A review of our June talk by Mike Chitty

John Minnion moved to Liverpool in 2002, having spent his working life in London as an illustrator. On 2nd June he came to Gateacre to take us through his recently-published book of caricatures entitled 'Pool of Life'.  It was not so much a talk, more a multi-media presentation, his selection of illustrations from the book being interspersed with music and video clips.

John opened his talk with the thought: 'Liverpool is nothing without its people'. His aim in writing the book was to tell the story of the city through the lives of the many colourful individuals, past and present, who have contributed to its history. He galloped through, roughly chronologically, from King John to the Beatles and beyond, showing us pictures of almost half of the 150+ people covered in the book.

Some of the links were a little contrived: Beryl Bainbridge went to Merchant Taylors' School, as did Robert Runcie, who later kept pigs, which reminds us that Francis Bacon was once MP for Liverpool, as was Bessie Braddock! But his ingenuity in stringing them all together added to the entertainment value, and had us guessing what would come next. From football to theatre, the slave trade to sugar refining, religion to architecture, the range of topics covered was vast, and John had a stock of anecdotes to match.

The main presentation was followed by a question-and-answer session, and at the end of the evening we felt informed - and proud to live in such a multifaceted city - as well as thoroughly entertained.

'Pool of Life'

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