a) to attend when it was relatively quiet, and
b) to have two days to recover from any damage incurred
I went on an expotition to the Liverpool Design Show with my friend S.
This was the first time I had left the house for social purposes - i.e. neither to go to work, attend medical appointments, or pick up groceries, meds or library books - for nearly a year. Liverpool is - as any fule kno - the European Capital of Culture 2008, and it grieves me that I am not fit enough to attend the cornucopia of cultural events on offer. In fact, I find it best to avoid looking at the listings, if possible, given that doing so is roughly equivalent to prodding a bruise to see whether it will hurt.
But this I really did want to attend, if possible. Having registered my interest with the site at an early stage, I was able to get two entrance tickets for the price of one. S needed very little encouragement to come with me, and knowing that I would be meeting her there gave me the push I most definitely needed to get out of the house when resting in relative comfort seemed like a far preferable alternative. (I did, however, let her have her ticket the day before: determined to attend a function or no, there is never any guarantee that I will be fit enough on the day.)
So, decked out in some carefully-chosen pieces of handmade jewellery - and the "Support Independent Artisans" badge I won in one of Life Adorned's fantastic blog giveaways - I headed off to attempt to find the entrance to the colossal Contemporary Urban Centre.
Having met up with S - and pausing only to point out to the first member of staff I encountered that there was a sandwich board blocking the level access to the building - I waited with S to hand my ticket in.
We were pleasantly surprised to exchange the torn halves of our tickets for complimentary Liverpool Design Show canvas tote bags, albeit somewhat bemused to discover that each bag boasted a Crown paints colour chart amongst its contents.
Exhibits are on the ground, first and fourth floors, and it was not exactly straightforward to get our bearings, particularly given the sensory assault from the combination of exceedingly dim lighting and some species of ghastly techno music which was being piped through the ground floor spaces. A floor plan with stall numbers and an accompanying list of which artisan was occupying which stall would have been useful. Considerably more useful, in fact, than a Crown paints colour chart.
But navigation issues are a mere bagatelle compared with the underlying problem which befalls all such events: people attend them. For an ouchy crip, this is a severe drawback. They are attended by the sort of people who block access by gathering in small knots of like-minded pretentiousness to engage in earnest discussion, and who reverse suddenly from stalls whose wares they consider sub-standard, without indicating.
Top marks for Being A Danger To All Around Him must go to the yummy daddy of an infant saddled with the hardly-at-all pretentious name of Milo. (One can only pray that couple will have enough money for private schooling when that child is older...) Milo's daddy was wearing some sort of metal-framed papoose thingummajig high on his shoulders. This, combined with the fact that he was holding a wriggling Milo in his arms, added at least two feet to his width. Wholly oblivious to his status as a wide load, Milo's daddy - who was revoltingly energetic - pirouetted his way around the first floor exhibits, leaving in his wake quantities of ashen-faced punters who had just barely escaped being smacked in the face by a papoose. He was later overheard proudly recounting the fact that dear little Milo had managed to pull over a display table at one of the stands. This is just one of the many reasons why I should never be permitted to run a stall at such an event. If Milo had pulled over my display table, I would have gone after his self-important daddy with every walking stick at my disposal.
But, of course, it wasn't all bad by any means. I was very pleased to get the opportunity to catch up with Helen Of The Lovely Scarves. And, speaking of lovely scarves, there were several scarf-creators who, had I been feeling flush, would undoubtedly have benefited from some of my hard-earned cash. If scarves are your thing, you will want to visit Helen Bolland, Murrindal Design and Nawal Gebreel.
Although I was able - just - to resist spending money I really haven't got this late in the month at the scarf stalls, my resolution crumbled in the face of Katie Adams' wonderful City of Culture ceramics. Photographs don't begin to do justice to Katie's work: you really do need to see it in three dimensions. The mug I bought is great: there are two other designs in the series - one featuring St George's Hall/St John's beacon and one the Anglican cathedral/St John's beacon - and I suspect I will get myself down to the Bluecoat centre at some point and complete my collection. It is also possible that a cereal bowl may sneak into my shopping basket. These really are lovely things.
My other downfall was - as I had always known it would be - Rowena Park's gloriously divine jewellery. In fact, it was seeing Rowena's listing on the Design Show website which had made me so determined to make the effort to attend. Exhibiting super-human levels of self-control and restraint, I rationed myself to just one luminous-blue, eminently-strokeable acrylic pebble pendant. I must say that Rowena bore up very well under my statement of intent to stalk her hereafter. I'm looking forward to gradually building up a collection of her pieces.
After a much-needed cup of tea and a sit-down in the cool, airy restaurant space, in full view of one of the multitude of superlambbananas which populated the city this week, S and I wended our weary way home. I was stiff, sore and very tired, but I seem, much to my relief, not to have incurred any lasting damage.