Liverpool – a global city
For culture to flourish, a cross-fertilisation of ideas, vision and passion has to exist. And that works best when minds connect with minds from different worlds. Liverpool's unique geographic position led to its rise as the second city of the British Empire, the gateway to the New World with millions of immigrants and emigrants beginning new lives on the Mersey tide.
All of this has been crucial to Liverpool's cultural destiny. It could be argued that The Beatles themselves might have remained in the Cavern had their manager Brian Epstein not possessed the London swagger, gained from his time at RADA, to secure their Parlophone record deal.
Ah yes, The Beatles, the love of whom brought scores of young idealists to the city in the early 1970s, many gravitating to Liverpool Art college. Mingling with the locals, a great second wave of music was created based around the live venue Eric's, spawning Deaf School, Zoo Records, Echo and The Bunnymen and The Teardrop Explodes.
And in 2008, it was a newspaper article about Capital of Culture which brought some curious young Oxford and Cambridge graduates to the city to form the groundbreaking Kazimier Collective. Now lost to regeneration.
Romantic, poetic, loud, confident, opinionated, funny, stylish and sharp. These are the characteristics that make for a cultural powerhouse. And Liverpool has them in ever-evolving spadefuls.
Liverpool Waterfront on the River Mersey © Jeanette Teare / Shutterstock
The Florrie, Mill Street, Dingle, Liverpool 8
The Florence Institute started life in 1889 as 'an acceptable place of recreation and instruction for the poor and working boys of this district of the city'. The institute was built by Victorian philanthropist Bernard Hall and named in memory of his daughter.
It became a sporting and music hub – alumni include a young John Conteh and Gerry Marsden – before closing in the late 1980s and falling into a state of disrepair. Restored and reopened in 2012, the Florrie has become the go-to for national and international artists such as Michael Head, Jamie Reid, Jimmy Cauty of the KLF, and the KLF themselves.
Hobo Kiosk, 9 Bridgewater Street, Liverpool 1
Is it an art gallery or is it a pub? It's a bit different that's for sure. A tiny emerging local social hub in the Baltic Triangle where you can expect to be surrounded by voodoo dolls in the bric-a-brac created and curated by Tristan and Delia Brady Jacobs. The friendly couple talk all things art and culture. All that's left for you to do is enjoy local beers, gins and a bellyful of stories about the area.
Hobo Kiosk, Liverpool © Angie Sammons
Set up by the Kazimier Collective (see above) after their legendary art and music space in Wolstenholme Square was demolished, the easy thing would have been to get a space in the Baltic Triangle. But instead the group went to the wilds of the north docks where they continue to design and innovate in a 1,200-capacity events space which is most definitely where it's at. This year it has hosted everything from Asian Dub Foundation to UK soul sensation Jorja Smith in its packed roster of gigs, with yoga brunches and Brazilian percussion courses in-between. They even have their own radio station.
Invisible Wind Factory market, Liverpool © Angie Sammons