Thursday, January 10, 2008


We reveal for your enlightenment, proposals by Ear to the Ground - the Manchester-based company - for the launch of Liverpool Capital of Culture tonight and tomorrow.

Unfortunately top record producer Mark Ronson - 'Valerie' etc - has turned down the opportunity to appear.

As has Ian Broudie, of the Lightning Seeds.

The Culture Company are desperately keeping the list of artists who will be appearing a closely-guarded secret.

So any appearances by anyone will look like a bonus.

Meanwhile, as you know, huge containers will open up outside St George's tonight spilling out Liverpool's cultural offering for 2008. Rather like vomit. (No mention of jobs or the millions wasted etc, eds).

There is huge speculation and joking in the Culture Company that at least one of the containers will contain all the people that have been hired and then fired (guest appearances by Jase, Henshaw, Robbing, etc).

The other will contain all the millions of pounds that has been wilfully and negligently handed over to them and wasted.

Meanwhile, this is a verbatim transcript of how the opening nights are being choreographed by the Mancs from Ear to the Ground.
(PS We know it's not really Gossip, but we couldn't fit this in anywhere else because all the blogs are up to date with important and good stuff and there is more to come. So stay posted, eds)

The provisional performance timeline;
18:30 Start of procession
Mark Ronson and the other artists will be on a ferry travelling down the Mersey. At key points there will be fireworks let off to animate the journey.
At the same time The RLPO will be split on to two open top buses that will lead 2 lantern processions to the arena. The processions will involve other celebrities and people from Liverpool.
19:08 St Georges Hall and the plateau : the city unites
The massed Liverpool artists will be welcomed by the people of the city in front of St Georges’ Hall. Projected clocks on the side of the building mark the countdown as aerial rockets are launched every one of the last eight minutes to the opening of the City of Culture.
Across the plateau there will be art installations and fairground rides, but until 20:08 they are still. Lights are focused across the buildings but again are dimmed, as sky trackers and huge spot lights scan across them.
Around the square huge close up projections of the faces of a cross section of Liverpudlians talk about what their city may become –their fears and hopes for the future.

Aim: Mark Ronson to open the Liverpool Arena and European Capital of Culture
Date: 12th January 2008
The artists arrive and begin to flood out though the doors of the hall onto the steps, in front of the massed crowd.
The tiers of performers interspersed with two dimensional cut out figures of past and absent heroes, recall the famous cover of Sergeant Peppers Lonely hearts Club Band and Adrian Henri’s iconic Hope Street painting. This tableau of Liverpool artists, photoshopped prior to the event, is projected cross the building and accompanied by a soundscape of the people of Liverpool talking about what they so love about the artist’s work they have selected and how it has enriched their lives. These voices are layered and supported by the echoing sound of the sounds and songs of the city, its music, its football crowds, the bells of its cathedrals and favourite songs.
20: 05
A representative of the city makes a short inspirational speech, (so not the Fireman, then eds) inter cut by ever larger markings of the passing minutes. This speech welcomes the artists who the city’s people have chosen to honour at this historic moment (not Henshaw, not Storey, not McElhinney, not Hasitall, not Robbing, not Jase, either, eds) and what their work has meant to them.

It welcomes the artists and people of Europe and the world to come, enjoy and savour the culture of one of the world’s most unique cities.
The speech concludes, (thank Christ for that, eds) a wall of fountains lift off from the buildings, surrounding the audience in a ring of fire, as huge aerial shells light up the sky.
Through the smoke of this opening salvo a figure is illuminated high above the crowd
on the pinnacle of the Radio Mast. (Is it Cover Up? Perhaps it's Our Lord Redmond? eds)

He holds a guitar, and has a small guitar amp at his feet. (It's Hasitall!, eds) His image, projected across the projection screens, could be that of any of the tens of thousands of young aspirant guitarists, who have been the bedrock of the cities musical fame (Someone from Sirenz? eds)

After a moments pause he plays an opening guitar break. (Don't get too excited. It's Dave Stewart, Liverpool connection unknown. But that's a detail, eds)

As it echoes across the space, flares are released from the building tops all around the crowd, illuminating 200 young guitarists that appear on the rooftops surrounding the crowd below.
Together they play a ‘Liverpool Concerto for guitars’. Their silhouettes fill the skyline of St Georges Hall, Lime Street, the Holiday Inn, The Royal Court, St John’s Car Park, The Empire
As they play a further ten famous Liverpool guitarists are lifted into the air on scissor lifts between each of the pillars of the Hall.
Finally a rhythm section joins in as Ringo Starr is illuminated on the roof above the
Portico, with a support band made up of iconic Liverpool musicians.
From the Portico Roof, Cilla Black steps forward and welcomes the crowd. She is
joined by Atomic Kitten who perform a new version of ‘Step Inside Love’, produced by
Ian Brodie (They can't spell his name properly, but never mind, he's not tuurning up anyway, eds) which is released into the charts the following day.
As the ‘concerto ‘concludes, three cherry pickers rise up into the air. They carry Roger McGough, Levei Tefara and the young winner of a competition run through Liverpool
schools. They who recite three inter locking short poems commissioned specially for the event.
Then as fireworks lift off the building, Dave Stewart, and Ringo Starr perform their new collaboration ‘Liverpool I left you, but never let you down’ , from the St Georges Rooftop, again to be released as a single the following day and delivered at no cost to the event. (Utter Bollocks of course, eds)
There follows a commissioned piece for lone saxophone and a massed Liverpool choir climaxing with the lighting of a large, crane hung ‘08’ fire sculpture and an intense three minute firework display that lights up the sky.
The opening is finished and attention focuses to the evenings main performance.
21:30 The opening of the arena
For the press and VIP’s, the 1000 people who have won tickets through a city wide ballot, and the 7,000 ticket holders, the focus of the evening now shifts to the opening of the New Arena.
For its first public performance, the City commissions an extraordinary new work, a
contemporary reflection and ‘re-invention’ inspired by the musical heritage, reworked,
mixed, stirred and put together again in a radical new way, both a tribute to the past
and mirror to the future.
The concert brings together Mark Ronson, (oh no it doesn't, eds) Vasily Petrenko, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, choirs, a cross section of the city’s principal and most famous
musicians from the last forty years and a range of prominent musicians from around
the world.
Staged on an eight tier high and twenty metre wide scaffolding structure, it vertically stacks choirs, musicians and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra vertically in to the air, and through the use of theatrical scrims projects on to them, through them and over them a collage of extraordinary images of the city.
At the centre of the project sits Mark Ronson (oh no he doesn't, eds) While based in New York Mark traces his roots back to Liverpool where his family is from. While growing he became a close family friend of many of Liverpool’s most influential musicians. Today, as a producer
and DJ he has become one of the most influential figures in contemporary music and
production. (But he won't be in Liverpool anyway so it doesn't really matter, does it? eds)
His speciality is the reinvention of songs of the past, fusing them with new beats, rhythms and influences and working with a range of the world’s most prominent vocalists and artists. Past work has included re-workings of ‘Hey Jude’ and the Zuton’s ‘Valerie’ re-recorded by Amy Winehouse. He currently has a number two in the charts, a recreating of a Smith’s song, and an acclaimed new album ‘Versions’. (Good idea (ish) but he isn't here is he? eds)
Mark will work with classical composers, the RLPO and wide selection of contemporary and popular musicians and singers to create this re- imagining of the cities music, a homage its power to inspire new generations of artists. It will range from early traditional Liverpool songs and lullabies, through the songs of the Mersey Sound, to Eric’s and Cream and unsigned new Liverpool bands. It will feature many of the most loved son and daughters of the Liverpool music scene and integrate spoken word and text, featuring the array of writers, poets and playwrights for which the city is famous, figures such as Roger McGough, Willy Russel, Alan Bleasdale and Jimmy McGovern. ('Who invited him then?' - Joe Riley)
The selected song line will be ordered and chosen in such a way to tell the story of the city and the influences that will forge its identity and future, as it explores different ways to re-invent and re-generate itself. (Utter bollocks - ways to waste taxpayers money, eds)
This story will be visually told through a collision of images drawn from the amazing range of visual artists, film makers and photographers who have been inspired by the city’s qualities and identities. It will draw widely on the current Tate exhibition ‘The Centre of the Creative Universe’.
However, like the music, these images will be forged together, in new ways and forms,
manipulated and re-invented with the latest developments in digital film technology, and cutting edge artists from the city.
Initial thoughts for songs include
1. The Beatles Eleanor Rigby
2. The Zutons Valerie
3. Elvis Costello Shipbuilding
4. Echo and the Bunnymen Killing Moon
5. The Farm All together now (hey, that's us! eds)
6. Space Female of the Species
7. The Las There she goes
8. The Undertones Teenage Kicks (John Peels Favourite Song)
9. George Harrison My Sweet Lord
10. Paul McCartney Live and Let die
11. The Real Thing Can you feel the force
12. The Coral Bill McCai
13. The Dead 60s Riot Radio
14. Cilla Black Step inside
15. K Klass Let me show you love (last song played at cream)

There is a further list one the last page.
We need Marks input on songs that he feels his unique style would do the most justice. These are quite famous songs and should only be looked as a starting point.
The inevitable conversations between Mark and other artists will lead to gems being uncovered that will produce a truly unique performance. (ie, 'we have no idea what to do next,' eds)
There is the potential to use other songs not from Liverpool but performed by Liverpool artists
It is important that the whole evening does not rest on the legacy of The Beatles.
The quality of artists that collaborate on the evening is crucial to the success of this event, using Marks contacts alongside our own something great can be achieved. (But won't be, because Mark is not doing it, eds)
23:00 Performance over
Rehearsal time
We would imagine 4 full production rehearsals taking place in the Arena with the
orchestra 8th – 11th January.
It is possible to arrange a number of days working with the RLPO whenever Mark is available.
It is also possible to arrange meetings between Mark and Vasily Petrenko the principle conductor of RLPO
Performance Rights
We have a dedicated lawyer who will sort out the publishing rights for the chosen songs
The CD and DVD rights are to be negotiated and will form part of the negotiations of
Marks fees for the studio, rehearsal and performance. (And there's the rub, eds)
10,000 seats at the arena
The provisional allocation is
1,500 VIP / rider (oh aye, who is this lot then? Will Tony Parrish get a seat? eds)
1,000 giveaways to the people of Liverpool (Gee thanks, eds)
7,500 paid seats
Hospitality packages are available and are still to be negotiated.
40,000 people around the city watching on large screens (high dependency on weather
in January) (This figure appears to have gone down to 25,000, eds)
Liverpool Capital of Culture will be promoting and ticketing the whole event and taking the revenues. (With The Rottweiller's LDL, raking off their mark-up, eds)
The Liverpool Capital of Culture will be underwriting the whole event and taking out event and cancellation insurance
The event will be produced by Ear to the Ground.
Once contracts have been signed EttG will be the sole point of contact for the event
Media Coverage
To be decided upon Mark and other artists involvement
Next Steps
To organise a face to face meeting with all parties to finalise the contracts as soon as possible
Nigel Jamieson
Nigel Jamieson is one of the world’s leading event and theatre directors.
His work has included creating the central component of the Opening Ceremony of 2000 Sydney Olympics Games, directing six segments of 24 hour worldwide Millennium Broadcast, and Artistic Direction of the 2002 Closing Ceremony of the Manchester Commonwealth Games.
He directed Jose Carreras at Ankor Wat ,Cambodia, has worked at the Royal National
Theatre, and created the London Festival of New Circus and the London International
Workshop Festival. His recent production ‘Honour Bound’, about Guantanamo Bay
opens its2007 European Tour at the Vienna Festival prior to a major tour culminating
at London’s Barbican Centre.
Ear to the Ground
Ear to the Ground is an events agency that conceives and produces experiential activity using its understanding of contemporary culture.
They confidently combine innovative concepts with a solid production foundation to inspire both clients and audiences.
The company was formed in 2002 by Jon Drape and Steve Smith. They met in the legendary Hacienda where Jon was the in house venue manager and Steve had filled it with one of his many club nights. That was then, today Ear to the Ground has a wide portfolio of events ranging working across many sectors, art, fashion, film alongside music.
David Norris will be leading the project from Ear to the Ground.
Richard Mc Ginnis
Richard Mc Ginnis is a Liverpool based promoter with over 11 years experience in the city. Behind Liverpool success stories Chibuku & Circus, through these events has won every major dance music award out there from Mixmag club of the year to BBC Radio one House Rules Club of the year. Richard is also talent booker for the legendary Liverpool dance festival Creamfeilds now in his 4th year as talent consultant as well as being one of the owners of the extremely successful Manchester based Warehouse Project at Boddingtons. In 2006 alone he was behind no less than 200,000 ticket sales
Liverpool Culture Company
The Liverpool Culture Company is the organisation set up by Liverpool City Council to
deliver the culture programme up to and beyond 2008 (God help us, eds)
They are working closely with all their stakeholders - including cultural organisations, communities, artists, schools, businesses, commercial partners, funders and our fellow Merseyside boroughs - to help Liverpool shine on the world stage by delivering the best-ever European Capital of Culture in 2008.
Liverpool Culture Company has a broad remit and the definition of culture covers everything from artistic performance to heritage, health to tourism.
European Capital of Culture
The European Capital of Culture is a city designated by the European Union for a period of one year during which it is given a chance to showcase its cultural life and cultural development. A number of European cities have used the City of Culture year to transform their cultural base and, in doing so, the way in which they are viewed internationally.
Conceived as a means of bringing citizens of European Union closer together, European City of Culture was launched on June 13, 1985 by the Council of Ministers on the initiative of the Greek Minister of Culture Melina Mercouri. Since then, the initiative has been more and more successful amongst European citizens and has had a growing cultural and socio-economic impact on the numerous visitors it has attracted.
The Song List
Boo Radley Wake Up Boo
Cilla Black Liverpool Lullaby
Classic song In My Liverpool Home
Echo and the Bunnymen 7 Seas
Echo and the Bunnymen Killing Moon
Elvis Costello Shipbuilding
Elvis Costello I can't stand up for falling down
Frankie goes to Hollywood Relax
Frankie goes to Hollywood Two Tribes
George Harrison My Sweet Lord
Gerry and the Pacemakers Don't Let the Sun Catch you Crying
Gerry and the Pacemakers Ferry across the Mersey
Gerry and the Pacemakers You'll Never Walk Alone
Isaac Hayes I love Music
Jimmy Osmond Long Haired Lover from Liverpool
John Lennon Power to the People
John Lennon Starting Over
John Lennon Whatever gets you through the night
John Newton Amazing grace
The Undertones Teenage Kicks
Julian Cope World Shut yer Mouth
K Klass Let me show you love
Ladytron Seventeen
Lighting Seeds/Ian Brodie Footballs Coming Home (Football moment)
Lightning Seeds/Ian Brodie Marvellous
Marc Almond/Gene Pitney Anyone who had a Heart
Paul McCartney Live and Let Die
Pete Wylie Heart as big as Liverpool
Screaming J Hawkins You Put A Spell On Me (Listened to by the Beatles)
Space Female of the Species
The Beatles Come Together
The Beatles Revolution Cream
The Beatles Working Class Hero
The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour
The Beatles Yesterday (Ray Charles Version)
The Farm Altogether Now
The La's There She Goes (Gabrielle's version)
The Mighty Wah! Story of the Blues
The Real Thing Can you feel the the Force
The Real Thing Children of the Ghetto (Mary J Blige version)
The Zutons Valerie
Possibly using just the rifts and samples of The Beatles songs to abridge the performance.

(And the cost...............? eds)


Anonymous said...

Been listening to Roger Phillips, Phil Redmond and Jane Casey wittering on all week about: yes we've had problems but people should forget all that and get on with it.

Roger Phillips: "yes we admit it was badly managed company" (you and Phil were on the Board Remember?Take some responsibility!)

How easy they forget that for the past four years they were themselves very outspoken critics of the Culture Company, which had a very serious demoralising impact on the staff and no doubt contributed to some of the resignations both high and low profile.

They and the Echo are such hypocrites now asking people to turn a blind eye to their cock ups and calamities with a dismissal of
"this is what always happens and we will be picking over the bones of this for years to come".

Utter nonsense!you are now in the firing line yourself and you don't like it, well welcome to our lot in life you hypocritical bastards.

You jumped on the band wagon at the last minute to take any glory when you were partly responsible for the mess in the first place.

Shame on you, opportunists of the highest order.

Anonymous said...

Did you know they forgot to tell the Empire what they were doing and had to pay to refund all tickets for friday nights sell out performance a cock up costing around 60 Grand !!

Talk about Culture Company and Communications problems !!

They say they talk to the Cultural Institutions - Bollocks.

What a cock up DOH !!

Anonymous said...

Well I must admit that after having seen it I prefer the written version.

It am sure it was art but what the hell does it mean?

Anonymous said...

What would it have been like without Redmond Phillps and Jane Casey?

Exactly the same.

they added nothing to the year if they are going to make any difference it will not show until much later on in the year.

Tori Blare said...

Jane sat on the bed remember, thats culture!

Anonymous said...

The People's Opening was pretty ropey affair that left many walking away thinking "Was that it?" and pretty ashamed of the blatant plugs for Ringo's single and the poor performance from Ringo too.
Saturday night's shindig at the arena was only 'saved' by Pete Wylie, The Farm and the Phil. In fact, the Phil and Vasily Petrenko were outstanding - simply breathtaking in how good they were.

Anonymous said...

If it was'nt for the cultural Organisations we would be in serious shit.

Good luck to them they are keeping it all going.

Culture Co only take the credit the sooner its disbanded the better they are a waste of space and money.

Anonymous said...

'ello der La,

Does anybody out there in the wonderful world of Web based readers and contributors have a copy of a programme (old fashioned English word) which was called Chatoroke or something like that on which Jayne Casey appeared and proceeded to slag off Liverpool and the Capital of Culture in general?
It would be lovely to see it and rebroadcast it again for all of us to see her for what she really is

Anonymous said...

do you mean a hypocritical, money-grabbing Mouth Almighty, with about as much finesse and style as a rotting haddock?