Understandably, talk around the city has been football this, greedy yanks that for quite some time. They’ve even made a YouTube video of it. Lately, it’s even been given a Boston twist. Is that how the story will end? We doubt it.
For good, bad or ugly, the American invasion of Liverpool has been part of our story for centuries, and its legacy can be found in locations all across the region. As we type, the Captain America film is being filmed over here and should prove a hell of a lot better than 51st State, gosh darn it….and our Apple store is the most popular provincial store outside London – and is currently searching out a larger venue.
What is it with US and A?
We come together far more than we fall apart. And so, as we pray for the end of one era, let’s remember how the Americans have shaped our culture, our commerce and, yes, our kicks…
Wedged into Bold Street like a big jiggly American bootay, with its brash colours and a 50s diner theme, this place is busy even when the last hen parties are rolling home to the Travelodge at 2am, Sunday Morning. Jamie Oliver-worrying American portions, dairy-queen fresh milkshakes, Polish waiters. Just like Manhattan. Oh, but, if we’re honest, it’s an Irish chain. Oh, so not every American in the city is all they claim to be? Who knew?
2 – QVC, Knowsley
We love a bit of sparkle. And no one does cut price glitter like QVC – the world’s leading shopping channel, and proud employer of everyone in Knowsley. You’ve ordered the Today’s Special Value of Gayle Hayman’s Beverley Hills Youth Dew? It was packed by someone on an NVQ in Huyton Community College. Live the dream (for thirty days, then return it for a full refund).
3 – International Slavery Museum, Albert Dock
If you know your history…The international Slavery Museum is a brave, accomplished and panoramic exploration of one of the most complex and difficult periods of our history – and, intertwined, the history of another point in that transatlantic triangle, America. That the museum is as life affirming as it is enlightening is the reason every one of us should pay a visit.
This month, the museum hosts a series of events marking Black History Month (including ‘Not Just Rosa Parks’ – a talk about female activists in the civil rights movement).
4 – Pan Am, Albert Dock
Yeah, we know the airline took a nosedive. But it was the US’s principle carrier from the 20’s until 1991. Its economy-class security policy was its undoing, literally. No such problems at the Albert Dock – the bouncers are thorough, but they’ve warm hands. And, unlike Natasha Hamilton’s discerning nitespot, they’ve not had the need to install airport style security here. We’ve always loved their brunches and banquettes and, after a fair few years in the departures lounge, Pam-Am is flying high again.
5 – American Pizza Slice, Whitechapel
The clue is in the title. There’s nothing better than waking up after a night out with one of these bad boys clinging to your face. And even if it’s not their pizza delivery guy, we hear an errant slice of Margherita does wonders for your crow’s feet.
6 – The American Bar, Lime Street
Where everyone knows your name? Or, at the very least what size you take in knock-off Lacoste. The bar was first opened in 1830, but it was its popularity with American servicemen in the first world war that prompted the name change. In the second world war it was a popular meeting point for Maggie May and her friends. We think we spotted her there last weekend, but we’re informed that, today, McHales Irish – American Bar is a far more civilised affair. And good seamen? Hard to find, as ever.
Like, who doesn’t wear ironic mauve Y-fronts, anyway? American Apparel’s day-glo stretch fabrics, riding pants and muscle T’s for skinny boys draw the line firmly between ‘you can get away with it’, and ‘you’re over 24. H&M is next door…’ But, until the second season of Glee, it’s the funnest thing they’ve imported. Wonder if they sell red sox?
8 – Ryan Trecartin, Renshaw Street
The best bit of the Biennial? We think so. Texan Ryan’s manic, ADHD souped-up video triptych is splayed out provocatively along the basement of Rapid. And frankly, we can think of no better place for it. Read our review here. Or, no, don’t. Just go see.
You’ve seen the Stars and Stripes flying in Rumford Place? It commemorates the site of the unofficial Confederate Embassy of the United States. During the civil war, the break-away Confederacy wasn’t recognised by the United Kingdom. But we did. Imagine, Liverpool being on the wrong side…
Still, there was plenty of money in cotton, look at American Apparel.
Then again, like our blessed mothers on Grand National, we quite like an each way bet, too. Which is why we provided ships for the Confederate Navy and the Northen Union too. And why, on the other side of town, the Official United States Consulate opened in 1790: the first overseas consulate founded by the then young upstart, the United States of America. You’ll spot the eagle above the Sony Centre? There’s the clue.
The consulate stood on the quayside of the original steers Dock, and later became The Eagle pub. The bald headed eagle sparkles again after a recent refeathering thanks to the National Conservation Centre
10 – The Beatles
Well, so the legend goes. Is it true? Probably not. The Cunard Yanks – the crew of the great liners – allegedly flooded the city with shellac R’n’B records, thus influencing the pubescent ears of the fab four. Did they? Or did the fab four just pop down to Rushworths and Drapers and listen to a bit of Lonnie Donegan, rather than hang around the docks all night on the off-chance of picking up a stray Chuck Berry bootleg?
It’s a fact that one such Cunard Yank, Ivan Haywood, sold a black Gretsch guitar he’d picked up in New York to a young George Harrison 1957. So that’s all we need to build an entire myth around. Hey, we’ve worked with less.
With thanks to John Meadowcroft