Liverpool is a special place.
Everyone will say something to that effect about their home but having recently come here I can say this to be an objective fact. Liverpool is strange in the best way.
I’ve lived in Kent for most of my life, anything above Watford (the place, not the gap) is the north to me. Newcastle may as well be the stuff of legends to me.
My parents both have foreign roots, Spain and Poland. Why would I ever travel the UK?
Well, I went out and changed that, I moved to Liverpool, a journey in my mind I equated to trekking to Mordor. And so, having moved to this amazing city there’s still some parts I don’t quite fathom. Six parts even.
Banana Lamb, Dog Banana?
They’re everywhere, the seemingly ubiquitous symbol of Liverpool in every corner. Allegedly, there’s 125 of them, created when Liverpool was crowned European Capital of Culture in 2008 but I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s more hiding somewhere.
I don’t think Scousers understand that most places aren’t taken over by fruit mammals. On my first sighting of these hybrids, I immediately pointed it out to my friends “look, dog banana,” after which I was promptly ridiculed.
I’m sorry I really am, this is honestly just a product of me growing up with a familiar accent around me, but I have met people here and I am certain that Scouse is either a different language to English or a joke everyone is playing on me.
I’m joking but there is a basis for this. Scouse comes from the meal of the same name. And like the meal, is a product of Liverpool’s maritime history involving sailors from places such as Ireland and Norway. Knowing that doesn’t help me when trying to translate some conversations however.
Side note: why are Liverpool and Liver bird pronounced differently? I’ve been set up to fail.
The Liver birds
Actually, no, I’m not done with the Liver birds because there’s a lot to unpack here. First off, that Liverpool is one of the few places in the UK to have its own mythical creature is weird in its own right. Not unlike a Scouse phoenix.
Dating from the 13th century, the seal of Liverpool has always incorporated some sort of bird. Originally an eagle, the symbol of King John who founded the borough of Liverpool in 1207, the exact bird used to represent the city became lost in translation over the centuries. Eventually, Dutch sailors thought it looked like a cormorant or “Lever bird” (get it?) as they called it.
Now if you want to get even more granular and lose your mind over this like I have, you only need to look at the flag of Liverpool. This consists of a Liver bird, so far so good, with a sprig of a Laver seaweed. It’s a pun, it’s just layers of puns. And of course, the fact that this city has its own mythical bird and the names everyone decided on for them? Bella and Bertie. I love this story because it’s just so in character for Liverpool and how beautifully strange it is.
Purple bin pride?
Hearing people heatedly defend the rogue colour choice left me feeling as if I had kicked the proverbial Scouse nest. How had a bin of all things become a source of civic pride? Well, turns out its one of Liverpool’s more logical decisions.
According to former council leader Mike Storey it came from the combination of Liverpool FC red and Everton blue. A delightful cross-club harmony, which has now become a source of identity. I still can’t help feeling that civic pride could come from somewhere other than a bin.
Talking to strangers
Speaking of speaking, maybe I’m just showing off my southern-ness here but Scousers are a talkative bunch. It does not matter where I go but there will always be some flavour of Scouser talking at me, which as mentioned above, I have difficulty translating sometimes.
Even among other northern communities, Scousers are often considered one of the “gabbiest”. A YouGov poll suggested that around 57% of Scousers are comfortable talking to strangers, whereas only 37% of Londoners are. The effort to talk to everyone you meet is greatly appreciated and nothing fills my heart more than when the DPD courier gives me a “ta love”.
Fashion doesn’t feel cold
This might be a general northern thing but this one’s a two-for-one combo with the Scousers’ need to dress their best even in sub-zero conditions. But you people need to wear more clothes, you’re still human. Without fail, when I’ve gone out with my friends, they’ll dress their absolute best but then comment that it’s Baltic. Of course, I’ll be slightly more sensible and bring a jacket which will inevitably be requisitioned. If anything it just shows how dedicated Scousers are to looking their best.