Mini solution to boredom

"I was given your Vol I for a birthday present... the book is very handy for carrying around. I was at a really boring event the other night and was able to read it surreptitiously."
-- Stephen Guy, local historian ****

Introduction by Deborah Mulhearn

Landing is the first volume of Mersey Minis, a series of small books celebrating Liverpool’s 800th anniversary.
Bursting with brilliant writing inspired by Liverpool and the River Mersey, Landing includes writers ranging from the extremely famous to the completely unknown, from well-loved novelists to young arrivals, from poets and princes to maidservants. What they have in common is Liverpool. Some of the writers were born in the city, others are strangers passing through, or experiencing their first footfall in Europe. But they have all visited or lived in (and in one notable exception merely dreamed about) Liverpool, and, luckily for us, committed their impressions to paper.
The notion of bringing all this amazing output together into one series was irresistible. It seemed a simple enough idea, but as I started digging deeper, I was awed by the sheer volume and variety of people who had recorded their time in Liverpool. There was enough material for a shelf full of books, and how to select and present it all became the challenge. Landing is about first impressions, new encounters, beginnings, meetings and openings particular to Liverpool. They are funny, fascinating, touching, churlish, bemused, sad, or downright surreal, but all memorable accounts of this singular city and the often quixotic experiences it offers.
The extracts in Landing are taken from works of fiction, reportage, travel writing, essays, letters and memoirs, and reach right back to Liverpool's beginnings. Much of it is readily accessible but more has languished in archives and libraries. Some extracts are published here for the first time.
The writers’ biographies at the back of the book reveal a little bit more about who they were and why they came to Liverpool, and the book list will hopefully prompt further reading about these people who have their own fascinating stories to tell, in which Liverpool has played a part.
Though I am a born and bred Liverpudlian, Landing has been a thrilling journey of my own. I have seen Liverpool anew and learned much about my city I didn't know before. I hope you enjoy reading Landing as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.
-- Deborah Mulhearn

Libor Pesek (1987)

When I first saw Liverpool it was a disrupted city. It reflected my soul. The city was in a shambles, my soul was in a shambles. We have much in common. Liverpudlians are emotional people and a loyal public. They helped us survive... After two concerts the orchestra proposed to me. I was 53 on the brink of old age. Funnily enough, I was; and this orchestra has made me young again.

George Stephenson (1827)

My Dear,
Robert your very welcom letter dated Oct 26 1826 we duly received and was glad to here such good newes from Columbia respecting the mines but at the same time greatly disapointed at you not geting home so soon as was expected however I hope all will be for the best, and I must waddle on as well as I can until you get to joine me. There has been a florishing a count of your men in the English pappers and great creadit is given to Robert Stephenson for his good management of them. I must now let you know how we are getting on in this quarter. Yore mother is geting her tea beside me while I am riting this and in good spirits. she has been in Liverpool a bout a fortnight. we have got a very comfortable home, and a Roume set a side for Robert and Charels when they arive in England. We are getting rapitly on with the tunnal under Liverpool it is 22 feet width & 16 feet high we have 6 shafts and driving right & left we have also got a great deal done on chat moss and on the same plans that I prepared befor parlament 2 years a go which plans was condemed by almost all the Engineers in England these plans is by cuting & imbanking with the moss some of the laths 12 feet high and stand remarkably well.

James Chadwick (1941)

We had quite a lot of bombing raids. Practically all the windows in my laboratory were blown out...fortunately very little damage was caused. The cyclotron was partly below ground – it was in the basement... For about a week they were blown in every night, and we put up cardboard shutters. Every night they would be blown in again. We’d just put them up in the morning and go on.

Malcolm Lowry (1928)

How strange the landing at Liverpool, the Liver Building seen once more through the misty rain, that murk smelling already of nosebags and Caegwyrle Ale – the familiar deep-draughted cargo steamers, harmoniously masted, still sternly sailing outward bound with the tide, worlds of iron hiding their crews from the weeping black-shawled women on the piers.

King John (1207)

John, by the grace of God, King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, Count of Anjou, to all his faithful people who have desired to have Burgages in the township of Liverpool, greeting. Know ye that we have granted to all our faithful people who have taken Burgages in Liverpool that they may have all the liberties and free customs in the township of Liverpool which any Free Borough on the sea has in our land. And therefore we command you that securely and in our peace you come there to receive and inhabit our Burgages. And in witness hereof we transmit to you these our Letters Patent. Witness Simon de Pateshill at Winchester on the twenty-eighth day of August in the ninth year of our reign.

Derek Jewell (1963)

By night they flood out into the raw mistral that rips in from Liverpool Bay; over two hundred semi-professional trios and quartets on Merseyside, trailing their electric guitars, drums, voices and amplifiers into cars and vans. From New Brighton Tower to Garston Baths the ‘beat’ (beat for rhythm, not beatnik) groups thump, shout, kick and tremble in pubs, clubs and church halls.

William Wordsworth (1819)

You speak of this great commercial place as I should have expected. In respect to visual impression, nothing struck me so much at Liverpool as one of the streets near the river, in which is a number of lofty and large warehouses, with the processes of receiving and discharging goods.

John Leland (1539)

Lyrpole, alias Lyverpoole, a pavid towne, hath but a chapel. Walton a iiii miles of, not far from the sea is a paroche chirch. The king hath a castelet there, and the Earl of Darbe hath a stone howse there. Irisch merchants cum much thither, as to a good haven. After that Mersey water cumming towards Runcorne in Cheshire, is Runcorne Water. At Lyrpole is smaul custome payed, that causith marchantes to resorte thither. Good marchandis at Lyrpole, and much Irish yarrn that Manchester men do buy there.

Quentin Hughes (1964)

Quite a long time ago, when I wrote this book, I was taking an Italian professor around Liverpool. He was impressed and, after a while, he turned to me and asked, ‘Do tell me, where do you get this wonderful black stone?’

Ringo Starr (2004)

I told him I was stood in the John Lennon Airport. We had a bit of a laugh because it’s obviously quite something to have a whole airport named after you. And I told Macca that I would settle just for having a baggage carousel named after me or something.

Daniel Defoe (c1720)

I entered Lancashire at the remotest western point of that county, having been at West-Chester upon a particular occasion, and from thence ferried over from the Cestrian Chersonesus, as I have already called it, to Liverpoole. This narrow slip of land, rich, fertile and full of inhabitants, though formerly, as authors say, a mere waste and desolate forest, is called Wirall or by some Wirehall. Here is a ferry over the Mersee, which, at full sea, is more than two miles over. We land on the flat shore on the other side, and are contented to ride through the water for some length, not on horseback but on the shoulders of some honest Lancashire clown, who comes knee deep to the best side, to truss you up, and then runs away with you, as nimbly as you desire to ride, unless his trot were easier; for I was shaken by him that I had the luck to be carried by more than I cared for, and much worse than a hard trotting horse would have shaken me.

Washington Irving (1815)

It was a fine sunny morning when the thrilling cry of ‘land!’ was given from the mast-head. None but those who have experienced it can form an idea of the delicious throng of sensations which rush into an American’s bosom, when he first comes in sight of Europe. There is a volume of associations with the very name. It is the land of promise, teeming with everything of which his childhood has heard, or on which his studious years have pondered.
From that time, until the moment of arrival, it was all feverish excitement. The ships of war, that prowled like guardian giants along the coast; the headlands of Ireland, stretching out into the channel; the Welsh mountains towering into the clouds; -- all were objects of intense interest. As we sailed up the Mersey, I reconnoitred the shores with a telescope. My eye dwelt with delight on neat cottages, with their trim shrubberies and green grass-plots. I saw the mouldering ruin of an abbey overrun with ivy, and the taper spire of a village church rising from the brow of a neighboring hill; – all were characteristic of England.
The tide and wind were so favorable, that the ship was enabled to come at once to her pier. It was thronged with people; some idle lookers-on; others, eager expectants of friends or relations. I could distinguish the merchant to whom the ship was consigned. I knew him by his calculating brow and restless air. His hands were thrust into his pockets; he was whistling thoughtfully, and walking to and fro, a small space having been accorded him by the crowd, in deference to his temporary importance. There were repeated cheerings and salutations interchanged between the shore and the ship, as friends happened to recognize each other. I particularly noticed one young woman of humble dress, but interesting demeanor. She was leaning forward from among the crowd; her eye hurried over the ship as it neared the shore, to catch some wished-for countenance. She seemed disappointed and sad; when I heard a faint voice call her name. – It was from a poor sailor who had been ill all the voyage, and had excited the sympathy of every one on board. When the weather was fine, his messmates had spread a mattress for him on deck in the shade, but of late his illness had so increased that he had taken to his hammock, and only breathed a wish that he might see his wife before he died. He had been helped on deck as we came up the river, and was now leaning against the shrouds, with a countenance so wasted, so pale, so ghastly, that it was no wonder even the eye of affection did not recognize him. But at the sound of his voice, her eye darted on his features: it read, at once, a whole volume of sorrow; she clasped her hands, uttered a faint shriek, and stood wringing them in silent agony.
All now was hurry and bustle. The meetings of acquaintances – the greetings of friends -- the consultations of men of business. I alone was solitary and idle. I had no friend to meet, no cheering to receive. I stepped upon the land of my forefathers -- but felt that I was a stranger in the land.