I am a romantic, for sure.
That is how I see life, how I have always seen life; and that is how I live it. The heart is everything. In that, I am in full agreement with the late, great John Lennon.
Liverpool is a romantic city, famous for its music, humour, history, accent, and great football teams. Sure there is the smouldering, dark history of slavery lingering eternally in the background, probably a projection of all of us. Maybe Liverpool can be forgiven for its location as a prime port for this dreadful business; after all everyone has darkness inside them… is anyone truly free of prejudice? So as the good book says… judge not.
There is no end to the brutality and cruelty of the human race especially in the name of so-called ‘Free trade’. We’ve all heard Mrs Thatcher and her American friends preaching it tirelessly, and so it was back then too. Slavery was a direct result of this economic philosophy, where greed and money are completely justified; that people could be reduced to beasts of burden in the name of profit. What freedom is this?
The freedom to exploit anyone you want to make money… it’s that simple.
I love Liverpool’s optimism, and a visit to the Slavery Museum is an indication of how the city has faced its dark past with a genuine desire to right the wrongs. A very moving display of self reflection.
I don’t want this website to transmogrify (wow, I’ve always wanted to use that word!) into a Wikipedia type account of facts. Mr Google can do that far better than I ever could!
No, I am lookng for the slightly obscure… the smaller more romantic aspects of life… that still small voice, if you will. In this we have a delivery from the darkness of economic misuse.
And so it came to be, as I was walking through the docks a few days ago. I happened upon a statue of someone resembling Elvis. I was about to ‘walk on by’ (pardon the musical pun, but it’s impossible to avoid it in Liverpool!) when I noticed small bunches of flowers attached to it. Now why, thinks I, is there a tribute to an American performer here by the side of the Mersey?
Closer observation revealed that it was in fact a statue of Billy Fury, one of Liverpool’s finest young musicians. He was as popular as the Beetles and Elvis here in Liverpool. The 28th of January was the annivesary of his untimely death from heart attack at the age of only forty two. I was moved to tears to see a little card from his mum along with the flowers.
Little moments such as these are what I live for. The love thus expressed is so powerful, and this city is full of them.
My time here is nearly complete and a whirlwind schedule is ahead including Manchester, a trip to Berlin and finally reuniting with Christian for a while in Brussels. But I want to leave you with a verse from a great Liverpool anthem that I used to play for Maggie and Jeremy, my walking compañeros on the Camino in Spain. It somes up my approach to life in many ways and is very dear to me:
When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm
Is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of the lark
Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on walk on with hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone