(Liberated from G**ty I****s)
It’s 2 minutes to 3 as I turn off the engine on High Park Street. I’m two minutes early, but I can’t help feeling like I’m really late.
The Unexpected Item In Toxteth Town Hall has been on display for three hours already. Mince pies have been baked and devoured and washed down with mugs of tea (not coffee).
Lanyards for those already committed to MuMufication have been issued and promises made of Access To All Dimensions.
The Manual has made a comeback, but no number one singles are promised. Just gentle encouragement to steal your first shopping trolley.
This has all happened while I made the 2hr30 journey up North. GoogleByte Maps estimated time of arrival has fluctuated between 14:45 and 16:25 (during a particularly worrying stationary section of the M6) but, in the end, I’ve arrived at the beginning of something.
Networks are connecting, seeds are being sown and spores are doing whatever it is that spores do. The dress rehearsal is over. It’s time for The Beginning Of The End.
I wander up High Park Street towards Toxteth Town Hall and stumble across what can only be described as a rabble. But not just any rabble. My rabble. I quickly locate John and El who furnish me with my withy stick and Milk Ghost and attempt to balance the wooziness you get after a long, high speed drive with the discombobulated state that is rapidly encroaching. Ade and Amanda appear and give me a map of some kind, along with my job card.
There had been a flurry of activity on my phone last night as The Cartwrights were my proxies at The Hobo Kiosk. For the second November 23rd in a row, they have worked miracles on my behalf. Even a bespoke K2 Plant Hire beenie can’t begin to repay my debt of gratitude to them.
Toxteth Day Of The Dead – Beating The Bounds was a three hour long magical mystery tour around the ancient (and not so ancient) sights of L8. It did not shy away from the darker times of the area, but it did not dwell in the past either. Rather it shone the brightest of lights on its heroic past residents and the green shoots of recovery that they inspired. It’s not that Toxteth is coming back from the dead, more that it refused to be buried in the first place. The construction of a great pyramid within its boundary will be an apt symbol of its rebirth. The foundations are there for all to see.
The Beating Of The Bounds took over 150 volunteers on a journey to forge Toxteth Day Of The Dead traditions that will withstand the next thousand years.
The Choosing of the Ghosts – I missed this but I was joined on the procession by the spirit of my Dad, Colin.
This was the eulogy I read at his funeral in May.
I’m going to say a few words about My Dad, Colin Gell.
To some of you, he was the football coach that you won trophies with.
To others, his pioneering work in mental health is the reason your Doctor has to explain what you are being prescribed and how it will help you.
If you’ve ever used a credit union in an ex-mining village, he probably helped the community to set it up.
And long after he should have retired, whilst battling for 13 years against cancer, he helped 251 young people get access to the mental health services they needed, when they most needed them.
To me, he was just my Dad.
Always there for me.
Always had time for me.
So from me and everyone whose life he was part of, Thank You.
Thank you for giving up your weekends and being the caring boss of the best youth teams Hucknall ever had.
Thank you for changing the way that mental health is looked at and the way mental health patients are treated.
Thank you for helping to support struggling communities as they got back on their feet.
Thank you for driving all over the country, long after you retired, to help young people in their darkest hours.
It was my privilege to be with him for his final days and comfort him in his last moments.
His was a life well-lived and he was loved by us all.
The Beckoning of the Gimpo – When he’s not being BANKSY, Gimpo seems to spend his time pulling things. Today, he pulls The Foundation Stone. He pulls it for about three hours. But before he starts he needs some encouragement. He takes his time. I think he was finishing off his brew.
The Touching of the Stone – El has presented me with a withy stick. Horton suggests I touch the stone with it. These things should really come with instructions.
The Round the Roundabout – Toxteth Tesco Roundabout is the venue for a celebration of the mighty Pete Burns. The Highway Code is not observed.
The Transit of Venus – We process down Peel Street to sample the best sausage rolls and cakes that L8 has to offer
The Kicking of the Brodie Ball – After some poetry in The Ancient Chapel Of Toxteth from Ali Harwood, we head to Prince’s Park and the Woodhenge. A golden Brodie Ball appears and the first kick about of the day erupts.
The Pinning the Tales on Judy The Donkey – Deeper into the park, we arrive at the grave of the heroic Judy The Donkey. There is a tense game of Pin The Tale On The Donkey. Yoko/Mari is vanquished by Sophie.
Sophie is nine.
Sophie has bought a Brick.
The Performance of the Z Cars theme tune – On our way out of the park, pink and white striped sweet bags appear. They contain no sweets. Just a comb. We use them to play The Theme From Z-Cars.
The Hailing of the People of Granby – In Granby Street we celebrate Toxteth’s Caribbean community. Seeds are sown. This is The Real Thing.
Now he is at peace.
The Revival of the Fountain – an old ornate fountain is in need of some TLC. It’s OK, Tommy is on the case.
The Beating of the 8 – a Scalextric figure of eight with hundred people and a big flat brick.
The 5-aside Brodie Memorial Match – It’s gone dark. Too dark for footah. OK, last goal wins. Then it’s off to Yosser’s place. Ade plays a blinder.
The Sowing of the Seeds – Madryn Street. Ringo’s old place. The whole street is sealed off like there’s been a bomb blast. It’s worse than that. It’s being gentrified. A solitary Tangerine Nitemare poster has survived the sand blasting. Poetry soothes our soul.
We walk the last 5 minutes in silence. Something is about to happen. The mood is sombre and respectful , but crackling with the sparks of anticipation.
It’s eerily quiet. A few locals look a bit freaked out. Tommy breaks the silence to tell them it’s alright. We turn a corner. In the distance I can see a rental van. Boleyn Rentals. I’ve seen one before. A year ago. Burn The Shard. It is time.
We get closer. Yellow smoke is pouring out of the back of the van. Somewhere at the back is Dead Perch Sophie.
We get closer. Standing in front of the van are Rupert and Claire. More yellow smoke. Gimpo’s handiwork.
We get closer. Daisy stands to the left of the van. Ready to lay a brick.
We form a respectful circle around the back of the van and the foundation stone. To the right stands Jimmy. He tenderly clutches a cushion. On the cushion is a Brick. Simon’s Brick.
Ru and Claire prepare us.
Daisy mixes cement.
Jimmy hands over The Brick.
The Brick is laid.
The Pyramid has begun.
It has no home.
Tonight it will haunt The Florrie.
We retire to Toxteth Town Hall. I finally get to inspect the Unexpected Item In Toxteth Town Hall and have a mince pie and a mug of tea (not coffee). Bill bakes.
Gary needs a quote for his article. I get all enigmatic and use a pseudonym, but a few days later I’m on the BBC’s website.
@exedore finally says ‘Hi’. He’s off back to Germany tomorrow.
It’s been a long day, but it’s still early. Darren, Chris and Mervyn get a lift back to our hostel. It used to be the Venezuelan Consulate. Nothing really surprises me anymore. The owner of the hostel wants to sell us a Beatles Tour, but we have an appointment with The Dead Perch Lounge.
It’s a fantastic evening, one of those timeless ones where everything feels right. I finally get to meet Robin and Luke. I sell some books and leave some more in The Dead Perch Library. Mischief stickers are distributed. More 400 familiars come and go. Sam, Becci, Peter, Mandy, Simon, hoppo and Yoko. Bill shows his face. The Architect too.
Let’s do it again.
It’s my round.
Liverpool Arts Lab write up by Josh Ray
Saturday starts early with a trip to Toxteth Tesco. I have a book to launch.
Over the road at Toxteth Town Hall, the Unexpected Item is being dismantled and loaded into the back of a truck. I bump into a Paul Duane around the back. MuMufication: The Movie is due in February. A solitary trolley remains, but it’s a cracker.
Darren and Chris head home to Gloucester. Robin, Luke, Mandy, Mervyn and I go under the Mersey to New Ferry for Silent Bill’s Art Protest. The site of an explosion that ripped the heart out of a community is being ‘improved’ with art. There are some familiar images.
Then we head off to the Double Fantasy: John & Yoko exhibition at the Museum Of Liverpool. Last year, Tracey Emin’s Bed kept from the pages of 2023 into Tate Liverpool and this year it’s the turn of John and Yoko. Some wonderful artefacts, beautifully presented. John, Yoko did you proud.
After some brekkie in the company of some of the wonderful Liverpool Arts Lab (who pretty much ran the show on Friday evening, conjuring something from nothing in the space of ten days), we paid a visit to FACT and it’s Broken Symmetries exhibition, a collaboration between visual artists and CERN scientists.
There is some fantastic stuff here. Art generated by Mu-ons. Stunning video installations exploring Entropy. And a portable portal to Hell.
It’s genuinely thrilling to see artists and scientists collaborating and producing something way beyond the sum of its parts. Science using Art to explain the unexplainable and Art using Science as a medium to explore our chaotic universe.
The highlight for me is Diann Bauer’s SCALAR OSCILLATION, a stunning twin screen video installation. The message it conveys is that:
I would take the stars
Out of the sky for you
Stop the rain from falling
If you asked me to
I’d do anything for you
Your wish is my command
I could move a mountain when
Your hand is in my hand
Words cannot express
How much you mean to me
There must be some other way
To make you see
If it takes my heart and soul
You know I’d pay the price
Everything that I possess
I’d gladly sacrifice
THERE ARE NO THINGS.
All objects were once something else and will one day decay and disintegrate to something else. This is the nature of entropy in our universe. Things are just a temporary state or snapshot of an ongoing process of a reality driven to chaos.
We are made in stars. One day we will return to space as dust, dust with the potential to form another star or planet to reboot the process. Our lives are an infinitesimally brief part of this process.
If all goes to plan, I will be part of The People’s Pyramid for far longer than my time on this Earth. But, it too will decay and crumble to dust.
It’s all part of the process.
The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu are building a pyramid.
The pyramid will be constructed of 34592 bricks.
Each brick in the pyramid will contain the cremated remains of a dead person.
This process is called MuMufication.
FOREVER BOOK ONE features, amongst other things, a Venezuelan Preacher, a scientist from CERN, mu-ons, bricks, sweets, sausage rolls, yellow smoke and an Ice Kream Van. There is also a pyramid.