I’ve lived in Liverpool for 56 years
I speak English and some French, Italian
I am Teaching / Research
I was born and brought up in Liverpool, but, like many Liverpudlians of my generation, left the city in the ’eighties—initially for higher education, and then in pursuit of employment. I have lived and worked across the United Kingdom, studying in Manchester and Leeds, then teaching A Level English at colleges in the South-East, Birmingham and West Yorkshire. Wherever I found myself, however, I could never quite repress a certain sense of loss, of exile, and, just after the turn of the millennium, I finally managed (unlike many others of the Scouse diaspora) to return home, having secured a job at a Merseyside college. My formal academic qualifications are in the fields of literature and history. I have strong interests in Irish literature and in eighteenth century culture—my Ph.D. thesis, which focussed on the great Dublin-born satirist, Jonathan Swift, combined these two. Alongside this, I’ve always been fascinated by the history, politics, culture and architecture of Liverpool. A few years ago, having taught for the better part of three decades, I decided to commit myself full time to a writing project that fuses my literary and Liverpolitan enthusiasms—an investigation into the lives and works of the self-styled ‘Friends of Freedom’, a network of radical writers active in the city in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. Of course, my research has been slowed down considerably by the Covid pandemic and the attendant closure of many archives, but their re-opening in recent months has set me back on track. However, I do not quite have the personality for a life of pure scholarship. Unsurprisingly, I miss the human interaction to which I’d become accustomed after so many years of teaching English, an activity I’ve always understood (and sought to practise) as intrinsically conversational. I welcome the opportunity to share my passion for Liverpool with visitors, and to engage with the questions which this fascinating city is bound to stimulate in you. My enthusiasm for the city is not, I should emphasise, confined to matters of history. I lead a busy social and cultural life in Liverpool, and while my knowledge of its nightlife is no longer as intimate as it once was, I remain familiar with its ever-evolving pub and restaurant scenes. I often attend the city’s theatres, as well as its numerous classical and contemporary music venues. I am well acquainted with Liverpool’s museums and galleries, from the major, nationally renowned institutions such as the Walker Art Gallery through to smaller and relatively overlooked places such as the Reader Organization’s exhibition on the neolithic Calder Stones. I would be particularly interested in welcoming visitors whose curiosity about Liverpool perhaps includes but also extends beyond the clichés. (Although I’m a fan of both the Beatles and football, I suspect they’ll continue to garner attention whether or not they have my help.) Liverpool is a complex and beautiful city that deserves to be known as such more widely, and excavated from the cloying strata of stereotypes that have been heaped upon it by some in recent decades.