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March 24, 2021



Liverpool Life


EXHIBITION OF COMPASSION > Living with Crohn’s in a Pandemic: “It felt quite lonely at times” > City’s Booze with a View: Guide to Liverpool’s amazing rooftop bars > Zooming to Love: Looking for romance online during lockdown


Farewell from the class of 2021! As the academic year comes to a close, we here at Liverpool Life would like to thank you all for reading our issues over the past few months. What better way to sign off than to

give you a taste of what some of us will be getting up to in the future once we leave LJMU for pastures new. Once I leave LJMU I want to go into PR and communications - I’ve been applying for jobs and keeping

an eye out for any grad schemes that are knocking about. It’ll be a new experience for me, being in education for 22 years; I welcome the challenge! Words: Jack O’Brien

Listen to Chloe, Ben and David talk about their future plans

Anna Michaelides

The thought of leaving education for good is really daunting, but I’m excited to start a career in media and hoping to work my way up in the magazine industry. I’ve loved being at LJMU and I’m gonna miss it when we’re finished!

Robyn Couling

I plan on applying for graduate schemes at ITV and the BBC when I leave, broadcast is definitely what I want to go into but i’v enjoyed every news day and designing the magazine has been a lot of fun. Radio is the dream though so i’ll continue my podcast outside of uni and working as a content writer for ‘Pie Radio’. Who knows where things could lead?!

Nathan Sartain (right)

I’m hoping to go into freelance journalism full-time. I’m really interested in and enjoy feature writing, so to be able to do that about music and entertainment as my actual job would be my dream. I’m not sure how successful I’ll be, but I know I’ll be giving it my all after having some commissions this year.

Annisha Maraj

After finishing university I’ll be moving back home to Jersey for the summer to work and save up whilst searching for my first permanent job in the journalism world. I intend to move back to the UK as soon as possible, Jersey is boring in the winter!

Mia O’Hare

I have decided to stay on at LJMU and do a masters in journalism. I feel this will strengthen my skills and help me build a strong portfolio for when I apply for journalism jobs.

Toni Brown

I’m hoping to go into the PR/Communications industry. I have two unofficial job offers that I am working towards


4 Cleaning up Sefton Park 5 Protecting our parks 6&7 Council in crisis, Census lights up city 8 Rats in the city centre 9 Vaccines - luck of the draw! 10 Violence against women 11 Remembering James Bulger




12 Living with Crohn’s during the pandemic 13 Young politician up for election 14&15 Celebrating Easter 16&17 Best roof terraces to visit 18 Restaurant’s year of misery 19 Meet your match on Zoom 20 Music helping people with dementia 21 Dancing to good health

11 14




22&23 Tate exhibition for the NHS 24 The Biennial is back 25 Students host unique film festival 26&27 Judy and Liza on tour and what’s on at the waterfront arena

Goodbye for now...


elcome to the last Liverpool Life - for now. This year has been difficult for everyone but we hope our weekly magazine has given you something to enjoy and look forward to reading. On behalf of all our amazing reporters, we would like to thank you for reading our magazine. In the run-up to Easter, we have provided a guide to celebrating and

an Easter Egg round-up. Nathan Sartain and David Diangienda report on how we can clean and protect our parks. Wes Powell spoke to a young politican who is up for election and Ruairi Walsh investigates the possible government take-over of the council. Meanwhile, Tallulah Suleman and Brendan Thomas look into how music can benefit mental health.

The Biennial is returning to Liverpool and finally as we look forward to lockdown ending, Heidi Hewlings reports on the first UK Musical that we will get to see, Judy and Liza. We will all be graduating soon, so it’s goodbye from us, but Liverpool Life will be back with a new team in October. Danielle Norton, Reporter


Front cover: Ryan, Respiratory Doctor in Training 2020 © Aliza Nisenbaum. Photography by Jeff McLane, courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York



Sefton’s savvy Samaritans

Image: Andrea Ku


DAVID DIANGIENDA talks to Andrea Ku on what it’s like being a friend of Sefton Park

efton Park is one of the great parks in the city. The park is listed as a Grade 1 historic park, many people including students and local residents make use of its beautiful scenery especially during lockdown. Keeping it looking lovely is a full-time job but local volunteers have come together to help care for the park. The Friends of Sefton Park charity was set up four years ago by local resident Andrea Ku. It is an organisation full of volunteers who have a deep love for both the park and nature. Their activities include litter picking and guided tours for visitors around the park. The park made the headlines last week when it was the scene of an illegal gathering on St Patrick’s Day. The Friends of Sefton Park were part of the clean-up operation and their work was highlighted and praised, in particular by Liverpool City Council. This has led to 35 enquiries from

people who would like to volunteer with the organisation. Andrea Ku said the organisation came from her love of the park and the happy memories she had of visiting as a child. “I’ve seen so many other litter-picking groups and activities held in other parks but there was no active group in Sefton Park. I have been brought up and lived most of my life by Sefton Park,” she said. “The first thing I did was put up litter-picking posters, about A5 size. I put them around the park and thought ‘I wonder if anyone will get in contact’ and they did. About 30 people came on the first litter pick and it was amazing really. Since then, it’s just grown. It shows that the park is loved by those who want to look after it.” Andrea mentioned the importance of everyone doing their bit to ensure that visitors around the park pick up litter where they can. She believes that litter should be the responsibility of park goers and not Liverpool City Council. “One in every eight people that

come to the park will litter on purpose. The rest of them are total accidents. I’m thinking that is still quite a high number. The more we keep on top of it, the more litter pickers are visible in the park, the more people we will get joining The Friends of Sefton Park.” Whilst lockdown has been hard for many, with shops being closed and people being locked in their homes, parks have provided a lifeline for those looking to do physical activity, to be productive with their time and meet new people. Andrea said the volunteers in the organisation hadn’t socialised with each other before Covid and it had given many of them an opportunity to get out and meet people. “A lot of volunteers don’t really leave the house,” she said. “And to them it’s like their first time out of the house, the first time to be around people and socialise, to get sunlight on them and to be active.” “During lockdown, parks have become a lifeline really, especially for people who haven’t got a garden (and

are) cooped up in a flat with other people or kids and whatever. “It does so much for your mental health. It’s a free place, enjoy it, don’t litter it and you get a lot out of it.” With Sefton Park turning 150 years old next year, the organisation is in the process of planning a few surprises for the occasion. It is also looking to start up its guided tours after lockdown. Andrea hopes that people’s enjoyment of the park can be extended and that it will be loved the same way in the next 150 years. You can find The Friends of Sefton Park on their website at www.friendsofseftonpark.co.uk or you can follow them across social media. •

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ ILoveSeftonPark

Facebook: https://www. facebook.com/friendsofseftonpark/

Instagram: https://www. instagram.com/ILoveSeftonPark/

No steam ahead for Merseyrail funding By MILES PARKS-MAUNDER


erseyrail has been one of the only transport services in the country to be denied access to emergency funding during the UK’s national lockdowns. This is despite networks such as Transport for London being given £485 million of emergency funding this week, on top of the £1.8 billion package agreed back in November. Unlike places such as the Manchester and the capital, whose Metrolink and Transport for London services are classed as ‘light rail’, Merseytravel services unfortunately do not fall under the


same category, meaning they are ineligible for the same emergency funding. According to a spokeswoman from Merseytravel, during the most recent lockdown, Merseyrail traveller numbers have fallen by up to 85% compared to the monthly average before the first national lockdown. This has led to the company being forced to place some members of staff on furlough as well as reducing the frequency of their services, causing issues for passengers. Anthony Gardner, who works as guard for Merseyrail and is often positioned in Liverpool Central station, acknowledges have been tough

for all involved, but hopefully there is light at the end of the tunnel. He said: “We’ve had to deal with quite a lot over lockdown. But things are picking up. “We have almost reached a point where we can hope for a return to normality but the last 12 months, we’ve definitely felt the effects of perhaps less funding. “There can be no doubt that stations are the busiest they have been in a very long time all across the region. “I think that is why we have made the decision to slightly increase our frequency of travel and bring some staff back to work. It’s just nice to have work slowly

feeling more normal again.” Merseyrail alone provides more than 1200 jobs locally, with the wider Merseytravel network believed to employ a further 900. Should the lack of funding for Merseytravel and Merseyrail continue, many of these jobs could be placed at risk, which could prove to be a disaster for the company that is the most heavily used urban railway outside of London. Carrying more than 110,000 passengers a week, or over 34 million a year, getting the necessary funding is crucial for not only Merseytravel itself, but also the city as a whole and the Liverpudlians.


Parks given promise of permament protection NATHAN SARTAIN explores the city’s new commitment to safeguarding green spaces


iverpool’s parks are set to be legally protected from being sold or built upon under a new strategic partnership. Working with Fields In Trust, Liverpool City Council’s first-of-itskind commitment ensures protection for more than 100 parks and green spaces, which, in turn, covers of 1000 hectares of land. In a website statement, Fields in Trust Chair of Trustees, Jo Barnett said: “Through the pandemic we’ve realised just how valuable parks and green spaces are to our health and wellbeing. “We welcome this pioneering commitment by Liverpool City Council to recognise the proven physical and mental health benefits of local parks. These are valuable places -; places where we can all move, breathe, run and play. “We need to champion and support these precious spaces by protecting them for future generations to enjoy. Because once lost, they are lost forever.”

During phase one of this new partnership, more than 20 parks will be fully protected permanently, which will ensure that around 64% of residents live within a ten-minute walk of a green space. This is part of a wider plan to ensure that the full population of Liverpool lives within short distance of a park or a high-quality green space, and will see places such as Stanley Park, St John’s Gardens and Sefton Park all safeguarded from any future work. Chrisie Byrne, the chair of the Liverpool parks friends forum and of Friends of Walton Hall Park, hailed the commitment as ‘pioneering’. “Liverpool has always been an amazing city with such valued parks and green spaces loved by many generations, which has been evident in the past with the many campaigns to save some that have been under threat of development,” she said. “For the city council to now put them into a deed of declaration saving them forever for us and future generations to enjoy proves it can be done, and we all hope that other city

councils and local authorities follow suit.” The campaign to save these spaces started in 2019 when Chrisie, along with the West Derby MP Ian Byrne and Pauline Roy, worked with Fields in Trust to put forward the idea to the city council. It was initially proposed as a way of securing the parks for future generations and the idea was warmly received.


ollowing this, work began on the ‘mammoth job’, with the council beginning proceedings and the prominent green space activists explaining the details to the Liverpool park friend groups. Chrisie describes as wanting them all ‘fully on board’, and acknowledges that they had to know what the commitment would mean for the parks, as those who are involved with the groups are volunteers, who work on these spaces every day. COVID, as it did with many things, delayed the process slightly, but with the plan ready to be put into action, the feeling amongst the campaigners

is one of excitement, but also thankfulness towards both the city council, and the groups who have supported the campaigns privately throughout the two-year process. “It has been fantastic to see the parks being saved, but also the joy and excitement it has brought to our city as a whole. At last we have some great news, and the parks and green spaces that have played a vital role during COVID are now saved,” said Chrisie. The phased approach to the project aims for completion before the end of 2023, with the finalisation of the process ensuring that the population of Liverpool can live no more than 10 minutes away from a park or high-quality green space, and that over 1000 hectares are completely protected “There is still work to be done, but we are all working together and we look forward to them (the parks) being placed into procurement with the deed of dedication,” said Chrisie.

Images: Nathan Sartain



‘Biggest political storm By RUAIRI WALSH


political shockwave hit Liverpool at the weekend after it was reported that Liverpool City Council could be placed under special measures and put under the control of central government. The decision came after an investigation following the arrest of former Mayor Joe Anderson in December on suspicion of conspiracy to commit bribery and witness intimidation. Mr Anderson claims to be innocent of the charges and has resigned from his position. These events led to a Best Value Report being commissioned by the Government, to be led by Max Caller, looking into property management, regeneration, highways, contracts and planning at the council over the past five years. Robert Jenrick, the Local Government Secretary, is set to announce the results of the report later this week but reports suggest that the city will be put under the control of Government commissioners. “It’s a hugely unusual measure taken by the government, assuming that special measures go ahead.” says

This is a very unusual step - it’s a step of last resort

Man Island


Professor of politics at the University of Liverpool, Jonathan Tonge. “It’s only been done three times before and never for a council the size of Liverpool with almost half a million residents within the city’s borders. So, this is a very unusual step - it’s a step of last resort, one that the government only uses very sparingly.” According to Prof. Tonge, the effects of this will be long-lasting. “The special measure can be used indefinitely. The secretary of state normally states a period at which he anticipates those special measures lasting for, but they can be extended or shortened at the discretion of the secretary of state. “In the previous three cases the special measures have lasted three years, so we’re not talking about a quick fix here. If the commissioners come in to run Liverpool or parts of Liverpool City Council they could probably be there for several years.” In these other cases the consequences have been profound. Prof. Tonge said: “Well, in two of the three cases, basically the council was subject to a clean-up, so the commissioners came in, looked at the books, criticised what had gone on

Liverpool Town Hall

 Richard Kemp, leader of Lib Dems Liverpool




s Census 2021 got under way at the weekend, many of Liverpool’s most famous landmarks turned purple to celebrate the event taking place. The Office of National Statistics organised the event with other landmarks across England, Wales and Northen Ireland also taking part, including the BT Tower in London and Blackpool Tower. The event was organised to celebrate and raise awareness for the Census, a decennial census for England, Wales and Northern Ireland supplying important figures and statistics of every person in the countries. Key sectors that are expected to have significant changes in the diversity of their figures since 2011 are related to sexual orientation,

coinciding with the rise of the LGBTQ+ community and gender neutrality. The census also helps control hospital and school numbers allowing each community to be given the correct budget and resources they need, determined by the population data collected. Another significance is that this year marks the first time filling out the information has been mainly online since it started back in 1801. However, if some people fail to fill out the form before Sunday’s deadline, they risk facing a fine up to £1000. Pete Benton, Director of Census Operations at The Office of National Statistics, spoke about the significance of the celebration of Census 2021. “The census is such an important


m ever’ to hit city in the past and basically ran financial aspects of the council’s activity.” In Northamptonshire, the council was simply deemed as ineffective and was broken up. “If Liverpool is incapable of governing itself via the existing councillors, all 90 odd of them who are on the city council, that’s a pretty damning inditement of the performance of Liverpool City Council over the last few years.” Because of this, Prof. Tonge expects there will be a reaction from the city. “It’s a big thing for Liverpool, in that we’re losing an element of our local democracy. People elect their local councillors and their mayor and neither of those sets of people will be as powerful as would otherwise be the case after May’s election once the commissioners, assuming they come, run part of the city’s activities. “I think local people will feel very annoyed. They’ll feel local democracy has been usurped - that you’ve got a Conservative government in effect running a labour council. That’s how some people on the ground will look at it.


thers may breathe a sigh of relief and think the city council and the Mayoralty has been dysfunctional in recent years, one is the subject of a police investigation, even though the ex-mayor denies all wrongdoing and some people will be glad that the commissioners will be coming in and blowing away a few cobwebs and improve the administration of the city

so I think reaction will be mixed.” “But the optics don’t look good- A Conservative Government that has not had a Conservative councillor elected on the city council since 1994, coming in and taking control of a city that has overwhelmingly voted Labour in recent years.” In the face of the political fallout, Labour have not yet responded for comment. A spokesperson for Liverpool City Council said in a statement: “The government’s Best Value report is due to be published later this week, until that time, there is no comment from the council.” Opposition parties, on the other hand, have been outraged. Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool City Council and Mayoral candidate, Richard Kemp said: “Well we’ve known this is likely to happen for some time but certainly we’ve certainly known its more likely to happen since mid-December when the inspection team was appointed, and the first visit of the inspector took place. That always is followed by intervention because the assumption is there must be something to find out and deal with otherwise the inspector wouldn’t be put in, it’s a very rare event. “What we’re seeing is absolutely unprecedented. No one in living memory and probably beyond can ever remember a situation where there are six police investigations into the work of this council. In which there have been 16 arrests of 15 people, one of whom is the political

VERPOOL PURPLE undertaking that helps inform the vital services we all rely on every single day within our communities,” he said. “We wanted to shine a purple light on the buildings and landmarks that matter most to their local areas, highlighting the importance of the census in helping shape the communities we live in. “We’re thrilled with all the support we have received so far and would like to thank the many buildings and landmarks for their participation. “Now is the time for everyone to complete their census and be part of history.” With St. George’s Hall, the Cunard Building and the Chinese Arch all proud participants in the nationwide event, Liverpool City

Council emphasised the importance of Census 2021. A spokesman said: “The whole population has the chance to provide the information that ensures all communities are represented in decisions on funding and services. This could mean things like doctors’ surgeries, housing, or new bus routes. “Census 2021 will be crucial in giving a snapshot of life in 21st Century. “It will highlight areas of deprivation, it will show the ethnic make-up of the country, it will provide information on our living arrangements, health, education and the jobs we do and the data from it will help inform policy at a local and national level for years to come.”

head of the council and a government inspection team is put in which, in itself, are rare events. We are in the middle of the biggest political storm that Liverpool or any other council has seen in living memory.”


ndependent candidate for Mayor Steven Yip has written an open letter to Robert Jenrick opposing the appointment of commissioners, saying: “Sending in commissioners would inevitably be seen locally as a “takeover” by Whitehall and risk making matters worse. “Liverpool has been brought low by individual egos and the ruling party’s sense of entitlement. It would be unfair to ask Liverpudlians to pay a further price for the failings of a discredited Council. I urge you to allow the people of this great City to drive the necessary process of reform, beginning at the ballot box on May 6th.” Leader for the Green Party and Mayoral Candidate Tom Crone agrees with Yip in opposing bringing in commissioners. “At the end of the day I would not want a Conservative-appointed commissioner to be taking over

Liverpool. Essentially, I don’t think the Tories have got social justice, equality, climate change at the forefront of their thinking. Which is what I believe in, that’s what I’m standing on. “We need a fresh start, that could be with many different parties represented, it could involve a cross-party cabinet, could involve independents, could involve a lot of people. But I am absolutely opposed to the idea of the commissioner coming in.” Cllr. Crone feels that abolition of the position of the Mayor entirely would be the best way forward, long term in the city. “The Green Party has always been in favour of other models. We were the only party to vote against the Mayoral model. “We would like to revert to the committee system, where councillors would have a lot more of an active role in development and scrutiny.”

Tom Crone, Leader of Green Party Liverpool

Sending in commissioners would inevitably be seen locally as a ‘takeover’ by Whitehall and risk making matters worse

St George’s Hall



Ratatouille spotted in Liverpool ... despite Covid restrictions By CHARLIE LAU


hey say you are only ever 6ft away from a rat, and this story is likely no truer than in Liverpool. When sunset falls and streetlights illuminate, it is no secret that Liverpool’s alleyways become a breeding ground for rodents, with 251 callouts of infestations to Pest Control in October last year. From Kensington to Bootle, residents across Merseyside communities have complained of the problem worsening over lockdown and many have been left horrified by the growing size of rats. Yet it is in Chinatown where the fear has reached its peak. Rumors among restaurants and homes alike have circulated of a giant albino rat, with piercing red eyes, and a long snake-like tail dwelling underneath the pavement of a back alley in Chinatown.

Jack Vorwerg, 24, who lives on the basement floor of a Chinatown house, expressed: “I refuse to go out to the back garden for a cigarette after sundown. “I am genuinely scared of rats, and I live in fear of this one. You can literally see its red eyes from under the gate sometimes. Not only that, but it’s so big that it rattles the gate as it writhes through”. Many have blamed a year of lockdown as to why rat problems have increased, including Jenny Rathbone, of Pest.co.uk, who said: “Rats are loving life at the moment, they are being left to breed in vacant shops with abandoned bins.” A build-up of waste at homes across the city is also contributing to the problem. Pete Thompson, a representative of Pest Control Liverpool, agreed: “People can’t get to the tips anymore. If you go to people’s back gardens, it’s just full of waste now, so rats

Liverpool Opinion

have more to feed on”. He offered another reason as to why rat problems have increased. “A lot of the time people didn’t see rats because they were at work. But now obviously people are stuck inside all day, so they’re spotting them more often and reporting them”. However, rumours of the king-sized rodent to rule them all continue to percolate through Chinatown.


ophie Evans, 26, had an encounter with what she and her boyfriend like to call the “white orc” only last week. “I was walking through Chinatown on my way home and I saw what I thought was a cat out the corner of my eye. I looked into the alley where it had ran off, and all I saw was a long thin tail scampering round the corner. “It was definitely a rat. Its tail could have been as long as the rope I use to sail with.” Whether a gargantuan creature is

really stalking the streets of Chinatown, or whether it’s a figment of a lockdown-induced imagination, it can’t be denied that Liverpool’s rat problem is troubling. Council documents point to poor conditions of paving alleys as a reason for rat infestation, as the rodents are able to burrow their way under paving slabs and nest. Despite plans in 2018 of a £6 million pound scheme to rejuvenate Liverpool’s alleyways, it is clear many streets in Liverpool are still highly affected by rat problems. There are ways to combat this for those owning properties. Pest Control’s Jenny Rathbone concluded in an analysis last year: “It’s really important not to leave food scraps around, as even compost bins have been known to attract rats in large numbers. “A tidy and clean environment helps reduce these problems massively.”

By Heidi Hewlings

Let’s all play by the rules


fter almost a year of harsh Covid-19 restrictions, the final stretch of lockdown is in sight. For most of us, optimistic visions of experiencing the summer we missed out on last year is now the only thing getting us through the tedious days and restrictive routines. During the pandemic, we’ve seen the ways in which people have come together to support one another and follow government guidance to ensure restrictions can


be eased as soon as possible. Unfortunately, however, the same can’t be said for everyone, as there are still self-centred people breaking lockdown rules and jeopardising any chance of early freedom. Last Wednesday, Merseyside Police were called to reports of large groups gathering at Sefton Park in Liverpool to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. The selfish and careless breach of lockdown restrictions received a rightly-deserved backlash on social media, with one Twitter user summing the event up as: “Just

disgusting,” Police forces have reported an increase in large illegal lockdown parties since the third national lockdown was announced. It’s the sad reality that ‘lockdown rule breakers’ are the ones ruining it for everyone else and are prolonging the end of lockdown for the ones who deserve it the most. Lockdown rules and restrictions have been mentally draining and I understand that most of us just want to see our friends and have some fun. But waiting only a few extra

weeks until certain restrictions are set to be lifted is not hard and it will be even more worth it if people can just hold on. With Easter weekend fast approaching, the worry that lockdown rules will be ignored for parties and gathering to go ahead is a troubling concern. I’m almost begging people to be sensible over Easter and follow the rules for what is only a few more months - for all our sakes.


And the winner is... KIVA DONALD reports on an unusual way to distribute spare Covid -19 vaccines


erseyside Police made sure no vaccines went to waste by hosting a random email draw to pass down spare jabs to control room members. Vaccines are brought in on a dayto-day basis for officers, so when there are less police on site, spares are handed to other staff. Now, 60% of Merseyside’s police control room has been vaccinated. Matthew Phillipson, a Contact Resolution Officer from Liverpool, was one of the people who won a vaccine from the 8 that were drawn. “Everyone thought it was fair, there was only 10 of us in anyway as it was early Saturday morning. It was the best way for it to be done, we all thought.” Though the raffle was a fun way to lighten a dark situation, Phillipson explained, “the majority of people (staff in the control rooms) have had covid, and we had a few outbreaks in December during the new strain.” But emergencies calls don’t stop, so the staff wear masks to try their best to keep everyone protected. In normal times, the police control

room would be packed with almost 200 people on site, including 150 call handlers taking thousands of calls each day. But due to frequent outbursts of the virus, the team has split up into different sites and the maximum capacity for each room has fallen to just 25. Although there has been a sharp drop in staff per room, the Merseyside Contact Resolution Officer said, “we love it here, we’ve developed a really good relationship in our control room. Were in the smaller building so we see each other more, we work together, help each other and we’ve all asked to stay. We don’t want to go back to the bigger building, even after the pandemic.” Phillipson has been working nonstop and dealing with emergency calls all throughout the pandemic. “At the start, calls dropped massively. Everyone was sticking to the rules and everywhere was closed. Night shifts were difficult as in an 8-hour shift, I would only take about 10 calls, rather than 30. No one was drinking out, no fights.” The 24-year-old also offers support to people in crisis. He explained he had experienced an increase in do-

mestic calls, coinciding with ONS data, due to couples being couped up together during lockdown, both female and male. However, others have had different reasons for calling. “People would call last March to grass on their neighbour for going out for “the second time today” or “walking too close to me.” Calling because their ‘sister who is not in my mums support bubble has gone to see her today.’”


e are now over one year into the pandemic and the world is ready to get back to normal. For many, getting the vaccine is one step closer to normality and for Matthew, it’s one step closer to hugging his nan who he hasn’t been able to see. “To get out of this we all need to step forward and do our bit. We’ve done so much already and lost too many people since the start of this, and if this is how we can get back to normal, see friends, family, go out and go on holiday, get vaccinated.”

Matthew Phillipson with his fiancée



What women want: Men to be educated Men need to be better educated on the issues women face every day, according to a new Liverpool Life survey. By EMILY ASH


ollowing the death of Sarah Everard and the outcry over violence against women we asked women to discuss their concerns. Our first question was: “What is the biggest problem you face that men don’t have to think about in your opinion?” We learned that roughly 70% of responses included mentioning not feeling safe on their own in some form or another. Answers such as, “Walking anywhere alone, night or day” and “Feeling safe when alone in bars/evening venues” were common amongst respondents. One woman said: “Walking alone and worrying about being attacked, particularly at night, or worrying that if you get too drunk, you’ll be assaulted/taken advantage of.” “Fear of sexual harassment” and “Being safe on a night out” was another big issue women have to think about. They were also asked for their solutions to the problems they mentioned. Some of the answers we received included: “Telling people my location, using safety apps, trying to avoid walking alone especially at night” and “More active police on the streets”. One woman said that she avoids places: “Not going to places unfamiliar or alone” There was also an idea of safety in numbers shown through some of the women surveyed, as 40% of them answered in relation to this. Some of the answers included: “Making sure I have my phone with me and staying with people I know” and “Staying with a group of friends at all times.” Other women thought about what should already be in place for safety. One answered: “Paths being lit up at night”. So, what is the fix? Overwhelmingly the answer women gave was education for men into the issues. In fact, it was the answer every woman gave in response to the question, What do you think needs to be done to prevent these issues? It seems that women are in agree-

ment that men have a certain amount of ignorance into the issues raised. 100% of respondents mentioned that some form of education, mostly from an early age, for men and boys is needed as a permanent fix. A common, and at times frustrating, argument that is seen online is that “not all men” are responsible for the high percentage of women who have faced a form of sexual assault. While it is a valid point and for the most part true, ignorance seems to be the main point of being made by women. The use of a hashtag is also currently being used to explain why the argument is invalid. @TyeTrotman on Twitter posted: “Twitter is a hard place to be on as the truth does shine through. Black Lives Matter countered by... all lives matter? “Women being sexually assaulted countered by... #NotAllMen? It seems we live in a world in which people can only comprehend what affects them and it’s shameful.” Boris Johnson recently announced he was doubling the Safer Streets fund to £45 million which will include funding for more CCTV and

PROTEST: A sign criticising the “not all men” argument Pictures by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona street lighting which will target routes to and from bar and clubs as well as parks and alleyways. The Government has announced they would be taking steps to reassure girls and women following the events of the past few weeks.

There is also a proposal for undercover police officers to be introduced to nightclubs when they reopen. This has been met with mixed reactions, as some people have suggested that the police have exacerbated recent issues.

MESSAGE: Protestors with a sign inspired by the police response to the Sarah Everard vigil


CCTV footage of James’s abduction

Crime that shocked the world The abduction and murder of two-year-old James Bulger is one of Merseyside’s most shocking crimes. Twenty-eight years on, Inspector Ray Simpson reveals what it was like to deal with the demand from the press in such a tragic case



ames Patrick Bulger was shopping with his mother in Bootle Strand Shopping Centre in February 1993 when he was lured away by 10-year-old boys Robert Thompson and Jon Venables. His body was later found on a nearby railway line and nine months later, Thompson and Venables were charged with murder and sentenced to a minimum of eight years in a juvenile detention centre, making them the youngest convicted murderers of the 20th century. In a recent talk to students at Liverpool John Moores University, Inspector Ray Simpson, in charge of the Merseyside police press office at the time of the Bulger case, spoke about how he dealt with the ever-growing interest from the press about the story that still makes headlines almost three decades later. Insp. Simpson spoke about how he used to listen to the radio on his way into work, so he would know what to expect for the day ahead. When the Bulger case was first reported, he described how it felt when he walked into the press office on the day the body was found. He said: “I remember hearing Pete Price, a local presenter, quite famous, and he was just crying, sobbing into the mic and he was saying ‘That poor baby, that poor baby’, and I had no idea what he was talking about. “When I went into the press office it was absolutely bedlam. Phones

were ringing off the hook. Everybody was there, and all everybody was doing was answering phones, non-stop.” Despite only having time to learn the basics of the case, Insp. Simpson spoke about how he was asked to go to the railway line, which by this point was the murder scene. He said numerous journalists were already there and he broke one of his own rules - “Don’t give an interview if you don’t have the full facts” - by doing TV and radio interviews and speaking to reporters.


e added: “It’s a case of really the pressure that the press put on you to talk to them. And once you start talking, then they start asking other questions, and before you know where you are, you’re doing an interview.” A phrase that was often used by those in the police press office, including Insp. Simpson, was “the animal must be fed”. This phrase describes how if they didn’t give any information to the media then they often made things up or they would contact potential witnesses for information regarding the case. Insp. Simpson said this became a problem during the investigation, saying that “a lot of people in Liverpool will tell the press but they won’t tell the police”, and how some of the press managed to get hold of contact details for these witnesses and rang them directly.

These people often became distraught. “They’d seen James on the route and didn’t do anything about it or were unable to do anything about it. “We then had to write to every witness to say to them ‘Look, if the press contact you, can you please let us know?’ “Because once they start talking outside of the statement that they’ve made, that could impact at a later date. If it ends up in the press and it’s not in the statement, that’s when you can get major problems.” Insp. Simpson explained how the international media were just as interested in the Bulger case as national

Ray Simpson in his office

and local media. When asked if he would do anything differently if given the opportunity, he said quite simply that he would. “I would’ve suspended the right of anybody else other than the press office to speak in relation to the case. I wouldn’t have bothered as much with the foreign journalists that we did because we really didn’t need to.” Saying that press queries came from all over the world, Insp. Simpson mentioned that he knew the story had reached as far as Australia because “My mother’s brother rang and said I’d been on the telly! It really did make all over the world.”

© Ray Simpson 11


Ryan Owen pi

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Living with Crohn’s in a pandemic: “It felt quite lonely at times” By AIDAN CRISP


iving with Crohn’s disease is difficult at the most normal of times. However, living with the incurable disease in a pandemic has proved to be extremely hard. Crohn’s disease is a lifelong condition where part of the digestive system becomes inflamed. In some severe cases, sufferers will end up with a stoma bag on the wall of the abdomen that diverts the contents of the bowel out the body. People who have Crohn’s are more at risk of being seriously unwell if they catch the coronavirus, and many of their lives have been negatively impacted by the extra stresses of the pandemic. Crohn’s affects about one in every 650 people in the UK, and many people in Liverpool struggle with it. One of these people is Abigail Walker, who has been diagnosed since 2017. She said: “Living with it in the pandemic has been hard, because all your appointments get pushed back and you’re constantly worrying about going to appointments, because you hear so many stories about people catching COVID in hospitals. “It worries me going into a social situation, because I’m more at risk of being ill. Lots of people haven’t been following social distancing rules, so I’m nervous to be around people in case I catch it.”


Miss Walker also had to isolate for three months because of medication she was taking, which resulted in her being furloughed from her supermarket job. She said: “It was really hard, because I saw friends going for walks and most people going to work and living normally, but I couldn’t do that. “It felt quite lonely at times and my anxiety was really bad when I did eventually return back to normal life, as I hadn’t been around anyone for ages.” Another sufferer of Crohn’s disease whose found living with it in the pandemic hard is Ryan Owen. The 25-year-old bank assistant from Liverpool suffers from quite severe Crohn’s, that has seen him hospitalised in the past. He said: “I’ve been in and out of hospital a few times now, so I’m not scared of them, but I’ve been worried about catching coronavirus in hospital, because that’s how one of my friends got it. “I don’t think there is enough support out there for people with Crohn’s, especially not at the moment when a lot of us are worried.” If anyone suffering with Crohn’s disease feels alone in the pandemic, ‘CROHN’S & COLITIS UK’ are running a virtual social event for people from Merseyside. The event will take place on April 20 and will run for 90 minutes. More information can be found at crohnsandcolitis.org.uk.

Crohn’s patient Abigail Walker takes a selfie while waiting for treatment in hospital



or many students in the city, balancing studies, a social life, part-time employment and other responsibilities can be a challenging and strenuous task. Yet for 18-year-old Rebecca Turner, free time has become even more scarce, as she has to run a political campaign on the side – one which she hopes will see her into office as a Liverpool City Councillor. The first-year physics student, who studies at the University of Liverpool, entered the world of politics as a Liberal Democrats Youth Officer in the wake of the 2016 Brexit referendum. “I was never really into politics per se, I was more just about helping out the community,” she said. “But after the vote happened, and we decided to leave the EU, that’s when I wanted to learn much more about it and get involved.” Rebecca, who lives in Gateacre, has now officially been selected as the Lib Dem city council candidate for Wavertree, although her chances of success seem historically stacked against her. In the previous local elections in 2019, the ward saw Labour take 52% of the vote, compared to the Liberal Democrats’ 20%. However, a change in campaign strategy; and a real desire for success; makes Rebecca confident that she’ll be elected. “This time around is different, because the candidate that stood before me was more of a ‘paper’ candidate,” she said. “While he wanted to win, there just weren’t

many resources being put into Wavertree, whereas I’m really trying to do everything I possibly can. “I’m trying to be much more visible in the ward, going out and making connections with the people and getting to know the area. I’m putting time towards solving the issues, I’ve been campaigning every day, and feel like I haven’t had five minutes to myself. Because of this, I hope people will know that I’m standing, instead of just being someone on the ballot.” Being such a young age compared to most council candidates, Rebecca is pleased to say she doesn’t feel that she’s ever treated differently, although people are often taken aback by her youthful appearance. “A couple of people have said ‘Oh, are you the candidate? You look quite young!’, but I’ve always been very open and accepting about it. I’ve got a good team, and I’m doing all I can.”

Above and below right, Rebecca out on the campaign trail

Rebecca takes on the world


I was never really into politics per se, I was more just about helping out the community


n this regard, Rebecca is very keen to encourage the younger generations to involve themselves with politics, just as she did over her teenage years. “I would tell young people to 100% go for it. I think you should throw yourself into it if it’s what you’re passionate about. There’s nothing to lose.” If her campaign is successful, and sees her elected come May, the daunting prospect of having to balance a full-time degree with important council responsibilities

has already been well thought over. “When I go back to university after summer, I know it could be really hard,” she said. “I will have to make a lot more time for council duties, whether that’s in the evenings and weekends, and I

know I’ll be much busier. But it’s something I’ve put myself forward for, so I want to carry it through and give as much as possible.” Other candidates that Rebecca will face in May include Clare McIntyre from the Labour Party and the Greens’ David Morgan.


HOW TO HAVE AN As the Easter Bank Holiday weekend 2021 rolls around, it seems that we might be celebrating the spring festival in lockdown once again.

©IsiCairns LiverpoolLife

But with the spring weather warming up and restrictions loosening in time for the bank holiday, there are still plenty of ways to have fun, whether you’re in Liverpool or beyond! Here are Liverpool Life’s five recommendations to have a fun and safe Easter weekend.

©IsiCairns LiverpoolLife

Make an Easter egg hunt for your bubble

Nothing says “Easter” like a chocolate egg hunt! Fun for all ages, hide eggs around your garden or nearest park. Make a chocolate egg trail for little ones to find or hide small gifts inside plastic eggs if you’re looking to treat an older crowd. If you’re looking for ways to enjoy your local green spaces, Sefton Park are currently offering crème egg hot chocolates - we know we’ll be trying one!

Egg-tastic ELEANOR DOWD brings us some interesting facts about everyone’s favourite part of Easter chocolate eggs


or many people, Easter is all about chocolate and with the holiday soon approaching now is the perfect time to explore the EGGS-traordinary world of Easter eggs. Easter is a time for indulging, with around 80 million Easter eggs being sold every year and around £380 million being spent on the easter treats. As a religious holiday, Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Eggs are a symbol of new life and fertility, so Easter eggs are a symbol of Jesus’ resurrection. The tradition of eating eggs at Easter comes from the fasting during Lent where eggs were traditionally avoided.


Socially Distanced Easter Picnic

From March 29, gatherings in groups of no more than six in private gardens and outdoor spaces will be allowed, giving us a much-needed chance to spend some time over the bank holiday with loved ones. Celebrate the Easter weekend (and restrictions being lifted!) by putting together an Easter picnic. Everyone can bring their favourite festive treat and enjoy the spring sunshine while spending quality time that we have all missed out on.




The first chocolate Easter eggs were made in France and Germany in the 19th Century, they had been attempted previously but were unsuccessful. The first Cadbury Easter Eggs were made in 1875 and have been a massive hit ever since! The modern tradition of eating chocolate eggs is a twist on the religious ritual of eating eggs during the holiday. The now-traditional hollow chocolate egg, has evolved into a myriad of different Easter treats. Ranging from Mini Eggs to Crème Eggs, almost every chocolate brand has created its own version of Easter in chocolate form.

DID YOU KNOW ... • The largest chocolate Easter egg was created in Italy, weighing 15,873 pounds with a circumference of 64 feet at its widest point • The world’s most expensive Easter egg costs £25,000 from Choccywoccydoodah, made from luxury Belgian chocolate • Over 500 million crème eggs are made every year

AN ACTIVE EASTER Join an Easter Service livestream from the Metropolitan Cathedral

3 Easter baking

From hot cross buns to a traditional Simnel cake, there is something for everyone when it comes to Easter baking. Whip up some egg-shaped easter biscuits and have fun decorating them to take on your socially-distanced Easter picnic or even use any left-over Easter eggs for some chocolate nests. But if you’re not too confident in the kitchen, support local businesses and enjoy some sweet treats at the same time with Cakes By Andrew’s freshly made crème egg cake, Easter cupcake box, and Easter cupcake kits. There is also a colouring competition! Available from cakesbyandrew.co.uk for delivery in time for Easter Sunday.


Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral will be livestreaming their services through their Facebook and YouTube channels. The services will be running through the week leading up to Easter Sunday and are free for all to access, join in and celebrate the original meaning of Easter. Why not take part in a hymn or two?

© Manny NB Unslpash ©JenniferBurk Unsplash

© Gabe Pierce Unsplash


Go on an Easter morning walk with FACT Liverpool

A walk in the spring air can be a great way to get the day started, and springtime is the best way to be in the company of wildlife and experience all the sights and sounds of the beginning of the season. FACT Liverpool have put together a week of musical performances by acclaimed composers and musicians, as well as talks and activities to prepare for 2021’s International Dawn Chorus Day, accessible from FACT Liverpool’s new online programme – The Living Planet. The day celebrates the natural phenomenon of the dawn chorus, most noticeably heard at the beginning of spring. It has been running since 1987 and encourages people from all over the world to rise early and embrace the wonderful sounds of their native feathered friends. Molly Toal, from the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside explained how IDCD can still be enjoyed even amongst coronavirus restrictions: “More people are discovering that spending time in the natural world can help improve their wellbeing and they are embracing the fun of learning about and observing the wildlife that lives alongside us. “You can visit your local park or wild spot for a very early morning walk, sit in your garden if you have one, or simply open a window and let the chorus come to you.” There are free resources on the Wildlife Trust website to help identify different types of birdsong.

© Isi Cairns, Liverpool Life



City’s booze NEVE WILKINSON takes you through ten of the best and brightest rooftop bars in Liverpool, ready for life, and drinks, after the lockdown is finally lifted.



njoying a drink on a rooftop bar is one of the little pleasures in life, especially when there is the bonus of beautiful city views and Liverpool has plenty of those. When April 12 rolls around there will finally be nothing to stop us enjoying a cocktail, or three, if we remain outdoors in the British sun. Here are some of the best rooftop bars you need to visit with your friends and family. 1. Garden of Eden The top floor of the Shankly Hotel is branded as ‘Liverpool’s premier rooftop wedding and events venue’. The spacious rooftop beer garden is said to ‘make dreams come true’ on a sunny day. When the terrace is not reserved, it is open to allow customers to get a 360 view of the city’s skyline. They often host live gigs and rooftop cinema nights as well as offering a daily cocktail menu. Address: Millennium House, 60 Victoria St, L1 6JD Phone: 0151 459 3383 Email: reservations@shanklyhotel. com

Eden at Red Doors, © photo: designmynight.com 2. Crazy Pedro’s Booking is now open for this student favourite. This pizza and cocktail bar boasts a lively vibe in a very laid back and casual open-air spot. They offer a range of frozen cocktails as well as ciders, hooch, beers, and other favourite drinks. Address: 25 Parr St, L1 4JN Phone: 0151 559 2599 3. Liberte Liberte was voted number one rooftop bar in the UK. This 2,000 square foot cocktail bar is now taking bookings for April 12 and onwards, for you to enjoy panoramic views across the waterfront and the city. They also host tonnes of events, with weekly live DJs. Address: The Bentley, 50 Brunswick St, L2 0PL Phone: 0151 317 6836 4. Masons Usually only open Thursday to Sunday, Masons is taking bookings for




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Monday April 12 – knowing how excited everyone will be to experience their new picturesque and exclusive rooftop bar, called ‘FIVE’. This skyhigh space is promising Ibiza vibes with its grey wicker furniture, glass panelling and plant features. They are currently only catering for groups up to 4 people, to offer the best service possible.

to Shooters, Around the World and a sun-trapped outdoor ‘bier garden’, looking out on to Liverpool One and the gorgeous waterfront. The small outdoor area is expected to be in high demand so make your booking now, to avoid disappointment. Bookings available from 4pm each day with a £10 deposit per person, which gets taken off your bill.

Address: 42 Seel St, L1 4AU Phone: 07407 812063

Address: 6 Thomas Steers Way, L1 8LW Phone: 08455 333 000 Email: liverpoolbookings@thebierkeller.com

5. Modo The rooftop space looks out on to the lively Concert Square and hosts a number of large screens, for all the best sporting action. Modo is open for walk ins from April 12, but you must make a booking to enjoy the space at the weekends. Address: 2 Concert Square, L1 4AR Phone: 0151 709 8832 6. Bierkeller Entertainment Complex The German-themed bar is also home

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7. Einstein’s Another rooftop bar based right in the heart of Concert Square. This large outdoor area is expected to be busy but invites walk-ins to come enjoy the choice of 18 beers and everything else they have to offer, from 12pm till late. Address: Concert Square, 26 Fleet St, Liverpool L1 4AN Phone: 0151 305 2441

hoto: live

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with a view Bierkeller, © photo: tagvenue.com 8. Red Door Only open Thursday to Sunday, so get thinking about your big weekend at Eden – the summer hideaway bar on the roof of Red Door. The theme is completely tropical so it might make up for all the travel you’ve missed out on? They do have shelter, so you’re not caught out by any unexpected rain. Contact them for a booking. Address: 21-23 Berry St, L1 9DF Phone: 0151 709 7040 9. The Merchant Situated on the corner of Slater Street, offering speciality gin, craft beer on tap, freshly made pizzas, great music and a spacious beer garden. Walk ins only except on Saturdays and Sun-

days, when they offer a bottomless brunch with pizza, gin and prosecco for 90 minutes at £25pp.

Matou, © photo: www.matou.co.uk

Address: 40 Slater St, L1 4BX Phone: 0151 538 7965 10. Matou This Pan Asian restaurant and bar has an impressive outdoor terrace which seats up to 300 people. Be ready for an exotic adventure with the best view of the waterfront, al-fresco dining and delicately picked music. Opening on a first come first served basis. Address: 2nd Floor Mersey Ferry Terminal, Georges Parade, Pier Head, L3 1DP Phone: 01512362928

Modo, © photo: modoliverpool.co.uk



iverpool’s outdoor cafés, restaurants, pubs and bars will have to make sure they have a pavement licence if they are planning to reopen next month. Government guidelines will be relaxed in the coming weeks, enabling hospitality venues to serve food and drink to customers who are sitting outside from April 12. Liverpool City Council is encouraging those businesses looking to welcome back customers by bringing tables and chairs on to the pavement outside their premises to apply as soon as possible for a pavement licence which will allow them to operate in this way. Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, Councillor Sharon Connor said: “Quite simply, pavement licences are essential. Any business that does not currently have one but wants to

offer that outdoor experience to their customers, must have one in place. Should there be enough outdoor space on the pavement outside the premises and the business can meet several conditions, including ensuring Covid-safe measures are in place, permission is likely be given to place tables and chairs outside. Following the first lockdown last year, the city council issued more than 160 licences to venues across the city, allowing them to reopen their doors to customers once again. Many businesses on Bold Street, a popular hot spot for many independent businesses will already have a licence in place for guests to enjoy a taste of normality outdoors as the current pavement licence is valid until September this year. Due to the time taken to process the licences, any business looking to trade from

the 12 April must apply as soon as possible. Enforcement action could be taken against any business that places furniture on the pavement without having been issued a pavement licence. Councillor added: “We know the hospitality sector is eager to welcome back customers and it was a relief for many that the 12 April is a date they can aim for to get their businesses up and running again. “This sector plays a hugely important role in our economy and we want to do everything we can to help businesses reopen their doors. “It takes time for our team to process theapplications which is why we are asking businesses to apply now and don’t miss the deadline – we want to see as many of our amazing bars, restaurants cafes and pubs back in business from the 12 April.”



Lunya Liverpool is looking forward to welcoming back its loyal customers. Below: some of the tempting treats on offer

Fighting through the tears By TONI BROWN


“ 18

he restaurant that started last March by celebrating its 10th birthday closed its doors less than a week later as Covid-19 hit the hospitality industry. One year ago today, Lunya Liverpool sent a tweet to the Prime Minister, to show Boris Johnson what it was like to be a small business owner facing the reality of the immediate loss of business. The tweet went viral and Alison McGovern, Labour MP for Wirral South, read the letter to Rishi Sunak at the Treasury Select Committee – asking him what he was going to do for small businesses, especially those that could not afford the personal security. Lunya is now taking a look back at the past year with a message to its loyal customers talking of the struggles and the high points of the last 12 months At the time, as well as having to close their business, Peter and Elaine Kinsella, co-owners and founders of Lunya, had a large mortgage on their house to fund the business, Elaine was having final cancer investigations and Peter’s elderly parents were extremely vulnerable. Writing in the La Lunya newsletter, Peter said: “That first week, I couldn’t stop crying, I was so profoundly worried about the business and Elaine. With every test, they kept

ruling thyroid cancer in and it was confirmed at the beginning of April. I’d compose myself for the cameras, but as soon as the question was asked - and everyone did ask it - ‘How are you feeling?’, the tears flowed. “Our kids had a running joke – how do you make dad cry? Put a camera in front of him! If we had been paid for every one, we could have halved our debt!” A year on since restaurants were forced to close, and Lunya thought they may never re-open, they have survived. They are now over £1m in debt, but their Liverpool and Manchester venues are still standing. Also, Elaine “is a fighter and is progressing well through chemo” and they have both been vaccinated. Despite the hardships of the last year, Lunya is here to stay and is now much more than just a deli, restaurants and bar. They offer Zoom-based tasting events, video cook-along classes, cook-at-home meals, deli tray packs and online quizzes. They have also provided more than 6,000 free meals for carers and NHS staff. Peter said: “We have all been through something very similar and all want to be here, on your high streets to provide the great opportunities for fun and enjoyment that good restaurants are known for. “As soon as lockdown is over and shielding finishes for us, we’ll be in the restaurants to welcome you with (sanitised) open arms.”

That first week, I couldn’t stop crying, I was so profoundly worried about the business and Elaine

The original tweet from last year aimed at Boris Johnson


Zooming to Love


By AIDAN CRISP irtual speed dating is coming to Liverpool. So for any single Liverpudlians, keep your eyes peeled over the

next month. Fastlove is one of the North of England’s top speed dating events for singles. The company runs events in Merseyside, Cheshire, Leeds and Manchester, and this month it’s time for the people of Liverpool to put their dating heads on. The company usually runs face-toface events but the global pandemic has put a stop to this. The virtual event happens over Zoom, and participants will speak to up to 15 other singles, with each date lasting a total of three minutes. A spokesperson from Fastlove said: “Three minutes might not seem like much, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to see if there’s any chemistry with each of the people you meet.” Each session will be specific to a different age group of residents. Last night was the opportunity for single 30-45-year-olds to mingle, followed by 21-35-year-olds tonight, March 24, and then, finally, 40-55-year-olds on March 31. The virtual dating sessions will carry on in Liverpool until April 15. One Liverpool resident who’s keen to try it out is Sharon Walton, 45, who said: “I’m recently single and it’s been hard to start seeing someone new, be-

cause of lockdown. “I’m looking forward to the virtual dates. Hopefully I meet someone who’s up for a laugh and we can grab a drink when we’re out of lockdown.” Sharon is eligible for two of the sessions due to her age. However, she said: “I’m buying tickets for the older group as I’m looking for an older man.” Interested in buying tickets for the younger group is student Caitlin Shaw, 21. She said “Me and my friends have bought tickets to it. We’re going on mostly for a bit of fun, but it would be nice if something could potentially blossom from it. “I think it’s going to be weird having a date over Zoom, but I’m really excited to see how it is.” Good luck to all daters out there. If you’re interested in taking part in virtual dating, you can buy your tickets from ‘skiddle.com’, and they will cost you £10 each.

“Three minutes might not seem like much, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to see if there’s any chemistry”

Caitlin, 21, has bought tickets with her friends

Sharon, 45, is recently single and looking for love



Song and Dance is

TALLULAH SULEMAN looks at how music workshops can help people with dementia


Liverpool health charity has launched a new musical initiative to help people with dementia. The Brain Charity has created Music Makes Us! - a free 12week online video programme made up of five dance workshops focusing on physiotherapy, and seven singing classes with a focus on speech and language therapy. The workshops provide useful exercises, practical tips and lively songs to keep people engaged. Kym Ward, Dementia Project Coordinator at The Brain Charity, said: “The past year has been especially tough for people living with dementia, so that’s why we are delighted to be releasing this series.” With Covid-19 news dominating the mainstream media, it can be easy for people to become anxious, especially those with an illness.

Pictures © The Brain Charity


When a person has dementia, it can be difficult for them to express verbally their discomfort or even to distinguish a change between feeling well and unwell. Recent research has shown that music is able to stimulate different areas of the brain, not only by producing endorphins, but allowing people to relive happy memories from the past. A Spokesperson for The Brain Charity said: “In our music-based dementia therapy workshops in Liverpool, we have seen that people can recall lyrics to songs even when they have lost the capacity to speak in full sentences. “People with no verbal communication at all start to engage in these therapy sessions by responding to the music by nodding along and tapping their feet.” Combining dance and physiotherapy is suggested to minimise the risk

of trips and falls and help people living with dementia retain independence by increasing their mobility and maintaining balance and flexibility. Likewise, blending singing, speech and language therapy strengthens mouth muscles, which ultimately improves communication as it helps to reduce swallowing and breathing difficulties.  Before the pandemic, workshops were running in care homes and community settings across Merseyside and had already helped nearly 250 people. It is hoped that with these workshops being online, the number of participants will be able to take part will double as it is available to everyone from around the UK. Ms Ward said: “We hope these videos will give easy access to this fantastic resource for households, care homes and people living with dementia across the UK and beyond.”

Top and above, musical therapy in action


s the best medicine BRENDAN THOMAS finds out about the mental health benefits of dancing


ancing is the best way forward if you want to boost your physical and mental wellbeing, new research has

found. According to the American Dance Therapy Association, dancing supports the intellectual, emotional, and motor functions of the body. Liverpudlian dance choreographer Shaquita Corry explains how dancing “releases positive endorphins in the brain” which improves a person’s confidences and creates a positive mood.” Miss Corry told Liverpool Life: “Dance makes you feel so good, so positive and confident, which really benefits your mental health. And alongside that you’ve got your physical health. “It not only keeps you fit and well, it also improves your stamina, your balance, your flexibility. It just helps you in all aspects of life.” Although there are many positive aspects to dancing, the industry has had to change massively as the UK still remains in its third national lockdown. Shaquita explained how it has been “difficult” adjusting to per-

forming and teaching in lockdown. She said: “In the studio you’ve got all the space, you’ve got your mirrors, you’ve got access to all different equipment. “But dancing at home, it’s just very restricted so you can’t get the same range of movement and obviously when teaching through zoom as well, it’s challenging because of many different things such as Wi-Fi. “When Wi-Fi cuts out when you’re in the middle of teach a lesson, that’s a whole bad scenario really!” However, the Liverpool choreographer doesn’t want the lockdown to prevent people from dancing at home. She wants people to have “confidence” and “fun”. Shaquita said: “There are many different ways to get involved in dance for people who are interested. At the moment with lockdown it’s obviously a little bit different but there’s so many different live sessions. “I know the Strictly Come Dancing professionals do live sessions through their Instagram’s which is a really good way to get involved. “Just have fun. The main advice is to have fun because that is what dance is all about.”

Shaquita (above, right) says dance and ‘just have fun!’ Photo © Shaquita Corry

Strictly Come Dancing professionals have taught live dance sessions on Instagram encouraging people to dance (Photo © Keith Laverack)

Dance makes you feel so good, so positive and confident, which really benefits your mental health

Shaquita admitted it’s been difficult not being able to teach in the studio (Photo Credit Shaquita Corry)



© Gareth Jones Installation view of Aliza Nisenbaum at Tate Liverpool December 2020

Team Time Storytelling, Steven Gerrard Garden, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital Emergency Department, Covid Pandemic 2020 © Aliza Nisenbaum.


Team Time Storytelling, Stev en Gerrard Garden, Alder Hey

Children’s Hospital Emergency

Department, Covid Pandemic

2020 © Aliza Nisenbaum.


Moving exhibition pays tribute to key workers


By ANNA MICHAELIDES merican artist Aliza Nisenbaum has created a collection of paintings showcasing key workers from

Liverpool. The exhibition consists of two large-scale watercolour paintings of a team from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and 17 smaller portraits of people who work for other hospitals in Merseyside. The paintings are colourful and vibrant with the intention of telling the stories of NHS staff during the pandemic. The Tate invited Aliza to come to Liverpool for a residency to create the paintings in April 2020, but because of the pandemic she couldn’t travel from America. Instead, she worked remotely from her studio in LA. Curator of the collection, Tamar Hemmes, discussed why the new works are so special to the Tate

Liverpool. She said: “Aliza forms a really close connection with the people who become the subjects of her paintings,” “It was a really hands-on experience of creating these relationships between her and the people who work for the NHS, making sure that they were able to have dialogues and get to know each other so that she could paint their individuality. “To be able to pick out these individual people and show that they are doing it despite the impact on themselves, I think is really amazing.” The key workers played a part in what the work would look like by bringing objects that were important to them or suggesting what kind of pose they would like to sit in. The artist spoke to every single person via Zoom to get a sense of their personalities and experiences during

the coronavirus pandemic. Local photographer Dan Bently took portraits of all the people involved and photographed details of their NHS uniforms, which then became the paintings. Part of the selection process was putting out an open call, initially for any key workers, but the vast response came from the NHS and Aliza selected the people who had the most important stories to tell or she felt she had the most connection with. When looking at the collection, the Tamar sees ‘individual people and their experiences’ and explained that during this time it’s so easy to think of frontline workers as ‘just one big group’, easily forgetting that these are people with their own lives, fears, worries and concerns. The project shows people who work in different roles within hospitals. One image shows a hospital

chaplain who has spoken about how she has been supporting patients and their families during this time. Another shows a professor of outbreak medicine who is part of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) who has been working on the research for a vaccine and for treatment. He presented struggles with being vilified because some people see these researchers as the those who are stopping their lives from running as normal and who are affecting the economy. Other images include porters, housekeepers and other different roles that represent the vast group of people who work for the NHS. The collection can be seen at Tate Liverpool until September 2021 once the gallery reopens in April, in line with the roadmap for lifting lockdown restrictions.

ABOVE LEFT: Calum, Professor of Outbreak Medicine and member of SAGE 2020 © Aliza Nisenbaum. RIGHT: Naveena, Student Nurse 2020 © Aliza Nisenbaum. All photography by Jeff McLane, courtesy the artists and Anton Kern Gallery, New York



The Biennial is back HARLEY RAPP on the return of the UK’s largest festival of contemporary visual art - and it’s bigger and better than ever


he Liverpool Biennial, which is in its 11th year, is returning following the cancellation of last year’s event because of Coronavirus. The festival has transformed the city for the last 20 years through contemporary visual art whether it be through sculptures, installations and digital commissions. The plans for last year’s festival will roll over to this year as the originally conceived idea will be delivered but responsive to the new context of society. The theme this year is ‘The Stomach and the Port’, curated by Manuela Moscoso, which explores the notions of the body and ways of connecting with the world. Fifty other artists and two collectives are joining this year, from 30 different countries. Manuela Moscoso said: “We are profoundly grateful to each of the 50 artists taking part in this year’s Biennial for their support in such uncertain and changing times. “Developed over several years, ‘The Stomach and the Port’ hinges on two key ideas of exchange and connection, set against the maritime history of Liverpool. “The first ‘outside’ chapter presents works that connect bodies and experiences to key places, past and present, speaking of the movement of humans

across the sea and proposing new understandings of the relationships between the body and nature. “With the opening of the second ‘inside’ chapter of exhibitions later in spring, the Biennial in all its entirety will present a re-calibration of the senses and a catalyst for change and healing, following the universal shifts we have all experienced in this past year.” At the online launch, Arts Council England chair Nicholas Serota said the Biennial will shine a lighta on Liverpool’s architecture and cultural history. “It’s been enormously strengthened in recent years by the creation of new organisations but also by

collaboration between large and small organisations,” he said. “This is the first large-scale festival event in the UK this spring. It is a harbinger of hope and a harbinger of better times to come.” Three exhibits have been unveiled already. Stacked heads by Rashid Johnson is a totem of two cast heads made from bronze and furnished with plants to evoke the feeling of collective anxiety. Incorporating organic elements in his work, the plants which grow from the sculpture are yucca and cacti. They, are selected based on the location being on the windy Canning Dock as they can endure harsh winds

and saline waters of the Mersey. Osteoclast by Theresa Solar is made up of five kayaks. Each sculpture reflects on the shape of a human bone. The sculptures are anchored on the rich maritime history of Liverpool and also celebrate our capacity for transition and transformation. The work contrasts the enormous ships that were, and still are docked in Liverpool, and is located at Exchange Flags Pan African flags for the Relic Travellers alliance by Larry Achiampong features flags on buildings and streets across Liverpool city centre. Featuring 54 stars that represent all the countries of Africa, the flags evoke solidarity and collective empathy while some of their locations speak to Liverpool’s connection with the enslavement of West Africans as part of the transatlantic slave trade. Four of the artist’s flags will be shown: Ascension, Community, Motion and Squadron as well as four new designs, Dualities, Bringers of Life, Mothership and What I hear I Keep. The festival runs until June 27 and for more information on these sculptures and future work go to Liverpoolbiennial2021.com

Top, Stacked Heads in its new position at the Albert Dock and, left, Osteoclast at Liverpool’s Exchange Flags



A scene from Winter Memories, directed by Zahra Kababian and Amir Mahdi Safdari, Iran, 2020

Focus on film REECE PAPE reports on a new festival celebrating the best of short films around the world


inemas have been shut for a while now, and many are itching to see something other than the dregs of Netflix’s

catalogue. But fear not, film fans! For the first time, LJMU’s MA Film students have organised their own online film festival featuring short films from around the globe. The event was organised entirely by the students as a part of their module ‘Exploring Film Festivals, Distribution and Exhibition’, from selecting and programming the films, to contacting the filmmakers, preparing the texts for the website, designing the poster, coordinating the social media promotion and the publicity, editing the trailers and running the Q&As It seems like tiring work, but module leader Dr Lydia Papadimitriou believes it to be completely beneficial. She said: “Putting together this public-facing film festival was a unique opportunity for the MA Film students to have a hands-on experience of what it takes for such an event to materialise. Not only did they understand the complexity of film festival organisation, but they also acquired transferable skills highly valuable for almost any workplace.” Planning started way back in December, with the festival inviting filmmakers to submit their work

online. Receiving around 2962 films from all over the world, the students then had the difficult job of narrowing it down to a more manageable number. They sat down, popcorn presumably in hand, and digested all the films (hopefully the popcorn too), rated them, and then selected their top six-eight to discuss with the group. From this, a programme of 30 films emerged, as well as three festival “strands”: documentary, fiction and animation. Student Katherine Morrison said: “From a student’s perspective, the thought of organising the festival, selecting the films and running the event seemed a daunting task at first. This was a role of such enormity that none of us has taken before. Each and every student has embraced the role and thoroughly enjoyed the process of programming and organising our own film festival. “There were surprising elements and learning experiences along the way. We were very pleasantly surprised at how well-made and produced the films we watched and selected were; and we learned how many people and how much work is involved in making a film festival come to life!” The festival boasts a rather diverse selection, not just in regards to the films and filmmakers’ country of origin, but also in genre, style and

technique. Those in the Animation category range from stop-motion, hand-painted, and CGI. Documentaries featured vary from journalistic to experimental poetry, and fiction spans stylised pieces to the more realist pieces. This is a compelling and exciting collection of short films that will make the audience reconsider reductive perceptions about student-made films. Short films, particularly those made by students, arguably have a bit of a struggle capturing the attention of general audiences. Setting out to be a festival run by students for students, the organisers are attempting to combat this by shining a spotlight on student filmmakers and give them the ability to show off their work to a wider audience and give them that moment of glory that they deserve.


he idea is that the collection will make the audience reconsider “reductive perceptions” about student-made films. Connor McAllister, one of those involved in the selection process, said: “There is huge amount of effort evident here, resulting in distinctive and varied films ranging from experimental animations to others focusing on the emotions expressed by characters. Hopefully, these filmmakers will go on to be noticed more in the future until they are standing shoulder to shoulder with the greats”

Dr Papadimitriou added: “It was amazing to see how much talent there is out there and that clearly there is a need for festivals like ours. Student films deserve more of a platform!” Whilst many are probably sick to death of hearing the words “online-only”, the virtual aspects of the event has proved to be one of the most exciting prospects for the team. It has not only provided the opportunity for them to get in contact with students all over the world, but, with the filmmakers all invited to take part in Q&A sessions during the week, it also opens up the chance for connection to those attending. The best film in each strand will receive a ‘Paper Bird Award’, with the award itself designed by MA student Beth Moore. The competition will be decided by three independent juries, and the winners will be announced on April 21 in an online ceremony on the festival’s website. The festival will take place online from April 16-23 on the LJMU MA Short Film Festival’s website: https:// ljmumashortfilmfestival.org/, with the full programme of films being gradually announced in the run up to the event. It is free to access, and no registration required, so there’s no excuse to miss it! Facebook: @LJMUMAShortFilmFestival Twitter/Instagram: @ljmumasff


The Phil’s still alive, with the sound of music COMPILED BY REECE PAPE


fter months of Government-mandated radio-silence (or should that be ‘concert-hall-silence’?), the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic is getting ready for its comeback this summer.

Concerts will begin again virtually on Tuesday April 6, with audiences being welcomed back into Liverpool Philharmonic Hall for the first time on Thursday May 20 and Sunday May 23. The orchestra promises “music to lift the spirits” with evocations of the British countryside by Frederick Delius, Liverpool’s own Paul Lewis performing Beethoven’s first piano concerto and Vasily Petrenko conducting the music of his homeland with Prokofiev’s youthful Sinfonietta. The Hall will be enforcing regular COVID regulations, meaning that limited seats will be available for sale and, of course, social distancing will also be in place for both the audience and performers. Attendees will also be required to wear a face covering (unless exempt) for the entirety of the visit, but you can presumably slide them up for a cheeky sip, as you’ll be able to enjoy drinks at your seat in the auditorium pre-ordering them with the tickets. Additionally, the Grand Foyer Bar will be open 30 minutes prior to the concert, so you can grab some drinks and snacks from there. If you’re unable to physically join in with the events, you’ll also be able to watch some of the concerts online via ‘Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra on Demand’ from April 6. Six of these will available to watch exclusively online, including Vasily Petrenko conducting an all-Stravinsky programme, April 6, and Beethoven’s Symphony No 2, April 20. Tickets are available on Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Hall’s website www.liverpoolphil.com



LLpodcast is here!




Show-stopper as live theatre stages a return By HEIDI HEWLINGS


he stunning stage show ‘Judy and Liza’ is coming to New Brighton and will be one of the first UK tours to be staged out of lockdown. After almost a year of theatres being closed as a result of the pandemic, many people are desperate to get back to a live performance and enjoy the thrills that a stage production has to offer. On Song Productions are gearing up to make an explosive return to the dazzling world of musical theatre with their opening at the Floral Pavillion. After a decade of captivating audiences, the production will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a national tour throughout May and June this year. The stage shows will also visit Worcester, Leeds, Chesterfield, Lytham St Annes, Coventry, Mold, and Lichfield, with a London date to be confirmed.

The musical features West End starts Emma Dears and Helen Sheals, who pay tribute to the Hollywood mother and daughter Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli, in a stunning showcase of their acclaimed careers. Liverpool-born actress Emma Dears, who appears as Liza, is also the writer and creator of the show. Emma performs alongside the talented Helen Sheals. Emma said: “It is with pure excitement that we can take Judy and Liza’s emotional and iconic story on the road. As performers, we crave being in front of a live audience – seeing, hearing, and feeling their reactions, it gets no better than that. “Whether you’re a fan of Judy or Liza, or both, their story is unique. The show is full of love, heartache and passion and Helen and I have worked tirelessly to make sure we get every tiny detail just right. Join us for an evening with the mother and daughter who really did put the ‘show’ into showbiz.” Critics have praised the stage production, with ‘Musical Theatre,’

rating the show five stars and summing it up as: “Classy, emotional, tasteful, and heartfelt.” Producer of the musical, Bill Elms, commented: “We are thrilled to finally announce the 10th Anniversary UK tour of Judy and Liza. It’s a production very close to my heart as I worked on the very first show. It is going to be a very special tour, as for many of the theatres, this will be their first show of the year, as we come out of lockdown. We can promise audiences a safe and very memorable experience as they rediscover the joy of live entertainment through this captivating show.” Well-known songs will be featured, including ‘Cabaret’, ‘Maybe This Time’, ‘Over the Rainbow’, ‘The Man That Got Away’, ‘The Trolley Song and ‘Together Wherever We Go’. • To find out more visit: www.judyandliza.co.uk

PRODUCTION NUMBERS: Emma Dears as Liza and Helen Shields as Judy Photos: Andrew AB


Post-lockdown shows coming to waterfront venue

hone Productions have announced three new summer shows for Liverpool’s waterfront venue the M&S Bank Arena. The productions, including ‘X-treme Magic’, ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and ‘Circus Spectacular,’ are heading to the city this summer to mark the venue’s post-lockdown re-opening. The line-up includes Gareth Gates, Richard Cadell, Pete Fir-

man and Bippo, who will appear in the first live programme at the waterfront venue when Covid-19 restrictions are eased in the coming months. ‘X-treme Magic’ will be staged on Saturday May 22; ‘Sleeping Beauty’ will run from Saturday May 29 until Saturday June 5 and audiences can look forward to ‘Circus Spectacular’ on Saturday June 12.

All the shows will be staged in The Auditorium at Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena, and tickets are on sale now. Producer James Shone commented: “We are thrilled to announce these new shows for summer 2021. Audiences have missed out on so many live experiences over the last 12 months, so it’s a real privilege that we will be presenting some of the very first shows once lockdown

restrictions are eased. “The three spectacular shows promise fun, laughter and magic – something we all really need right now. “We want to reassure theatre goers that social distancing and safety measures will be in place to ensure Covid-secure performances – audience, cast and crew safety is paramount.” By HEIDI HEWLINGS



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Liverpool Life 9:16 March 24 2021