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Still Lives: Ian Jobling, Picton councillor

In an occasional series, people photographer Stephanie de Leng gives us one of her subjects to ponder

Published on January 12th 2009.

Still Lives: Ian Jobling, Picton councillor

AN email landed in my inbox from an “Ian Jobling” wanting to buy a book I had put together, “People in Liverpool”. This is not a name that you forget easily, and I was sure he had ordered something from me before. He had. Two calendars.

We got to chatting and it turned out that apart from working in the caravan industry, Ian dedicates his spare time as a Lib Dem councillor for the Picton ward.

So, when he said how much he enjoyed the calendar, and I said how much flak I had received for the naked girl who appeared on it, he said: “Some of us are open minded, you know,” and I replied, “How about posing for me then, but in an open minded manner?”

As Ian is particularly interested in urban regeneration, and there is a lot of that going on in his ward, we agreed to meet on the boarded up Thorburn Street, which is in Phase Two of The Edge Hill Regeneration Project. This is not to be confused with the controversial Edge Lane West CPO which continues to be halted by the plucky Kenisington resident Elizabeth Pascoe.

Ian explained that in 2003, John Prescott backed controversial plans to demolish swathes of Victorian housing across the north, and replace them with modern housing. As absurd as demolition seems, he said, renovation would not have addressed the fact that many of Picton’s existing terraces are tiny and lacking outside space, and so not so adaptable for modern family needs. It is no surprise, in his opinion, that on this side of Edge Lane, the majority took their golden handshakes and moved out without a murmur.

We walked into a small park and looked

around at the forlorn buildings whose windows had been replaced by industrial metal shields. “Elec Off” and “Gas Off” were scrawled across the bricks. Council graffiti, no Banksey this, and a serious deterrent to entry. At the far end, a derelict pub seemed to flap ghosts into the chilly afternoon. I could almost hear the people singing inside, and it reminded me of Terence Davies' emotive masterpiece “Distant Voices, Still Lives”.

What would this area look like in ten years? As if reading my mind, Ian said that the spot on which we were standing was also housing, just one year ago. This park is to give people green space, somewhere for children to play - it will stay.

Two lads in hoodies scuttled past and I instinctively clutched camera to my chest. It’s OK, Ian said, there is nothing to worry about – turns out he is a member of the Merseyside Police Authority too!

We started to take pictures, in front of the council graffiti, by the pub, in the central green. Ian was certainly open minded, the only problem being that he seemed such a nice person that his tendency was to smile. No smiling, I chided, this is a serious matter, you have to show you are here to help. So Ian stopped smiling, and, like a marionette, did everything I asked, even jumping up into the air.

The shoot finished, we talked about the pub, and how it is was no longer the centre of community life, and then, 20 minutes later, we got into our separate cars and drove off in different directions.

*Stephanie De Leng is a photographer who's first book, People In Liverpool, is out now (£19.99 @ Waterstone's, FACT)

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lassaDecember 10th 2008.

tourist please note that Liverpool tradesmen have been literally starved in recent years by Manchester crooks and corrupt developers stealing precious ancestral lands from Liverpool workers.Holland will never know the pain and suffering of ordinary Liverpudlians since 1914.

tourist-in-liverpoolDecember 10th 2008.

what is all this manchester/drug political gibberish???? i am from Holland and came across the above by accident while looking for a good eating place. What a great photo!! Are we not in Liverpool and is this not an accountment of a photo in Liverpool? In Holland many old places are coming down too, some bad, some good, but i do not want to live in a mud hut. Nice to read some local stuff and also, I think the Indian restaurant was wow wow wow. Sorry for my english, but a good site with good articles all round.

lassaDecember 10th 2008.

And why are scousers against urban regenration? only because its making money for manchesters fat cats who bring in migrating labour to steal the bread from better qualified local tradesmen with hungry familys.These jackals who redevelop perfecly good houses are ruining the community, creating chaos and helping to launder drug cartel cash - everyone knows this is the truth but no one does anything.The answer is to leave us alone and go back to manchester and your chav lifestyle while we keep our dignity and support real scouser initiatives.

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