I’m just a few weeks off my London anniversary. I can’t believe I’ve lived in London for almost 12 months now. The year has flown in so quickly, and in just a matter of weeks I’ll be moving again, back up north, to Lovely Liverpool.
I don’t think I’ve fully ‘went to town’ about my thoughts of living in Liverpool, have I? I might have written a blog post in my first year of university, but whether that made it onto this website, I do not know. But after living there for two years, being away for one and soon to be going back, I think it’s time I wrote a little something about the city I’ve come to call home.
*I just started to get a little emotional, what is wrong with me?!
Home from home
Before anyone jumps the gun, I’m not implying that I’ve went fully fledged British and now class myself as English – I won’t be waving the Union Jack around or singing God Save the Queen any time soon. That, I can assure you.
See, this is something you need to know about Liverpool. You’d have quite a hard time trying to actually find a Union Jack flag in the city. But want to spot an Irish flag? How high can you count?
Liverpool is basically it’s own little country. The Scouse don’t class themselves as English or British. They’re from Liverpool and that’s that. I was told during my first year from a taxi driver that ‘Liverpool is the second capital of Ireland,’ and I couldn’t think of a better way to describe it myself.
There’s so many Irish living in Liverpool, that you can’t walk down the street without hearing your own accent. You also can’t walk down any street without coming across an Irish bar. The majority of Liverpool students are Irish, and many of them continue to live there after graduating.
It’s also home-from-home in the way that Scousers talk to everyone and anyone. A bit like Northern Ireland. You can walk into a shop and have a full-scale conversation with someone you just met one second ago. They say hello to you in the street even if they don’t know you. Something we also do back in Ireland.
Say ‘hello’ to someone on the street in London and they’d probably report you to the police for suspicious behaviour.
There’s no one like the Scouse
Since moving to Liverpool on a full-time basis back in August 2016, I’ve been able to work and feel like an actual resident of the city, not just a part-time student.
One of the best things about Liverpool is how the people take you in as one of their own. I spent a long time working in a pub on London Road, and by no means was it The Hilton or The Ritz. Between you and me, I saw a lot of dodgy dealings, brawls, alcoholics and had my fair share of ‘Oi love, you got a boyfriend?’ To give you a better picture, we had three working pumps; Carling, John Smiths and Guinness. Choice was limited, but that didn’t stop them coming in for their £2 pints.
As much as the customers slurred their words and had the thickest Scouse accents ever, they were the most protective and lovely people I’ve ever met. The locals that sat in the pub day in and day out, wouldn’t let anyone speak a bad word about you, talk to you the wrong way or let you run out of change or stock. It was a family-run business and it was the customers that ran to the shop for me when I ran out of anything. The customers were basically family too.
It was the smaller things like meeting one of the regulars in my local shop on my day off and having a full-blown conversation for twenty minutes, or when I was on a long shift, someone would buy me food, or on weekends they used to pay for my taxi home.
It was the older customers that had the best stories. Sometimes I felt like their long-lost grandchild, providing a listening ear when they were sat at the bar, telling me stories of their youth. One of my favourite customers, used to dress in the most extravagant clothes, always have her lipstick on and tell me of her days as a professional shoplifter – who knew that was a profession?! – and how she used to sneak out of her house when she was younger to go to the Cavern Club and watch The Beatles perform.
One thing about the Scouse is that they all love the Irish and always say they have us to thank for making the city alive again – us, and the students. I’ve also been told many times that the Scouse accent came from the mixing of English and Northern Irish accents – not very appealing, is it?
The most patriotic bunch
When I say patriotic, I don’t mean to the throne or the monarchy, but to Liverpool itself. Everyone loves the city they live in and you’d be crazy to say something bad about Liverpool in front of a Liverpudlian.
Liverpool was left to rot by a certain female Prime Minister, and this is part of the reason Liverpool don’t see themselves as English or British. The people of Liverpool built the city to what it is today, all by themselves. It’s one of the most thriving cities in the UK today, one of the biggest student cities and also a tourist hot-spot and they have no one to thank but themselves.
With four universities, an amazing shopping district, numerous museums, theatres, docklands, bars, clubs – there’s literally nothing that Liverpool doesn’t have. And the best thing about it is everything is within walking distance of each other. There’s so much to see and do in Liverpool and it’s all contained within one area.
There’s also a little rivalry between the two football clubs of the city – Liverpool and Everton. Either you’re a Red or you’re a Blue. I still remember the day the two teams were playing at the same time and in my pub, all TVs were connected which meant they all had to show the same channel. I wasn’t very popular with the Everton fans that day – I’m a red.
One of the best days in Liverpool is Derby day, when Liverpool play Everton. You’ll never see pubs and bars as packed, standing room only if you can make it past the front door. The atmosphere is incredible, there’s no anger or fighting and it’s just not the same as any other Derbies around the UK. Derby day also makes for a good night out. As does Grand National Weekend.
The best night out you’ll ever have
Speaking of nights out, one of the main reasons I love Liverpool so much is down to the nightlife. Back in Ireland I was so used to the bars closing at 1am and nightclubs at 1.30am. It was a rare treat if somewhere stayed open until 2am. Because this was all I knew, I thought everywhere had the same rules. I soon learnt otherwise when I was still standing in Fusion at 5.45am a week after moving to Liverpool.
My favourite place in the city has to be Concert Square. In the Summer. Sat with a jug of cocktails from Soho. Eating food from McCooleys. Bliss.
I haven’t heard of any other student city or city in the UK that has as many clubs in the one area. You would honestly think you were in Magaluf, walking along the strip. It’s no wonder there are so many hen parties, stag do’s and group weekend trips to Liverpool. If you want the best night out ever, you head to Liverpool. You just need to learn to pace yourself if you want to be leaving The Raz at closing time (which is 6am).
I have sooo many amazing memories of my nights out in Liverpool and even though we’re so spoilt for choice for clubs and bars in the same area (which is why it’s the best place for a bar/club crawl) I seem to always spend the whole night in McCooley’s. An Irish bar – who’d have thought?
Friends for life
Like anyone else at uni, you make a lot of new friends. I have made so many new friends that will remain with me for the rest of my life. I also have friends that I went to school with and from the same town as me that also live and study in the city, which is a bonus. But I now also have friends from all over the UK as well as Thailand – can’t forget Bangkok Jon.
The saying that goes ‘It’s the people that make a place’ is very true. If I didn’t have the network I have in Liverpool, I probably wouldn’t enjoy it as much. All of my work friends, my uni friends, my home friends, my friends’ friends, every familiar face is a good one to see. It’s another thing that makes Liverpool so homely. Walking through town, you’ll probably see someone you know or in the library or on campus or on a night out. You’ll always know someone.
Liverpool was the best decision I ever made and leaving for one year made me realise just how amazing the city is. There’ll be another time that I’ll have to leave again – probably after graduation – but when that time comes, it will always be too soon.
I’m going to make the most of my final year in Liverpool which begins in just a matter of months! More than anything I would love to stay and live in Liverpool, but for what I want to do, the plans I have and the industry I want to work in, it just isn’t the right fit.
You’ve probably guessed it by now, but I’m going to make a Liverpool Bucket List and tick off the remaining things I am yet to do in the city – which isn’t that much – and make my last year as a wannabe Scouser the best year yet.