There are many things to love about the city of Liverpool, the open nature of its people, the vibrancy of its nightlife and its rich musical heritage to name just a few. Above all Liverpool has character, and it has it in abundance. In my humble opinion Bold Street, opposite the old bombed out church just off Hardman Street, embodies the city’s character perhaps better than any other. It’s a novel street full of individual wonderment and oddities, which is precisely why I have grown so attached to it. In light of my ongoing love affair with Bold Street, I decided to call my snap happy photographer pal Stephen Burke and go out and meet some of the people who make Bold Street what it is today. I wasn’t disappointed as we encountered the good, the bad and the downright odd, all within the confines of one narrow street in Liverpool
In all honesty, we arrived on Bold Street lacking anything resembling a real plan, so we just started asking unsuspecting victims stupid questions. Here are some of my favourite responses.
Me: “What is the strangest thing you’ve ever seen on Bold Street?
Reluctant respondent: “Well I’ve seen a lot of naked old men”
Me: “Any idea why that is?
Respondent: “Bold Street is just a bit strange”
Me: “ What’s the best/oddest thing that’s ever happened to you on Bold Street?
Victim number two: “ I’ve shagged a couple of people on this street”
Me: “ What’s the most disgusting thing you’ve ever seen on Bold Street?
Victim number three: “ I saw two of my mates chased down Bold Street wearing dresses, that was pretty disgusting”
Me: “How did that come about?
Victim number three: “No idea we were all drunk to be honest”
Me:” Anything else?
Victim number three: “I’ve seen loads of people pissing on this street, that’s never a nice sight”
After a while we decided that it was time to stop dicking about and do some real work, so we took a foray into some of Bold Street’s finest businesses and bothered the owners instead. I wanted to discover what had made Bold Street such a hot bed of vintage clothing, sleek cafes and generally stores not to be found a little further along in the clean cut surroundings of Liverpool One. First of all we wandered into Ryan Vintage (incidentally one of my favourite haunts on Bold Street) and the lovely ladies inside offered some interesting insight. It seems that following the opening of Liverpool One, many businesses upped sticks and decided to move closer to Liverpool’s premier shopping centre. In turn this development freed up space on Bold Street and in came the independent stores. As such, a sort of counter culture began to emerge on Bold Street offering respite from the blandness of the high street. Next stop was Claudia Pink and Silver Birch a beautiful boutique run by Claudia and her business partner Sarah Birch. Claudia specialises in customised jewellery whilst Sarah Birch provides the dresses, together they represent the eccentricity and distinctiveness which make Bold Street a place to be marvelled at. After a little chat it became apparent that the geography of Bold Street was an integral part of its bohemian character. This is due to University footfall, you see, after leaving Liverpool University the quickest route to the centre of Liverpool is via Hardman Street which then in turn leads onto Bold Street. In the minds of Claudia and Sarah it is this footfall of intrepid young students which helps Bold Street to retain its fresh and progressive nature. Last stop was Resurrection, a clothes store with a penchant for popular fashion, teamed with a wonderful vintage section which always guarantees a bargain. The staff in Resurrection likened Bold Street to a gateway to Liverpool’s city centre, something which seemed to reinforce its inherent differences to the more mainstream areas of Liverpool’s shopping district. They went on to call it a niche street which was full of vibrancy, something with which I couldn’t agree more.
Despite all the good things said about Bold Street, it became clear that perceptions of its development somewhat depended on your age. The older members of the public we spoke to seemed to bemoan the direction in which Bold Street was heading, claiming it had lost some of its historical heritage. Some felt that with its move toward the weird and wonderful Bold Street had lost its class. Another common gripe amongst the older generation was the increase in price; however this appeared to be something which could be attributed to the whole of Liverpool as opposed to one isolated street. Progression will not always please everyone it seems, and as Bold Street continues to move forward you either have the choice to embrace change or be left behind.
Finally we encountered a traffic warden as we wearily made our way home; surely such a revered member of society would offer us a great closing line for this article. So here it is,
Me: “What would you say Bold Street has to offer?
Traffic Warden: “Nothing”
Who would have thought it, an ignorant traffic warden?
P.S As always you can find me on twitter and let me know your thoughts on my work, @LiamMucklow.
P.P.S if you enjoyed the photography in this piece then you can find more of Stephen Burke’s work on his Tumblr account, not only is he beautiful but he takes a wonderful photo to boot! http://stephen-burke.tumblr.com/