The unbearable loudness of being
Increasingly, in Liverpool, it’s harder and harder to hear ourselves think
Dear readers — as you know if you read us regularly, David Lloyd is a prodigious talent. I’m not saying this to make him blush, but because I think he’s the rare talent who can write about anything and everything and make it entertaining. If the man proposed a 2,500 word essay on paint drying, I would be tempted to commission it. So when he suggested an essay about Liverpool’s noise levels, I stifled my natural scepticism (noise? Why is that interesting?). And I’m glad I did. I cannot claim I cared all that much about noise levels much before but I’m now a convert. See you at Hafla Hafla.
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Car manufacturer Ford has announced a massive investment in its Halewood site. The move will almost double the factory’s capacity, and see a large increase in electric car component production, so that 70% of Ford’s planned electric vehicle sales will have a chunk of Merseyside in them by 2026. A £125 million investment, combined with money from the government’s Automotive Transformation Fund will ensure the safety of 500 jobs. The company’s European Industrial Operations vice-president, Kieran Cahill, emphasised the importance of the site: “Halewood is playing a critical part as our first in-house investment in [electric vehicle] component manufacturing in Europe."
Firefighters in Merseyside have voted in favour of undertaking industrial action in a dispute over staffing levels, shift patterns, and overtime. The action is separate to national votes in the Fire Brigades Union over pay, and will involve Firefighters, control members, and Green Book staff not undertaking pre-arranged overtime from today. The issues facing FBU members in Merseyside include reductions in night-time staffing of the Fire Control Room, new shift systems that the union say breach nationally agreed terms and conditions. Union representitive Ian Hibbert said: “Like many workers, our members are suffering through the worst cost of living crisis in decades, whilst simultaneously having to fend off attacks on our terms and conditions of service, perpetrated by our local fire authority.”
A kitten from Liscard found himself 250 miles away in Southampton after hitching a ride in an ASDA lorry. Rescued by the RSPCA and nicknamed Yorkie, he was not microchipped, meaning the charity has put out a call to find the little guy’s owner on The Wirral, saying “We can't imagine how frightened he must have been travelling down the M6 at 60mph next to a big noisy engine. Poor Little Yorkie has had quite a journey.” The RSPCA reminded drivers to check their vehicles before driving as there are “lots of cats who have decided it's warmer under a car bonnet than out in the cold."
🗣️ Poetry night A Lovely Word returns to the Everyman Bistro with a Christmas special tonight. Things are kicking off at 7pm, with Christmas decoration poems, free mince pies, and Beth Calvery’s Poetry Machine, before the regularly scheduled open mike performances and headliner Repeat Beat Poet. Entry is free.
🎹 Are you a synthesiser sympathiser? If so, DoES Liverpool are holding a free synth meet on Saturday, so you can come along and play with other musicians and amateurs alike. It’s BYOS (bring your own synth) but there will also be synths left out that you can use. It’s free.
🎄At The Bluecoat on Saturday there are two festive craft sessions, where you can learn to lino print your own Christmas cards and create wooden tree decorations. The three hour long sessions are run by a local printmaker, who will give hands-on expert guidance throughout. Tickets are £49.10.
By David Lloyd
Apart from that day I went to see four AC/DC tribute bands in a row at Hotel California, last Saturday was the noisiest, most uncomfortable day I’ve ever had in my life. And it started at the gym.
Usually, the kettle-bell swingers and rope tuggers are corralled upstairs in a box, doing their bootcamp thing inside a kind of padded cell for their own safety. But this weekend they’d broken out and their instructor had sectioned off a slice of the actual proper gym, and had insisted on his own soundtrack, layered over the gym’s thumping music. Over this mashup of David Guetta and Stormzy he was screaming motivational mantras into his microphone, locked in an ever-increasing deathmatch with the music.
It was horrific.
I checked my watch. It was warning me that I was in a loud environment. I love it when Apple is being ironic. In decibel terms, a whopping 88. I was trying to bench press next to the exhaust of a Kawasaki Ninja.
Fortunately, my gym sessions last about as long as Tory prime ministers, but for the people who actually work there, that level of noise isn’t just uncomfortable, it could be a health hazard. Although, not according to a Pure Gym press spokesperson, who told me that the gyms “comply with HSE guidance on noise levels of around 80-85dB…which is determined as a comfortable level for those exposed to music/noise for a prolonged period.” I clocked it at 88, but what’s three decibels? Well, actually, it’s a doubling of the sound energy, if you must know.
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