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Tag Archives Hope Street

A SILK PURSE: THE EVERYMAN THEATRE, LIVERPOOL

Before it was the Everyman Theatre

it was Hope Hall Cinema – and bar –

frequented by Dooley, Henri, McGough,

the Liverpool Scene. I saw Jean Renoir’s

1939 black and white ‘La Règle

du Jeu’ – Chekhovian, dystopian

entre deux guerres – in what was an untouched

dissenters’ chapel four-square between

the two cathedrals on Hope Street.

 

It became a theatre known for new writing,

new music – all with a political edge

and with humour,

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THE JOSEPHLESS NATIVITY

When, having walked up from Central Station,
we reach Hope Street – that long sentence stopped
both ends with cathedrals – she protests, ‘My legs are tired!’
but, with the promise of ‘Rumpelstiltskin’,
we make it to the Unity Theatre,
the old Hope Place synagogue. She knows
the story well but watches keenly as the imp,
out smarted, stamps his foot through the earth’s crust.

Very properly reared by atheists –
free of chapel, mosque, shrine, shul and temple –
she encounters the Christmas story
at school. She speaks,

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THE CHRISTMAS BOX

They kept their medals in a brass box – Bill James,

wounded at Mons, where defeat was clutched

from the jaws of victory, and his stepsons, George and Tom,

gassed at Ypres, where victory followed defeat followed

victory followed defeat, nose to tail, like elephants.

 

The box was a 1914 Christmas ‘gift from the nation’,

inspired though not funded by Princess Mary

Saxe-Coburg und Gotha.

 

They died before I was old enough to ask. Anyway

they had volunteered –

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POET AND PROFESSOR

‘The spring recoils upon us like a myth…’ The Professor, Kenneth Allott

 

We would meet occasionally, by chance,

outside lectures or tutorials,

near the bus stop by the Philharmonic Hall,

Professor Ken Allott in from the suburbs,

me from various damp, cold flats in Toxteth.

He would always speak and would always ask

about my writing. ‘A young man’s game,’ he’d say,

smiling. He was in his fifties then,

his two volumes out of print.

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