Every society needs a central point of focus; an area of universal significance that people can build a culture around. In Ancient Greek mythology, Zeus sent two doves to find ‘the centre’, and when they collided over Delphi, it took on this significance and became known as the ‘navel of the world’, an omphalos.
Mathew Street was once the epicentre for all of Liverpool’s finest freaks and seekers. This gradually faded however, and the street diminished into a husk of its former self, now standing as a bleak caricature of soulless tourism, brashly cokey revelry and painfully cheesy music.
One of Liverpool’s favourite sons is to be honoured on January 17th, on what would have been his 89th birthday. A very special exhibition at one of Arthur’s favourite places in the city forms the centrepiece of the latest annual ‘Dooleyday’. Inspired by the world famous ‘Bloomsday’ held in Dublin and around the world every year on June 16th, in honour of James Joyce, ‘Dooleyday’ is fast becoming a feature of Liverpool’s cultural landscape. This year’s celebration will centre on The Florrie in the Dingle, reputedly a favourite building of Arthur’s. Co-curated by The Florrie, the event will feature films, presentations, talks, a book reading, and an exhibition of original Dooley work, loaned from a mystery benefactor.
There are many undercurrents running beneath the surface of Liverpool, intermittently emerging to influence the course of the city’s culture before ebbing to allow the next to lead the way.
Certain areas of the city have proven pivotal in the development of these currents and there’s one particular place that’s served, more than any other, to incubate Liverpool’s modern culture, and more importantly its counterculture. To understand the place we have to look back…