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Monday, 22 February 2010

In my Liverpool home...

"In my Liverpool home; in my Liverpool home;
We speak with an accent exceedingly rare;
Meet under a statue exceedingly bare.
If you want a cathedral, we've got one to spare, in my Liverpool home."
Song written by Pete McGovern, but with so many extra verses added that it must qualify as a folk song.

The famous statue in question is a local landmark and can be seen over the main entrance of Lewis's department store on Ranelagh Street, Liverpool; couples would arrange to meet under it in years gone by. The statue was known locally as Dickie Lewis, a name later given to a small chain of Liverpool pubs in the 1990s that seems to have disappeared (no great loss, as it happens). Some wags used to sing, "If you want a cathedral, we've got two to spare".

The song is something of a local anthem, but without the tribal associations of You'll Never Walk Alone. "I wrote it in 1961," said McGovern, "but a lot of people have said to me, 'You didn't write that. It was written in 1848.'" ... even though the song mentions Hitler, stealing from lorries and the demolition of the Dockers' Umbrella.

One later verse went:
"When my last whistle blows & the Ref Up There says;
'You've supped your last Guinness, lad, it's the end of your days,'
Take my ashes to Old Trafford and spread them around, (dramatic pause)
And they won't win a match while I'm haunting the ground."

These thoughts were prompted by a newspaper headline I saw in Liverpool this morning stating that the store, which was opened 154 years ago, is to close within weeks. Developers intend to create a £160 million Central Village around the store (whatever that means) which will include new hotels, leisure space, shops and restaurants. There's is no certainty that Lewis's will be part of that development and in the meantime 300 staff will lose their jobs.

Thus another piece of Liverpool history and folklore will disappear, only to linger in song and memory.

The statue is actually called Liverpool Resurgent and is by Sir Jacob Epstein. It was unveiled in 1956.

2 comments:

  1. Now that's bad. Even I've waited under Dickie Lewis' statue.

    I remember Vinnie Olssen saying once after being stood up "I waited under Dickie's until me flares came back in fashion".

    ReplyDelete
  2. When going out with someone from Liverpool, I always suggested meeting under the statue, but no girl I met was prepared to act out the cliché. I feel I've missed out.

    ReplyDelete

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