’d also played with John Mayall, was a founder member of Music Force in 1972, founded Rabid Records in 1977, has been creating a massive kind of digital video archive of Manchester musicians, which we don’t currently know the whereabouts of! He’s misplaced it, but he was trying to interview every single musician he could get hold of. So there have been people trying to chronicle it and hold it together. That’s now being carried out by the (Manchester) District Archive, Music Archive.
That’s what I also wanted to ask you about, because if people are interested in finding out more about Manchester music in general, where can they find the information?
It’s on our website, which is just undergoing reconstruction, but if you do a Google for Manchester District Music Archive, you’ll find it. And it’s being relaunched at the end of September in an interactive way.
So what we want people to do, is… it’s a bit like Wikipedia, in that you can access the information we have and you can add your own information to it. And we don’t just want Jeff Davis, who played bass guitar in the Rattlesnakes, or The Denton Boomerangs, we want people who went to gigs who would say: “Yeah I used to go to Rafters and I thought it was fantastic, and I can remember Rob Gretton deejaying,” or what have you?
So we want the memories, because music can’t exist without the audience and we want their reaction just as much as we want the input from musicians. So this is the new website, which is launched at the end of this coming September, will be the springboard, it’ll be kind of virtual museum which is the springboard towards us hopefully opening up the actual physical premises.
Okay, well that was a fascinating little session there, scratching the surface…
…of a fascinating subject so thank you very much.
Thank you very much!
With this video I wanted to create a work of art, combining my photography with a wonderful contemporary-oriental musical backdrop and subtitles in English and Japanese, paying tribute to the band whose music dominated my early childhood. I wanted to portray a side of Liverpool that’s different to the clichés, a magical side, a place of hidden corners, nostalgic views and special places, each one with connections to the Beatles. I wanted to reach out to another culture, and overlay Liverpool with an Oriental quality.
Written and produced by Aidan O’Rourke | Tuesday the 14th of July 2020
So what’s the connection between Liverpool and Japan? It’s because John Lennon married Yoko Ono of course. There are many Beatles fans in Japan who visit Liverpool to find out more about their heroes, where they grew up and the story of how they became famous. Even before the Beatles arrived, Liverpool had a connection with the Orient: It is home to the oldest Chinese community in the UK.
I’ve chosen music that mixes genres – an Oriental sound blended with Classical-style violins, set above contemporary synthesisers with a strong beat. The strings at the start of the track named ‘Shibuya’ have overtones of ‘Eleanor Rigby’ and towards the conclusion of our journey, the piano has a quality of ‘Hey Jude’.
The young artist who created this music is called Bad Snacks and is she is based in Los Angeles though I understand she’s originally from Boston. Her YouTube channel is called Bad Snacks and she contributes to the YouTube Audio Library. That’s where I found the six wonderful tracks I used in this video.
All the photos are by me except two: The photo of the New Brighton Tower taken possibly around 1910 and the one of Ringo Starr’s birth house, 9 Madryn Street, taken in 2020. I hope that this video will be appreciated by people from Japan and those who are learning Japanese.
I spent many hours placing the Japanese subtitles into the video. They were translated from English into Japanese by teacher and translator Maya Shimizu, who did a fantastic job.
So here is English text of the video. You can read it as an article and you can play the video. I would
Liverpool and Japan are linked through the marriage of John and Yoko. The Beatles are very popular in Japan and many Japanese fans come to Liverpool. For this reason I wanted to make use of Japanese language. I’ve chosen music with overtones of Japan and of the violins in ‘Eleanor Rigby’.
These city tour buses will take you to the main tourist attractions in Liverpool.
The Magical Mystery Tour will show you many of the most important Beatles locations. For a personalised Beatles tour you can take one of the Fab Four taxis. There’s a transcript of the commentary in eight languages including Japanese.
Location number one: In 2002 Liverpool Airport was named Liverpool John Lennon Airport. Inside the terminal is a statue of John Lennon by the artist Tom Murphy.
Number 2. This Yellow Submarine stands outside the terminal. The film ‘Yellow Submarine’ was released in 1968.
3. Third location: The old airport terminal is not far away. Here, in 1964, thousands of fans welcomed the Beatles home after their US tour. Today it’s the Crowne Plaza hotel.
4. The 86 bus runs between south Liverpool and Liverpool city centre. It’s not a tour bus but it travels through many of the places the Beatles knew in their childhood. This advert is for the 2018 Double Fantasy exhibition which was on at the Museum of Liverpool from May 2018 to April 2019
5. The Sgt Pepper Bistro stands on a traffic island at the top of Penny Lane. Unfortunately it has been closed for a few years.
6. Penny Lane is famous for the song released in 1967 about Paul’s childhood memories of this place. This sign was new in 2006. This is how it looked in 2018.The council painted this sign on the wall to prevent people from stealing it. In June 2018 Paul returned to Penny Lane with James Corden for the Late Late Show and wrote his autograph on the sign
7. The song ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ is about John’s childhood memories of a children’s home called Strawberry Field. It’s not far from the house where he lived with his Aunt Mimi. Beatles fans from all over the world write messages on the gates.
8. Not many people know that there is a Japanese garden not far from the childhood homes of John and Paul. It’s in Calderstones Park. Calderstone Park has many associations with the Beatles in their early years.
9. In the churchyard of St Peters Church in Woolton you will find the gravestone inscribed with the name Eleanor Rigby. It is possible that this gravestone inspired the famous song.
10. John and Paul first met at St Peter’s Church in 1957. They played at a garden fete on a stage in the field behind the church.
Location number 11 is 10 Admiral Grove, the house where Ringo Starr lived until he became famous in 1963. Today it’s a private home.
12. In 1943 George Harrison was born at 12 Arnold Grove. He lived here until 1950.
13. In 1940 Ringo Starr was born in this house, 9 Madryn Street. The house has been saved from demolition.
Music: Summer in the neighborhood
14. In 1964 at the height of Beatlemania, the Beatles stood on the balcony of Liverpool town hall in front of thousands of screaming fans. Twenty years later they were awarded the Freedom of the City . Their names are written on this plaque, which you can see in the foyer of the town hall.
15. The Liverpool Institute was a boys’ grammar school. Paul McCartney went to this school. Today it’s LIPA, co-founded by Paul McCartney and opened in 1996.
16. The Blue Angel Night Club a music venue. In the 1960s, the Beatles and other famous bands played here. It’s on Seel Street in Chinatown.
17. Falkner Street is a historic street with houses from the 18th century. John Lennon and his first wife Cynthia lived for a while at 36 Falkner Street.
18. The Philharmonic is the most magnificent pub in Liverpool. John Lennon liked to come here and in June 2018, Paul gave a surprise performance herefor the Late Late Show with James Corden.
19. The Beatles often went to Ye Cracke pub on Rice Street. Inside the pub there are photos and memorabilia.
20. The John Lennon Peace Monument was unveiled in 2010. It was designed by the American artist Lauren Voiers when she was only 19 years old. It stands next to the Echo Arena.
21. The Museum of Liverpool is about the history of Liverpool and there are some exhibits about the Beatles. It’s situated on the Pier Head.
22. You can learn about British pop music including the Beatles at the British Music Experience. Here on the Pier Head you will also find the most popular photo opportunity in Liverpool…
And now we take the train under the River Mersey to the seaside town of New Brighton.
24. This is where the Tower Ballroom used to be. It once had the tallest tower in Britain. The tower was taken down over 100 years ago. The Beatles played here from 1961 to 1963. The Tower Ballroom was destroyed by fire in 1969.
25. This is the Grosvenor Ballroom in Liscard, not far from New Brighton. The hall looks almost the same as it did when the Beatles played here.
Many tourists come to Port Sunlight to visit Lady Lever Art Gallery and to see the beautiful English traditional-style houses
26. At Hulme Hall, Port Sunlight on 18 August 1962, the Beatles played their first concert with Ringo Starr as drummer.
Now we return to Liverpool.
Music: A Caring Friend
27. The Eleanor Rigby statue near Mathew St was inspired by the song Eleanor Rigby and was created by the singer and artist Tommy Steele.
28. The Hard Day’s Night Hotel on North John Street is a Beatles-themed hotel. On the exterior there are statues of
of the four Beatles.
29. Mathew Street is dedicated to the Beatles and to other famous Liverpool stars.
30. The John Lennon statue depicts John as a young man before the Beatles were famous. Lots of people have their picture taken next to him.
31. The Cavern Club is the most famous club in Liverpool. The Beatles played here 292 times between 1961 and 1963. This is not the original Cavern Club but a reconstruction that is very similar to the original.
32. The Beatles often went to the Grapes Pub before playing at the Cavern.
33.Four Lads Who Shook The Worldis an artwork on Mathew Street. John Lennon was added as a baby after his death in 1980.
34. The Magical History Museum opened in 2018 and presents a huge collection of Beatles memorabilia on three floors.
36. The Beatles Story is about the amazing career of the Fab Four from childhood to worldwide fame.
Our 37th location is number 20 Forthlin Road, where Paul McCartney lived with his family from 1955 to 1963. Inside, the house looks the same as it did in the early 1960s. You can visit the house by booking on the National Trust tour.
38. Not far away is 251 Menlove Avenue, where John Lennon lived with his Aunt Mimi. You can visit the house on the National Trust tour. The house is a time capsule of the early 1960s, but I can’t show you what the interior looks like as photography is not allowed. You’ll just have to come and see it with your own eyes!
My name’s Aidan O’Rourke. Thank you very much for watching and I’ll see you again soon in Liverpool.
In July 2020 I made a slide show for a video by the singer Zinney Sonnenberg. The video was showcased on 04.07.2020 in the Global Liverpool Facebook Event. The song ‘Liverhearts – Where can I find me another river’ is about the songwriter’s love for his adoptive home city of Liverpool and the pain of having to leave it. For this feature I present the slide show video featuring my photos and the transcript of the interview.
Written by Aidan O’Rourke | Sunday the 12th of July 2020
ENGLISH VERSION | GERMAN VERSION .
For the music slide show video I chose around fifty of my photos of Liverpool. I wanted to find out more about Zinney Sonnenberg, so I did an Interview with him via Zoom. The Audio and the transcript appear here in English as well as German.
First I want to ask: What is your name? Where are you from and where do you live now?
My name is Gerd Zinsmeister. My artist name is Zinney Sonnenberg. I’m originally from Saarland. It’s on the border triangle of Germany, Luxembourg and France. I’ve been living in Bavaria, Dachau, for a year, known for the concentration camp in Dachau.
What is your profession?
I’m a musician by profession and work at the Dachau Music School as a music teacher and teach guitar, piano and singing. Otherwise I record and play live in Germany, England and Holland.
What kind of music do you play?
My music could be described as folk music with influences from pop and rock and world music.
How long were you in Liverpool?
I lived in Liverpool for 21 years.
When and why did you move to Liverpool?
I moved to Liverpool on the 10th of August, 1998 with my wife and three year old daughter to do a course at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.
What were your early impressions of Liverpool?
I immediately fell in love with Liverpool, a fantastic city with friendly, open-minded people, a very special light, a lively nightlife and a very special accent that I had to get used to.
Where did you live?
For the first three years we lived in Toxteth on Pengwern Street, behind Saint Silas School in the Welsh Streets area. Our home was the second to last house at the end of the street, with a view of the schoolyard of Saint Silas school. Later, we lived in Aigburth for fourteen years.
Why did you stay in Liverpool?
After my course at LIPA was over, we had acclimatised ourselves well to Liverpool. I worked as a nurse in a nursing home on Mill Street in Toxteth. My wife took a course at Arts College on Myrtle Street. Our daughter Zoe had already made a lot of friends at Windsor School.
How is Liverpool different from other cities?
As a port city, Liverpool is home to people from many cultural backgrounds. In my daughter’s class at primary school, there were children from thirteen different countries.
Architecturally, the centre of Liverpool is very compact. The River Mersey, which has been the main artery of Liverpool for decades, dominates the city. But the the most striking peculiarity is the humorous, friendly and open-minded mentality of the Scousers.
What are your top 10 recommendations for visitors?
There are many interesting attractions in Liverpool and many things to do. Be sure to visit the Antony Gormley exhibition ‘Another Place’ in Waterloo. In addition, the two cathedrals, connected by Hope Street, are well worth seeing.
All the museums in Liverpool are free, and above all the Maritime Museum, with its Slavery section, is an absolute must for every visitor.
The new museum in the docks is interactive and describes the history of Liverpool. On the second floor you have a wonderful view of the Liver Building and the mouth of the Mersey.
You should definitely dive into the nightlife of Liverpool. Just go along to the various restaurants, pubs, clubs, live music venues or comedy clubs.
For those interested in art, there is the Walker Art Gallery and the Tate at the Albert Dock. You can combine a visit to the Palm House in Sefton Park with a glass of wine in Lark Lane or Penny Lane. For football fans it’s an absolute must, once in your life, to hear ‘You’ll never walk alone’ in Anfield.
The sunsets in Liverpool are unique and so I would highly recommend a walk between Aigburth and Liverpool city centre.
What is your personal favourite place?
My favourite place in Liverpool is Otterspool Park. The walk that leads through the park and ends at the Mersey is a wonderful walk and means a lot to me personally because I used to take the dog for a walk there every day.
Describe your career on the Liverpool music scene.
After studying at LIPA, I worked at first in order to buy more recording equipment. I was able to buy an analogue tape machine from The Christians and later a computer that I could use to record.
In between times, I regularly went to open mike events and played two or three songs there. In 2004 I met Jeff Davis from Probe Plus Records in Berlin at a music fair.
In 2007 we released my first album ‘Fishing In The Pool’ on the Probe Plus label with my band called Sonnenberg.
Then we released two more albums, ‘The End of the Rain’ and ‘Into The Light’.
Between 2004 and 2018 I went on tour with the band or solo in Scandinavia, the UK, Germany and Holland and as a supporting act for Half Man Half Biscuit, I played mainly in larger venues in the UK, such as the Shepherds Bush Theatre or the Liverpool Academy
Why did you decide to leave Liverpool?
The sole reason for leaving Liverpool was Brexit. We didn’t want to live outside of the EU as second class citizens in Britain without the right to vote.
When did you leave Liverpool and where did you go in Germany?
We left Liverpool on the 19th of July, 2019. We then moved to Bavaria, to Dachau.
When and why did you write the song ‘Where can I find me another river?’ ?
I wrote the song ‘Liverhearts Another River’ in 2018. It’s intended to reflect my love for Liverpool, as well as the pain and sadness of having to leave my adopted home because of social or political circumstances.
In general, as a songwriter, you try to express your feelings or create some breathing space for yourself. In this case, it was the frustration with the political change in 2016 that influenced some of my songs between 2016 and 2019
Thank you very much! I’m sorry about Brexit. I hope that you can come back to Liverpool some time.
I will do.
Im Juli 2020 habe ich eine Dia-Show für ein Video des Sängers Zinney Sonnenberg gemacht. Das Video erschien am 04.07.2020 im Global-Liverpool-Facebook-Event. Der Song ‘Liverhearts – Where can I find me another river’ handelt von der Liebe des Künstlers zu seiner Wahlheimat Liverpool und den Schmerz, sie verlassen zu müssen. Hier präsentiere ich das Slide-Show-Video mit meinen Fotos sowie das Transkript des Interviews.
Geschrieben von Aidan O’Rourke | Sonntag den zwölften Juli 2020
ENGLISCHE VERSION | DEUTSCHE VERSION.
Für das Video habe ich ungefähr fünfzig meiner Fotos von Liverpool ausgewählt. Ich wollte mehr über Zinney Sonnenberg herausfinden, also habe ich mit ihm ein Interview per Zoom geführt. Das Audio und das Transkript erscheinen hier auf Deutsch sowie auf Englisch.
Guten Tag! Zuerst möchte ich fragen: Wie ist dein Name? Woher kommst du und wo wohnst du jetzt?
Mein Name ist Gerd Zinsmeister. Mein Künstlername ist Zinney Sonnenberg. Ich komme ursprünglich aus dem Saarland. Es ist an der Dreiländerecke Deutschland, Luxemburg und Frankreich. Seit einem Jahr wohne ich in Bayern, in Dachau, bekannt durch das Konzentrationslager in Dachau.
Okay, und was machst du von Beruf?
Ich bin Musiker von Beruf und arbeite in der Dachauer Musikschule als Musiklehrer und unterrichte Gitarre, Klavier und Gesang. Ansonsten nehme ich Platten auf und spiele live in Deutschland, England und Holland.
Was für Musik spielst du?
Meine Musik könnte man als Folk-Musik mit Einflüssen von Pop und Rock und Worldmusic beschreiben.
Und wie lange warst du in Liverpool?
Ich habe 21 Jahre in Liverpool gewohnt.
Wann und warum bist du nach Liverpool gezogen?
Ich bin am 10. August 1998 mit meiner Frau und meiner dreijährigen Tochter nach Liverpool gezogen, um einen Kurs an dem Liverpool Institut für Performing Arts zu machen.
Was waren deine frühen Eindrücke von Liverpool?
Ich hatte mich sofort in Liverpool verliebt, eine tolle Stadt mit netten, weltoffenen Menschen, ein ganz besonderes Licht, ein reges Nachtleben und ein ganz besonderer Dialekt, an den ich mich erst gewöhnen musste.
Wo habt ihr gewohnt?
In den ersten drei Jahren wohnten wir in Toxteth in der Pengwern Street, hinter der Saint-Silas-Schule in dem Walisischen Viertel. Unser Haus war das zweitletzte Hause am Ende der Straße mit Blick auf den Schulhof von der Saint-Silas-Schule. Später haben wir vierzehn Jahre lang in Aigburth gewohnt.
Warum bist du in Liverpool geblieben?
Nachdem mein Studium an der LIPA war beendet war, hatten wir uns gut akklimatisiert in Liverpool. Ich arbeitete als Krankenpfleger in einem Pflegeheim in der Mill Street in Toxteth.
Meine Frau machte einen Kurs am Arts College in der Myrtle Street. Unsere Tochter Zoe hatte an der Windsor School schon viele Freunde gemacht.
Wie ist Liverpool anders als andere Städte?
Als Hafenstadt beherbergt Liverpool Menschen aus vielen kulturellen Hintergründen. So waren in der Grundschulklasse meiner Tochter Kinder aus dreizehn verschiedenen Ländern.
Architektonisch ist die Innenstadt von Liverpool sehr kompakt. Der Fluss Mersey, der über Jahrzehnte die Lebensader von Liverpool war, prägt das Stadtbild.
Aber die herausragende Besonderheit ist die humorvolle, freundliche und weltoffene Mentalität der Scouser.
Was sind deine Top-10 Empfehlungen für Besucher?
Es gibt viele interessante Sehenswürdigkeiten in Liverpool und viele Dinge, die man tun kann.
Auf jeden Fall sollte man die Anthony-Gormley-Ausstellung ‘Another Place’ in Waterloo besuchen. Der Philharmonic ist der größte und prächtigste Pub in Liverpool. Außerdem sind die beiden Kathedralen, die von der Hope Street verbunden werden, sehr sehenswert.
Alle Museen in Liverpool sind kostenlos, und vor allem das Maritime Museum mit seiner Sklaverei-Abteilung, ist ein absolutes Muss für jeden Besucher. Das neue Museum an den Docks ist interaktiv und beschreibt die Geschichte von Liverpool. Im zweiten Stock hat man einen herrlichen Blick auf das Liver Building und die Flussmündung des Mersey.
Auf jeden Fall sollte man sich in das Nachtleben von Liverpool stürzen. Man sollte die verschiedenen Restaurants, Pubs, Clubs, Live-Music-Venues oder Comedy Clubs ein einfach mal besuchen.
Für Kunstinteressierte gibt es die Walker Art Gallery und die Tate am Albert Dock. Den Besuch des Palm Houses in Sefton Park kann man mit einem Glas Wein in der Lark Lane oder in der Penny Lane verbinden.
Für Fußballfans ist es ein absolutes Muss, einmal im Leben in Anfield You’ll Never Walk Alone zu hören.
Die Sonnenuntergänge in Liverpool sind einzigartig und so kann ich einen Spaziergang zwischen Aigburth und dem City Centre in Liverpool nur wärmstens empfehlen.
Was ist dein persönlicher Lieblingsort?
Mein Lieblingsort in Liverpool ist Otterspool Park. Der Spaziergang, der durch den Park führt und am Mersey endet ist ein wundervoller Spaziergang und ist deshalb sehr bedeutungsvoll für mich, weil ich da jeden Tag mit dem Hund spazieren war.
Kannst du deine Karriere auf der Musikszene in Liverpool beschreiben?
Ja, nach meinem Studium an der LIPA habe ich erst einmal gearbeitet, um mehr Aufnahmegeräte zu kaufen. So habe ich eine analoge Bandmaschine von den Christians gekauft und später einen Computer, mit dem ich aufnehmen konnte.
Zwischendurch bin ich immer wieder zu Open-Mike-Events gegangen, um dort zwei bis drei Lieder zu spielen. 2004 habe ich Jeff Davis von Probe Plus Records in Berlin auf einer Musikmesse kennengelernt.
2007 haben wir dann mit meiner Band unter dem Namen Sonnenberg mein erstes Album ‘Fishing In The Pool’ unter dem Probe-Plus-Label veröffentlicht.
Dann haben wir noch zwei weitere Alben ‘The End of the Rain’ und ‘Into The Light’ veröffentlicht.
Zwischen 2004 und 2018 war ich mit meiner Band oder auch solo in Skandinavien, Großbritannien, Deutschland und Holland auf Tour und habe als Vorgruppe von Half Man Half Biscuit in vor allem größere Venues in Großbritannien gespielt, wie zum Beispiel, das Shepherds Bush Theatre in London oder auch die Liverpool Academy.
Warum hast du dich entschieden, Liverpool zu verlassen?
Der Grund, Liverpool zu verlassen, war eindeutig der Brexit. Wir wollten nicht außerhalb der EU leben und in Großbritannien Bürger zweiter Klasse ohne Wahlrecht sein.
Wann hast du Liverpool verlassen und wohin in Deutschland bist du gegangen?
Wir haben Liverpool am 19. Juli, 2019 verlassen. Dann sind wir nach Bayern, nach Dachau gezogen.
Wann und warum hast du den Song ‘Where can I find me another river?’ geschrieben?
Das Lied ‘Liverhearts Another River’ habe ich 2018 geschrieben. Er soll meine Liebe zu Liverpool reflektieren, sowie den Schmerz und die Trauer, seine Wahlheimat verlassen zu müssen, weil es gesellschaftliche oder politische Umstände erforderlich machen.
Generell versucht man als Liedermacher oder Musiker seine Gefühle auszudrücken oder sich Luft zu verschaffen. In diesem Fall war es die Frustration über die politische Wende 2016, die einige meiner Lieder zwischen 2016 und 2019 beeinflussten
Vielen Dank! Es tut mir leid wegen dem Brexit, aber ich hoffe, du kannst irgendwann zurück nach Liverpool kommen.
Das hoffe ich auch!
I went to Xaverian College, Manchester, UK, when it was a boys’ grammar school.
It was a direct grant grammar school. It received funding from central government and the local authority and so it was possible to go there without having to pay fees, but you had to pass an entrance exam called the 11+. Later it became a sixth form college. I explain more at the end of this piece.
Xaverian College, Manchester has a long tradition going back to the 19th century. The Xaverian Brothers have origins in the north eastern United States. The Xaverian Brothers’ residence is located in Danvers, Massachusetts, north of Boston. They run 13 schools in five states.
We often forget that in the past, many schools were grim places, more like prisons than places of education. Just watch the film ‘Kes’ to see what many schools were like. But Xaverian was different.
Brother Cyril was a man of few words but had huge presence and authority. He commanded deep respect amongst students, parents and staff.
Teachers I remember included music teachers Mr Sellers, and his successor, Mr Challinger, Mr Lackey, who suggested I should learn German, Mr Halstead, the French and German teacher, Mr Underwood, who taught me A level English, Mr MacEvoy the French teacher and Mr Connolly, the English teacher. They all had a big effect on me and set high standards that, at times, I felt I couldn’t live up to. Their influence is still with me today.
For me the most interesting thing about Xaverian College is the number of people who became successful as creative artists or were creatively talented in some way.
- Martin Hannett producer of Buzzcocks, Joy Division, New Order, Durutti Column, the Stone Roses and others, went to Xaverian College.
- Tim Willocks, who was in the same year as me, is an internationally successful novelist and famously was a companion of pop singer Madonna.
- Len Grant, who as in the year above me, is a well known photographer of Manchester who has also developed a successful career in sketching.
- Jan Chlebik, who was in the same class as me, has achieved success and recognition as a leading photographer in Manchester.
- Chris Ofili, who won the Turner Prize in 1998 for his paintings which included elephant dung, is a graduate of Xaverian Sixth Form College.
- Andrew Newton, the controversial stage hypnotist, was a contemporary of mine, and was in the same A Level music class as me with teacher Mr Challinger.
- Julian Evans the concert pianist was born in Romiley, attended Xaverian College and went on to study at the Royal Northern College of Music.
- Anthony Burgess, author of ‘A Clockwork Orange’, was a student at Xaverian College during the 1930s.
- Bernard Hill actor famous for role of Yosser Hughes in ‘Boys from the Blackstuff’ went to Xaverian in the mid-50s.
- Gary Mounfield (b.1962) of the Stone Roses and Primal Scream is an ex-Xaverian grammar school boy.
- Mark Collins of the Charlatans was a student at Xaverian College.
- Andy Quinn, musician who helped to produce Thin Lizzy co-founder Eric Bell’s, solo albums and autobigraphy, was in the same class as me.
- Rick Turner, musician, producer and entrepreneur was in the year below me at Xavs.
- Liam Grundy has built a successful career as a musician, playing Rocking Country and Americana with a Rockabilly Edge. I studied French in the same class as him with Mr MacEvoy.
- Most Rev Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham since 2009, was three years above me at Xaverian College and was a talented singer. I once saw him performing Fauré’s Requiem at the Friend’s Meeting House in Manchester.
Adele O’Rourke, my daughter, who is highly creative in music and art, went to Xaverian sixth form college until the Corona lockdown shut down the college midway through her second and final year.
I met Brother Cyril on the 18th of July 2007, while he was on his annual visit to Manchester to visit his sister and some of ex-colleagues from Xaverian.
Click ‘Play’ to listen to the recording of the interview I did with him. The transcript is below.
I am brother Cyril, a Xaverian brother. I was born in June 1925 and I ended my career as headmaster of Xaverian College from 1962 to 1989. Now I am living in retirement.
What was the date on which you were born?
Third of June, 1925.
Can you tell us a little bit about the background to Xaverian College from when it started up to the present day?
Well, it was founded in 1862. It would be a small school. It was charging fees of about 2d a week I think, and it was quite close to Saint Bede’s. Saint Bede’s was founded in the same area. And then the school moved to Victoria Park site in 1907 and became known as Xaverian College at that point and it’s still there.
And the original location was at All Saints, next to the present Saint Augustine’s church?
That’s right, well it was in All Saints in the building which later became, when we moved out, it later became the Ear Nose and Throat Hospital.
What was the main reason for moving to Victoria Park?
Well, in order to expand and there were problems arising in that area, and it was better for the school to move out a little way, and in Victoria Park there were properties becoming available, probably through impoverishment of the owners. They had gone there, bought a house there, a property there in more splendid times for themselves and then found a need to sell, and we bought the property, as I say, in 1907.
So how did the school develop than from 1907 and up to the present day?
Well, I suppose it would be classed as a private school, but some places were given to the local authority, but it was a small school and I think that at the time the War came, it had it had probably something like 350 students.
And then the big development came after the War, when it became a direct grant grammar school, and that meant that the students who came didn’t have to pay any fees at all. There were fees, but they were paid by the local authority. And also because we got a grant from the central government for each student and that gave us sufficient income on which to live, and provide, as well as we could anyway, for the education of the boys who came to us.
And of course I came in 1969 and I was there until 1976.
And then after that then came the big change.
The big change came of course. The school had grown to about 700 by 1977 and then the Catholic schools developed a system for going comprehensive. It was rather later than the authority schools had gone, and that involved Loreto and Xaverian becoming six form colleges and others becoming high schools. And there were to be no academic requirements required for entry. But of course to develop that, all the courses required to cater for people who were not looking for Advanced level subjects, it. took time to develop those but they are now fully developed. And they are now 1500 students in the college.
Where did you do your training and how did you become a teacher and then headmaster of Xaverian?
Well, I went to Xaverian College as a boy and I joined the brothers, and in order to join the brothers, you had to do what was called six months postulancy and two years of novitiate. And in that time you studied Theology and Philosophy and you led a disciplined life involving regular community prayer.
And you found out whether you liked the life or whether you didn’t and then after two and a half years you could take temporary vows for a period of three years. And after that if you still wanted to go on, you could take final vows.
After I’d completed the novitiate, I went to Manchester University and I came out qualified to teach English. But I never did teach English, as things turned out, and I taught Maths, because there was a great shortage of Mathematics teachers in those days and to satisfy that need… I always liked Maths and I always did well at it and in school. It was not part of my degree course, but I enjoyed it, and I hope the kids did not suffer because of my lack of qualification in that subject.
So you taught at Xaverian College?
So I taught at Xaverian College. I have never taught anywhere else.
What part of Manchester did you grow up in?
I started off, I was born on the Anson estate and then we moved into Levenshulme and then I joined the brothers while we were still in Levenshulme. And then, no I’m sorry we, we moved out to Marple just before I joined the brothers, and then, since that time of course I have lived with the brothers
And so when did you become headmaster and until when did you…?
I became head in 1962 and I finished at the end of 1989, so I’m not sure how many years that is.
So you were trying to achieve a certain ethos in the school. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
Well I can tell you what I was trying to do and what the staff were helping me to do.
We wanted it above all to be a place where people could come and feel wanted and respected and cared for, and we wanted staff to feel that and students, and to follow the command of Jesus Christ that we should love God and love our neighbour, and of course loving our neighbour means everybody and being concerned and caring about them. And so that everybody who comes, who is involved in the school, will feel wanted and will feel happy and will not have to worry about maltreatment or anything like that. And if you get that right, if you get all that right, examinations will look after themselves, you don’t need to make examination success a major criterion in what your objectives are.
But I think that the ethos, whatever effect it had, it brought forth quite a few creative people, creatively successful people like Tim Willocks the author and Len Grant the photographer, Jan Chlebik and others and I’ve also done my particular thing and was quite inspired by some of the teachers at Xaverian, so perhaps that ethos had a positive effect and before i went to Xaverian, my teacher at my primary school, Our Lady’s, Sister Esther, recommended that I only put Xaverian on the application. This was after I passed my 11-plus that she said Xaverian was the only school that I should go to, and I got the place.
Well, I’m glad to hear that. But I can’t measure the success. It’s not measurable, what we were really trying to do, and I am not the one to comment on it, but other people, people who went through the school can speak best about its influence upon them. I just hope that it had a good influence and did help creative people to develop themselves, and if it did that, then I’m very happy.
Yes, well I’d like to place on record that certainly, people like Mr Sellars, the Music teacher and then Mr Challinger, and Mr Lackey, who recommended I do German, Mr Halstead, the French and German teacher, they all had a big effect on me, I’m certainly grateful to them.
So how have you been enjoying your retirement?
Very much, very quietly. I haven’t undertaken any kind of part-time work. I remained on the Board of Governors at Xaverian College until 2002 and that was when the brothers gave the school to the diocese and it now runs under the auspices of the diocese, but it keeps the name Xaverian College.
And finally do you have any special message to any ex-Xaverian College boys or girls, who are, maybe, listening to this?
Well, only to say that, I hope the school was influential in helping you to become responsible people, people who realised, that they not only have rights, but they also have responsibilities and in that way I hope you’ve developed it that way so you are now in a position to make your own decisions about your life and those decisions will be such that they will make you very acceptable to your neighbour and to God.
Brother Cyril died on the eighth on the 17th of April 2014 at the age of 88. His final resting place is the Xaverian Brothers’ Cemetery, close their residence in Danvers, Massachussets.
At Xaverian College, people still speak in reverential terms about brother Cyril and his presence can still be felt on the campus.
If you go into the building which bears his family name – Birtles – just to the left of the main entrance, there is a marvellous portrait painting of him sitting in his office. It perfectly captures his quiet, pensive manner, just as I remember him.
During the Corona lockdown in 2020, I was riding past Xaverian and went to the front of the Birtles building. It was locked and deserted, but I could see the painting through the glass window and I photographed it using my iPhone. I’m sure all will agree, the spirit of Brother Cyril magically shines through out of this painting.
Written by Aidan O’Rourke | 28.06.2020
THERE IS A CONTRADICTION in fashion photography. In theory, its purpose the same as that of a catalogue: to depict the clothes and help to sell them. In practice however, fashion photography has been used as a vehicle for self-expression by some of the world’s greatest photographers. Often, the creative desires of the photographers are at odds with the intentions of the editor, as Anna Wintour, fashion editor at Vogue, illustrates:
“Our needs are simple. We want a photographer to take a dress, make the girl look pretty, give us lots of images to choose from, and not give us any attitude. Photographers – if they are any good – want to create art.”
Through this tension have come about some of the most memorable images in the history of photography, transcending the time in which they were made, and encapsulating it for us today.
I became actively interested in fashion photography when, in 1991, I saw an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, detailing the development of the genre in the post war years. I found many of the images extremely captivating and interesting. Though I had enjoyed the fashion photography of contemporary magazines such as Harpers and Queen and Vogue, I had never before seen so many original prints from earlier decades and I responded to them with enthusiasm, hoping to introduce elements of their technique and atmosphere into my own photography.
In this article I intend to analyse, by the use of many of my favourite images, what it is that underlies their timeless appeal, and the techniques the photographers used to achieve their desired effects.
The precursors of fashion photography go back to the eighteenth century, when images of fashionable clothes were printed in magazines and often hand-coloured. Paris was at that time a centre for the production of such magazines, many of which were imported into England. Figure 1a (above) shows a typical example of such an image.
Photography was invented around the 1830s, but it wasn’t until much later that the metier of fashion photography came into existence. The earliest popular photographic technique, the daguerreotype, could not be used for mass printing. A later technique enabled the production of the ‘Carte de Visite’ which were made for individuals and which also depicted famous theatre and music hall personalities of the age. It wasn’t until advances in halftone printing techniques that fashion photographs came to be featured in magazines. This happened in about the first decade of the 20th century.
Baron de Meyer (1868 – 1946) called ‘The Debussy of the Camera’, had wealthy, though not aristocratic origins. He was born Demeyer Watson, of a French father and a Scottish mother, and grew up in Saxony. He came to London and married into nobility. He was given the title Baron de Meyer and set out on a life of extravagant entertaining
His main characteristic was a wonderful use of backlighting and the soft-focus lens. In Fig. 2, (upper right, above) we see many of the characteristics of his style. Though static, the pose is natural, and the picture is arranged using a strong pattern of vertical elements, giving a sense of authority and formality. We can see a clear use of the ‘rule of thirds’ in the placement of the curtains and chair.
What strikes us as being special to Baron de Meyer, however, are the glinting reflections from the background material and the jewels. The overall key is a light grey, the only dark areas being around the sitter’s face, arms and lap. It’s interesting to note that the chair is hardly a suitably aristocratic-looking piece of furniture, but perhaps he chose mainly for its colour.
Edward Jean Steichen (1879-1973) was born in Luxembourg, but his family moved to the USA in 1881. With Alfred Stieglitz, he founded the Photo-Secession Galleries in New York. He first photographed fashion models in 1911 for the magazine ‘Art and Decoration’, and worked with Conde Nast during the twenties. This photo (fig. 3 above, lower left) was made for American Vogue in 1920, and shows Marian Moorehouse, wife of the poet E.E. Cummings, wearing a Chanel gown.
The arrangement of rectangular shapes shows the influence of constructivist art, which was influential at the time. The vertically placed white rectangular card has been carefully positioned to show the shape of the falling drapery, which shows signs of considerable retouching. A piece of horizontally placed black card provides further contrast.
The head and shoulders stand out from the mid grey of the wall, and the toe of the shoe, pointing elegantly downwards, protrudes into the area of white on the floor. A white and black vertical band just to the left of the model, divides the upper part of the picture, and completes the background. The lighting is a combination of general light plus side lighting, on both sides, giving the flesh tones a mid to high key, contrasting with the solid blacks.
This image skilfully uses very simple props to create an elegant arrangement of forms, modernist in flavour, but classical in order and arrangement.
George Hoyningen-Huene (1900 – 1968) was another of the aristocratic practitioners of early fashion photography, and did most of his most memorable work between the mid-twenties and the end of the Second World War. He was born in St Petersburg, but moved to Paris in 1920, where he first did fashion illustration and then photography. He moved to New York in 1935, and worked mainly for Harper’s Bazaar. He spent the latter part of his life in California.
This image (Fig. 4 above, lower right) was used in the 1990s for perfume adverts. It displays a combination of chic and classicism typical of the age. The image shows a meticulous attitude to detail and arrangement. The models are placed very carefully, with close attention to the effect of light and shadow. The combined outline forms a pleasing U shape, similar to a Greek vase. By illusion, the scene appears to be outdoors, but on closer inspection, we can see that, like most fashion shots of the day, it was taken in a studio, and the ‘sea’ is an area of light grey, with the ‘sky’ and faintly painted clouds above it. A very realistic effect of daylight is achieved by a strong, single light, placed to the above left of the subjects.
If you went to the sea and took a photo of it around midday, it would almost certainly appear much darker. The effect of this unnaturally light background is twofold: it makes the models stand out, but more interestingly, it actually simulates how we would see the background in harsh sunlight without sunglasses – very light and slightly fuzzy, due to the smarting of the eyes. The visually inaccurate, but psychologically correct portrayal of the background gives this image its mysterious appeal. The enigmatic quality is heightened by the fact that the models stare away from us, so that we can’t see their faces, and appear to be looking at something out on the ‘sea’, to the right, and beyond the frame of the picture. What are they looking at? What are their faces like? And where exactly is this seaside location?
Horst P Horst (born 1906-1999) was a friend of Hoyningen-Huene, and also had a fascination for classical imagery, indeed he made a detailed study of classical poses, using Greek sculpture and classical paintings, paying special attention to the positioning of hands. In his studio, he used all manner of props, such as plaster statues, mirrors, crumpled paper, exploiting them to both neoclassical and surrealist effect.
This photo (Fig. 5 above) of Helen Bennet is a good example of an image with a strongly classical mood. A single spotlight shines down on the model from the top right. The edges of the spot place shadows on the edges of the pleated cloak, which is exhibited, peacock-fashion in a wonderful display of light and shadow. The model is standing in front of a column, and we can see the shadow of the spotlight forming an arc just to the right of the model’s head. The light falls on the face to form a perfect jaw line, with just the right amount of shadow on the cheekbone (although this might have been retouched).
The pose is statuesque and painterly, reminiscent of the paintings of Alfred Moore. The background is a graduated dark to lighter grey, made apparently by a diffused light placed behind the base. Around the base, there are three pieces of Greek-style plaster sculpture, though these are partly cropped out of the picture. One criticism might be that this arrangement looks botched and amateurish, and that the photographer couldn’t make up his mind whether or not to leave out the base altogether, but decided to crop it half way! In my opinion this doesn’t matter, as the main focus of the image is the model, and her outfit. In his use of props, he was only trying to create an effect of the antique, not, as perhaps in a painting, a detailed and accurate recreation of the real thing.
Cecil Beaton (1904 – 1980) was a contemporary of Horst P Horst and Hoyningen-Huene, and was based in London. His exhibition in 1927 at the Cooling Galleries, London established him as a major photographic figure. Like Horst, he also used elaborate studio props and experimented with surrealism. In the picture of Miss Mary Taylor (Fig. 6), the image is dominated by two large and highly ornate oval-shaped hanging decorations, with flowers and patterns similar to peacock tails. The left hand one is closer to the camera, and is to the model’s right. The right hand one is hanging behind the model, and the edge intersects her face at eye level.
According to traditional rules of composition, the model is too low in the frame, but, like other pictures by Beaton, it is not intended to be a portrait, but an arrangement of forms, patterns, textures and tones, in which the model is included. The decorations, which were probably made up specially for the shot, and don’t resemble anything I’ve ever seen elsewhere, dominate the image, and almost have a life and character of their own, overshadowing the model. There is a light source coming from the right, illuminating the rear wall, and the model’s face. A less intense, more diffuse light on the left fills in dark to mid grey shadows on the model’s face and lights the front of her garment. The placement of the fingers adds an extra element of theatricality to the image.
An interesting development during the 1930s was a change in Beaton’s attitude towards the romanticism and indulgence in his earlier work. This quotation from ‘The Best of Beaton’ written in 1968, gives us the photographer’s insight into the changing mood:
“The posed, static hands with the pointed index finger and arched wrist acquired an overnight vulgarity; the celestial expression in the eyes suddenly became a joke shared by everyone except the sitter. The earlier pictures appeared over retouched and altogether too artificial with ladies with forced rosebud simpers and impossibly golden curls.”
In the meantime, Beaton had developed a more realistic style:
“The results of my experiments in this genre of photography were considered to prove that I had at last grown up, and had acquired a new sense of reality. ‘Reality’ was taken up by editors as the ‘new thing’.”
A result of this change of direction was a contributory factor in the termination of his contract with Vogue in 1938. In the ensuing years he took many war photographs, and a famous example of the then, still prevalent idea of ‘reality’ was this study (Fig. 7 above) of a model standing in a Paris courtyard. The look of the model and the clothes could almost be contemporary. She couldn’t be further removed from the high fashion models of earlier years. The photograph is almost of snapshot character, with very little attention wasted on artful arrangement of forms. The face appears exactly central in the frame, which doesn’t conform to traditional conventions. There is however, subtle evidence of the photographer’s eye – the natural light coming from above is at just the right angle to sculpt the model’s face.
Personally, I feel that the photographer wasn’t being honest with himself. A deliberate urge to throw out former principles and techniques, and go to another extreme, is perhaps a way of trying to prove his versatility or an attempt not to be typecast. Maybe the picture is a product of its time – after six years of gruelling war, people were weary, more concerned with making the best of meagre rations, whether food or cloth, than indulging in opulent fantasies.
By 1948, however, the elegance was back, revived by Christian Dior’s ‘New Look’ collection of 1947. This image (Fig. 8), epitomises the return to grand style, but in a plainer, more direct way than in earlier decades. Eight models are posed in a neoclassical salon, talking and drinking cups of tea from dainty teacups.
There are three light sources, two shining in from the sides, and one very bright one placed behind the two models to the centre left. An additional, low key diffused light shines in from the left of the camera, illuminating very nicely the patterns of silken drapery. The lighting ensures a full range of tones from very bright to near black. Reproductions of this image in two different books turn out, on closer inspection to be not quite the same. The poses are almost identical, except for a couple of small differences.
This must indicate that considerable effort must have gone into placing the models in definite and highly stylised poses, artificial some would say. As we will see, there was a reaction against this which would leave behind the famous prewar photographers, and usher in a new, post war era of spontaneity.
In the meantime, Beaton had developed a more realistic style:
“The results of my experiments in this genre of photography were considered to prove that I had at last grown up, and had acquired a new sense of reality. ‘Reality’ was taken up by editors as the ‘new thing’ ”.
A result of this change of direction was a contributory factor in the termination of his contract with Vogue in 1938. In the ensuing years he took many war photographs, and a famous example of the then, still prevalent idea of ‘reality’ was this study (Fig. 7) of a model standing in a Paris courtyard. The look of the model and the clothes could almost be contemporary. She couldn’t be further removed from the high fashion models of earlier years. The photograph is almost of snapshot character, with very little attention wasted on artful arrangement of forms. The face appears exactly central in the frame, which doesn’t conform to traditional conventions. There are however, subtle evidences of the photographer’s eye – the natural light coming from above is at just the right angle to scupt the model’s face.
Personally, I feel that the photographer wasn’t being honest with himself. A deliberate urge to throw out former principles and techniques, and go to another extreme, is perhaps a way of trying to prove his versatility or an attempt not to be typecast. Maybe the picture is a product of its time – after six years of gruelling war, people were weary, more concerned with making the best of meagre rations, whether food or cloth, than indulging in opulent fantasies.
By 1948, however, the elegance was back, revived by Christian Dior’s ‘New Look’ collection of 1947. This image (Fig. 8), epitomises the return to grand style, but in a plainer, more direct way than in earlier decades. Eight models are posed in a neo-classical salon, talking and drinking cups of tea from dainty teacups.
There are three sources, two shining in from the sides, and one very bright one placed behind the two models to the centre left. An additional, low key diffused light shines in from the left of the camera, illuminating very nicely the patterns of silken drapery. The lighting ensures a full range of tones from very bright to near black. Reproductions of this image in two different books turn out, on closer inspection to be slightly different. The poses are almost exactly the same, except for a couple of small differences.
This must indicate that considerable effort must have gone into placing the models in definite and highly stylised poses, artificial some would say. As we will see, there was a reaction against this which would leave behind the famous pre-war photographers, and usher in a new, post war era of spontaneity.
Some images on this page were lost during the transfer to this new web page. I hope to place them in the text again.
By the time the ‘Swinging Sixties’ came along, the fashionable (and pretentious) photographer figure became a familiar stereotype. Even now, when an aspiring amateur reaches for his camera and puts on photographer’s airs, people say “Huh, who do you think you are, David Bailey?” Born in 1938, he is one of the few photographers that most people have heard of, and he is still active now.
(Fig. 16 above, lower right) is a casual, almost snapshot-like image, showing a model standing on the side of a New York street at a pedestrian crossing. We see the run-down, and fashionably grimy chic of Manhattan at street level, with lots of signs and lettering. A passer-by has been caught awkwardly on the right hand side of the lamp post. The model, of course, is Jean Shrimpton, in her celebrated ‘A-line’ pose, to match the shape of the outfit. This must be one of the most famous poses a model has ever struck, and came to symbolise a look of the early sixties.In this picture (above left) taken in January 1965 by David Bailey, another quintessential face of that decade is portrayed.. What it doesn’t say about the clothes, it makes up for in the tantalising glimpse we get of Swinging London. The camera is at a ‘swinging’ angle, and fashionable Hampstead Hill is seen silhouetted late in the day, with a tiny figure on a bench just visible.
Marianne Faithfull, looks into the camera with a distant expression, the stray wisp of hair and billowing dress, along with the clouds, alluding to a windy day. The diagonals make for a dynamic image, but it’s also dark and brooding, a deliberate effect done, I think, at darkroom stage. From the look of the clouds, the sun would appear to be fairly high in the sky.
Perhaps our pre-conceived notions about ‘The Sixties’ influence the way we interpret a photograph such as this – the photographer himself was annoyed at being labelled as the photographer of ‘Swinging London’:
“I always hated the King’s Road, really the whole thing was the creation of Time magazine” (quoted in Appearances, page 218)
I can’t help feeling though that this photograph is a window into a place and time I was too young to fully experience, and I wish I could climb through into it!
Quite a different vision from David Bailey, much more planned and controlled, is that of the Japanese photographer Hiro, who came to New York in 1954.
In this image (Fig. 18 lower centre left) we can seen an effect of disorientation caused by the raised viewpoint. The shapes of the clothes are like abstract patterns, or perhaps the flowing drapery of Japanese woodblock print. It reminds us of traditional Japanese Ukiyo-e art. Only the false eyelashes of the right model allow us to date this picture, which is otherwise timeless.
The lower left picture (Fig. 17 above) is also by Hiro. The striking thing about it is the oval shaped area of projected light shining onto on the model’s face from the side, and the areas of fluorescent colour in other parts of the image. The pose is initially confusing, and has the effect of an abstract pattern. Hiro uses very sophisticated design principles in his photographs of fashion models.
One of the more controversial photographers of recent times is Helmut Newton, born in Berlin, Germany, in 1920. He received his training in Berlin, but spent time in Australia and Singapore. He held an Australian passport and lived in Monaco and Los Angeles where he was recently killed in a car accident.
“Few photographers have managed to polarise the art scene on such a regular basis as Helmut Newton. It is split into those who are his fans, and admire his photographs, and his embittered opponents, who denigrate him as a fashionable passing craze, or as a woman-hater.”
Quoted in ‘Photographie des 20. Jahrhunderts’
His pictures, mostly set in expensive hotels, or on the streets of the chic capitals of Europe, feature tall, long-limbed women, often nude, some androgynous. Each picture features an action or situation, inviting viewers to imagine the before and after for themselves. This picture (Fig. 20 below, right) features a woman standing pensively in a man’s suit. There is a feeling of sexual ambiguity, with the slicked back hair, reminiscent of Berlin in the 1920s.
Like most of his images, this is in black and white, and the film is quite grainy, giving a slightly harsh, unromanticised effect. The Parisian back street is full of empty atmospheric eeriness. Perhaps the person has stepped out of the rear entrance of a hotel, or some other establishment, to have a cigarette and take a break, from what? What is she thinking about? And why is she dressed like a man?
The famous image by Helmut Newton of he chauffeur kissing his lady employer is tastefully scandalous in nature. The two have them have descended to a lower level, both figuratively and literally, and the photographer as voyeur catches them as if he were just passing.
The text forms a visual and linguistic pun too: The chauffeur is providing a different ‘service’ from the one on his job contract. ‘Servicios’ in Spanish means ‘toilets’ and this shot might have been made in Spain.
The controversial nature of the type of subject matter – sophisticated women, fashionable upper class milieu, raises questions concerning sexual identity, class, wealth, respectability, female beauty, and notions of good taste.
This photograph by Jean-Loup Sieff (born 1933) is similar to the style of Helmut Newton, but was taken in 1960. The model, Denise Sarrault, looks every bit the rich aristocratic lady or film star – as the photographer remarks, she is like Greta Garbo.
The image is full of symbols of class and power – the shiny Rolls Royce, the pearls and expensive clothes, and the chauffeur, standing to attention. The composition is simple, but brilliantly captures a moment of European hauteur and elegance.
In another Jean Loup Sieff shot, we return to a subject touched on in an earlier picture.
“It was the beautiful Anka, with her desperately tiny waist, who posed in this 1900 corset. In spite of her slim figure, she found it difficult to breathe.”
(Quoted in Jean-Loup Sieff Monograph, page 131)
Evidently so, as we can see in the pose and the position of the hands, the left hand one touching her hip awkwardly. The outline is uneven, and the material squeezes the waist and digs into the skin at the legs. We are left in no doubt of the discomfort involved in wearing it. An uncomfortable image, perhaps, but sexually arousing for some, and symbolic of an ideal of fin-de-siècle femininity which seems to live on as a symbol of Paris and French couture to this day.
The poignancy of the image is enhanced by the simple lighting, coming from a softbox to the left, with a plain grey background. The frame is tightly cropped, cutting out part of the arms, but focusing the attention directly onto the model’s hips and waist. The legs are slightly crossed to enhance the hourglass shape of the body.
As we near the end of this assignment, we approach closer to more contemporary times. One photographer who has featured prominently in the last ten years or so is the American, Matthew Rolston. In ‘Aly, Long Neck, Los Angeles’ (image currently unavailable) we can see what may be one of the first examples of the use of digital imaging in fashion photography. It’s typical of the playful, experimental and eclectic nature of fashion photography in the last decade or so.
A conventional head and upper torso shot of a model is transformed by extreme elongation of the neck, a hat covering the head, with an eye in the middle, which has a keyhole in it. Visually arresting it may be, but I can’t help thinking of a one-eyed ostrich! The transformational possibilities of image manipulation (digital or otherwise), are not put to use here in a way I like.
Despite an unprecedented range of technical possibilities at the disposal of today’s photographers, I can’t help preferring the more classic images of the earlier part of the century to the ‘anything goes’ style of photography one often sees in magazines today, though certain other examples of Matthew Rolston’s extremely varied work I like a lot, but unfortunately not the next one!
This composite (Fig. 25 below left) of Keanu Reeves demonstrates the arrival to the fashion photography of the eighties of a more sexual and physical approach to the depiction of the male, as seen here. Four closely cropped studies of different parts of the actors body are rendered in a sepia brown. Symbols of street culture – denim, a knife, a leather waistcoat, feature prominently. Just like Baron Demeyer, George Hoyningen-Huene, Richard Avedon and David Bailey, it captures an impression of the age, and personally I don’t like it!
I’ll conclude with the image by Javier Vallhonrat (below right) which appears on the cover of ‘The Idealising Vision’, showing a nude female model in a levitating pose, surrounded by a floating length of material, emanating a ghostly luminescence.
I liked this image initially for its use of light, but it has a puzzling fascination which is somehow a reflection of our times – the model could almost be a sculpture in a neon-based art gallery installation.
The glowing light, and the almost otherworldly, ectoplasmic nature of the material, may be evidence of current paranormal obsessions as exemplified in programmes such as The X-Files. The visual effects may well have been achieved by use of digital imaging, though they could also have been achieved by traditional techniques.
The italic f shape formed by the material also looks like some strange kind of other-worldly creature, which the model is riding like a horse. A suitably cryptic and futuristic image to conclude this assignment.
I would love to know the name of the photographer, the date they were taken and the name of the model. If you can help, please get in touch.