You know the feeling you get waking out of a dark cinema into the afternoon sun? That. Times 23. And then doubled. And then multiplied by 23 again.
This was how I emerged from The Rites of MuMufication.
Where were we?
What had just happened?
Where we still alive?
Maybe the oddest sensation was that we all knew what we needed to do next. No-one told us. We just knew. Oh and we were dressed up as a 400 strong procession of the dead in the back streets of Toxteth.
Gimpo marshalled the troops, most importantly the Pullers for the first leg. Some where late into position. Some looked like not showing up and at all. I contemplated stepping into the breech. WE were going to make this happen. Whatever THIS was.
Off we went. Traffic lady first, followed by the piper and drums. In their wake came the banner carriers for the Toxteth Day Of The Dead, an incense swinger and ceremonial weed scatterers.
Then came The Pullers expertly motivated by the same guy who had stole the show during Band Aid 23 yesterday. They pulled Bill and Jimmy in The Ice Kream Van as it regaled us all with O Sole Mio, What Time Is Love and Justified & Ancient. The JAMs seemed to be having the time of their lives and after what they had just pulled off they should have been relieved too that their plans were coming together so well.
After the van were the bishops resplendent in their custom built traffic cone headgear, the gravediggers and the choir. Following up the rear were an assorted bunch of active volunteers carrying bricks on -their own – yellow cushions, spare tyre rollers and shopping trolley pushers carrying the ragwort, budlea or the bags of the volunteers. At the rear were the clean up gang picking up the ceremonial weeds with the all too necessary yellow gloves and returning it in trolleys to the front of the procession for the cycle to begin again.
I was somewhere in the middle of this, mostly alongside the van – second best seats in the house. The mood was fantastic and we seemed to be welcomed and supported by the local residents with a mixture of amazement and confusion. Some even joined the procession including one woman who provided one of day’s highlights. As we joined The Strand, at the foot of the road out of Toxteth she skipped past with a can a Red Stripe in one hand and an active FaceTime chat in the other.
“I don’t know what the fuck is going on, but I fucking love it!”
(Please channel Margi Clarke as you read this for maximum effect)
We hadn’t travelled far down The Strand when the first Police car arrived. Nothing has been confirmed, but I don’t think we’d got permission for this! Gimpo seemed to say the right thing and they drove off only to be replaced by Police Vans a few minutes later. In amongst the procession I saw Oliver, Daisy, The Callenders and Tom and Annebella from Wednesday’s discussion.
As we approached the city centre a car pulled up, opened up it’s boot and those of us not in costume got our own JAMs Poncho. Boy, we looked spectacular in yellow.
As the Liver Building appeared ahead of us, my mind wandered to earlier in the day when I’d visited the Tate Gallery. Maybe plan was to pull the van into the gallery, declaring THIS is out art. Or maybe the van was going into the Albert Dock. Thankfully, none of these were in the plan and we carried on through past the Liver Building where the sun was beginning to set magnificently in the West.
We’d built up quite a momentum into town and this carried us through the City Centre and out of the other side. At one point, Thomas, the intrepid German photographer, misjudged a flyover and found himself 30 feet up with nowhere to go, but I imagine the shots he got from up there were worth the peril.
Just as we reached the industrialised area of Everton, a Police van that had been tailing us saw their chance to box in the van behind a parked car. But they were no match for The 400 and the van was rolled away.
It was time for the funeral pyre.