For most of my life I have ridden a bicycle as a means of transporting myself from one place to another, I like it. For the last three years I have owned a giant of a Danish white old-fashioned ladies’ bike with a basket and 3 gears. It is an extremely handsome vehicle. I have owned mountain bikes before, but I think they're really ugly and I also kind of think they're for pussies, unless they're on a mountain. A mountain bike in a city is plain wrong: it is akin to a fat, hairy man with gammy legs and yellow teeth, in a skimpy gold bikini on the cover of FHM, the only difference being that I'd probably buy FHM if they had really ugly men in compromising outfits on the cover. The most offensive thing about mountain bikes in cities is that they're invariably ridden by people who know nothing about bicycles, and only ride one because they're too stupid to pass their driving test or have been banned from driving because, yes you've guessed it, they're too stupid.
Big men in tracksuits riding around, on what looks like a child's mountain bike, knees akimbo, pedaling away in the wrong gear (even though they've got 30), on the pavement just really offends me. Why do they do it? The gear they're in, they might as well be walking, it would certainly be more efficient in therms of energy expenditure. There is something about this phenomenon, the fervent pedaling, whilst getting nowhere, that I think is endemic of Liverpool as a whole, and if I wasn't so drunk, it'd depress the shit out of me.
Let's take the run-up to the capital of culture as an example, just for shits and giggles. In 2004, when our fair city was awarded the European honour, the area that is known as Rope Walks boasted 6 independent art galleries, 2 of them remain, one of which is being refurbished and another that's about as independent as a prisoner in Guantanamo Bay. There is Jamaica Street, but unless someone is throwing a party, that whole area is just an industrial park with a café that sells drinks so expensive, they probably exceed the GNP of Chad.
So what has happened? Well, there's been some good in-fighting that resulted in some high-level resignations; before which they sacked the artistic director of the whole project, well done! So instead of having an artistic programme of any merit, we've got a load of administrators running the capital of culture year (see Soviet totalitarianism). Then there was the reinstating of the tramline system, scrapped. My favourite fuck-up has got to be the Fourth Grace though, it is a magnificent tale of gargantuan ineptitude. Despite spending a large fortune on various feasibility studies and consultations, the powers that be (or were, I can't keep up) ran a competition and even commissioned a structure to rival, yet compliment, the 3 graces of the Liverpool water front. However, after a massive PR push, drumming up of excitement and clearing of prime location, it turned out that the Fourth Grace would nullify Liverpool's World Heritage status, so it was also scrapped. It's going well so far…
So what exactly have we got? We have a flagship Primark and a half-built shopping centre. Whoop-di-fucking-doo. Oh, and the paving on Church Street is slightly less perilous and rancid, it still smells of public toilet though… But yeah… It's going well so far… Keep pedalling, you're bound to get somewhere at some stage… Maybe Manchester… Eventually.
Mia Tagg 2009®