2 Up 2 Down

Back in 2008, it was great fun watching ‘2Up 2Down’ the pretend group singing in Peter Kay’s pretend ‘Britain’s Got the Pop Factor… and Possibly a New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly on Ice’, which parodied all that was awful about the ‘X Factor’ and ‘Britain’s Got Talent’.  ‘2Up 2Down’ was a spoof group with 2 ladies sitting in wheelchairs whilst 2 men weren’t.

To my horror I have just seen the phrase ‘2Up 2Down’ in the window of a closed baker’s shop / bakery in Anfield, Liverpool.

The ex-bakers’ shop itself was also full of bloody trendy middle class liberal loonies attending a ‘workshop’.

Now, coming from North London, and at one time living in Highgate, and completely understanding and loathing the wet chattering Guardian reading wealthy middle classes that infested the area, then latterly living in Walthamstow Village, an oasis in East London that duplicates all that is posy and annoying about Highgate, Hampstead and thereabouts, moving to Liverpool had put me in touch with real down to earth people, Scousers.

But here was all that was evil about the chattering classes, all but opposite my place of work in the heart of Scouseville.  On a daily basis I am used to anaemic looking lads dressed in the regulation charcoal grey Great North attire, but today I spied a room full of bloody Bohemian hippies.

The old bakers’ shop had been turned into a hippy ‘hub’.  A ‘hub’.  Called ‘2Up 2Down’.

When I first discovered Anfield, Mitchell’s Bakery was run by a couple of all-but-90 year old ladies (sisters apparently) who were absolutely lovely.  Stepping inside the shop was like stepping back in time to the war years when rationing was on, in looks and in products available.  How they’d survived unscathed, unburned-out, and un-robbed into closure, in the land of the Scally and greatly unwashed, I could never fathom.

Their pies and most of their goods were the small sizes adopted during the war, looking completely dwarfed against modern day pies and pasties supplied by Gregs or Sayers.  The saving grace was the price and the quality.

Everything was freshly baked on the premises the old fashioned way, unlike most ‘bakers’ who just re-heat and serve factory prepared frozen food.

Eventually they all retired and the building was sadly condemned to a life of deterioration along with everything else around it that sits boarded-up and falling down in Anfield.  Or so I thought.

It appears that it is now a hippy commune, for hippy artists with a hippy idea of spending the next 2 years designing and building a hippy ‘art project’.

Yep.  It’s an art project called ‘2Up 2Down’ that comes complete with two years of funding.

Why the feck are we funding this kind of rubbish?

The ‘hook of acceptability’ of this ‘art project’ is that it will eventually provide homes for two (middle-class hippy?) families.

I don’t know how much they are getting, but obviously there’s the cost of the hippy-hub ex-bakery, wages, materials, etc., etc., etc. all being nicely paid for by us taxpayers.

Some of the ‘workshops’ they hold include allowing people to test-build houses out of cardboard.  Well, test-build layouts of houses, of course, building them to true scale and sitting inside them to see what they feel like.  Yep, we’re paying for this.

I’m completely against the ‘arts’ being so heavily funded in these very difficult times when every other sector is running on empty.  Surely, the money spent on all this mumbo-jumbo could have more efficiently been spent on just building more houses.  Maybe the funds could have built homes for 200 families, not just 2.  Maybe the money would have been better spent on schools or hospitals or to keep essential services running for a little longer, but no, they were spent on an art project.

Liverpool is awash with an ever increasing throng of middle-class spongers from outside the area, living off the funding of ridiculous art projects that nobody local actually wants.

All the communities of the real regeneration areas like Anfield really want is good homes and maybe some looked after open spaces and amenities.

5 comments

  1. This is such a weird thing to read – if you liked the bakery so much, Mr England, you should be delighted people are trying to get it going again! And surely this is exactly the kind of art that should be continuing to get funding – it's not art for arts sake, it's about urban regeneration that will benefit the people of an area that has had a bloody tough time. Really, I'm confused by your attitude.

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  2. Nobody would mind if they were trying to get the bakery going again. They aren't. Instead they are being funded with an absolute fortune to play silly games with cardboard and acting like teachers at a pre-school playgroup pretending to design houses. That's when they are there. Their actual presence is a very tokenistic one at best.

    They should give the money back and ask for it to be diverted into building actual homes for people who need them rather than for playing these silly games.

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  3. The best way to get the bakery going is to open it as a bakery…. build some bloody family homes so that the bakery has custom and kick the culture vultures into touch back to whatever leafy suburb spawned them.

    REAL homes for real DERSERVING families.

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