Sunday, December 16, 2007

Liverpool Nativity

Do you remember the Manchester Passion?

Telling the Easter story on the streets of Manchester City Centre with popular and famous locally produced music and popular and famous local actors?

Well tonight it was the Liverpool Nativity

Telling the story of the birth of Jesus Christ.

The story was acted out on the streets of Liverpool.

A modern take on the oldest story in the world.

Mary was working in a cafe on the Wirral, her boyfriend Joseph was a refugee.

The Angel Gabriel (the city CCTV operator) told Mary that she was to have a baby, and although Joseph took a bit of persuading, he did in the end support Mary who he loved very much.

Herodia, an important Government Minister trying to come to the attention of the President for her hard-line stance, heard from the Magi that a baby would be born to the girlfriend of an Asylum Seeker, who would be the King of Kings. So she decided to round up all Asylum Seekers by asking them to come to the passport office in Liverpool and review their visas. She was advising her staff from inside St George's Hall.

Mary and Joseph travelled to Liverpool on the Mersey Ferry and wondered the streets looking for somewhere to stay, subject to terrible prejudice from some people who had been inflamed by Herodia's castigation of Asylum Seekers. Eventually they made their way to a pub on St Johns Lane - Doctor Duncans. The innkeeper let them stay in his lean-to and the baby Jesus was born amongst the beer barrels in the cold and placed in a shopping trolley.

(Interestingly Doctor Duncan was a relentless campaigner against poor living conditions in the Liverpool of the Victorian era, and the first Chief Medical Officer of Health to be appointed in the UK. If you had to be born in a pub, then one named after him must be your best bet.)

Liverpool's shepherds were homeless people sleeping outside St George's Hall, outcasts from society, just like the original shepherds were.

The Angels came to them via their radio and showed them where the baby lay.

The Shepherds and the Angels and the Kings made their way to the lean-to (which had magically been moved to the main stage by this point). They came and worshipped the infant and there was much joy.

My favourite songs came at this part - John Lennon's Beatiful Boy and the Beatles' Lady Madonna.

Then the crowds parted and Liverpool people took Mary, Joseph and the baby into their midst and closed the gap behind them so that they could not ever be found by Herodia.

- The city and its buildings looked wonderful. St George's Hall, the Library, the museum, the whole of William Brown Street looked marvellous. The skyline from the ferry looked great too.

- great Liverpool music, great acting, great singing

We enjoyed a wonderful spectacle (staggeringly cold but utterly wonderful).

It was live on BBC 3 and then repeated at 11pm (which I am just watching now to make sure I have not missed anything).

It will be on again on BBC1 just before Christmas, either the 23rd or 24th, so if you missed it, you get the chance to watch it and can join the rest of the world in admiring our great city playing centre stage with such an important story.


Alan in Belfast said...

BBC One, Sunday 23rd, about 10.45pm (some local variations).

Glad you enjoyed being part of it - the rest of us just got to see it enfold at home. Not quite the same!

Scouse Squaddie said...

It was a load of PC liberal nonsense. It was just another factor of the general acceptance by blind fools of the colonization of this country by foriegners. Wake up Liverpool. You will when St. Georges Hall becomes a mosque & you've got a Muslim Ciy Council but it'll be too late then won't it. Oh of course, I must be a racist!

Louise Baldock said...

You are quite right, Scouse Squaddie, you are racist.

But more than that, you are stupid too, brainless in fact.

How can a portrayal of the greatest story ever told - the birth of Jesus Christ, the birth of Christianity, relate to any kind of Muslim colonization?

I assume you are not a Christian, not just because you have no Christian sensitivity or moral code but because you would know that the Nativity is about the birth of Jesus if you were.

If you were a Christian, you would also know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and his family were Jewish from Nazareth in Galilee in modern day northern Israel.
That rather makes them "foreign".

It is highly unlikely that Jesus was a blue-eyed blonde and he certainly wasn't from Liverpool. Sorry if that shocks you.

You are equating Asylum Seekers with Muslims, you are equating foreigners with Muslims, you are equating black faces with Muslims and then you are equating Muslims with something negative.

You are wrong on every point.

Asylum Seekers are just as likely to be Christian, or indeed atheist, or agnostic or anything else.

Foreigners more generally can be of any religion, Poles tend to be Roman Catholics for instance and have saved many of our churches from shutting down due to falling congregations. But again they can be atheists or agnostic or anything else.

Many of the black people living in this country now are Christians, particularly those from Africa. But they could be any one of a hundred different religions.

Muslims believe in peace, harmony, serving the community, voluntary service, charitable works, adherence to a religious way of life. You dont have to believe in the supremacy of Mohammed to admire Muslims for their thoughtful and considered approach.

Don't call again.

Incandescent said...

Asylum should begin at the first safe nation - not half way across the world.

When the French or Dutch need asylum we should give it freely.

Wished anyone a slow and painful death lately Louise? Mmm you're nice aren't you?

Old Dick-The self proclaimed Immam of Kensington said...

Remember a Musilim is not just for Christmas.......

given the state of the current council I cant wait for Warren Bradley to take the Hijab or mike storey to be lashed (pass me the whip)...he's done enough lashing of us in the past.

May the robotic falcons of Allah cast this evil council aside and make all thier children barren (spits).

Scouse squaddie if your in Iraq or afghanistan (assuming you are a reall squadddie not a jarg squaddie) then for god's sake keep your head down and watch your back over christmas, as the insurgents and taliban arent ahving the day off. Not to mentio your own men shooting you in the back you must eb a "real pain in the barracks"

Peace be upon you, seasons greetings, happy honika, hosgeldiniz.

Mike Davies said...

But neither Jesus, Joseph not Mary were asylum seekers, nor were they homeless. They merely couldn't find a room for the night.
They had a home in Nazareth, but were only in Bethlehem because the ruling bureaucracy told them to register for the census in the town of their birth.
So the 'modern take' on the nativity story isn't accurate.
Arguably, the message one could take is a warning about trusting those in power, rather than believing they can solve your problems.

Louise Baldock said...

Mike Davies, a modern take does not have to be accurate, otherwise it would not be a modern take, it would be a faithful representation.

Incandescent, lots of Africans are French, in origin, doesnt that confuse you?

Laban said...

"you have no Christian sensitivity or moral code"

I'm still trying to reconcile the author of that statement with the author of "I am NOT on the side of the enemy's enemy, I KNOW they are not my friends. I hope you all die a long and slow and horrible death."

I presume you're ashamed/embarrassed at what you wrote - quite rightly so. I think perhaps an apology to the people concerned is in order. Is it not the Christian thing to do - all the more so in that it would obviously come hard to you ?

"To have endured the cross, despising the shame - there lay greatness"

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Louise Baldock said...

Yes, I am sorry about what I wrote, yes I do apologise. Yes that is why I deleted it.

Actually, I think I meant "you" the party, rather than "you" the individuals, but I realised in the cold light of day that might not be clear enough, so I removed it.

I am still glad to see the BNP get into serious difficulties though.

Louise Baldock said...

I would really appreciate it if a few more people would join me in defending this thread, celebrating the wonderful Liverpool Nativity from the racists who have hijacked it.

You can stay anonymous if you are worried about being targetted by them, but please do express your thoughts.

steve "futile" faragher said...

Someone should have audutioned Cathy Tyson, I saw here on the Everyman 25 years ago adn she coudl sing then, living with Craig Charles may ahve has some effect.

On the other hand all these idiots given you a hard time need to get a life or preferably get out the country, sometimes.

Presumably Mike Davies would have every rennaissance painting of the nativity destroyed as Jesus Mary et al are all in Italian contemporary dress,and white european, as opposed to looking a bit "arabic" ?
The one thing you cant knock the new testement of is its' contemporaneous accuracy. It's a belief system.

I must go and get my artistic licence renewed...

Pat said...

The Liverpool Nativity was absolutely wonderful! Thanks to all who envisaged it and brought it to life!
Pat, Norrtelje, Sweden

Anonymous said...

Hello Louise

The Nativity was great. People seem very scared of Asylum Seekers; maybe they need to get out a bit more and actualy meet one or perhaps talk to one. They might find that, after all, they are just ordinary people like themselves.

Asylum claims currently account for 4% of inward migration to the UK and around half of those people will be removed or return voluntarily. What do the numbers have to fall to before people will stop knocking Refugees?

All around the world there are millions of people living in fear and in pain and we are one of the best placed countries to help out - good transport links, healthy ecconnomy (compare ours with Zimbabwe), one of the richest nations going, people seem terrified of 'the unknown foreigner' in our midst.

Looking at the conflict around the world I don't feel we take enough refugees: Jesus, Moses, Einstein, the Dalai Lama, Michael Marks(M&S)

I could go on but I won't - Check out the International Crisis Website
and people can see just how much conflict there is out there and why it is important for us to provide a safe place for people.

Happy New Year, Ewan

Sue said...

I also enjoyed the Liverpool Nativity. I just wanted to reply to Mike Davies. When Jesus was born, it is true, his family were not refugees, just people who had to travel to a different town to register. But after his birth, King Herod wanted all the infants killed, so Joseph had to flee with his family to Egypt. So they were refugees, later. Which is presumably why the Liverpool Nativity focused on "Herodia" and the plight of the refugees. I think we often forget - I know I do - that Jesus lived as a refugee. Presumably his earliest memories could have been of Egypt.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you louise, I was an extra in the herodia scene too

Anonymous said...

Best Bit of Telly since BROOKSIDE