Real Life Locations in Bombed Out!: St John’s Gardens, Liverpool.
Above Photo St John’s Gardens, Liverpool.
One of my favourite places in Liverpool city centre is a small patch of greenery called St John’s Gardens. In Bombed Out!, my Punk and New Wave memoir, the gardens are an important location, as so much of my time in the bands was spent there back in 1979 and the early 1980s.
With my girlfriend, Liz, I would often spend time on benches in the Gardens, reflecting on my developing band ‘career’. Then later, as worries grew, we’d fret about money (or lack of it) and about what the future held in store for us.
There’s no better way to indicate the importance of St John’s Gardens, than to quote from the book …
In the centre of Liverpool, occupying the site of a former lunatic asylum, a hospital, a church and a cemetery, there’s a very small, sloping patch of manicured lawns, flowerbeds, trees and statuary called St John’s Gardens.
St John’s Gardens is a great place to sit on a bench, watching life pass by, and for admiring the pastel-coloured skies and dramatic sunsets over the city.
Whenever we were in town, which was usually daily, we’d sit for a while in the Gardens. We’d watch spring evenings turn to long summer nights, which faded into darker autumnal afternoons, as dusk fell ever earlier on the streets of Liverpool, before winter finally set in.
Most memorably we’d notice the seasons change in the life cycle of the gardens’ trees and in how the birds behaved; mating in spring, exuberant in summer, and noisily congregating at night in the autumn.
I loved St John’s Gardens. We spent many afternoons and evenings hanging out there, eating, drinking, thinking, kissing, making out and discussing what the future held in store for us.
Fear in the Western World
Early in October, we sat on a bench one evening in St John’s Gardens. I was really dispirited. I felt life was ebbing away from me, from us, from the band, from Eric’s and from the whole fucking City.
“Do you think we’ll always live like this? Is this it for us?” I asked Liz.
We just sat there as a cold wind blew around the gardens. Now I knew what ‘bleak’ meant.
Bring On The Night
At dusk, we sat in St John’s Gardens talking about what had just happened, as enormous flocks of starlings fought for roosting space in the sycamore trees. We watched the pastel-coloured evening sky turn black over the city’s rooftops. The street lights came on, commuters rushed home and the evening grew colder. Everything looked normal, but tonight it felt very different: depressing and hostile.
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And, to finish, what else?…