Liverpool goes nuts on St Patrick’s day. It would seem that everyone becomes just that little bit Irish ready for a night on the town, no matter what day of the week it is, and no matter how early they have to be up for work the next day. Tonight they’re Irish in spirit if not in fact, and tonight they’ll be drinking only one drink, Guinness, cold or warm, it’ll make no difference by about 10pm.

As we arrived in the city that is the last stop on the West coast before the emerald Isle itself, we were greeted by a huge sign warmly welcoming us to Liverpool, the capital of culture 2008. No matter that it’s still only 2005, Liverpool is proud to be given the honor of being chosen as a European capital of culture. Then, just moments later, just a hop away from the shadow of the sign a car passes us, the driver hanging out of the window gesticulating and shouting in the broadest of Liverpool accents at the car in front, which it turns out is towing him.

“Wind down ya winda ya silly bitch!” Ah yes, welcome indeed to Liverpool, the 2008 European capital of culture.

A taxi pulls up next to the imbecilely joined cars and the taxi driver leans out of his window to shout at the other man who is still shouting at the woman who is apparently going the wrong way.

“Sort ‘er out will ya Jez! The pair of yoos gonna cause an accident!” Shouts the taxi driver, but it’s all in good humor as ‘Jez’ shouts back “We’re ‘edding for a ‘claims direct’ moment ‘ere mate, I can tell ya!” Both the men laugh as the traffic lights change and the towing vehicle drives off. At this point ‘Jez’ resume his position of driving with one hand while hanging out of the window shouting “Wind you fockin winda down will yoos OII!!! The Winda, the fockin winda, wind it fockin down will yoos!” As both cars head down Hope Street ‘Jez’s’ voice fades into the noise of the city that’s gearing up for a long night.

We step into the Everyman, theatre/bistro/bar/whatever. Tonight, like everywhere across the city, it’s taken on an Irish flavor as a six piece Irish band by the name of Reckless Elbow warm up at the far end of the room. At the bar everyone is ordering Guinness whether that be their usual poison or not, and by the time we’ve got our drink and turn to find a table, all the tables are occupied as the place has filled to capacity as the show upstairs has ended and every from that has just flooded into the bar.

We find a spot and stand there as the sound of people and music grow louder. It certainly sounds like Ireland, even if this English crowd are a little more reserved than the Irish. If you stand there and close your eyes breathing in the pub air, the sound of the violin will whisk you away to Temple Bar in Dublin. We’re on Irish time now, no need to look at our watches from this point on. It could well be a long night over in a second, such is the Irish way.

Reckless Elbow
The Everyman, Liverpool
Liverpool – Capital of Culture 2008