City Links Lives.

Liverpool Life  Back in 2008, coinciding with Liverpool's year as Capital of Culture, I actually wrote a paid column for a local magazine. was a glossy monthly free sheet given away at arts venues, coffee shops and the like across the city with as you might expect a connected website (the domain is now owned by Reach, publishers of the Echo and used to report on one of the local football clubs). 

City Links, was a short piece in the "news" section which reviewed some local websites usually about five or six.  The column was pulled in one issue for some reason and I actually posted it on here.  As far as I know I was still paid the £50 fee that month anyway.  It's gratifying to see that at least half of those links still work in some capacity.  Link rot is a cruel master.

Most of the columns were scrambled together in desperation in the week before deadline and the links themselves varied in quality, not least because it had to be actual things rather than just articles on websites and had to be general enough to be of interest to someone flicking through the magazine in the Everyman Bistro while they wait for a show to start.

The gig lasted about ten months and also included writing previews for theatre production I'd rarely ultimately end up seeing based on press releases and a website.  After that I wrote some film reviews for Liverpool Confidential which are listed here, although none of the links work any more.  I've emailed them for permission to reproduce them in this blog's innards.

The upshot of all this preamble is I'm going to challenge myself to produce a new City Links column in the old style but for local related websites which have been useful or been of interest to me over the past few years.  Hopefully it won't be boring (which was never a guarantee back when I was writing the column, honestly you should have seen some of the things which were printed).


National Museums Liverpool Virtual Tours

The pandemic has been a challenging time for museums and many have turned to creating virtual tours of their exhibitions spaces, permanent and temporary, to allow visitors some kind of access to their collections.  National Museums Liverpool have stepped up.  Utilising the Matterport software, it's now possible to wander through key galleries like the Ancient Egyptians at the World Museum and the Titanic display at the Maritime Museum as well as past exhibitions, such as the English Lady's Wardrobe at the Walker.

BFI Player - Liverpool

The BFI Player's free section has a huge selection of films, long and short on many subjects and a search for Liverpool reveals numerous gems.  Liverpool 8 is a 1972 episode of This Week in which Jonathan Dimbleby investigates the racial tensions within the community.  Cathedral of Our Time has footage of the building and opening of "Paddy's Wigwam".  There's also silent material featuring the Tall Ships in 1984.  Plenty to explore.

Bus Times

Merseytravel's website sometimes isn't the easiest to navigate which is where Bus Times becomes vital.  An immensely detailed collection of data, it provides easy access to what it says in the title through a search box, but also this useful navigation tool which allows the traveller to select their local area down to the nearest street revealing all of the buses which are available, their destinations and time table.

Shakespeare North Playhouse

The building of the new theatre in Prescott continues apace and its due to open in Summer 2022 now, all being well.  Their website is a bit sparse at present, but has a time lapse of the exterior construction of the building, jobs and news pages [yes, I know it's in Knowsley but it's part of the Liverpool City Region combined authority so it counts -- ed.]

Liverpool Walking Tours

The modern equivalent of "tram films" from the silent period are these walking tours of the city centre taken by amateurs and professionals.  Especially in the past few years, they capture the city at a particular moment in time and should be as fascinating for future generations.  He's a hundred minute walk captured around Christmas time last December in the midst of the second lockdown with excellent views of the festive lights and general atmosphere.