On Sunday 24th May, myself and a number of others took part on the North End Picaresque: A Migrant Tale of Self-Discovery walk.
I think I’d be better letting the North End Picaresque website describe it for you:
“North End Picaresque is a migrant tale of self-discovery taking place in the form of a walking audio journey that unfolds through the landscape from Everton to Tuebrook and is inspired by the picaresque novel The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha a Spanish novel published in 1605 by Miguel de Cervantes.
This original journey has been conceived by [http://lorenariverodebeer.org/’ target=’_blank’>link] Lorena Rivero de Beerand [http://markloudon.com/photography’ target=’_blank’>link] Mark Loudonas the starting point from which to develop a new way of mapping North Liverpool through a migrant perspectives. The project will be followed by the creation of a series of audio journeys developed by different communities that intend to reflect the multiple stories and complex ways through which migrants living in North Liverpool make sense of the area.”
I heard about the event via Mark Loudon, who is one of Homebaked’s volunteers. He has been involved with Homebaked since it opened, and I’m sure some of you may be familiar with the portraits that we have hanging up on our walls, which were taken by Mark.
I have to admit, I didn’t really know what to expect from the walk, which started up at the Lookout in Everton, and ended in Tuebrook, but I’m always up for trying something new and an interesting day out, so I went anyway.
Finding the Lookout proved a bit of an issue, which is embarrassing, considering myself and [https://twitter.com/billybikeboy’ target=’_blank’>link] Billy Clarke(another volunteer and familiar face at Homebaked) are both supposed to know the area well. However, we got there eventually, and we were ready to set off on the wonderful journey Mark and Lorena had planned for us!
We were given headphones each and an Mp3 player to share, as well as a map with directions and instructions about how to undergo our journey. The story was loosely based on Don Quixote, as explained above, but with Mark and Lorena’s own tales of coming to Liverpool woven in. It was wonderfully played out by them both, complete with accompanying music and narration by Jayne Lawless (yet another familiar face at Homebaked!).
It’s quite difficult to describe the journey in great detail without really capturing the mood set by the audio, which is what made the walk a unique and memorable experience.
Off we go!
Up what some know as ‘Cardiac Hill’ to take a look at Liverpool’s grand landscape, then towards the Everton water tower…
It was pretty impressive, and humbling, to see the city laid out before us like that. From the top of the hill, you can see so much and further beyond Liverpool as well. I used to go to this park frequently as a kid and loved it, though I never quite took in how high up it is and how much can be seen until the walk.
Just another reminder of how easy it is sometimes to live in a place, but never really take it all in or give it a decent look at until you have an ‘excuse’ to do so.
Seeing the water tower up close was amazing, and it was accompanied by Mark telling of his childhood in Ireland, and the similarities between the two areas.
It’s strange how this particular part of Everton seems like it’s stuck in the past – despite modern buildings and houses surrounding, the water tower is very much an old relic, and an interesting one at that.
We came to a rest stop, the first of two on the journey, where we could pause the story for a while, get our bearings and a drink!
As we continued, down an alleyway and onwards towards Tuebrook, I discovered something that wasn’t marked on the journey…
(Apparently Eminem went on the journey before us.)
We were nearing our final destination, but had another break (whilst listening to one of the chapters) near this beautiful building. Perhaps it’s just me, but again, I don’t really notice things like this (beautiful, detailed architecture) unless I really look, so I’m glad the North End Picaresque encouraged me to do so.
After crossing over towards Tuebrook under the subway, or, as it was described in the story, the ‘Tunnel of Love’, we came towards Newsham Park.
I’m quite familiar with the Tuebrook area (more so than where I live in Anfield, apparently!), so knowing we were already here, I knew the journey was soon coming to an end, which made me feel a little bit wistful.
So much so, I didn’t notice this fella pop up out of nowhere!
Billy got a good photo of him, though:
The final destination on our journey was Lorena’s house, which gave the story a defining feeling of ‘roots’ and belonging.
Here, we watched a short film that had been prepared to top it all off, featuring Mark and Lorena doing their own special performance of “The Impossible Dream”. Though the entire walk was a lot of fun, both myself and Billy agreed that this unexpected finale was a highlight!
Then, it was back to Homebaked to sample some of Mark’s delicious chicken barley soup and soda bread.
(I say ‘then’, but I managed to get myself and Billy lost on the way back. It was a little experience in itself!)
I really enjoyed taking part on the walk, and felt very accomplished after doing so, as it’s something I’ve never done before.
Mark and Lorena are going to be doing a couple of workshops in a similar vein to the North End Picaresque at the end of the month.
If you’d like to come along and get creative, visit the website for more info:http://northendpicaresque.com/or contact Mark:http://markloudon.com/photographyor Lorena:http://lorenariverodebeer.org/I’m hoping to be involved with these workshops as well, and any others that come in the future. It’s great to be involved with a place that encourages such creative and unique projects as this.
(With thanks to Billy Clarke for the photographs.)