Liverpool based author SE Moorhead https://semoorhead.com/ called Under The Bridge ‘A love letter to Liverpool with a touch of the Peaky Blinders’.
I really liked this line and I have used it a number of times, its even on the cover of the book. I have to admit the first time I saw it, the line surprised me, partly because my novel isn’t a nostalgic look back at ‘the good old days’. I think it shows Garston, Speke and everywhere else in Liverpool it looks at, warts and all.
In describing Speke it describes the isolation of early residents with no pubs or shops, through the 70’s when burglaries and car crime became huge issues, the same with the eighties and nineties as the drugs and violence made life harder.This is not to say everything was terrible either, the Facebook groups for Speke and Garston show many posts saying that growing up there, were the best days of their lives. As it should be; in childhood, we get to play, explore, and create our own adventures. The truth is our childhoods, as long as we have loving families, however poor, are always the best days of our life. If we are unlucky and have dysfunctional parents and families, and we know our society produces its fair share of these, then we don’t post of happy days on Facebook.
For me Under The Bridge is in the tradition of the gritty kitchen sink drama’s of the late sixties and 70s, Saturday Night Sunday Morning, Kes, and A Taste of Honey, because they spoke of a working class world I knew existed but was rarely shown in film and on TV. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitchen_sink_realism I wanted to update those stories to show those communities still exist and still have stories to tell.
I think SE Moorhead saw something no one up that point had seen in the novel, to love someone, you have to really know them, it’s hard to love an image. We have to know the faults, the good and the bad, and that struggle is what creates the love, to love someone, something, or a place, we have to do it despite the faults.
I hate the sectarianism in Liverpool that saw St Patrick’s day Parade attacked. I hate the racism that saw Anthony Walker killed. https://anthonywalkerfoundation.com/
I hate the casual violence that resulted in the death of Rhys Jones. I hate the bullying swagger that so many think makes them ‘hard’.
I love the solidarity after Hillsborough when everyone stood together to call out the crime and police cover up. I love the humanity that sees groups in every area start food banks to help people eat. I love that the S** can’t be sold (get rid of the other rags too) I love when working class people come together and stand up for each other red/blue, black/white /catholic/protestant/muslim/jew.
So yeah I guess the book is a love letter to Liverpool, to the best of Liverpool.