Come To Sunny Birkenhead

Grafitti 016

We understand that it was a typical Bank Holiday Monday back in Blighty. Bleak,wet and miserable. Indeed we’ve been sent the above picture which not only seemed to reflect the general  mood but also served as an antidote to all the idealised artist’s impressions of Birkenhead we’ve been seeing all over the press lately.

Apparently the picture was taken at the bottom of Holt Hill , Birkenhead – ironically the scene for  one of the most famous pictures ever taken on Wirral when Cammell Laird was an industrial powerhouse and the town’s main employer.

Holt Hill 2

Although it ain’t Bansky we think the graffiti speaks volumes about post-industrial nihilism and the challenge that faces those who optimistically seek to transform Birkenhead . Meanwhile what a dispiriting and depressing experience this must be for those who have to pass this vulgar ugliness every day.

The obscene scene also reminded us of the Philip Larkin poem ‘Sunny Prestatyn’  which presents a bleak picture of the harsh realities juxtaposed with the false promises of glossy advertising. Just don’t expect to see this picture reproduced in Wirral View or in a wraparound advertising feature paid for by Wirral Council.

Come To Sunny Prestatyn
Laughed the girl on the poster,
Kneeling up on the sand   
In tautened white satin.   
Behind her, a hunk of coast, a
Hotel with palms
Seemed to expand from her thighs and   
Spread breast-lifting arms.
She was slapped up one day in March.   
A couple of weeks, and her face
Was snaggle-toothed and boss-eyed;   
Huge tits and a fissured crotch
Were scored well in, and the space   
Between her legs held scrawls
That set her fairly astride
A tuberous cock and balls
Autographed Titch Thomas, while   
Someone had used a knife
Or something to stab right through   
The moustached lips of her smile.   
She was too good for this life.   
Very soon, a great transverse tear   
Left only a hand and some blue.   
Now Fight Cancer is there.
Philip Larkin, “Sunny Prestatyn ” from Whitsun Weddings. Copyright © Estate of Philip Larkin.