Liverpool Irish Centre: Heritage and Hopes for "Dublin's Twin City"

February 11, 2021 00:56:05
Liverpool Irish Centre: Heritage and Hopes for "Dublin's Twin City"
The Plastic Podcasts
Liverpool Irish Centre: Heritage and Hopes for "Dublin's Twin City"
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Show Notes

Patrick Gaul, Angela Billing and Niall Gibney of Liverpool Irish Centre talk about facing the challenges of Covid and staging virtual performances as well as the shopping lists you can fill at their Irish Shop.

They also discuss the history of both city and centre, the question of being Irish, English or Liverpudlian, the centre’s role in the wider community and the rise of the Irish-themed bar in Liverpool. All of this while waiting for The Logues to tune up.

Plus Laurence Cox raises trailblazer Michael Dillon onto The Plastic Pedestal

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:03 <inaudible> Speaker 1 00:00:22 How you doing? I'm Doug Giovanni and you're listening to the plastic podcasts tales of the Irish diaspora. Well, we couldn't resist it. Could we? There's no way you can talk about the Irish diaspora in Britain without mentioning Liverpool. Let's face it. The city's virtually twinned with Dublin. The accent's been described as Irish with a cold and the Catholic cathedral is known locally as Paddy's wigwam, just a quick bit of housekeeping during the interview, there was a technical issue with my mic. So I've had to rerecord some of the questions. See if you can spot the join. Livable Irish center has been running since 1964, first of all, in Mount pleasant. And now in boundary lane, how it's changed the effects of lockdown and thoughts of the future are all on the agenda with my guests, Patrick Goel acting chair of the coordinating committee events, officer Angela billing and bar manager, Nitel Ghibli. There's an online gig with the rogues in the offing. So we glide straight past the how your doings to Patrick's first memories of the old center. Speaker 2 00:01:22 Well, I mean, most I was probably, she wasn't, she wasn't a right from the start, but she started going in the late sixties. So it was always sort of part of our lives. Um, mainly me more than, than the system. He says there as a dancer and then, uh, we would go to functions and masses and, uh, see bands and that sort of thing. Uh, and then the current era center I got involved because my daughter started dancing. If I she's just left the house, she's now nearly 30 and she's got her own kid who, um, I'm sure. Well, he's already listening to Irish music. Who's eight weeks old, so I'm sure he'd be going to the artist center soon. So it's a generational thing ready. And, uh, you either get it or you don't, that's what it was such a good, good thing to get into. Speaker 2 00:02:10 And I think I've really been sort of, um, almost obsessed with Ireland since it was a teenager, reading music, history, literature, uh, go into the place and I've got to know through the IO center, many great people see many great musical and other types of entertainment. Uh, and it's been a real privilege to be involved in a place. You know, sometimes I watch your first memory of it. Actually, my first memory is a dance. I went to one dancing lesson. There was a lady called Maureen Bolger on the dancing school. And my sister I think was already dancing and the mother took expose along and she made me go in the line to learn a step. And, um, I got told off for pointing my left instead of my right foot. And, uh, I ran back to mom, probably in tears and never went back. Speaker 2 00:03:02 That's quite a vivid memory. Um, and I still can't dance to save my life. And, um, I can't even do a one, two, three, but, uh, I can play a bit and, uh, I've joined in many sessions and that sort of thing, but I can't dance. That's a quite a vivid memory. You're not just at the idea center, but of my early days, right. I was probably about six or seven. So that would have been in the old artists center circa probably 1970. It was a great, it was a great old place, but this is a great place you've got now is a great place in a very different way, in a different location. And we're still doing all the things that went on the ice center really there's one or two exceptions and we're doing some different things. So, you know, life has evolved. It's changed, not ended. My first memory, the current places is walking in and seeing Tommy Walsh and speaking to some people and having chats on a Saturday morning with Tommy. Well, from whom I learned a lot and who was really the man who founded the first order center. Angela, what are your first memories? Speaker 3 00:04:07 Um, I, I, I, um, I didn't go to the old Irish center. Um, I've always gone to Ireland, but I never went to the old Irish center cause my parents didn't, I stumbled across it one day and I had the children with me and they all got involved straight away. They loved it. So door to door muse, they can dance in and the boys play football and GIA, and just grew up in there then really met loads of other families. And how did you get involved with the committee? Um, I think it's just, um, from cleaning up the place and tidy and round and do and stuff and volunteering for things. And, um, I was asked for, to stand for the committee and that was it there. I have to ask, are you been with the boat for five years now? Speaker 4 00:04:59 Yeah, so lots of, uh, three, four years ago. Uh, just way I can maybe it's shifts a week on the bar. And then, um, Angela's son was, was the manager at the time. And then I was as a system for about 12 to 18 months and then he left about a year ago. And then, and then I've been, um, trying to, trying to keep things safe long through COVID as much as possible. Speaker 2 00:05:24 I've had you been a regular at the center before that? Speaker 4 00:05:26 Um, not at the center for me, mom and dad's mess in the old Irish center and, um, all me grandparents and great uncles and great aunties used to go there. And then we, and then he grounds outsides. Uh, he was the arts is where you can decide or center. And his friends used to call me over and still to this day, um, as friends and friends of my great uncles coming here now it was talked to so that's, that's why, that's why I think it really it's something that has gone on through the Patrick Speaker 2 00:05:58 Was saying something like that. There are families who've been going since 1964 65. Um, there are people who are sort of like synonymous with the place as good friends of ours, like fellow Coachella of England, who was on their first committee back in 1965, he's still going. Um, so there's plenty of people who are, uh, true originals and you see the families going back generations with the singing and the dance and the music people like, um, uh, the lock-ins and the Quinlan's they're still going. They were probably original, uh, members, but I still think that it's a place where you can walk in and feel perfectly at home just on a one-off basis and people tend to come back. So there's people I see in the bar who, I don't know. And then suddenly you find that they're going weekend week out and they've got nothing to do with the artists community to just like being in the place, you know, cause it's a, it's a very welcoming, you know, relaxed, laid back place and there's always something going on, you know, even if there's not a formal act going on, there's usually people making their own entertainment. Speaker 2 00:07:01 So there are families that are like, you know, there's sort of like almost a dentisty, but there's also a lot of people who are, it was just finding the place and that's what we've got to do to make it sustainable. We've got to keep bringing in new people, you know, so Angela Speaker 4 00:07:15 You're involved with the events committee prior to COVID. Speaker 3 00:07:18 What would a typical week of the Aurora center have been like? And presuming there is such a beast. Well, we've had to different, different, big apps on. And so we used to try and plot before COVID, we'd use to plan something biggish every month. So we've had names like we've had Deb, Sharon Shannon and Nathan Casa, Elena McAvoy, and about some of the labs from the solo doctors, the Wolf tones, Westland, donkeys, the loaves we've had comedians Pacho. And so we were always planning, you know, a few biggies a year and then we pepper in some tribute nights and a bit of a mixed bag really for everyone. There's something on every day. Um, most evenings as well. Speaker 4 00:08:04 <inaudible> um, in the sense that with traditional music lessons, the children, uh, Tuesday afternoon without, uh, afternoon seas, um, sequenced Danson Tuesday, even without publicize classes without, um, a few of them fitness classes without boxing classes on Wednesday with <inaudible> on Wednesday, the virus language nefarious evening with an Irish music device service for the Irish community in hardship. But those with a tea dance with them every four nights and I'm going, I think that's happening. And this is just a smart answer on a Wednesday as well as a lunch club for the older pensioners. And a lot of those pensioners would have been the ones who were going to the old Irish center. And if so follows, you know, it's still called weekly to the Irish center even to this day, that's the weekday mostly based off. So it's really about creating and maintaining a sense of the Irish community end of the pool. Speaker 2 00:09:02 Right? I think that's right. I mean, I sort of struggled sometimes with the word community because the artist community in Liverpool was one sort of geographically identifiable. There was a big community in a place called Scotland Scotland road, ironically, on the way I was a town going North and there was a smaller community in the South end around sort of, uh, going towards toxic way. Uh, there was a big church that they built, uh, around the sort of, uh, time of the farm a bit afterwards called some Patrick's. The Irish came over in large numbers in the middle of the 19th century and had easily identifiable communities for probably for the best part of a hundred years. But for example, the Scotland road community was dispersed because they built the mercy tunnel and move people out. Uh, and the, the waves of immigration sort of petered out a bit really. Speaker 2 00:09:57 So the last big one was probably just after the second world war. And then since then, although there have been ways of Irish immigration, immigration, sorry, they've tended to go more to London for example, or America. So, um, I think we are a community center. Uh, I think we do principally still serve the needs of the artist community, but there isn't, you know, like you spoke to recently to leads. If you go to leads, you get a sense that they are essential leads is very much where the artist community is. I don't think you can say that really about Liverpool. And I don't think you could say that where we remained pleasant either. Uh, so the, the old center was sort of just on the edge of the center of town where a couple of miles out, but the old Irish communities weren't sort of where the old artist center was. Speaker 2 00:10:48 So I think that we welcome people from quite a wide geographical area in Liverpool and in the region. And I think we are a community center, but it's, it's quite difficult to say that we are there to serve the artist community and that's who, and that's where the place is because that's where the artist community is. It isn't really, it's much more scattered. Now I spent most of the eighties in London and I was very struck at how many first generation Irish people that were and how really, uh, some areas you never heard anything other than Irish actions. It struck me walking around, for example, Kilburn in the mid 1980s, that was a former Irish experience. And you would get in Liverpool city center. And I think that what happened in Liverpool was, uh, there was a huge wave of immigration. I mean, it was probably, you know, at one time around 1850, 1860 when maybe 25, 30% of the city was actually born in Ireland, you know, and I think to some extent, the cities will not on its sleeve for several reasons, firstly, because of its proximity to Ireland and to Dublin, it's it almost faces Dublin, you know? Speaker 2 00:12:05 Uh, and secondly, because the city has never really regarded itself as English, you know, there's, there's this theory about the exceptionalism of Liverpool and how Liverpool is different to any other English city and your average Liverpudlian, uh, glories in that. And I think therefore a lot of people will sort of look to their Irish roots that are as heritage rather than being English or they'll think of themselves primarily as Liverpudlian or Scouts, uh, with, with an Irish heritage. So it's still wears that, um, heritage on his sleeve, even though I suspect, and I don't know the figures compared to say Birmingham or London, we have far fewer first and second generation Irish people in the city. Now, Speaker 3 00:12:55 I suppose that brings me around to the question of your own connections with Ireland. So I'm going to start with Angela if I may, Angela. Oh, what's your family background. Yeah, my mom is from <inaudible> Gail talk, speaking areas. Dungarvan County was, but, and she came over near Sydney in 1956 and stage my dad was English and that was it. We've always gone. I spent some holidays in islands when we were growing up and after the same with my children, right, you are a Nile, what's your background there? Speaker 4 00:13:30 So also a lot of my grandparents were born in islands and different parts of islands and blessed me for mana and Omar. Um, and then obviously, and then me parents dies when I was quite young. So I was raised by my grandparents as well. So I was raised around the grandparents on the grades on course we were all Irish. And that, that was, that was what I was raised around. We used to go to four times a year and we were going to move. So what, we couldn't sell our house because it was not in the nicest part of every field. They couldn't sell it. So I ended up getting me some Liverpool and stuff. Speaker 2 00:14:06 And Patrick, just thinking that Nile said I was raised in Liverpool with a great deal of regression as well. Okay. Uh, well, Speaker 4 00:14:15 Would have been better if we was raised in a cottage in Westmead? I think definitely. Speaker 2 00:14:23 Uh, well, my I'm, uh, uh, goal and they are from Bali, hail and Kilkenny. Um, my was, uh, my mother was a Furlong then. Uh, her family were from Wexford for her mother was a Sloan from, uh, political Ross, Trevor and County down. So, um, we took quite a bit of work on the family tree. There's some interest in tails and, um, I think all the, all the great grandparents were, were Irish and, uh, we found out some quite interesting things about them. And, um, I think it was really my mother. My mother was the one who loved the Irish culture. I mean, he does, uh, although he was actually responsible for getting the license for the original Irish sense because he was, uh, a licensing lawyer, uh, which is apparently quite a surprise at the time that we actually managed to get a license. Speaker 2 00:15:16 Uh, he never really had anything to do with the place apart from being his lawyer. But, um, the mother was, um, her, her big thing in life is to go to the artist center twice a week. And, and so, you know, she, um, she brought that back and she played the music and talked about the people she'd met and, and that's how it sort of that's how it came, came to be. Uh, and she also, she was a Furlong from Wexford and, uh, she said that on her road, uh, which was like a counselor state in, uh, based called flip more Liverpool. Uh, there were five furlongs, none of whom started they were related, but they'd all come over from Ireland. And it's not a, it's a, it's a very common name in Wexford, but it's not a common name over here. So that gives an idea of how sort of, sort of, I suppose, intensely Irish, the background was reading you all, listening to the plastic podcasts. We all come from somewhere else. One of Liverpool, Irish center's proudest posts is the variety of goods available at its Irish shop. Nial explains all. And I'd advise that you have your pen and paper at the ready, just for the shopping list. Speaker 4 00:16:35 And me and Maureen is she's wearing the stanza for about 40 years after the old data sensor as well. We, um, I think of the shop, um, it's going really well. Um, I think the first lot done, uh, we we've seen, you know, figures in the shop that was, you know, double what we it's, what we would have ever have done in the shop. And we then tried to build on that and we've been building on it since over the past year and just included and get it in the shop as an investor. And, um, it's a hundred percent like the foremost place now for I've experienced in this city is now the Irish census shop. And we obviously do want to keep building on that and keep improving the figures and then the market and the publicity of the place. What kind of stuff do you do there that needs sausages? Kelly's Connick LT. Um, although Stan's biscuits, Kimberly's chocolate and Billy's, uh, John Matos or MacArthur's, whatever you call them. Red lemonades, Amaryl toffees, uh, galaxy cheese coffees, the cheese, uh, started selling Garmin last week. Big things of, okay. Garmin Ohad has cakes. O'Kanes takes a Kilmore cakes from core. Can I stop? Speaker 4 00:17:54 Has Brexit changed that because we've tried to get stuff from Ireland? Yeah, definitely the first, the first couple of, um, since the fed locked down and there's been a little bit more of a supply issue, a hundred percent with, with, with shop star. Well, hopefully that's common too. And I now understand sitting on top of it more and obviously job Brexit and also Brexit and a lockdown at the same time. It's just made that even more difficult, but hopefully there's a light at the end of that. I'll know when we start to get, get back to normal now. And whose idea was the shop the shop's been running in there the years. Um, but it was, it wasn't really utilized very well, um, over the last couple of years, and now it's more of like a standalone shop, which is it's more popular now as a thing, whereas beforehand, it was just the people who came in might sort of know, but now people are hearing about it from outside. You don't even come to the center and the comments, the center specifically for the shop was it wasn't popular beforehand. Maybe positive is because a lot of Irish people haven't been able to go home usually as well. So if don't want to recess another way, they can get these products that let them to us. Speaker 2 00:19:06 The elder is central, the beautiful shop. There was all sorts in that, you know, CDs and jewelry and clothes and all sorts of things on papers. You could buy a paper from every County in Ireland and the old data center. And, uh, I'd love our currents are sensitive to something like that, but what has happened, um, you know, the lockdown has been difficult in many ways for many people, but there's been some benefits for us. And one of the things is the shelf has really improved and become a lot more busy. And, you know, partly because we can't open the bar, we sorta more focused on the shop, but we're getting, you know, dozens of people in every day, which is great during the day it's to buy this stuff, sausages and backwards and whiteboards and all that sort of stuff. And it's been grateful. It's, you know, it's one of the things in the lockdown, which, you know, it hasn't all been bad. You know, uh, our shoppers has really sort of come into its own in the last 12 months. Uh, speaking of lockdown, you've done an awful lot of virtual events and things online. Speaker 4 00:20:13 So it was on quite a lot of stuff online. So probably eight, nine different last Jean singers with thoughts, we've being at home weekly health activities online, we've got a yoga again, we've got mindfulness process with staff affairs before class recently. And then other than that, we've done other things such as, you know, trying to just grow our reach generally. And all our online platforms. We've done a lot of weight on that. Our publicist CMR and our website's completely different. We started a blog, which we never used to have now that it's like its own little thing now. And yeah, we were a lot more, a lot more popular online now than we were a year ago. Definitely. Speaker 2 00:21:03 We did a run to Dungarvin. How did that work? There was a group of people who would run every day between the 21st and the 31st of December. And you count up your miles at the end of the day and you'd work out, had gone from, I don't know, Dublin to Tipperary or whatever it was. And we run from Liverpool to Dungarvin and back because we have connections in Dungarvan. And then when we came back, we went via the Birmingham artists and Manchester and Burlington, Speaker 4 00:21:30 And each state has different songs that we would share on the websites and addition posts and people would send pictures in and then we'd place the pictures and the, you know, the pictures and the miles and the tell people, listen, we've got to be here today and we've got to such and such a place and that share songs or stories from that place to try and connect with people who couldn't get home for Christmas Speaker 2 00:21:55 As part of the policies, um, project to connect people. It was called, I think it was called the Irish at home or something called to be artists at Christmas. And so people, mostly in Ireland did stuff. There was a few people in, uh, in the UK, did it as well. And, um, but all sorts of things going on, but that's what we did. We, we ran to Ireland and so each day we describe where we'd been and scenery and all that sort of stuff. And then we do some singing and dancing all the way as well. Speaker 4 00:22:23 We also, um, Christmas raffle as well, uh, that was like our first virtual online F one visa. And we raised almost 3000 pounds of that as well. So that was like a new thing for us as well. Speaker 2 00:22:36 How'd you like organizing events that are online rather than live or doesn't that suddenly become a really weird headache? Yeah. We just handed tonight. We just got that. We can collate information stuff now it's got the magic. Speaker 4 00:22:56 Okay. Well we can just approach and just say, you know, would you be interested in doing this? Or the people would approach us obviously to try to increase the exposure? You know, so they'll approach <inaudible>, it helps us increase our exposure, helps them increase their exposure. And it's like, you know, you're scratching each other's back really with some of them. And the, some of them will do them because they know it was as the sensor and they want to help us so different people. I've got difference and mindsets going in to do an online account for us. If you will had, you mentioned Speaker 2 00:23:28 Manchester and Birmingham and others, is there a kind of community of community centers there? Not really. I mean, I think it's probably several organizations think that try and sort of bring people together from time to time to meet people from other areas centers, but tend to be fairly. And I was on a meeting today, run by the Irish and Britain where there were 60 odd people, several of whom were from <inaudible> that doesn't really that there isn't really much interaction. The last person I mess was probably the year before last, before locked lockdown. I met somebody from Nottingham and somebody from Leeds, the sort of thing where you think we really should do more of this, but you know, we're all, we're all busy people and we're all volunteers while it will not, it isn't, but you know, most of the people on the capacity, we'll all look a bit people on the committee of volunteers. Now it's quite a big ask to say, I'm going to go over and see people in the Newcastle area center. You know, we probably could do more virtually, and maybe this is something that we need to look at. These umbrella organizations are formed like Irish and Britain when they actually bring people from different areas centers together. There's another question, you know, I'm not sure that that's really, that that really, um, is effective in making us link up with Manchester and Leeds and Birmingham. And we probably ought to really Speaker 5 00:24:53 <inaudible>, Speaker 1 00:25:01 We'll be back with Liverpool Irish center in a moment, but first a touch, more housekeeping. If you haven't subscribed to the plastic podcasts just yet, then why the heck not? Here's your perfect opportunity. Simply go to our [email protected], scroll to the bottom and enter your email address in the space, provided one confirmatory click later, and you'll be getting details of each and every fresh podcast as it happens. And now it's time for the plastic pedestal. This is where I invite one of my guests to talk about a member of the diaspora of personal cultural or political significance to them this week. Dr. Lawrence Cox nominates a true pioneer. Speaker 5 00:25:44 Yeah. So I have in mind, uh, another Irish Batiste for you who is a trans pioneer. So somebody who was born Laura Dylan, but came to identify as Michael Dylan was the first ma uh, trans man ever to have follow plastics. So to have a penis built for him, this is in the second world war. When you could change identity relatively easily. And plastic surgery was making leaps and bounds because of particularly airmen would be fat, you know, would have horrendous burns and so on. So he passes as a man. He qualifies as a doctor in Trinity, um, and he writes a pioneering book about sexuality, gender trans issues. And so on in 1946. And then in the early 1950s, he is ousted by the British tabloid press. Yeah. Remember they don't have the internet, but they go back and they go, weren't you born Laura Dylan. Speaker 5 00:26:57 And he is an incredibly ethical, but deeply private person. He sleeves he's working as a ship's doctor. He goes to India. He never comes back. And in India he becomes a Buddhist and he winds up in Ladakh. So the tobacco part of India, and he tells me, he insists on having being given absolutely zero white privilege. So the rule in monastery is seniority in terms of when you get in or not your age and so on, they would have made an exception for him, but he goes, no. So they put rice at the bottom with these teenage two Baton boys who were working in the kitchen, and this is Ladakh. It is bitterly cold. These are, you know, everybody else is used to this stuff. Um, and he has this, I'll just tell you this one story about, and he has a little flashback. He remembers himself in the club in London, and he talks about the bringing him his pillow. Speaker 5 00:27:58 Cause he's the gentleman, right? Bringing him his pillow about the wonderful breakfast. And so, uh, and he's got this moment of, Oh my God, I gave up all of this and that. He says, you know, then I looked at the faces of my friends and, you know, they were dirty or they had rubbish teeth. Uh, we were all drinking this, you know, strange watery Tibet C with a lump of dough in it at the moment passed, but I was very happy to be there. And it's such an extraordinary act of courage to remake yourself both as a man. But then as you know, I'm a peer to these people. They're my peers. I don't want to be back in the club. I'm not hunkering up to that. And delighted to be where I am extraordinarily brave and ethical individual who deserves an awful lot more attention, Speaker 1 00:28:56 Lawrence Cox there. And if you want to hear more of what Lawrence has to say, why not listen to his interview, simply go to the [email protected] or seek it out on Spotify, Amazon, or Apple podcasts. Now back to the Liverpool Irish center. And I want to follow up on comments. The Patrick made earlier in the interview, if the Irish community isn't as concentrated into the pool, as it used to be, then does that mean that the center has become more about the city rather than it does about the Irish interval? Speaker 2 00:29:29 Yeah, I think that's a very good question. And I think that's one of the fundamental questions we have to grapple with over the next 10 to 20 years. Um, I mean probably, you know, somebody would, you know, some people regard it as heresy to say it's anything Vinaya center, but we're in, uh, you know, uh, uh, an area of Liverpool which could really do with a good community, the center. Um, and I think that if we get the building, but most things, if you get the environment, right, if you got the building rights, then they tend to work on there. If you make places nice people, Tom, whether they're Irish or Scottish or whatever, for like to be a nice place. It's. So if we can carry on making the RD center a nice place to be, and we've got some plans that I hope will come off in the next couple of years, uh, if we enhance the premises where we'll attract people from in fact more people from the local community, uh, and from Y to beyond, even if they're not Irish. Speaker 2 00:30:29 And I actually think now you see when the old artists tend to was formed back in the sixties, the artist didn't have a particularly good PR in this country. It's all changed now. You know, the Irish thing is a very strong brand. And so I don't think there's any sort of suspicion or, or antipathy the, that we used to have, uh, even even into the eighties last, um, twenty-five 30 years transform the Irish brand. And I think that people are comfortable going into an owner center where perhaps in the sixties and seventies, they weren't. So I think that you raise a very good point and I think it's something that we've got to really sort of think about, because I think that we do have to become a wider than I are and should, in fact, that's already been happening over the last 10 years and you quite often see events that aren't artists center, which have nothing to do with it. Speaker 2 00:31:23 Uh, but I think that's, that's one of the ways that we will evolve over the next 10, 10 to 20 years. Is there any kind of outreach then that takes place from the center to the rest of Liverpool? Yeah, there's there's um, well, before lockdown, there were, um, we were doing educational things, schools, the ice dancing, uh, people will take the skills elsewhere as well, the musicians, um, we don't have what you would call an outreach worker. We have, um, Don, uh, does health and wellbeing in the community. I'm not sure whether she, we call it outreach worker, but, um, you know, the Irish center, doesn't just sort of sit there and wait for people to come in and we do go out into the community and do all sorts of things. You know, there's a, uh, there's a, there's a parade, right. Uh, 17th of March, which is run by people, connected with the center and you'll see, uh, dancers performing, uh, around some Patrick's day and that sort of thing. Speaker 2 00:32:26 Uh, it's probably something we could do more of. Yeah. But I think that, you know, w we are out in the community, you know, painting on local radio and that sort of thing. Uh, but again, that, that's something that we need to think about as well to try and more people into the place, because when we're like, like everywhere else, and this is going to become, I think probably more of an issue post lockdown, we'll, we'll be competing to get people into the center. You know, we've got to remain, we got to be sustainable by being viable and relevant. So we'll have to offer things that people want to come once they come to. And what's also happened in Liverpool in the last, uh, probably five or 10 years. There's has been a proliferation of Irish pubs. There's probably about a dozen Irish pubs in Liverpool now. So we have to find, we have to find some way of competing with that, not being an Irish pub, but offering entertainment and culture that people can't get in all of these other places. Angela. Now what's your thoughts. Speaker 4 00:33:28 Yeah. I agree with Patrick. Um, you know, we do do a loss in the community with health and wellbeing, and also we've got a food bank as well, where food bank drop off point and a fence posts and food banks and Liverpool combined funds normally outside the ground. Of course, they haven't been able to do that now. So we've been acting as a food bank, drop off points for them. Um, yeah. And as Patrick said, we just have to keep relevance and we have to keep doing things, you know, and hampers the Christmas, make sure the people who need us, we're reaching them. You know, a lot of obviously before, before COVID cause the, the area where, uh, where our sensors, if it's a very diverse area, um, you know, let's say not so much outreach to the point where lots of different communities were common and to our sensor and spreading the, where the boats are having parties here. Speaker 4 00:34:29 And so that is also in a way, I would say a community thing because we'll help them in different communities very often without the Nepalese community and telling their friends and their community, they in quite regularly a lot, there was a lot of different people spreading the words and conferences, parties, and all these other different types of events in the Irish sense, because we were so welcoming in comparisons, you know, social clubs and things of that nature. We were so welcoming to all these different communities. So they were always Coleman. So it was, does that make sense because this podcast is about the RSD Aspro I know one of the things that a lot of my interviewees have said in particular about being raised in the seventies is this sense of having a foot in both countries and Speaker 2 00:35:24 The home. And neither, when you look at who Speaker 4 00:35:27 You are, do you think you're more English or Irish, or are you simply from me? Speaker 2 00:35:32 I've never felt English in my life apart for wedding loom and play cricket. I used to be really embarrassed about, but actually there's quite a lot of Irish people think that, I mean, curiously, Martin McGuinness, huge English cricket fund. So, uh, we were, I don't think we really had, um, the Irish thing sort of forced upon us and, you know, we had to do Irish things, but I think that it was, uh, being from the cool in the seventies, uh, growing up in the seventies, you had a sense that the rest of the country didn't like Liverpool very much and sometimes it could raise and, you know, uh, and this sort of, uh, trickled into the eighties as well. And so you sort of, sort of felt a hostility towards living for, I mean, famously, such as government talked about the managed decline of Liverpool that was going to be the strategy until Heseltine came along and Liverpool was a place where, which was and had been for a very long time. Speaker 2 00:36:32 Uh, I sort of busty in of, uh, militancy and trade Judaism. There's a lot of strikes. And that was to some extent you could, you could trace that through to the artist connection of James Larkin, you know, back in, well, you know, over a hundred years ago. And so there was a tradition, I think, in Liverpool of, of being a bit sort of antiestablishment. And so we probably, we probably copped onto a bit of that. Uh, and, and I think that there was a sense being 11 through in the seventies and eighties. And you probably got this in, in sort of mining communities as well, that the establishment was against you, because let me add this other string to its bow, which was, it felt like an Irish city, it felt like a city that looked out, it didn't look into the rest of the country. Speaker 2 00:37:21 It didn't look into it, Manchester and Birmingham, it looked out to, to Ireland and America. So, so to answer your question, did you feel excluded from both? Not really, because I think we had a strong sense of being from Liverpool and a strong element of that was being from Ireland. I mean, we even had our own sort of sectarian struggles. I mean, there was quite a lot of sectarianism, the Liverpool probably, you know, even after the world war. So we had a lot of this sort of the Irish, um, sort of connotations, even though we were living in what was geographically, an English city. I never really, you felt, uh, felt like excluded the, from everywhere. I felt very strongly that I was from Liverpool and that there was a big element of that, which was being from Ireland, but I didn't have a really feel that I was from England. I didn't really want to be ready. It didn't sort of bother me. Um, I mean, when I went into other parts of England, it was slightly sort of, so orienting to meet lots of people who felt quintessentially English, no East end of London or, you know, other places. Um, and I, I never, I'm still don't feel remotely English, but it doesn't bother me. And I've always felt very proud to be from Liverpool. And when people ask me, where are you from? I say, I'm from Liverpool. What about you, Andrew? Speaker 3 00:38:44 Yeah, pretty much the same really, um, feel about was as strong as Liverpool in Irish, you know, like Patrick and never felt particularly English and, um, never followed England as a team in anything always veered for Irish and my children at the same rarely. And there's definitely a level of pool Irish thing Speaker 4 00:39:11 And yes, same. Yeah, same. Um, yeah, I suppose I don't even really supporting ones in football because we've got more chance of, of winner. That's definitely spot islands and repeat it. If it was Ireland game rooms, it's definitely a selfish thing where to the Irish roots that, which you mentioned, I'd say quite a bit difference or discourses with outsiders, just sports. Um, but yeah, it's definitely a Liverpool first and foremost, Liverpool Irish. Speaker 2 00:39:41 One of the nice things I got involved with, I got to know, uh, Irish football supporters through, uh, the Irish toffees. Um, and, uh, they would come over in the hundreds every week at one time and I'm all the reasons, okay. It wasn't just to watch Evan. It was to watch, but it was to, to come to Liverpool. They love coming to Louisville and there's people, you know, before lockdown, there'd be plenty of people coming to Liverpool for the weekend. A because it was cheaper than going out and Dublin and a and B because they loved Liverpool's nightlife. All the reasons they do is they, they feel welcome here because I think they almost feel that the sort of home from home, you know, you mentioned that in the seventies and eighties, it was Speaker 3 00:40:24 Popular thing to be from Liverpool as far as the rest of the country was concerned. And also the same thing could be said about, uh, being Irish in this country. So do you think all three of these Speaker 2 00:40:35 Changed? Oh yeah. I think the artist brand is really strong now. I mean, I think, um, you know, in the partly because of the troubles, well, yeah, largely because of the troubles, the seventies and eighties were very difficult. There was obviously, you know, I mean, growing up in the seventies every night on the tele almost there'd be pictures of, you know, some sort of terrible goings on and Northern Ireland because that spilled over into this country in the mid seventies with bombings in Birmingham and Guilford and places, uh, you'd have people on the, on the telly every night on the nine o'clock news, it was all the first items every night, what was going on in Ireland. And it was, it was rarely good news and probably in the same use ice and you'd have a strike in Liverpool Fords or, you know, these refuse collectors or down at the docks or whatever. Speaker 2 00:41:31 And it was certainly not my sort of consciousness growing up was, uh, it was usually bad news. And I think that really, I mean, I left Liverpool in the eighties to go and study elsewhere and, and have worked elsewhere. And I was very conscious that there was a very strange issue to people from Liverpool, from people elsewhere in the country. They thought you were a bit odd, you know, they thought that you were probably lawless up to no good. Uh, probably had a criminal record, that sort of thing. There was a lot of stereotypes which was reinforced by the media. And that's actually very, um, similar to the treatment of Irish people. I mean, it's not that long ago that Irish people were regularly lampooned as being not sort of fully formed human beings, you know, punch magazines in the 19th century and later, and lots of very respectable people, including people like Winston Churchill had a very, very low regard from, for the Irish. Speaker 2 00:42:30 And that's, that's sort of carried on until relatively recently then in the eighties, of course, uh, you know, things like the hunger strikes and all that sort of thing that was going on, that would, that was that again gave a very bad, um, impression to English people what was going on in Ireland and then it started to change. And I think part of the reason to change was cultural. I think you had people like the Pogues, um, you know, English people started liking Irish music. You had Jack Charlton who was a great English man managing Ireland. And one of the great things about Jack Charlton was he kept telling the English people how great the Irish people were, you know, and how great Ireland was. And so we saw the start of a change in the eighties. And then of course, by the end of the nineties, there was a peace process and that helped, and it wasn't dissimilar and Liverpool because I saw, I came back to Louisville in the late eighties, about 1990. Speaker 2 00:43:25 And, um, Liverpool was still not in a great place, but by 2000 Liverpool herd starts to change. And by 2008, we were a couple of culture and we built a new retail place and the place it starts to pause again. And now I think Liverpool is second or third top tallest place in the country. So it's been sort of nice to be part of both things, really the improvement of the brand of Ireland and the improvements of Liverpool's reputation. And now living, I think most lots of people Consolo pool to study and stay lots of people come to the weekend and keep coming back. We just need them to come to the artist center and Angela Speaker 3 00:44:09 For you and your, for your children as well. Yeah, I think so. I think they're very proud of Liverpool. And if you're looking at it from a visitor's point of view, if anyone comes over from Ireland, it's, it's lovely to take people around Liverpool and show them the places. And yeah, I think it's, it. It really is. It's, I'm really proud to be from Liverpool. <inaudible> Speaker 1 00:44:38 Angela billing there. You're listening to the plastic podcasts, follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter hashtag we all come from somewhere else. Listen to us being all 21st century. And this last section, we talk more about changes to Liverpool plus also the rise of the Irish bar and thoughts of the future. Speaker 2 00:44:59 But I think partly it's down to what I said before about making places nice. I mean, living Phil is now a really fine looking city. There's still some pretty, um, just want or two neighborhoods. It's quite a few neighborhoods are still need a lot of care and attention, uh, outside of the city. But you know, if you went from, if you started at the city, say off by the cathedrals and walked down and went to Liverpool one and then walked down to the Albert dock, you'd think you were in one of the finest European cities. Speaker 1 00:45:33 Uh, I was, I was there in September and I was a student there back in them between 84 and 88. And the difference is, is quite incredible. It is a completely Speaker 2 00:45:43 There's. Yeah. And I think that we've always had this heritage of very fine buildings. Um, you know, some cities now talks about quarters, you know, like the Georgian quarter and that sort of thing. And you know, some of the streets are stunning and, uh, there's a lot of media, a lot of film companies, Netflix, people like that, filming Liverpool, a loss around around the university. Uh, there's a lot of filming going on. And so it's actually a really nice place to spend a day or two to, to walk around, you know? And, uh, I, I think that somebody probably, uh, probably hassled ties starts it in fairness, what he said, you know, we can do something, but the Albert dock, and there was a time when the only thing that was sort of talked about lymph was the Albert dock, but it's not now, you know, living for is, has got some really, I mean, I think lymphoma procedural the disease, as well as the great buildings in the country, you know, uh, it's got a lot of attraction. And the other thing though, for the scar, which I think causes people to stay as sport. Um, so it's got a tremendous history of, of sporting events, not just football, you're racing, golf, all sorts of it's very good for all sorts of sports. So there's a lot of things people to do here as well. And then we mentioned music really has got, it's probably still, uh, the capital of pop music. Speaker 6 00:47:16 Yeah, definitely. Um, even, well, I'm 31 now when I was, um, 18, 19 Swansea of assisting is a completely different ball game now than it was then it's so different. Um, crazily different. Like when we was, when I was 15 years ago, there was like five restaurants in necessity. And now there must be 500 gentlemen. And, um, do the amount of bars is just mushroom like times by 10 and like 12 years. Do you know what I mean? And it's just crazy. And every time you go into town, there's like 15 new places that people know about. And I'm sure we don't all we'll keep up on, on top of after new police that comes up to so many, um, stigmas definitely got winners, but I'll think I'm going to respond to that. Your civic, Speaker 3 00:48:06 You talked about, um, uh, an Irish brand and also that, um, the there's this, um, there's rise in the number of, um, of, uh, of arch balls and difficult. And is, is, is that something that worries you, that there's a kind of sort like a pre-packaged sense of Irishness that's kind of like made available? Um, Speaker 2 00:48:28 I wouldn't say it worries me. I think sometimes it's a bit sort of off-putting and unattractive because they don't really need to try. I mean, you know, there's a very natural sort of welcoming brand anyway, you don't really need to go with the top. No, they got lots of good music. They, they know how to, um, you know, have to do the alcohol base, you know, uh, they know how to have a party, but in Liverpool is I think it's, what's called Irish quarter. And I think there's like half a dozen Irish bars basically doing the same thing within, within a hundred yards. Um, and you know, the calls, things like Molly Malone's, you know, I don't think you really need us. And certainly when I was in London, going around Irish bars and the eighties, it was, it was a much more natural experience. Speaker 2 00:49:18 As soon as you sit in the artist center bar, I think you get a much better Irish experience and go into one of the, uh, the bars in town. It wasn't, it didn't, it doesn't worry me. I think it's really catering for what is very big and Liverpool, which is the, um, the hand and stagnate sort of brigade, you know? So it is what it is. It really, I don't think it, it really competes with us and there's one or two bars like the Liffey and Finnegans, which have been established for decades now for the last five or 10 years, quite a few of us from golf. And it's obviously catering from market there's one called punched homies, which is huge. It's like a, a cavernous place, uh, at the end of parlor on the streets. I wouldn't go with them yourself. Speaker 3 00:50:01 Angela would, you know, I, I think he got violent in the Irish center. So what do you think is the difference then? People definitely the people at the staff and, and just, it is the people really full stop. Speaker 6 00:50:33 And now I presume that you're rarely out of these bars yourself, you know, just for research purposes. I only know there's a long bar and thought away a man I've got no times it goes with the boss. I wouldn't say that I'm not worried at all about, you know, any orthodontists boss. I think, you know, keep making them all your bonds and the more inauthentic they are, the more people it's going to send to us. Um, I think obviously it is the people and it's the characters, which is, which draws people to us. Um, because we're not just a bar that exists to make money for, for profit. You know, we, we, we exist. We use our money to support the community. And I think definitely now with COVID, I think even we're going to be even more popular. I mean, you know, the government closed, the staff locked down, maybe opened for like three months and then shop again and be, be open again for another month. Speaker 6 00:51:25 And like every single event we put on was populate on every single thing that we put on go, the mounds of people are, you know, so I wouldn't be worried at all. And like you say, it's with the people it's also a very traditional and five. When you come in here, it looks traditional, it feels traditional. And it's like being in a completely different place. Um, especially in the local area. When you come into the Irish, it's like be in a different postcodes, you know, it's, um, wouldn't be wanting that also other bars at all. We've, we've talked an awful lot about the past, um, with regards to the, um, the, the liberal arts center. And particularly obviously you've mentioned now that, um, that COVID has meant that you've had to change an awful lot of the ways that you've, you've entertained people and that you've engaged with, uh, with your membership and, um, and reached out and, and so forth. Speaker 6 00:52:15 So I suppose the question is because times are changing because the relationship of, of, of, of the Irish center with Liverpool and so forth is one of those things that can be constantly evolving and moving on. What do you think the future holds for the lower center? And I think we can play with when we think about and better as projects out of the vault in improving the center. Um, and if we get another, Tam's funny years in this court in sense of if we have a new lease, um, you know, they keep, we keep doing well financially and we keep them in the place. And just to be the best that we accommodate the best it's possible for us today and every single way and wherever it's best like virtual events as well. I mean, you're still keeping cooperating some of that into, and so it wasn't, we move into the future, or we also need to make sure that we don't go too deep into that. I mean, we've retained the traditional aspects of what we are is not as fundamentally. We are about getting people together. So, you know, hopefully we can just keep, keep doing what people do. And what are your thoughts, Angela? Speaker 3 00:53:17 Yeah, I think we just have to be adaptable as well to the situations which we proved recently, we can, we've moved into different tiers and adapted to them tiers. We had to become waitresses and cooks in the kitchen and, and adapt in our events. Um, we, we don't, we did it a chipper van nice, which was great where we had to have food. So we hired in a chip van for the nicer chipper in the car park and we, we showed Roddy Doyle's the van. And that was a really popular night. I think you've just got to keep reinventing yourself really to suit situations. Speaker 2 00:53:57 Uh, yeah, I think we just need to keep coming up with ideas. I thought that the, the chair of our night was one of the best ideas we'd ever had, and that was a great success. I'm very keen that we, uh, uh, keep on improving the environments. And one of the things we do, and hopefully this year when we are back, is the salt in the garden. I was, cause we got, um, probably got, we've got a garden is about 40 meters long and we could really do good things with it. And, uh, so we started the sort of groundwork on that. So that's one of my big hopes, but I also want to see, we haven't really done more than maintain and decorate. And I want us to see us do some proper refurbishments and some extensions to the premises so that we have a better shop and a better office. And, um, and then I think we'll be, we'll be really well set for the next 20 years. And now I love final question, um, which is, um, I asked this of, um, of the, um, of the, the trio from, from Leeds RS center. So it seems only right to ask this of, uh, of you guys, which is to give us three words that sum up the difficult Irish center to you. And if I can start with Nile family, um, loyalty, history, Angela, Speaker 3 00:55:23 Heart and togetherness, Speaker 2 00:55:25 And finally Patrick characters, culture, and laughter Speaker 0 00:55:35 Even just things, the best podcasts with me. He does the bunny as my guests, Patrick gold, Angela, Billy, and Nigel give me a livable Irish center. The plastic pedestal was provided by Lawrence Cox music like Jack dividing, the plastic cups, all supported using public funding by arts council.

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