As the topic I have chosen to write about is ‘life around the world,’ what could be a better beginning than the life I know best- that of my home city, Liverpool, in England’s rainy North-West? The weather may be wet, but with the city’s long maritime and docking history we’re all used to a little bit of water. As a result, there is plenty to do on a rainy day: from ‘The Beatles’ to giant spider crabs, if you name it, there’s a place to find out more about it. If architecture is your passion, we have plenty for you, too - between the ‘Three Graces’ standing proudly at the waterfront, our two famous cathedrals and the wonderful St. George’s Hall, you won’t know what to visit first. We also boast what is possibly the fanciest men’s toilet in the world, in the Philharmonic Pub- it’s special enough to be a ‘listed’ building, and you certainly won’t see that every day!
Of course, Liverpool has perhaps been made so well known due to its musical legends, but it’s not just ‘the fab four’ who have been successful; did you know that Liverpool has produced more Number 1 hits than anywhere else in the UK? These include a wide variety of artists, such as Elvis Costello, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and more recently the Lightning Seeds, who wrote the 1996 World Cup anthem ‘Three Lions.’ Another interesting and little known fact is that one of Reggae icon Bob Marley’s parents was from Liverpool, too.
As I have mentioned the World Cup, it would be silly of me not to talk about Liverpool’s greatest obsession: football! Like some other cities, it is home to not one, but two teams, both featured in the Premier League: Liverpool and Everton, or ‘The Reds and The Blues,’ and if you ask anybody which team they support you will not often meet someone who is not interested. Everton is the older of the two and has had great success in the past, but since the 1990s it has been Liverpool’s time to shine, usually being ranked within the top four teams in the league but sadly never coming first- give it time, we Scousers know how to persevere!
So, what is this word, ‘Scouser,’ then? It’s used all around the UK as a name for people from Liverpool, but most people are unaware of its origin: in fact, Scouse is the name of our city’s signature dish. Simple but delicious, this stew of potatoes, carrots and beef is seen as the cure for all ills because it is comforting and nutritious. Whenever I’m homesick, a bowl of Scouse will always make me feel like I’m back there. However, there are some things about it which remain a mystery, such as its odd sounding name. Some people believe that it is a word which was brought over by our Scandinavian residents, but nobody can say for certain where it really came from.
Indeed, there is such a mix of cultures in Liverpool that it could come from anywhere at all: our famously unique accent has influences from Ireland and Wales; each year we host Africa Oyé, the UK’s biggest free African music festival, in tribute to our residents from all over Africa; and we have the oldest Chinese population in Europe. For all these reasons and more, we were granted the status of European Capital of Culture in 2008. In short, we are a thriving community with origins all over the globe, so for me, when talking about life around the world, Liverpool is the perfect place to start!
Have you ever been to the UK? Which cities did you go to? Did you like it?