It’s somewhat horribly ironic that the last story on MADEUP was about Liverpool Pride, because what has been happening in the days since then has been the complete and total opposite. Last Saturday afternoon was a welcoming, joyful and inspirational day put together by the people of the city for the people of the city to enjoy, for free. And as the sun shone down and hundreds of colourful balloons went drifting past the Liver Building to mark the end of the show, my distinct thought was what a tolerant, beautiful city we live in. How lucky we are. So much to see and do, so creative, and so full of ideas and life. Times might be tough, politics might be a load of aul’ arse, but you can’t ever really say you’re bored in Liverpool.
Then, on Monday night, the relentless sound of the police helicopter alerted us to the fact the top of our street was on fire. There had been a riot. Cars were destroyed, water mains were burst and our nearest Tesco had been looted and burned. Radio Merseyside stayed on air all through the night and played Wonderful World at 2.30 in the morning, like some kind of slo-mo showdown scene in a bad John Woo film. It was weird, it was scary, it was sickening — and in the shadow of the 30th anniversary of exactly the same thing in exactly the same place, it was heartbreaking too.
Now it’s two nights later. There’s been more trouble in the last 48 hours, but it’s raining and cold now, and it’s quiet. The streets are empty of cars, bars are closed, no-one is around. It seems this is how we continue to pay the price for the sheer stupidity and heartlessness of others. I’m not sure why we’re the ones that should have to be taking precautions and keeping our heads down because of a minority of rioters, but that’s just the way it has to be.
It’s not tempting fate to say we are surely over the worst, but there’s still a feeling normal order is not resumed. This kind of serious stuff isn’t the remit of this site and I’ll leave the analysis to others, but at the same time it seemed impossible to let it go unacknowledged — least of all in this context, because this is a Liverpool site and it seems churlish to merely carry on where we left off. MADEUP will be back next week.