Saturday 25 October 2008

It's All Downhill From Here On In

Funny thing, the Cosmos.  You're tripping along, playing patsy to its random whims - having a great time?  Bam!  Have some cancer! or perhaps Lovely girlfriend you have there.  You know what?  Bam!  She's Jaye Davison with a frizzy perm and you've just become a punchline.  Sometimes its arbitrary whims contrive to exalt you, sometimes it wants to bring you to your knees.  And sometimes, just sometimes, it contrives a series of coincidences to make you think "ooh, higher power!" (if you wasn't a committed atheist since an early age).

This week is a case in point.  For some reason I couldn't find a single book in my collection to read on the train; therefore for some reason I picked up my copy of Merseyrail Electrics: The Inside Story by T B Maund.  For some reason, I then continued to read this book, even though I was in a public place and everything.  And so for some reason, on the 22nd October 2008, I read the following sentence:
The climax to this part of the story was achieved on 25th October 1978 when the new lines were officially opened by H M The Queen.  A plaque at Moorfields was unveiled followed by a trip to Kirkby...
Now leaving aside the fantastic mental image of our Sovereign sat on a yellow and green  MerseyRail seat to Kirkby of all places - perhaps nipping off at Rice Lane for a Maccy D's at the outlet by the station - the cosmic coincidence of the dates was staggering.  The following Saturday would be the thirtieth anniversary of MerseyRail's official opening.  

I'd been planning on nipping over to the 'Pool that weekend anyway - the Bf and I hadn't been to Liverpool 1 since they'd opened its second phase, and we wanted to poke around - but suddenly we had a cosmically ordered reason to go.  It almost makes you believe in all that bollocks Noel Edmonds goes on about.

Pedants might be aware that the Queen's official opening was purely a case of right monarch, right time: she was in Liverpool anyway to open the cathedral, so they might as well have got their money out of her.  The Loop and the Link had been in operation since 1977, and Moorfields station itself had been opened completely in May: Her Maj's approval was just a token tap on the head for a job well done.  None the less, they got a plaque out of it, so I figured: why not take a look?  The cosmic significance of MerseyRail's core being thirty one years old, just like me, but pretending it was thirty, like... erm... some people, was also not lost on me.  

I knew exactly where the plaque was too: just inside the doorway at Moorfields, between the kiosk and the escalators.  I'd decided: since MerseyRail itself wasn't going to commemorate this momentous occasion, I'd have to do it for them.  But the plaque isn't there any more.  They've built some toilets in the ticket hall.  Firstly, I was shocked that they'd done this and I had no idea: I'm usually quite good on station improvements.  But secondly, where's the plaque gone?  Please don't say that ER II's best unveiling efforts can now only be seen if you're having a piddle.

A true journalist would have poked his head inside, but there were penny for the guy kids loitering nearby, and I tend to avoid them like the plague.  (This isn't a fear thing: I just object to giving children money because they stuck a Ghostface mask on top of their mam's tights, and therefore enable them to buy gunpowder-based devices.  I'm funny like that).  Also, I suspected that the plaque was in the ladies', and my urge for knowledge only goes too far.

So a disappointment really (though Liverpool 1 was really rather amazing - geographically confusing, economically draining, and emotionally stirring, when I realised that USC was on the site of The Escape, legendary gay club which was indirectly responsible for my cherry popping).  None the less, I will take this opportunity to say: Happy 30th Birthday, Link and Loop - you may be a bit ragged round the edges, but some of us still love you...


Robert said...

Don't know if someone from Merseyrail is reading this (there's a scary thought) but... the plaque is back! It's been put back on the wall just to the left of the new toilet block.

Scott Willison said...

Wahey! Pilgrimage alert!

People from Merseyrail clearly aren't reading or they'd have sorted out the FUCKING SQUARE.