Driving down to Liverpool, I listened to the BBC’s Desert Island Discs. A regular routine, which helps pass the time on the relentless M74/M6. In one of the episodes, the Director of the Tate, Maria Balshaw selected her eight tracks and spoke about her life and the difficulty and love for her current role.
During a period of massive uncertainty, everyone has had, and still has worries. They have missed the normality of seeing friends, visiting the pub and going to the shops. We have no idea what lies ahead. Despite the obvious emotions, I have missed the opportunity to see things. I am worried that my children might not be able to see what I have seen. To explore, to investigate, to immerse, to taste and to sample might not be as easy as it once was.
Contemplating this, whilst listening, a decision was made to visit the Tate Liverpool. I may not have been able to jump on a plane and I may have no need to in the next few months, I may not have too many changes of scene, but I made a pact with myself to explore, investigate, immerse, taste and sample all that sits in front of my eyes.
The Tate Liverpool opened in May 1988 and was the second of the four Tate museums to open – Tate Britain, Tate Modern and Tate St Ives being the remaining three. Located in the Royal Albert Dock, the museum houses British and International modern and contemporary art. Current exhibits include works from Dalí, Picasso, L.S. Lowry and Damian Hirst. As mentioned, worries abound and the Tate has obviously had a huge financial impact.
Many tourist attractions, sights and museums will not be as straight forward as normal to visit. But, a slot booked online, a small or large donation and an extraordinarily relaxed and helpful welcome, ensured we felt safe and secure. What impressed me most was the staff. From getting a portable chair for a new hip 87 year old, to offering interest and intrigue to an eight year old, nothing was too much trouble and they were passionate about their work (as important as ever for the tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors).
The Tate Liverpool may only be five miles from where I grew up, but it was a breath of fresh air and inspired me to see more of all that is right in front of my eyes. Even more pleasing was to see Liverpool so busy. The general public ambled through the famous columns of the dock, which once played its part in passing saw 40% of the world’s trade through Liverpool’s door. The Three Graces stood tall and proud, overlooking the Mersey to make sure that there is still some semblance of normality, whilst offering certainty in troubled times, like they have for many returning Scousers in the past.