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Not Strictly Confidential (30/1/09)

Stuff bubbling up, about and under the surface of the pool of life....

Published on June 26th 2009.

Not Strictly Confidential (30/1/09)

OUTRAGE at this week's Liverpool City Council over cuts to schools’ lollipop men and women.

Perhaps prompted by the imminent departure of Culture Company boss Kris “I'm a celebrity, get me out of here” Donaldson, the Lib-Dems have been inspired to save £200,000 by moving people from where they are no longer needed.

Unlike Australia-bound Krocodile Donaldson, however, these useful council employees, lollipop men and women, will be replaced by traffic lights.

Opposition councillors had been worried that patrol cuts would leave primary school children at risk, but Cllr Flo Clucas soothingly explained there wasn't a problem: Only the lunchtime patrols from outside schools whose pupils never ever set foot outside during the day would go.

Ah. So in the absence of any children to police, presumably the lollipop people in question have been employed, up until now, to allow only passing balls of tumbleweed to cross roads, unhindered, in the middle of the day.

Something they know all about in the outback, cobber.


MEANWHILE, the same Liverpool Council meeting passed a budget that will increase 2009 council tax by 4.45 percent, or £64.36 a year for the average home. Reassuringly, this was reported as a mere footnote to the lollipop man mayhem in the popular organs of the day.


SPEAKING of empty spaces, Liverpool has not been as immune to recession as the happy clappy spinning brigade of 2008 might want us all to think. The UK property crisis has been reflected here just as in elsewhere, with the developers behind the 26-storey Alexander Tower on the Princes Dock going belly up only this week.

Meanwhile, as values go into freefall and mortgages get scarcer, many of those investors who have already put down deposits on “luxury apartments” are apparently walking away from their initial outlays, thus heading off equity, negative or otherwise, at the pass.

Rumour has it that at another internationally-award winning development of 350 flats, which first went on the market 18 months ago and were snapped up, fewer than 10 sales have been completed.

Which one could that be then?, Confidential wondered as it sat parked outside the Royal Liverpool Hospital.

CONFIDENTIAL was down at the big and airy Cornerstone Gallery in Everton this week as Jeremy Isaacs was in town to

receive an honorary doctorate from Hope University, and to launch the building of a promising new arts centre, this one 10 years in the planning and nevertheless trumpeted as “a fitting legacy of Capital of Culture”.

“And this is a mini Superlambanana,” said a guide, gesticulating, as Mr Isaacs was introduced to the half lamb-half Geest creation.

Neither said much, but only minutes earlier, Sir J had been recalling the heady days of 2003 when, as chairman of the European Capital of Culture judging panel, he was introduced to some far more talkative subjects. This was when Sir Bob Scott, leading the bid for the city, used a range of tactics to win over the CoC judging panel, including planting “intellectuals” at every turn to chat them up.

“People came up to me in the Philharmonic pub to talk to me about the merits of James Joyce,” Sir J laughed. “We weren’t fooled a bit.”



CLEARLY Sir Bob had not been introduced to the comely delights of Ye Cracke when he went on his recce to find people to impress the likes of Miranda Sawyer and co. Or was it just kept off limits?

A shame because a visit would have rendered any nobbling, on Sir Bob's part, unnecessary in making Liverpool pubgoers look sparky and well read. Well, well read anyway.

Sir J did admit that Sir Bob’s attentions “got up the noses” of some members of the decision-making panel.

As would a big spliff, over a chinwag about the last chapters of Ulysses, while propping up the Cracke's ciggie machine. Sorted.


CONFIDENTIAL was marvelling at the splendour of the Jamaica Rooms pub and restaurant in the Contemporary Urban Centre last weekend and thinking that just as the Panoramic might be fit for the MTV stars like Beyonce, what a grand watering hole and dining place this could be for all those artistic types that the so-called “Independent Quarter” is hoping to attract.

“Oh yes,” enthused one of the young kitchen staff. “we get loads of celebrities in here.”

“Who like?” wondered our operative.

“Fred Talbot,” he confided. “Yes,” his nodding colleague gushed, “and that Jimmy Corkhill!”

“What, together??”

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

Flannel O'BrienJanuary 30th 2009.

I once saw Jeremy Clarkson in the Big House and started talking to him about Joyce Grenfell. Had I known I could have got some government money for this, I wouldn't be on my uppers now. Do I win £5

zipperJanuary 30th 2009.

Ye Cracke the finest pub in Liverpool. never cleaned or tidied and the filthiest glasses in the country. the barmaid looks dirty, the seats are a disgrace and stupid teenagers spend there undeserved grants on warm beer.

AnonymousJanuary 30th 2009.

What's Arthur Lamb's picture doing in here?

DigJanuary 30th 2009.

I wasn't a plant. I genuinely wanted to talk about James Joyce. He's my favourite of all the baseball umpires.

Paul HoganJanuary 30th 2009.

Who, Krocodile or Jezza?

Father JackJanuary 30th 2009.

Which one is Donaldson then? The one pulling the strings? Feck off the lot of them, I say.

alex plodeJanuary 30th 2009.

Only ten flats - sorry Apartments - sold. Hmm where could that be? Would it be the deveelopment that looks like a 1970's Tech College designed by a 93 year old Architect 'close to the shops'?

Pale and interestingJanuary 30th 2009.

I once went to a gig in the Phil were Ian Hart (Davies) was playing the maraccas while Michael Head sang. No need to plant artsy people in the Phil Bobby boy.

PhilJanuary 30th 2009.

The barmaid IS dirty

R. A. MateJanuary 30th 2009.

I think he looks more like Simon Schama meself...

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