There’s a far away pavilion by the river in Shanghai
the jewel in Merseyside
With one or two thousand words about the Shanghai Expo. I know you have been waiting for an update but when I returned, I got my hand stuck down a grid and when I rang the emergency services, they just put bollards and hazard lights around me. Left me there for months! Eventually I managed to pull the grid up but I can't get it off, so here I am back and still a bit drained.
Now Missus, remember the Liverpool Show?
The one in the Mystery (Wavertree Playground if you were posh) Well that’s a bit like the Shanghai Expo that’s been going on. You must remember the Liverpool show, the proper one, the one they used to have years ago, they always had the Army there with big guns, tanks and military vehicles - as displays I mean, not because people got a bit boisterous in the candy floss queue.
The highlight on each day of the show was when they did the raffle to find the person that had actually bought a ticket to get in. That’s right, remember we all used to sneak in climbing over the wooden temporary fences and dodge the coppers. I got caught on them a few times. Half the men walking round with no arse in their kecks and the women who had just climbed in, trying to look inconspicuous with their skirts still tucked in the back of their knickers.
Well it was an easy mistake, I mean Parrots would be more suited to the campaign in the east than pigeons, and you wouldn’t have to write out the message as they can talk, you just tell them what to say.
Anyway, when we realised our mistake we soon started the training. It turned out being a paratrooper wasn’t too bad after all as you only had to jump off a wooden horse while counting. Well I took a chair to step onto, but I knew the counting bit off by heart.
Then one day, to say well done to everyone, they took us by plane for a weekend break in France. I was just looking for my seatbelt as they said we were about to arrive and this mad bugger opened the door and a few people started jumping out.
There was always some bastard juggling as well. I hate people juggling in front of me, coming right up to your face with their gobs open as if it's astounding. Sod off! I fixed them one year, I borrowed some grenades off one of the army blokes and said, here juggle these while I try and find the pins.
To show once and for all that Liverpool was a great modern premiere European city with far more to offer than the tired old clichés of football and the Beatles.
They crowded around the the wallpaper paste table and deck chairs that was the Liverpool stand and gazed in awe at how much the city had to offer. This was depicted in the giant murals of John Paul George and Ringo, interspersed with photos of Googie the Liverpool Duck, Liverpool and Everton football players. There is even a complete wall sized portrait of Liverpool FC with Bill Shankly in the middle! All of this and the sound of the Kop singing “F*** off back to America” to a tune sounding similar to one from West Side Story.
My word! There's modern forward looking Liverpool. The entire stand almost 30 years out of date. Precious memories to many of us maybe, but a selling point to Chinese investors?
Where were the Diddymen? Where was Arthur Askey?
But that’s not all, to get away from the football theme there is also........er..... a penalty shot game. This is where China’s top businessmen and politicians can try and kick a football into a net. The Daily Post said this was one of the highlights for all of the businessmen visiting the stand, who really enjoyed it. Yes, I am sure they did.
There was something similar at the Wirral Kite festival the other week. Get the ball passed the goalie for 25 pence a go, helping to raise money for kids who need specs. Odd but I didn’t notice the chairman of the CBI or Sir Alan Sugar or the Chief Executive of Peel Holdings jostling to have a go. You would have thought the bloke from Peel holdings would have flown in from his tax exile home to have a go at that. Only 25p which is a hell of a lot cheaper than having to fly all the way to Shanghai.
So they tell us it has been a huge success, even though something like only a fifth of the predicted numbers have visited the stand and that it wasn’t actually a business Expo at all.
It hasn’t been without controversy though, as they have now run out of money and the planned finale (Liverpool Day -whatever that means?) which involved flying out Cilla ,Tarby, Jerry Marsden and the Luciana Bergers as well as my good friend Vassapoint Petrochemco and his Orchestra, may have to be cancelled. They said they were about £400k short, with not even enough to buy the packet of sparklers for the closing ceremony.
You see the thing is, that for our three million pounds spent, the financial experts used by the council, confidently predicted a return of up to four and anything up fifty million pounds of investment back over the next ten years.
Now before the cynics start, yes there is a bit of a gap between four million and fifty million, and the phrase “up to four” clearly includes the figure Zero. Well you have to allow for a margin of error. Or should that be huge, gaping - can't see the other side, pass us your binoculars..better still your crystal ball - chasm of error? So who were the experts giving this predicted return? Russel Grant? Mystic Meg?
But don’t worry, all those who flew off regularly to Shanghai to be wined and dined while setting this up and agreeing to pay for it have either already left, been kicked out of office or will be leaving soon, so they won’t need to explain. They’ll be fine don’t worry about it.
As we were stuck with it, the new bloke in charge, Joe Handyman, has had to keep the spin going. Once it’s over it’ll be forgotten about. And don’t forget, some people have already done very well out of it, the ones who got the PR contract and of course the Oldham Echo and Daily Post, who haven’t had to come into work for months as all the stories have been written for them.
A special thank you to the kind and good people of Shanghai for smiling politely and kicking the ball in the net when prevented from leaving the stand by the city council staff until they did it.
Meanwhile back in Grotty Cash, Liverpool, it's all change here now down at the fun palace. The Lib Dums have been binned. I am going to miss Wally Bradlow. I wonder if he is on Bookface? I am sure his new friend is. I’ll have to check as I haven’t been on for a while, not since this group on there started calling for me to be sacked. You see I got into a bit of trouble after I put an advert on Ebay to try and flog some awful, tatty old garden gnomes that we had in the garage. But I accidentally uploaded a picture of the former Lib Dem cabinet instead.
Ebay. No longer wanted. Liverpool Lib Dems, any offers?
The Gnomes society was furious. I got Mrs C to say it wasn’t me and that the matter was now closed but the swines on Ebay said it was me that did it, so now she’s furious with me as well. She says I’ve made her look a complete lying pillock. I am beginning to think she only ever went out with me was because I was head of the Jam Faculty at Grotty Cash University and now that I have lost my faculties she doesn’t want to know.
But thank goodness that after being kicked out in May by the electorate the Lib Dums voted by a huge majority of three votes (two being him and his friend) to keep Wally on as local party leader. Well we need something to cheer us up now that his party has given power to those who almost destroyed the city the last time they were in office. So with the Conservatives in power and ready to slash the money going to Liverpool, all thanks to the support of Clegg and the Con-Democ-Rats it could well be back to Geoffrey Howe's managed decline. It's a good job Wally has a hotline to Clegg to protect us from the savage cuts...oh, but then again it's Clegg helping to make them.
Tatty Bye Everybody Tatty Bye
Be nice to each other.