The dazzling dazzle ships of Liverpool

Liverpool’s little chugging and insignificant ferry ‘Snowdrop‘ underwent a makeover and became a ‘dazzle’ ship. Well, ferry.

It caused a mixture of shock, horror and outrage, alongside the head nodding and slow exhaling of approving “Yeah!”.  I think people from the 1960s and young people liked it. Older people hated it.

As well as the little ferry getting a dazzle, so too did the dry-docked ex pilot ship the ‘Edmund Gardner‘.

The good thing was that specialist ship painters from Cammell Laird, a local and economically very important shipyard, were employed to do the actual work.  No problem with money being spent on them.


All the credit for the ‘design’ and, one assumes the bulk of the money went to the ‘artist’ Carlos Cruz-Diez who ‘designed’ the paint job.  Yep, he didn’t actually do anything himself, but he gets the applause and handshakes and credit (and probably lots and lots of money) for what is basically a ship repainted with four repeating vertical stripes.

Meanwhile, the actual workers get no real mention.  Typical, innit.

Wouldn’t it have been cheaper and more reasonable to have handed the ‘design’ to, well, I dunno, maybe a local primary school. Or at least give it to a British artist, not some random French guy obsessed with vertical lines!

Liverpool has generated a lot of home grown originality, and yet we seem to turn to France when it comes to our art products.  The street art of the processions of the spider and the ‘giants’ wasn’t local.  It was, you guessed it, French.  Not even British.

Crazy.  Crazy how much money we throw away from the local area and our own country.  Grrrr!

But on a lighter note, dazzle ship concepts have a pirate radio connection!  The ‘Mebo II‘ which broadcast as ‘Radio Nordsee (North Sea) International‘ in the 1970s was painted as a dazzle ship.  Strangely, the original idea of dazzle ships was to confuse range-finding during the war when being targeted by the ‘enemy’ to be blown up.

However, this didn’t help the ‘Mebo II‘ which suffered quite accurate fire-bombing when it was at sea.