LET'S get this straight. Static has done some sterling artistic work in the past and still is doing.
It's one of the only truly innovative arts organisations in Liverpool. They don't shout about it from the rooftops. They don't employ PR people to tell you about any of it -and if they did, they would be poorer for it - in every sense.
Hopefully a way can be found for the gallery to thrive on what it really does extraordinarily best
For example, the various biennials it has exhibited at around the world, which can't help but turn eyes to the city. Or Terminal Convention, which brought the cities of Cork and Liverpool together twice last year. The programme over both events was immense. Did the city's mainstream newspapers cover any of this? Well, in the end, one of them did, but only when a "name" got involved. That's how it works.
Noodle BarWho really knew, for example, about the Korean noodle bar experiment unless you happened to be having a conversation with Static's director, Paul Sullivan, a Liverpool-born architect by training.
How did it that story go again? A family of chefs, recruited on a head-hunting trip to Seoul, were brought over to do their stuff in the gallery's cafe space. The move quickly landed all parties in hot water with National Border Control. How to get around it? By turning the family and their woks into a performance art installation. That's how.
And like all great art, the accidental sort or otherwise, one wonders if it was all a dream when one recalls it. Like then.
No, Static has a knack for concepts, curating and lecturing around the UK and abroad, and a cup of tea with Sullivan, and hearing about what he is up to, is never less than illuminating. Concepts that, had they happened in bigger, better resourced organisations like FACT or The Bluecoat, would be press released and private viewed to death, bakrolled by the taxpayer. We're talking engaging, talk-about concepts that would firmly pin Liverpool at the centre of the UK's cultural map, from where it insists it still belongs but from where it has lately drifted.
Paul SullivanAnd there's the rub: “better resourced.” Without masses of public funding enjoyed by the others, Static's main income stream - which allows it to do the do in so many more interesting ways - is venue hire.
Only in the past couple of years, however, has this been the case. More serendipity- for the bank manager - when bands like The Wild Swans, DJs and promoters like Harvest Sun discovered that the back exhibition room, in the shed that is 23 Roscoe Lane, just about ticked every box. Intimate performing space, good acoustics, low key and an excellent bar. No Jaegerbombs, just good beer and wine.
Not any more. Last year a college lecturer moved into rented a flat around the corner. They complained to the council about the noise from Static (and, it does have to be said, rather than the nearby Hanna's Bar). Supported by Councillor Steve Munby, a noise abatement order was issued.
Instead of taking the line of making more noise to fight it, or the tenant, Static held a debate. It got the chatterati going but, ultimately, got it nowhere.
Yesterday it announced compliance.
Harvest Sun and its scene will relocate to another space and it is to be hoped that remaining performers will not have to rely too much on “corporate indie” bars like The Shipping Forecast or Parr Street Studios for a platform.
All those howling about the city centre and who is it for, or calling for Munby's blood, carry on; Indeed, before holding a funeral, remember the situation may yet be resolved.
However when Static was set up it wasn't about music and, had its owners - or the promoters involved for that matter - wanted to invest their funds, time and energy soundproofing the room to keep the new model going, who would have stood in their way?
But these are tough business decisions in tough times and Static has perhaps had to remind itself about what it is for and where its focus lies.
Hopefully a way can be found for the gallery to thrive on what it really does extraordinarily best. It would be a far darker day for the city's culture if the quiet, original verve, which has long marked Static out, were to slip through its fingers.
Such a loss would genuinely be an event to make a noise about.
*Follow Angie Sammons on Twitter
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