The Mersey waterfront in Liverpool is both a world heritage site and one of the draughtiest places in western Europe; today a biting east wind is bullying the 16 flags that line the path from the maritime museum to the Pier Head.
Look closely and you will see that each flag announces that Liverpool will be European Capital of Culture in 2008 - but also that each flag is ragged and grubby. To your right lies an empty Porsche car showroom. By now it should have been flattened to create a spectacular site for the Cloud, a shimmering building designed for this space by the architect Will Alsop. Plans for the Cloud stirred up huge controversy, not least because no one seemed to know what was going to go in the building, but they helped win Liverpool the culture title. Now it will not be built because the money for it has already been diverted to other, less iconic, projects.
Sad flags and failed ambition: inauspicious signs, with less than two years to go, for what is meant to be a year of celebration for Liverpool.
Thursday, March 09, 2006
When it was announced that Liverpool would be the European City of Culutre, there was great rejoicing. But, asks David Ward in The Guardian, will the dreams of a transforming event be realised?