Brightly coloured boat approaching the shore
England,  Photographing Public Art,  Street art

Gallery: Everybody Razzle Dazzle in Liverpool

So ferry, cross the Mersey

‘Cause this land’s the place I love

And here I’ll stay

Gerard Marsden

The Mersey ferry, linking Liverpool to Birkenhead, is just possibly the most famous ferry service in the world, and certainly so in England, thanks to that song.

A few years ago the celebrated artist Sir Peter Blake, most famous for The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper album cover, was asked to create a special design for one of the ferries, as part of Liverpool’s First World War commemorations. He came up with this, Everybody Razzle Dazzle, inspired by the ‘dazzle’ patterns that were first used on vessels in World War One. These worked by ‘baffling the eye’, thus making ships difficult to target. Each ship’s pattern was unique to avoid making different classes of vessels recognisable to enemy U-boats and aircraft.

Brightly coloured boat approaching the shore
Everybody Razzle Dazzle ferry arriving at the terminal

Today this boat is used by Mersey Ferries for their River Explorer Cruise service. We were pleased to see, when we went on that cruise earlier this year, that this was to be our vessel. Of course once on board you can’t really appreciate the design; but I was able to get some photos as she approached the dock. And on the boat there are some interesting information panels about the story of dazzle designs and how they were used. Wikipedia has a comprehensive article on the topic if you are interested.

SuperLambBananas

While Everybody Razzle Dazzle is even on its own a striking piece of art to offer for this week’s Photographing Public Art challenge, I can’t leave Liverpool without also showing you some of the street art I found there. Among these were some of the SuperLambBananas dotted around the city. The original SuperLambBanana was the work of the Japanese artist Taro Chiezo. In it he aimed to represent both a sense of humour and the serious contemporary issue of genetic engineering. It was originally located near the Albert Dock but has since been moved, and we didn’t come across it during our explorations of the city. But there are now many more SuperLambBananas to be seen in Liverpool, both full size replicas and smaller ones. Most were commissioned to mark the city’s City of Culture celebrations. I found these two on the Pier Head, near the Museum of Liverpool.

Street art in Liverpool

As we explored the city’s streets I was always on the look out for street art. So here’s a selection of my favourites.

People around every corner

Seem to smile and say

We don’t care what your name is, boy

We’ll never turn you away

Gerard Marsden

I visited Liverpool in 2021

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