Liverpool council's Russia blood to the head
FOR ONCE, the pavements outside the Newz Bar on Water Street and San Carlo on Castle Street are being trodden by actual celebrities!
All this week, film crews have been dotted around the city, along with A-list stars such as Kiera Knightley (although Mr Brocklebank would have to admit he wouldn't know her if she cut in front of him in the queue in Greggs), and luvvie actor-cum-director Kenneth Branagh, who is directing the latest instalment of the Tom Clancy 'Jack Ryan' series.
Mr B recalls how, some weeks ago, pubs and shops in the district around the Town Hall on Dale Street received letters notifying them that the streets would be used for filming scenes for this new flick, giving the working title of the movie, and apologising for any disruption it might cause.
Hundreds of these letters went out, but the council amazingly refused to comment or confirm the filming was to take place, stating it was 'highly confidential'.
Now, Mr B knows the film is about espionage, but perhaps the council was getting too into the spirit of things with its wall of silence. "If we told you, we'd have to kill you," one Town Hall colleague told Mr B.
The squire could almost hear certain politicians in the background imploring "Tell him, then! Tell him!"
In case anyone were wondering, the city is being used as a double for Moscow, with street signs replaced with Russian ones and huge Soviet era red banners draped down the side of some of the city's fine old buildings.
So as not to offend the sensitivities of some of our city leaders, Mr B should perhaps point out that similarities between Liverpool and an oppressive, totalitarian state begin and end with the architecture.
THE COUNCIL clearly didn't get Eric Pickles' memo about not wasting resources on 'Town Hall pravdas'.
For, having scrapped City Magazine, they have now set up a "news" website called Dale Street News, which only the most cynical would believe was named so in order to try to fool web surfers into thinking they were visiting the excellent Dale Street Blues blog set up by one of Mr B's colleagues.
Rather than a print product, the council has decided the best way to communicate with the people of a city in which a quarter of people are not online would be the internet.
While the council may argue, in municipal doublespeak, that the venture is "cost neutral", surely it's worrying that when it's supposed to be saving the universe from the evil Tories and working out how to cut the budgets to ribbons while protecting the vulnerable (of course) it's seemingly more preoccupied with its obsession with the media.
The website will provide "good news" (Russian for propaganda), and in true democratic style does not offer anyone the opportunity to leave comments; nor does it make any attempt to give two sides to any story, thereby creating the impression that Liverpool is some kind of utopia where politicians and public go about in a constant state of delight (as in North Korea).
Mr B's advice: leave it to the professionals. Journalism, not politics, of course!