Thursday, 3 April 2008

Return to the Beacon

Returning to work after a holiday, however short, always requires a bit of an effort of will. On Monday I had the added challenge of needing to be in the centre of Liverpool before 6.45 a.m. for a radio interview about the forthcoming publication of Waterloo Sunset. Now, anyone who knows me will know that I am not at my best in the early morning (I’m not entirely sure when I am at my best, actually, so perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I’m at my very worst in the early morning.) Setting off on the motorway at the unfamiliar time of a quarter to six, I did at least find that a normally horrendous commute became straightforward due to the lightness of the traffic. And I arrived to find the sun coming out in Liverpool.

The interview was at Radio City. They now occupy the Beacon, in the heart of the city centre. When I first landed in Liverpool, in 1980, the Beacon was home to a revolving restaurant, and one memorable evening I was taken to dinner there by a client. Alas, the revolving restaurant is long gone – I’d like to find another one somewhere, sometime, but they seem to be in short supply. However, the views from the Beacon across the city and beyond the river remain utterly breathtaking.

The interviewers were Phil and Kim and they were very accomplished. It is common to do an interview of this kind and find that the interviewer is badly briefed. It’s relatively rare to find that the interviewer has read the book all the way through. But Phil had just finished Waterloo Sunset over the weekend, and gave it terrific coverage. The duo’s professionalism made it easy to answer their questions in a more or less coherent way, even if I shall remain very much an owl rather than a lark.

Walking back through rather quiet streets, it felt as though spring might finally have arrived. The dramatic new buildings in the heart of Liverpool are taking shape. The reborn city felt fresh, and full of promise for the future.

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