Liverpool: Craig Charles and a massive ship

On Sunday, which was my first full day in Winsford, Cheshire I started looking up things happening in the area. I realised that it’s only 35 mins on the train to Liverpool, so I was having a look at websites for some of the museums there. One mentioned that in a change to their normal opening hours they would be open on Monday due to the naming ceremony of Cunard’s Queen Anne. I wondered what that was all about and when I googled it I was very excited to discover that the event included Craig Charles DJing in some kind of collaboration with an orchestra. I was less excited to discover that Queen Anne was a cruise ship, but I thought it might be interesting to see. As well as being a Red Dwarf nerd I’ve always enjoyed his 6 Music funk and soul show and have been trying to catch one of his live shows for years but never managed to. So I couldn’t believe my luck that I had an opportunity to see him doing an awesome sounding collaboration at a one off event that was free!

So on my first ever visit to Liverpool, my first impression was that everything is massive! I wasn’t prepared for just how big the Liver Building is, some of the neighbouring buildings are pretty big and The Queen Anne is ridiculously huge.

I’ve never really fancied the idea of going on a cruise, mainly because you’d have to spend time with the kind of people who go on cruises. Also if I could afford that kind of expensive travel I’d much rather actually see the world than spend time in a floating hotel.

I met someone at work once (way back when I worked in IT) who was telling me about a 3 week cruise he went on. He said they went because his wife had always wanted to visit a particular small town on the coast of Italy. When I asked him if they got to spend much time there, his reply without a hint of irony was “Oh yes, a good six hours”. What?! If you want go somewhere and you can spare 3 weeks, why not just bloody go and spend 3 weeks there? Don’t spend 3 weeks floating around so you can spend half a day there! Absolutely baffling.

I arrived for the evening part of proceedings which apparently had started in the morning. After getting some food I went to take a photo of the ship, which wasn’t visible from in front of the stage at that point, and it’s so big that it was difficult to get the whole thing in one shot. After that I made my way into the crowd and ended up making what I call festival friends with a group of 3 guys who were stood near me and were singing along to everything.

After seeing a very good singer from Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts we were shown a video on the big screen to demonstrate some of the “fantastic” entertainment you could expect to see on a cruise on Queen Anne. Their example was dancers from the cast of “Let’s Dance” which apparently is (or was) a TV show. The guy stood next to me had also never heard of it and his mate told him he should watch more TV. I think he watches exactly the right amount of TV. After seeing a video of them dancing in various locations around the ship, they burst onto the stage and danced to one of the most repetitive and cheesy songs I’ve ever heard, which I think must have been written for the occasion. If we didn’t already know Cunard wanted us to associate the word “celebration” with this event, we definitely did after that. I’m now absolutely sure I don’t want to go on a cruise!

Next up on the stage was the brass section of the Liverpool Philharmonic. They took us through a series of instrumental versions of Beatles songs which I quite enjoyed. Helped by the fact that I joined in with my new friends singing the words, mostly quite loudly. After one song some of the people stood near us turned and applauded us, which was lovely. It did make me wonder if people in Liverpool get fed up of people going on about the Beatles.

While the last two Beatles songs were being played we could see Craig Charles standing in his DJ booth at the back of the stage. At the end of the last Beatles song they suddenly burst into Are You My Woman by Chi Lites (which most people know as the intro to Crazy In Love by Beyonce) with Craig doing all sorts of funky stuff with it and it sounded amazing. They did several tunes like this, with the brass band playing bits of the tune and the one I probably enjoyed most that’s just asking for help from a brass band was Jungle Boogie.

After a bit they stopped and the show’s compare who was apparently a local radio DJ said some unnecessary and boring nonsense. Then they let Craig cary on with DJing, this time without the band and he carried on right up to providing a sound track to the fireworks that closed the show and it was brilliant! If you like funk and soul and you ever get chance to see Craig Charles live, I highly recommend it.

I had a great time, but by the time I got back to Winsford I was knackered and my feet were hurting and I really wished I’d taken my bike, so I didn’t have to walk the 20 minutes back to the house! The boots that I chose as the single pair of shoes for my travels because they’re waterproof aren’t very comfortable for city walking. I’m definitely digging my trainers out of storage when I go to Bristol next week.

So, what do you think ?