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Phil Redmond: The hard work starts here.

Byline: Phil Redmond

POTLIGHT. Last October I wrote ab out how fantastic it is to win an a ward. Now the whole city knows how it feels to be in the spotlight.

However, the reare downsides. Life in the spotlight often carries with it the twin curses of expectancy and responsibility.

With the rest of the world now knowing what we at the centre of the universe have always known,Liverpool is the Capital of Culture, well almost. Officially the title is for 2008 and so from now until then the city and the people within it will be in the spotlight. When Jeremy Isaacs summed up why his commit-tee of judges chose Liverpool, he added the caveat that now the hard work really beg ins.

As from 8.11amon Wednesday,June 4 2003 the expectancy will be enormous. Just as will the responsibility to deliver it.

Unfortunately,like the award itself, a lot of the judgement will come from outside the city. The bonhomie of the final run- in and the necessary political need for all losers to be magnanimous will fade. Faster in some places than others it seems,as Birmingham MPs are apparently whinging on ab out it being ``a fix''.

As if we Scousers would ever say that! The Oxford bunch,naturally,are still peering down their ivory tower in bewilderment that no ``educated'' or ``intelligent'',person could overlook them. Seems they did.

The award is fantastic news,but being in the spotlight, together with human nature,means that there will be quite a few people out there ready to snipe. Every Scouse indiscretion or slip up anywhere on the world stage will lead to someone linking it bac

to our new-found status.

Every leaky tap and cracked paving stone will lead to even more vilification for the Capital of Culture City Council. It will be an easy stick to use.

There has also been a lot of talk ab out what the award did for Glasgow.

Liverpool is not like Glasgow. It has always been a global city. We have just become a much big ger target.

Fortunately, we have something going for us that nowhere else on earth can match. The Scouse gene for self- examination. Before anyone else can slag us off we have proba bly done it,been there and got the answer printed on a T-shirt.That, actually, is part of our cul-ture,and we should turn that to our advantage.

If the philosophy behind the bid was ``people not buildings'', thenlet's hope that when the committee meets again to plan the delivery strategy, they do not adopt a role of cultural dispensation,but maintain a commitment to both local involvement and local public scrutiny bef orehand.

That way,life will be a lot easier in the spotlight.
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Title Annotation:Comment
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 6, 2003
Words:467
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