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Real Life Locations in Bombed Out!: St John’s Gardens, Liverpool.

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.

St George's Hall, seen from St John's Gardens.

St George’s Hall, seen from St John’s Gardens.

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.

St John's Gardens in the early 1900s, with St John's Church still on the site.

St John’s Gardens in the early 1900s, with St John’s Church still on the site.

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.

View of the Central Library and the Art Gallery from St John's Gardens. Both buildings were also important to proceedings later in Bombed Out.

View of the Central Library and the Walker Art Gallery from St John’s Gardens. Both buildings were also important to proceedings later in Bombed Out.

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.

This is the line of sycamore trees, 35 years later, which I refer to in the book. The one on the right has been there since. Liverpool museum is in the background.

This is the line of sycamore trees, 35 years later, which I refer to in the book. The one on the right has been there since. Liverpool museum is in the background.

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.

St John's gardens in the early 1900s, with a Victorian couple seated on a bench, probably as worried as we were about their own futures back then.

St John’s gardens in the early 1900s, with a Victorian couple seated on a bench, probably preoccupied with the same thoughts and worries as we were, generations later. 

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.

ANother good shot of the solid Vixctorian public architecture of St John's gardens, with Liverpool museum in the background.

A shot of the solid Victorian public architecture of St John’s Gardens, with Liverpool museum in the background.

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.

Buy a signed copy of Bombed Out! here: http://www.bombedoutpunk.com/buybook.php

And, to finish, what else?…

 

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or signed paperback copies from:
News From Nowhere, Bold Street Liverpool; Waterstones, Liverpool 1 or Pritchards, Moor Lane, Crosby.

 www.bombedoutpunk.com © Peter Alan Lloyd

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