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Not Strictly Confidential - 21/6/07

A collection of bits and bobs floating about in the pool of life.

Published on June 24th 2007.

Not Strictly Confidential - 21/6/07

Turning the place over
It's a funny old 08 world. Just 12 months after the Capital of Culture's first cracks were exposed by the resignation of its artistic supremo, Robyn Archer, the plaster on the damage limitation job has shown big flaky bits again.

Last week CoC had to cope with the sharp exit of disillusioned Labour opposition Councillor Joe Anderson. It was closely followed by the departure of Events Manager Lee Forde a Liverpool resident leaving on the grounds that he wants to spend more time with his family in, er, Liverpool.

But as one door slams shut, another is unbolted, and now ex-prisoners are being drafted in as CoC volunteers.

They may have served time, but the move brings many positives. They will possess a great knowledge of the streets and may even be able to tell you the best place to get a pirate copy of The Road To Istanbul.

Meanwhile, making ambassadors out of former vagabonds and thieves adds a whole new meaning to the term “Turning the Place Over”.

Can Confidential readers think of any newly released prisoners who fit the bill? If so, please contact the Culture Co. Not us.

But it won't be easy. To show they've got what it takes, wannabe 08 volunteers must complete a tough, five-month programme, including an 80-mile military-style march across Scotland.

If no one else can help, and if they can find them, maybe CoC can hire the A-Team. Not that anyone is suggesting the B-Team has been running the show so far.

“Bun fight”
"I'M sick of the usual suspects being given special status and special access to Capital of Culture events,” rumbled the aforementioned Councillor Anderson this week.

"Every event has the usual parade of vips, civic dignitaries, officials and the great and the good, all tucking into free canapes and alcohol.

"It’s time we ended this expensive bun fight and gave some free tickets to the real people of Liverpool”.

The last bit was a call for attendees to the CoC opening event at the arena, at New Year, to be decided by public ballot and not by any “exclusive” lists compiled by Spin, Duck and Dive PR operatives.

They could take a leaf out of the book of North West Vision who, last week, pulled in a capacity crowd for the world premiere of the film Grow Your Own, at the Phil, by somesuch egalitarian means. There was no special guest list, you just emailed in for a ticket, and the whole audience, strangers and all, were invited to an aftershow party at Alma De Cuba, with nary an 08 badge or official in sight.

By now Cllr Anderson will be aware of plans for an 08 pass scheme for ordinary citizens, which is to be rolled out next year, allowing "special-rate" entry to many events. Bur how was this launched? Privately, on a ferry, of course.

Happily, the vip guests didn't have to wait an indecent length of time for the chocolates and champagne to be served. They received these, by special courier, with their ballon-festooned invitations, last month.

Church news
SPEAKING of Alma De Cuba, favourite ecclesiastical haunt of people you might have heard of, the bar/restaurant was sold off this week by Korova Corporation.

As a venue, the former St Peter's church, in Seel Street, is visually stunning with candles, stuffed animal heads and religious imagery and icons wherever you look. Now it has been acquired by TGI Ltd, which plans to expand the business, rebrand the venue and roll out the “Alma De” name across the North West.

Quite what this means we are not sure. Do they mean they will completely alter the altar-look of the place, or are they planning a string of church themed bars littered with statues of madonnas? Some people might say that there aren't enough virgins to go round in this neck of the woods.

But they haven't heard of eBay.

Clouding the issue
HEALTH and safety officers at Liverpool city council have drawn up plans to request residents not to smoke at least half an hour before a visit by staff, and to open windows and not light up during a home visit.

The plans are to protect employees from exposure to second-hand smoke. The council says the rules are not a “ban” and it will not be able to force householders to comply. But if residents insist on smoking at home during a visit from a council employee the visit will be ended.

Municipal officials usually only visit taxpayers in their homes because the latter can’t make it its offices. Maybe because they’re too old to travel, are skint or ill or they can't get away from the kids.

And officials rarely turn up at your door with glad tidings.

The bright side is that now if tenants don't like what enforcement officers and planning officials have got to say, they know what to do: Just light up a fag and the council worker will vanish in, literally, a puff of smoke. Every cloud and all that..

Seen about:
The Hollyoaks cast canoodling in B&Q, Aintree. The Zutons in Sayers, Bold Street. Jack Nicholson in the Davy Liver taxi offices. Esther Rantzen in Great Homer Street. One of these is true, but your guess is as good as ours. Until next time.

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10 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousJune 20th 2007.

The ship is going down! Has everyone got a ciggie!

Mr XJune 20th 2007.

Hey Crusher, I hope they don't drop the soap.

Kirk DaleJune 20th 2007.

How do we know whether council officials have desisted from smoking for half an hour prior to their visit? Unless they can prove this, they should clearly be denied entry.

smoking joeJune 20th 2007.

I like the idea of lighting a fag to get rid of a busybody coming into your home. Some people smoke because they are depressed and this will just make them worse, not to mention the ban coming into pubs next week. Is there no where sacred anymore in this Tony Blair nanny state? Not even your own living room.

AnonymousJune 20th 2007.

regarding the story about the junkets, they just don't seem to listen to the criticism and keep doing all these champagne openings while they've still got this massive deficit for 2008. An 08 card is all very well, "how nice for the hoi polloi" you can hear them all saying as they swig the champagne back. Well it doesn't engage me, or am I missing the point?

Signor ServiceJune 20th 2007.

At least Storey and co. will be allowed to smoke in prison.It'ds the honest and law-abiding who are made to suffer in this city.

A. E. ScousemanJune 20th 2007.

With all the flared trousers and funny haircuts about one could be forgiven that the 1970s were back, but in those days the Liberals in the Council made themselves popular by saving residential areas from mass demolition and exposing the money spent on ‘town hall junketing’(even when this comprised legitimate chandelier-cleaning in the historic Town Hall). These days, on the other hand, the Lib-Dems can’t wait to hand whole owner-occupied areas to their pals the developers, and Storey and his enormous ‘culture’ gang are apparently living on champagne and canapés at public expense whilst banning taxpayers from smoking in their own homes! Whither now is the rebellious, liberating spirit of David Alton and Trevor Jones!O tempora, o mores!

Jeffrey ArcherJune 20th 2007.

I have every confidence that (as I did when undergoing a similar temporary adjustment of postcode) that Mr. Storey will thoroughly enjoy widening his circle.

Elizabeth QuinceJune 20th 2007.

I once saw Rex Harrison in a passport photo machine in Lime Street Station.They were quite new at the time and he asked my nurse if the pictures that came out of a small slot "looked the part". She fainted with shock unfortunately.

Crusher McGurkJune 20th 2007.

Perhaps by palling-up with a lot of ex-convicts the inmates of the Culture Company are hoping to give themselves an easier ride when they find themselves inside ‘The Walton Hotel’ after the auditors have been in to sort out the aftermath of 2008?

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