Northern Soul

Blasts from the Furnace

Reviews, features and hot air by Damon Fairclough, a writer based in Liverpool via a long lost Sheffield of the soul.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

Review: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Liverpool Playhouse

March 31, 2015 Comments Off on Review: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Liverpool Playhouse

This play is a fable. I know it’s a fable because the world’s biggest typewriter (heard but not seen) pounds the words ‘A FABLE’ onto the tea-chest-style wooden backdrop at the start of the story.

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Epstein Theatre auditorium and stage

Lifting the Curtain at The Epstein Theatre, Liverpool

March 22, 2015 Comments Off on Lifting the Curtain at The Epstein Theatre, Liverpool

Theatres are all about secrets. They may open their foyers and welcome you in but the heart of each building stays hidden – a world of darkness and silence and stealth.

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Orgreave with riot police in the background (© Peter Arkell)

Review: From a Rock to a Hard Place by Beverley Trounce

March 13, 2015 Comments Off on Review: From a Rock to a Hard Place by Beverley Trounce

I’m writing this article on March 3, 2015. Yesterday, I lost my job.

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Twopence to Cross the Mersey

Review: Twopence to Cross the Mersey, Epstein Theatre, Liverpool

March 12, 2015 Comments Off on Review: Twopence to Cross the Mersey, Epstein Theatre, Liverpool

I like to think I know a thing or two about hardship. Just the other night, for example, there was nothing on telly so I subjected myself to Justin Bieber: Never Say Never on Netflix.

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Blackpool, c. 1968 by Tony Ray-Jones from the National Media Museum

Only in England at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

February 23, 2015 Comments Off on Only in England at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

Isn’t it the case that we’re permanently on the cusp of changing times, stranded between memory and the unknown?

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Chicken and Ham Hock Terrine

Review: The Lawns at Thornton Hall Hotel & Spa, Wirral

February 2, 2015 Comments Off on Review: The Lawns at Thornton Hall Hotel & Spa, Wirral

I can always tell when I’m about to enjoy a really special meal.

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Review: Little Red Riding Hood, Liverpool Everyman

December 9, 2014 Comments Off on Review: Little Red Riding Hood, Liverpool Everyman

OK, there’s something I have to admit. It doesn’t mean I’m a killjoy, it doesn’t mean I’m no fun, but…here goes: I don’t clap along to music.

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Derrick Greaves, Sheffield, 1953 © Derrick Greaves, courtesy James Hyman Gallery in London

Picturing Sheffield at the Millennium Gallery  

December 8, 2014 Comments Off on Picturing Sheffield at the Millennium Gallery  

You can tell a lot about a city’s self-image by looking at the pictures on sale in its gift shops.

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Type Motion exhibition, 2014, Installation at FACT Liverpool, Gallery 1

Moving Stories: Type Motion at FACT, Liverpool

November 20, 2014 Comments Off on Moving Stories: Type Motion at FACT, Liverpool

I have a friend who has just finished training as an archivist. I have an idea what this means: I think it involves blowing cobwebs off boxes of old photos while wearing a pair of rave-style white gloves, then occasionally appearing on Who Do You Think You Are? and talking Richard Madeley through his tear-jerking past.

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Sheffield 1987

Brutalism, Bus Fares and The Box 

October 30, 2014 Comments Off on Brutalism, Bus Fares and The Box 

Think of the camera’s shutter as a scalpel. See the photograph as a slice through time.

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