Mersey Ferry building wins an award – for being awful

I’m feeling a little vindicated in my view that the new Merseytravel ferry terminal and Beatles Story outlet is badly situated and unsympathetic to its surroundings.

Others have been more forceful in their views, and now the building has won the Carbuncle Cup, an architecture magazine’s award for the worst new building. Incidentally, One Park West – a building I think may be worse – was also nominated.

The ferry building is described as ‘a shining example of bad architecture and bad planning’ on the Building Design website. As I’ve said before, what constitutes bad architecture is open to debate and not something I’m qualified to judge.

But it should have been clear all along that the siting of the building as it has appeared was problematic at best: in front of the three graces and slap bang in the middle of a UNESCO World Fricking Heritage site.

Julian and Cynthia Lennon at press launch for White Feather: The Spirit of John Lennon

I’ve just returned from The Beatles Story’s White Feather: The Spirit of Lennon press launch at The Beatles Story Pier Head, where Julian Lennon gave the closest thing to an interview he’s provided in years.

Lennon and mother Cynthia were answering questions on the exhibition, created with mementoes and artefacts they’ve largely collected themselves over the years.

A such it’s an intriguing and invaluable insight into a man frequently described as ‘difficult’ and ‘infuriating’ – it’s hard not to come to the conclusion having read various accounts of John Lennon that these were not simply euphemism for ‘nasty piece of work’.

Of course, behind every nasty piece of work is often a rather vulnerable character, and the anecdotes and notes from the Lennons paint a portrait of John as man equally difficult and easy to love.

They go beyond what one might generally expect to see at an exhibition: beyond the Beatles memorabilia; beyond the obvious anecdotes; beyond myth and legend.