Thursday 21 June 2012

Anthony Burgess on Liverpool

I knew Anthony Burgess had written about Liverpool, I even read it in his autobiography years ago (which I read in French), but I didn't remember much of it. I rediscovered it via Wikiquote. It is a strange feeling, reading this after having lived there. I know he is my favourite writer so I am biased, but I think he is spot on:

"The view of Liverpudlians that they are a race apart is well-founded. There is the unanalysable genetic mixture of a great port and also Welsh from the south and Irish a jump across from Dublin. The speech is distinctive. ‘All got your furs, love?’ cried the tram conductress, who kept warm with a bit of moth-eaten fare. The energy is immense and explains the gratuitous violence. ... Generosity could lead to violence. If I asked a direction I would soon have a crowd around me giving contradictory instructions. I would leave a fight behind and have to ask again. ... Of all the British cities that deserve the curative attention of the British government Liverpool comes first. The Bootle Beatles were taken too seriously, but, in their modest way, they exemplified the combative energy of the great decayed port. Guilt pricked me when I began to feel a larger loyalty to it than to Manchester."


Correspondent said...

A city of Earthly Powers, Guillaume.

Cynthia said...

Love the quote :)

Guillaume said...

@Cynthia-Elle est profondément d'actualité.