Thursday, July 31, 2008

Liverpool in 2008: 'Super Lamb Bananas' and Urban Patriotism

Clara Paillard and Leo Singer have written an excellent article for Mute magazine on corporate regeneration and resistance in Liverpool's Capital Of Culture year. They also look at how the "creative industries" have been used to deliver "cross-class" messages about how the city is changing (in other words 'Look how great our Liverpool is becoming! We have brand new chain stores and posh flats; aren't we unique?').

The egregious summer plague of 'Super Lamb Bananas' is held up as symbolic of this process:

"The Super Lamb Banana is a mutant of a lamb and a banana referring to the port's history of exporting lamb and importing bananas. But the City of Culture grasped the potential of this piece of public art and turned it into the symbol of 'wacky' Scouseness, thus packaging all sorts of stereotypes about Scousers into a much celebrated commodity. The Liverpool Echo is exemplary in whipping up this kind of hysteria. One of the top articles recently reported about a group of local scouts who within 24 hours managed to visit all 200 plus Lamb Banana statues scattered over the city!"
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