Next Stop New York
The Florrie, until 18th April 2017
Words, Patrick Kirk-Smith
On April Fool’s Day 2017, The Florrie had an event called ’14 Hour Super Weird Happening’. A big part of me thought it was an April fool’s joke. But it wasn’t. At all. It was, as promised, just over 14 hours of incredible culture squashed into The Florrie.
After the success of the original event, the Florrie, along with the organisers of the accompanying exhibition decided to extend the exhibition for a further fortnight, which means that if, like me, you thought the event was an April Fool, then you’ve got a chance to be thoroughly proven wrong until next Tuesday, 18th April 2017.
The exhibition, Next Stop New York, looks at the history of black American music in the city of Liverpool from the ‘50s to ‘80s. An era that pushed Liverpool to the heights of musical influence it still has today. Such a huge chunk of the city’s economy is still driven by current musical exports, as well as the famous four kids that ended up being the biggest band in history. The influence of black American music imported into the city, along with African heritage influences at the time, had undeniable impacts on the energy of the music of the Beatles.
Next Stop New York takes that bright history and pieces it together through gorgeous photographs from a mix of cameramen over the years. One image that stands out is a shot of the door of the old Somali Centre, having lost its building. The empty, abandoned doorway looks onto the Anglican Cathedral, one of the city’s most iconic buildings, with a sort of ‘give over’ attitude to the dereliction it stood in.
There is humour, beauty, chaos, loss, but mostly history, in this photo series, so in the short time you have, we strongly recommend taking a trip to The Florrie. Take the time to get to know one of the many hidden histories of Liverpool.