According to Ian Thomson’s biography of him, the Italian writer Primo Levi visited Liverpool just before Christmas 1971. He went with Maurilio Tambini, the sales manager at the Turin chemical factory where he worked, to buy some enamalled conductors. Levi, who stayed at the Adelphi Hotel, was saddened to see rough sleepers on the Metropolitan Cathedral steps and much of the city still not rebuilt after wartime bombing. But the weather, as now, was unseasonably mild and in the sunshine Levi, who had been suffering from depression, cheered up. He passed on the chance to see Norman Wisdom playing in the panto Robinson Crusoe at the Liverpool Empire, but he did go to the Cavern Club, and on the waterfront he watched Liverpool’s last transatlantic liner, the Empress of Canada, leave on its last voyage to Tilbury docks, with other boats on the Mersey hooting a melancholy farewell.
Month: December 2015
2015: A found poem
2015 was the year of peak iPhone.
2015 was the year of designer yeast.
2015 was the year that designers said enough with the rigid fashion show system and basta to the industry’s brutal pace.
2015 was the year we all heard of some bright young thing called Neville Brody.
2015 was the year where every respectable underground dance music label released a project inspired by instrumental grime.
2015 was the year of the naked dress.
2015 was the year of the man bun, from the birth of the clip-in man bun to the launch of a ‘Man Buns of Disneyland’ Instagram account.
2015 was the year of the smart watch.
2015 was the year Oregon’s fanatic fondness for our 1980s-vintage airport carpet became all too clear.
2015 was the year of everyone being a whiny bitch.
2015 was the year of the Cool Bag.
2015 was the year that famous guys got on board with looking good – and we’re not just talking good in the suited-up, wingtipped way you might think (that’s so 2014).
2015 was the year of the neural network.
2015 was the year everyone you know and love abandoned you to move to Queens.
2015 was the year I discovered the wonder that is serum masks.
2015 was the year of the braid, which stepped out of its gym/beach/dirty hair/Pippy Longstocking confines and into the spotlight as a bona fide look for grown-up ladies.
2015 was the year of the drone.
2015 was the year we saw a lot more than we bargained for in terms of celebrity bodies.
2015 was the year menswear went back to basics, after years spent flouncing around in skinny suits and silk scarves.
2015 was the year everyone wondered why songs that weren’t ‘Hotline Bling’ existed.
2015 was the year that tech finally ate the festival.
2015 was the year I spent eleven dollars on a bottle of something that in any other circumstances would be a salad, and not even the kind of salad I would order.
2015 was the year of many things: hover boards, racist Presidential candidates dipped in dayglo and, most importantly, Uptown Funk viral videos.
2015 was the year that consumerism finally devoured the counterculture dream.
2015 was the year of oversized sushi.
2015 was the year Jane Fonda decided to remind the world that she still looks phenomenal in anything you care to put her in.
2015 was the year of armpit, but it was also the year where loads of people dyed it too.
2015 was the year of unearthed, painful memories.
2015 was the year of anti-everything.
Everyday life: a poem
Defy evil year
A fey delivery
I, everyday elf
Aide every fly
Every fly idea
Varied fly eye
Defy liver. Yea!
Delay free ivy
Live fey, deary
Livery eye fad
Levy dairy fee
Avid eye flyer
Fiery Lady Eve
Reedy ivy leaf
Leery, fey diva
Defy vile year
Devilry fee. Ay?
Fey drivel. Yea!
In defence of shyness
Here is Harold Nicolson writing ‘in defence of shyness’ in 1937:
‘Let us educate the younger generation to be shy in and out of season: to edge behind the furniture: to say spasmodic and ill-digested things: to twist their feet round the protective feet of sofas and armchairs; to feel that their hands belong to someone else …
For shyness is the protective fluid within which our personalities are able to develop into natural shapes. Without this fluid the character becomes merely standardized or imitative: it is within the tender velvet sheath of shyness that the full flower of idiosyncrasy is nurtured: it is from this sheath alone that it can eventually unfold itself, coloured and undamaged.’