It's Liverpool Biennial time again! Hurray! For two months you have the opportunity to wander round some buildings, staring at things and trying to understand what they're on about. You probably won't ever get it, but if you stand there and nod for long enough, other people will think you do, and that's the most important thing isn't it?
I've already been on a couple of expeditions to some of the exhibitions, in the company of Robert and Mike. Some was good (most of the stuff in the Cunard Building), some wasn't (an awful lot of the stuff at Copperas Hill) and some was baffling (FACT's video installations - sorry).
One place I haven't yet been is METAL, out at Edge Hill Station. This is despite it being in, you know, a train station. In fact, I haven't managed to get out there since it opened, which is criminal. I think I'm just saving it up for a special visit, and that special event just hasn't happened yet. Which is a shame, because it has an interesting programme of events. I'm sure I'll get there eventually. Perhaps for Biennial 2030.
I've already missed one of the most interesting moments of their Biennial programme. The 12:01 Liverpool to Wigan service became a moving sound gallery for two weeks a specially-commissioned piece by the poet John Cooper Clarke was played to the passengers. The piece was designed to last the duration of the journey from Lime Street to Edge Hill, and concerned our old friend William Huskisson.
Regular readers will know I've got a slight obsession with William Huskisson (HUSKISSON!), the first man to be run over by a train. He was killed just outside Newton-le-Willows, on a service from Edge Hill, so this feels like an appropriate place for him to be commemorated. You can hear Cooper Clarke's poem below:
I like the rhythm of the piece, the way it rides over and over in your head. I wish I'd caught it live on the train - I'd love to have witnessed the passengers' reactions. Bafflement, enjoyment, or just that blank void that fills the space between your ears when you're commuting?
It's still available to hear at Metal at Edge Hill station, so you still have time to hear it in one of the birthplaces of the railway system. I really should get out there myself one day.
More HUSKISSON! related nonsense:
HUSKISSON! - the book.
HUSKISSON! - the dock.
HUSKISSON! - the memorial.
HUSKISSON! - the statue.