We are seriously underwhelmed.
There are no jaw-dropping shows, no global superstars, no creative sensations which will have them all talking on the Number 79 bus tomorrow morning.
Our gobs have very definitely not been smacked despite the hugely expensive 'do' to unveil the 2008 programme for 500 invited guests at St George's Hall.
Instead we were presented with a Capital of Culture, which, as we predicted, draws heavily on Liverpool's existing cultural infrastructure.
Many of the events heralded as major attractions of 2008 were already planned.
Of course, there are some great highlights from the new programme - Klimt at the Tate, le Corbusier at the Cathedral, turning Edge Hill station into an art gallery.
And there are lots more interesting additions to the city's rich cultural offer.
But these are not the contributions of the Culture Company. They are the contributions of the the city's existing creative community.
So what have the Culture Company actually been doing for the last three years? With all that public money?
And when all the giant balloons are deflated at St George's Hall, the plates of Scouse are left half-eaten and the pints of Cains are downed, what are we left with?
Liverpool's programme for 2008 is safe - it doesn't take any risks and it seeks to neutralise potential artistic dissent.
Good ideas are re-branded and re-presented, so last year's BBC production of The Manchester Passion suddenly becomes The Liverpool Nativity. Hey presto! Regurgitated religion courtesy of Auntie Beeb!
Existing events are re-packaged - Mathew Street, Clipper, Simon Rattle, et al.
The programme has been cynically drafted - it promises, for instance, a 'once in a lifetime' concert on the waterfront, but disgracefully, doesn't then tell us just who is going to appear. (That's because they don't know, ed)
Such cynical disregard for its audience is one of the endemic failings of the Culture Company.
The 08 programme is littered with vague, uncertain stuff like this - Pete Postlethwaite MIGHT appear in King Lear, 'favourite sons and daughters' will appear in the Liverpool Song Book (but no names, no pack drill), a 'major theatrical event' will take place at Liverpoool Cathedral (but not a single detail).
What have they been doing for the last three years?
The programme constantly alludes to events, without giving any specifics, like the once exciting 'Cities on the Edge' project, which is now so thin that it has become almost almost invisible.
And it is at times, just a little bit too scally - as though Liverpool can be defined by the Adelphi and WAGS. (Stop being such a snob, ed)
It's as though the Culture Company's programme has been designed by amused onlookers, who patronise Liverpool people as 'chirpy Scousers' as they plan their next six-figure career move .
Hence the tabloid cliche of plates of Scouse and pints of Cains for guests at St George's.
(If we wanted to reduce Liverpool to the lowest common denominator we could have brought back Jimmy Tarbuck - he would have been a lot cheaper, ed)
The authentic voice of Liverpool people has not been heard.
As the Echo's Joe Riley surprisingly but accurately commented: Culture 2008 will not be a success unless it touches every street in Lverpool.
This programme simply fails to do that.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
We are seriously underwhelmed.
Posted by Tony Parrish47 at Tuesday, November 07, 2006