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We built this city on rock n roll: discuss

Chance to twist and shmooze in hidden Cunard Building

Published on June 10th 2014.

We built this city on rock n roll: discuss

LIVERPOOL was the most American of all English cities – and it was done for by the ships, the Dansette record player and by rock n roll.

If you wish to ponder the above point further, there is a chance to do it in the classiest of surroundings this weekend. 

The Cunard Building, no less, provides the backdrop for networking, fizz swigging and listening to the dulcet tones of city musos Ian Prowse and John O'Connell. Yes, Beat in the Mersey returns - “part theatre, part history lesson, part music gig and part performance art”. 


It bills itself as the most distinctive business networking session held during IFB 2014, and with The Farm's Peter Hooton as the musical director and 8mm cine films whirring away, it is rather different. 

It tells the story of the development of Liverpool’s musical heritage through the eyes and stories of people who travelled out from the city and returned with new sounds, styles and influences. 

William Edward Willink, the sage 158-year-old architect of the Cunard building will lead visitors on an exclusive animated experience through much of the formative African and Irish beats, Jazz solos, dance bands and American sounds that helped make Liverpool conquer the musical world in the 1960s.  

There will be shows on Friday and Saturday when visitors will get to wander the corridors of the middle Grace which is never open to the public, and hob nob over afternoon tea and prosecco in the opulent surroundings of the Queen Mary room. 

The ChantsThe Mersey Beat was not just about The Beatles

Show director, Christine Chellew said: “The accepted wisdom of how Liverpool’s musical identity developed, begins and ends with The Beatles. The reality is much more complicated, fragmented and influenced greatly by the world sound which returned to the city carried in the hearts of its people. In a typical scouse manner, these sounds were re-packaged and re-exported to the world. 

“It is that story that Beat in the Mersey tells and it’s told through a range of mediums from 8mm cine film, performances and not least The Cunard Building itself. It’s an event like no other.”

The Cunard Building was recently bought by Liverpool City Council and staff are shortly to move there from the Municipal Buildings. Who knows, you may even get to swivel on Mayor Joe's chair.  

Beat In the Mersey, Friday June 13 from 1pm to 2.30pm. Tickets £25 here

 There will also be two shows on Saturday 14 June as part of the International Mersey River Festival , one at 11am and the second at 1pm. Tickets here 

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