A lot can happen in one day… Especially on that particular day Eris is most likely to rear her head, 23rd November.
The day held particular resonance this year as it had been dubbed ‘The Toxteth Day Of The Dead’ back in August at The JAM’s’ ‘Welcome To The Dark Ages‘. The infamous money-burning duo had their own plans for the 23rd down in London but we were obliged to stay in Liverpool to see to our own matters.
We’re still not 100% on what exactly went on down there and the people who attended probably aren’t either but you might be able to make some sense of it from this archive of posts from attendees.
One thing we weren’t expecting to happen on 23rd November however was the formation of another Arts Lab. We were delighted to hear the news that brethren and sistren up in Scotland* have joined the ever-growing movement only a few months after our own Lab formed. Now it’s definitely fair to say the first domino that fell in Northampton is having a nationwide knock-on effect.
*Update 29/01/23 – Arts Lab Scotland are no more
We had our first Arts Lab meeting straight after ‘Welcome To The Dark Ages’ had taken over Liverpool in the Summer. We were plotting straight away and it was decided that we needed a ceremony to mark our intention as an Arts Lab and also exorcise the malignant forces that have for too long been strangling Liverpool’s culture. We had to tackle them immediately and strike right at the heart of the city.
Mathew Street, the location Peter Halligan determined Carl Jung’s symbolic ‘pool of life‘ dream to have taken place, seemed like an appropriate location to call ‘the heart of the city’. Once a vibrant artistic hub for Liverpool, the street has become hollowed out and soulless over the years; a cultural cul-de-sac left to ferment and decay, with all the real history whitewashed or destroyed.
It was decided we’d need plague doctor masks if we were to tackle this diseased street and we developed a Scouse exorcism ceremony very loosely based on what we’d heard about Santería from a practitioner who visited one of our meetings. It was decided everyone would bring an object to sacrifice to the street including; water from the source of the Mersey, a dolphin, Magnolia soap, The Beatles ‘Strawberry Fields / Penny Lane’ 7″, a model purple bin, a golden apple and a feather tickler, amongst other items.
(Coincidentally) this happening would take place exactly 41 years on from the date Ken Campbell’s epic ‘Illuminatus!’ production opened on the street and it would be called ‘The Renaissance of Mathew Street‘; we’d process from the steps of the Bombed Out Church, down through the busy city centre towards the street in question with the percussive help of Francisco to drive the point home.
When we reached the street we’d have a ‘laying of the hands’ at various points, before Larry read a section of Jung’s dream atop the significant manhole cover, with Jen proclaiming the intentions of the ceremony. We’d then leave our chosen sacrifices below the plaque for the Liverpool School Of Language, Music Dream & Pun and disperse through the many converging streets.
As planned, everyone assembled on the church steps on 23rd November and at 18:23 we set off and saw the caper through heroically.
And here’s 23 snapshots from a few different photographers…
Photo credits: Tim Collins, Terry Bouch, Marquis de Vouvray & Jah Jussa