Friday, 30 May 2014

In My Liverpool Home

Our Rach gets the credit for the fab photos.

It's hard to write about Liverpool because on the one hand, there is so much to say that I feel I could be here for donkey's years, but on the other hand it's been immortalised in so many books, articles, songs, poems etc that it's hard not to feel like I'm being imitative or being clichéd.  So forgive me if this is a bit bitty.

During my brief trip home to Liverpool recently, I was reminded, as I always am when there, of the many reasons I love it.  I'm lucky enough to call two amazing cities home, but there's something about Liverpool that can't be matched.  I haven't travelled anywhere near as much as I'd like to, but I'm willing to bet that nowhere in the world has the same ability to put a smile on my face and earn a place in the hearts of the millions of tourists who pass through it every year.  

My relationship with Liverpool is a little unusual compared to most Scouse girls in that fashion, one of the city's main attractions for many, is a source of terror for me.  A night out in Liverpool usually begins with me rummaging through my case in panic, holding up items that I'd wear on a big night out in Barcelona and having them dismissed as "too scruffy to go for your tea in" in Liverpool.  There's usually a slightly heated debate about why I'm not wearing heels - I'm of the opinion that walking like a lorry driver in them, risking a broken ankle before I've even got in the taxi, being completely unable to enjoy any of my night out and not being able to bend my knee for a week afterwards is sufficient reason to steer clear, but that doesn't cut it with Scousers.  Pain is beauty and an unwillingness to suffer for longer-looking legs indicates a defect in my character that deems me not quite acceptable in certain circles.  Thankfully, I can now pretend that whatever I want to wear is all the rage in Barcelona, therefore blaming all of the above on "living abroad", rather than "being shit at fashion", and thus ensuring that my visits home are less sartorial stress, more six-pack-inducing laughter.

Oh, the laughter.  It's almost clichéd to mention humour when writing about Liverpool, so ingrained is it in the collective psyche of the city.  Even across the rest of the country, Liverpool is known for its incessant need to make people laugh.  Love them or hate them, Scousers aren't to be ignored.  

Apart from the sheer joy of being surrounded by my lunatic family with their hilarious stories, there were a couple of moments that stood out for me.  Both took place in discount shops, which makes me think that there's something about a bargain that brings out the comedian in Scousers.  While waiting to pay in Poundland, I overheard a couple of teenage girls ask the cashier, "Can we get served with hair dye?".  The question was innocent enough and the answer was negative, but it made me laugh - back when I was that age, I was worrying about getting served with illicit cider or Lambert and Butler.  Obviously the younger generation of Scouse women are more concerned with their appearances than with destroying their health via White Lightning, which can only be a good thing.  

The second overheard nugget of comedy gold came from a couple of lads stacking shelves in B & M, where I'd headed in search of dry shampoo (how did I ever live without this miracle product?  And WHY hasn't Spain cottoned onto how wonderful it is yet?).  Displaying an enviable level of commitment to the retail trade, one asked the other, "Ay lad, would you rather work in Marksie's or Morrisons?"  His colleague, clearly a thrillseeker, replied, "Nah, I want a job in the Asda - it's MAD in there!"  Luckily enough the Asda was our next stop so I kept my eyes peeled for any evidence of debauchery amongst the staff, but they were all disappointingly well-behaved and offered no glimpse of the wildness that they apparently keep hidden beneath their green polyester blouses.  Sadly, it failed to even live up to the post-Christmas shopping trip when we were in the right aisle at the right time as they knocked the giant Cadbury's Roses Fudges down from a fiver to a pound, though to be fair, that day would take some beating.

The thing I love about Liverpool is that Scousers will talk to anyone.  In the queue at that same B & M, I found out how the lad behind the counter deals with his monobrow (wax - he's not a fan of shaving).  My mum told anyone who'd listen, which was a LOT of people, that I live in Spain and she's coming to visit in July.  I found an alternative to Johnson's tanning moisturiser courtesy of a tip from the fella on the till in Primark, and gave his colleague some hints for his forthcoming trip to Barcelona.  It's just a friendly place.   I miss that.


Paul said...

That line about your Mum telling everyone about you living in Spain made me chuckle, my Dad likes to do that too. I soon gave up on trying to make friendly chit chat with shop assistants here after being grunted at one too many times... Still wouldn't go back though.

Michelle Plaistow said...

Love it! It's like you climbed into my brain and stole my thoughts.
Apart from the heel thing. I feel cheated if I don't get an opportunity to wear heels I could never wear over here. Over here you're expected to walk long distances on a night out, and when invited to a party noone would ever think to mention that the whole place is cobbled or in a field.

Inadvertent Parent said...

I think it's her favourite thing about me :)

Since I had Dom Barcelona has become incredibly friendly, but it only works when he's with me. If I forget and try to talk to people when I'm on my own, the grunting starts again.