The Nerve Centre: Towards A Better Community!

The Nerve Centre: 

Working Towards a Better Community. 

"I’ve been left wanting more. I honestly think it has been special and I wonder if that has been because the people involved have had so much to say and do, but with so little time to cram it all in."

Rocky from Mashemon

After 4 full-on weeks of cutting edge art, poetry, music, film, performance and discussion, it became clear that, there was not only a demand for a permanent space but there is a definite need. With over 100 events, organized entirely by volunteers on a shoe string budget, and over 2000 people attending the Centre, many staying around to get involved, it became more and more apparent that the Nerve Centre had a future, or at least needs a future. All of those involved delivered an amazing, creative and positive 4 weeks. With openness, passion and commitment, we created, as many people said, ‘something special’.

 "(This is) the big one. This stuff works, for me, because there's no one interest - something like Nerve covers a lot of interests, a very lot- it's informal, and it's open. People seem to respond to that." 

John Daly

We should have a genuine grassroots arts and culture Centre run by the people for the people, a space were all those who are trying to improve our city have a space to exhibit, perform and discuss. A space that promotes mutual learning, self help and self organisation. A space that is genuinely, like the Nerve Centre, inclusive, that can lift the spirit of not only local artists but the city and its people, a space of genuine empowerment.

 "It was great to see so many people from different walks of life mixing and sharing ideas. That's the most valuable thing to me." 

(Dan Lynch, Rathole Radio)

The Nerve Centre passed over to the Biennial on September 11th but since then around 30 people have been meeting, looking at buildings, funding, aims, community and legislation, building a vision and a plan. If you are committed to promoting grassroots arts, cultural and critical discussion and would like to play a part in the future of the Nerve Centre then let us know.

Leave your comments and suggestions here.

"Let’s find other places for it to exist and keep it moving so it reaches as many people as possible!" 

Steve Eye


The Nerve Centre Should Be Permanent

See a letter from an impressed visitor to The Nerve Centre:

The Nerve Centre.

Discovered: 20lb Sounds@The Nerve Centre

The Nerve Centre played host to many artists, who hopefully made some videos of their performances whilst there. I discovered this one the other day, whilst idly skipping along the digital road of doom that is YouTube:

Isn't it nice to see the familiar decor we once enjoyed?! See the bands site here.

The Nerve Center.

Catalyst Review: Wild Eyes and Mashemon at The Nerve Centre.

 Review: Wild Eyes and Mashemon at The Nerve Centre, 4/9/2010.

Taking to the shop window of the Nerve Centre, Mashemon are today joined by Richard M. Nixon. Well, a shop dummy with his face stuck to it at any rate. Alongside Tricky Dicky who is presumably there to provide Bez-style ‘vibes’, the duo kick off their first set with the New Order influenced ‘Facts’. The group quickly draws a sizeable crowd of slightly bemused looking passers-by, drinkers on a fag-break from Renshaws and Goths who have wandered out of Quiggins across the road. Continuing with Dull Boy, the track is a spin on the kind of 21st century T-Rex glam Goldfrapp used to do so well. The porn industry savaging ‘Sanity Check’ follows, ringing out like ‘Heroes’-era Bowie.

The band’s second set, this time performed indoors aided by a back projection screen is tougher and more guitar-heavy. Diverting into glitchy ‘Kid A’ style electronica at points, the intertwining of live guitar, bass and vox with triggered samples, synths and drums blend seamlessly. The band’s current ‘Removal Music’ LP is promoted by the brilliantly innovative idea of being free provided the recipient does a good deed in return. Suggestions in the accompanying text include tipping buskers generously and contributing to a tramp’s Special Brew fund.

Described in the Nerve Centre programme as a ‘psychedelic jam band’, The Wild Eyes are exactly that only without the tendency of some psych bands to disappear off into the melodic ether never to return. Opening with the same delay pedal glide as early U2 they move onto to Velvet Underground motorik beats and Dylan-style vocals in quick succession. Strongly influenced by the Nuggets collection, a digest of the greatest one-hit wonders, almost were’s and never-had-a-chance bands of the US underground in the mid 1960s, The Wild Eyes augment this with a large dollop of My Bloody Valentine style guitar clatter. The Nuggets tracks staple elements were the trebly aggression of The Who, the melodic nouse of The Beatles, The Stones’ swagger and a large portion of strangeness entirely of their own making and so it goes here.

The backdrop of the Nerve Centre and the varied crowd makes the group appear like The Yardbirds during their cameo as the in-house club band in Blow-Up. Battering through one track with drumming that would have done the Jesus and Mary Chain proud, the band’s economy is to be praised, singer-guitarist Huw wringing the maximum amount out of a single chord before switching briefly for the chorus to one other. Using the array of FX pedals at his feet sparingly so the sound doesn’t become saturated, he deftly steers the three-piece through the changes in tempo and texture with many of the tracks moving through various movements in the space of four minutes.

The finale however stretches things out to epic proportions. Beginning with a long-drawn incantation that recalls early Verve before sparking into life and speeding up, they squeeze the life out of a three-note guitar riff made vast by the cavernous reverb FX. Concluding their set in just over half hour which has seemingly felt like a quarter of that amount of time, The Wild Eyes’ pupils are fixed firmly on the future whilst acknowledging the sound-sources of the past.

Review by Richard Lewis. 
Video by ?


Join Us at the Bold Street Festival!

This coming Sunday is the Bold Street Festival!

You may ask "What's the Bold Street Festival?", and the answer is that it's a festival that is happening on Bold Street that is going to be well worth a visit! In fact, we're going to be there too with a stall just outside the venerable doors to our building that will have magazines and much more on it for your delection! There'll be some surprise guests coming along to perform, the usual Nerve gang, and a lot more besides! 

In addition, we need some more volunteers to help man the stall so if you can spare a few hours, an hour or even a smaller amount of time, come on down! The stall will open at around 12pm and continue until 5pm, so if you find yourself on Bold Street and lacking something, come and find that something at the Nerve stall!

See you there on Sunday! 

The Nerve Centre

The Nerve Centre Opens...A Flashback by John Owen.

The opening night at the new Nerve Centre in the old Rapid hardware next to Lewis’s on August 13th was chilled, exciting and the place to be. Despite the omens, no shenanigans of a bad sort occurred. On the contrary, a new baby or old baby was born, as a space was carved out for the city’s artists to use, but not exclusively, also a free discussion area, a creative Centre that seeks to merge art and the people and change the world with collective activity and mutual collaboration. Rock on.

Music, poetry and legendary harpist Stan Ambrose set the tone as the place filled slowly but surely to the rafters with no room to spit pips, but the mood was enlivened with rousing Socialist anthems and songs of struggle from here and afar by the Socialist Choir. (A feature on demonstrations in the city is here to stay!). The world is our city and worth fighting and dying for as people recounted poetry with anger and humour, followed by some ambient soft music from Biltone that cooled the atmosphere to a breathable mix. With free food and wine easing the tensions and old and new greeting and talking the night was a resounding success.

The artwork on display ranged from abstract photography to penciled cartooning to the Nerve covers charting the progress of the magazine which was the brainchild behind the Centre idea, to potent symbolism of cultural oppression and consumption in society dominated by image brands and cultural blandness. This fresh assault on the senses proved most stimulating.

 A sculpture of a naked man rivaling Dickie Lewis, next door, could have been his cousin, stood guard, he didn’t seem to mind. The evening was the culmination, was the combined efforts of a small band of people who laboured through might and main to bring together the separate strands of art and culture, politics and trends, music and poetic people, that ever walked or talked in the city. Trojans of culture, Spartan with themselves, but their belief in the idea and its time was accurate, the backbreaking endeavors both mental and manual. This labour was a superhuman effort of people who have lives too, but pulled out all the stops to get this thing going, and were biggest fighters for its success

Themes vary, wires get crossed, nodal points meet ley lines like nick-naks get crossed. This helps bring to life new things, a hub, a Centre, a truly marvelous space strong and new.

The coordinator, a young woman who deserves all credit for pushing the right buttons to create a scene like this, Amy, was the engine or locomotive of the revolution here. Those that doubted were proved wrong she beavered away, pestered, annoyed, irritated, but eventually got this moving along with the deft skill and light touch plus ballsy attitude that deserves special credit we can all learn something here. Know it all veterans like myself and some other old timers proved the adage the best tutors are also the best pupils.

Taking up the gauntlet thrown down, talking the idea for the space till it wore thin like the cardboard in the shoes of the poor, angels who fear to tread on no corns, all obstacles were overcome, resistance met and avoided, got round over or under. In truth, a miracle of organization. Despite the climate of cultural death stalking the city as jobs go and buildings shut down, this Centre will be a beacon to those excluded minorities and migrants and low paid to use to help turn around their situation.
No magic solutions or panacea but just space to talk free and clearly. Those with no voice will have an echo chamber, a Soviet of the oppressed artistically speaking.

4 weeks is along time in politics. Who knows what will happen? Watch, but more importantly,use this space and help shape the city. Influence it's culture, change the world! 

Rapid maybe slowing down but we are speeding up.

John Owen. 

In retrospect, so true! Thank you to John for putting so well!


Merseyside Social History Course: Places Still Available!

To everyone out there, here's a chance to get the last few places on the Merseyside Social History Course. All fees go towards the upkeep of Nerve and you'll be helping the magazine and learning of Liverpool's highly interesting history as well. Simply contact Ritchie at 0151 709 9948 or contact him via the e-mail address above to get more details!

The Nerve Centre.


The Nerve Centre Future: Aims and Objectives So Far.

 From the comments section, but worth a look for everybody. If you have any other ideas, thoughts and items to suggest feel free to contribute! There's a lot of good ideas here and if we could do all of these, The Nerve Centre will be a place of great importance indeed!

Aims and Objectives so far of the Nerve Centre:

To promote self organization and do it yourself by building the confidence of individuals and communities across the city.

To manage a space that offers groups and individuals a chance to meet and engage freely and explore issues often not covered in other areas of engagement.

To ensure that people and communities with limited access to the arts have that access e.g. those with disabilities, refugees, those on low incomes, etc.

To become an incubator for discussion and creativity in the city.

To run local and international short film and documentary cinema club – a chance for progressive local filmmakers to show their work – once weekly and for regional and international film presentations.

To become a venue for regional, national and international presentations, conferences, and lectures at a competitive price to increase income.

A venue for independent regional, national and international music events. Providing the opportunity for artists to develop, perform and build regional, national, and international networks.

Art fair and art auction – offering space and opportunity to regional progressive artists to exhibit and sell their work.

To provide a venue for regional, national and international project-based and emerging artists, musicians, and community arts groups to perform and exhibit work. A professional artist will curate the submissions.

To enable artists to share creative skills with the community – to establish various classes and study groups where people can share experiences and skills in a co-operative manner.

Training and educational projects – the centre at this stage already has a number of people who can offer educational training, particularly in the areas of creative writing, art, theatre studies, international politics, law, holistic medicine and various languages (e.g. Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Gaelic).

To use the existing experience of members of the centre to offer training and education in marketing and promotional skills, self motivation and self awareness – in order to promote a positive self image of individuals attending the centre, thus providing a stepping stone to achievement based on the individuals own values.

To promote both the theory and practice of do-it yourself, self-help and self organisation of various excluded groups in the Merseyside area.

To run a International multi-lingual library.

To run Coffee shop / cafĂ© – where Fair Trade coffee and tea from various countries can be consumed and available for purchase. (Long term aim of establishing a vegetarian cafe with international cuisine).

To establish a Food co-op and other co-operatives – to establish a network of food co-operatives so people, including those on low incomes, can maintain healthy diets.

To promote and introduce environmental and green initiatives such as sustainable energy and recycling projects.

To develop holistic and alternative therapy workshops so members of the regional community, often excluded from such approaches due to low incomes, can benefit.

Anything you could add? Post a Comment!

The Nerve Centre


The Nerve Centre Future: Some Thoughts.

There have been many suggestions as to why there is need for The Nerve Centre in Liverpool and they can get lost in the melee of activity surrounding the aftermath and big "To be continued" left after our last day in what now houses The Bienniel's permanently empty-feeling exhibitions. If we want to get the atmosphere, community and welcoming vibes back into Liverpool, we need to start planning where we will go from now. To whit, we must bear in mind the following:

Although time and events can dull your passion for something, remember that people liked and still want The Nerve Centre. The sheer reaction we gained during our four weeks in the Old Rapid Paint Shop is enough to say that we must continue our work. 

Even now, as I visit the various creative spaces of Liverpool, people recognise me and inquire as to how The Nerve Centre is going. Unfortunately, I can't tell them a place to go as there isn't one at the moment. If people ask you abut the Nerve or The Nerve Centre, remind them of what was there, and what will be happening in the future. Create a buzz that will carry us forward!

I miss The Nerve Centre. For four weeks I had a creative home, where my imagination could run wild, creative people were to met, learning of topics not normally promoted could be achieved and quite simply, I enjoyed visiting there in whatever capacity I was in. I know I'm not the only one who felt this way, so anybody who connected with The Nerve Centre should know that they are not alone.

There are plenty of places for The Nerve Centre to continue, so it's only a matter of time before we find a home. It'll take a big coming together of our various skills to do this, so if anybody wants to help, get in contact with us via the Contact page and we can start the ball rolling!

The Nerve Centre.


Nerve Benefit Gig at Next To Nowhere: 25th September

Review: Biltone@The Nerve Centre.

The Nerve Centre, 13th August 2010.

The launch party of Catalyst Media's multi media event The Nerve Centre showcasing grassroots artists, performers, poets, musicians and the like was a hive of creative energy, with people of all ages flowing in and out, drinking open night wine merrily, talking amiably on a diverse amount of topics from the radical to the spontaneous and generally filling the once empty and, sadly, soon to be demolished Rapid Paint shop on Renshaw Street with a well deserved relevance in an area of relative nothingness. 


 Around half way through the launch party, Liverpool atmospheric balladeers BILTONE slipped quietly into the atmosphere and started setting up for their quietly electric show which made an obviously energetic crowd of what the band called "Lefties", in a reference to the political aims of the exhibition, on several occasions have to gag their excitement in a serious way in order to fully comprehend the bands atmospheric musings. Many bands have a sound to capture an audience straight away, and Biltone have that power as well. Their set began quietly and gracefully and took several songs for the band to get the ears of the crowd in full listening mode, (although with the launch party buzz going round that was easily forgiven!), but once the crowd were listening, they were enraptured by the delicate framing of their water colour like sounds. 

 Performing in front of a good crowd with evocative art at their backs and next to the once commercial shop entrance with security gates that no longer secure anything, the band started off with the subtle and stayed in that mood all through the set, often punctuated with some well placed asides, such as this reviewers favorite aside about "that guy taking photos of me" – that is, me!  The humour was a great counterpoint to the delicate sound of the violin inflected songs such as the intriguingly titled The Pyramids Of Llangollen, or the familiar titled Hope Street, which may be a reference to our own Hope Street, which sailed around the gallery like a sweet musical spell bringing the assembled crowd to a hushed applause at the end of the song. 

Highlights included the aforementioned cross-audience banter with the band, a magical moment where the violinist cradled his violin down and started plucking it like a particularly sweet sounding guitar whilst making what could have been whale noises into the microphone and my second mention of the night, “I thought the press were here but it’s just one person!”. One could easily say that Biltone were a good addition to the ambience of The Nerve Centre with their quirky sound and localised sense of humour and when singer and guitarist Joe bumped into me later and recognised me as the camera toting mobster he mentioned during the set, I assured him his soul was safe with me and congratulated him on an inner-eye opening set that was more than worthy of another listen when they next appear live. 

Go see Biltone, and bring your biggest camera! 

Review and Photo by Sebastian Gahan.

This review appears in Issue 5 of Bido Lito. 


The Nerve Centre Live Review: Jazamin Sinclair

JAZAMIN SINCLAIR@The Nerve Centre. September 2rd 2010.

On an unassuming sunny afternoon, JAZAMIN SINCLAIR arrived fashionably late at Renshaw Street’s The Nerve Centre for her acoustic set. After an impressively quick set up and introduction possible only with an acoustic set, she opened up her performance with the self-penned Old Time, a short and sweet song that was met with much approval from the sympathetic audience. Following the applause she moved onto a cover of Beth Orton’s Stolen Car, which captured the feel of the original but was still recognizably different enough to work well in its eyes shut sing-along-ability.  Next came a shift change with a cover of the ubiquitous anthem to either granny grabbing or punching, Take Your Mama Out, which had no such implication with Sinclair’s acoustic take on the song which raised more than a few smiles in the crowd. 

Such a number of covers in a set could be seen as a concession to originality to some eyes, but a later chat to Sinclair and a check of her artist page is proof enough that she has many songs in her proverbial artillery. Following some sound issues amiably dealt with by Sinclair and a quick audience hearing check, it was back to business as usual with a cover of a song that some may know called Spaceman. Sinclair’s clear voice and excellent guitar was more than a match for the original, and the feeling in her performance was as evident as in 4 None Blondes’ original. As mentioned before, the set was primarily covers of other artists songs, but Sinclair never sold herself short, and the set’s brevity was disappointing as I could quite easily have sat through many more songs, be they covers or not, which is not something one can say often at a live show. 

The fact she chose to perform songs from the singer-songwriter genre is definitely in her favor as these songs are usually well written, timeless and above all very good. Her version of Big Yellow Taxi was particularly good and had many, including this reviewer, ready for more. Its theme was also appropriate, perhaps unintentionally, as there were calls for a cleaner greener Earth posted just behind her, appropriately right next to her paintings which makes a very good backdrop to her music. For those who have not come across Sinclair before, you should go down and see her when you get a chance. This was her first solo show in a while, and despite her apologies after the show for the sound problems, there really was no need as the songs she chose, including an interesting cover of Skunk Anansie’s Pickin’ On Me, all spoke for themselves. The only complaint would be that more originals would have made a good show even better than it was. Simplicity is rare thing these days, and Sinclair’s acoustic performance was most definitely an example of the beauty of simplicity in music and performance.  

Review and Photo: Sebastian Gahan.


Catalyst Review: Mashemon - Removal Music.

 If I had to list for you the multitude of good deeds I committed in order to gain a copy of this much discussed album, I would seem like man touched by a multitude of angels with very big halos. Instead, I'll tell you about the CD by Mashemon that hasn't left my stereo since I picked up my well earned copy last week at The Nerve Centre.

With a cover consisted of many fifties bathing costume clad dolls floating in a swimming pool whilst a similarly clad female looks into the distance smiling, the Removal Music album is a fast moving experience, with wit, charm and distinct melodies much in evidence. It's also well worth a listen as well for the adventurous, the keen of taste and the sonically adventurous. Opening with the opposite sounding Dull Boy, the Mashemon sound is hammered home instantly with a song that is anything but dull. In it's pertinent lyrics, pointed delivery and well produced sound, it is an opener in the tradition of the best, leading you with a aural bang across the temporal lobe to an adventure in a music wonderland where you go round and round in listening cycles and never, ever get bored. Following is Sanity Check, a deceptive slow opener that leads to a full foot-through-floor smashing that makes the listener nod to themselves in the way of "Hey, This is good!"

I could go on and say something similar for every track, but that would be pointless. It's enough to say that if you are a sinner, a saint, an anarchist, a rebel of any kind or just plain alive, you have a social obligation to do a good deed, whatever it may be, and earn yourself a copy of Removal Music! Stand out tracks for this intrepid reviewer are Sanity Check, This Monkey Is and Facts. So, in short, to paraphrase closer Facts, you really should change your way to Mashemon's way! Or else.

You know what you have to be doing now, people. 

Reviewed by Sebastian Gahan.

The Nerve Centre: A Message from Bearclaw.

mi campaneros, hola
for those about to rock
i have amassed about 21 files of audio recordings taken at the nerve centre, ranging from the discussions on the welsh streets, to pips (not pippi longstockings therapy sessions alas) to musical interludes from mashemon, plus the famous "wolfy" the centre dog barking. along with this i've taken over a 100 snaps, some good some bad some goddam ugly, but together a beautiful summer tapestry of the life and times of the nerve centre collective as it sprung to life on august the 13th or correctly a few days before with the rocksteady clean n paint crew.

those of you intwestd in a puddycat, sorry the tweetypie and sylvester cartoon, comes to mind with granny bashing the poor moggy on the head for wanting to scrump the canary.our reach is always further than our grasp to poss the impossible to live the dream to ride a silver machine sideways through time on a bluebadge dla scooter even.
some of us are in the gutter, but whilst there we get our brogues polished by the machine.

lotta continnuita
hasta siempra
el pueblos unidos
hamas sera vencidos
stavarich narodna volya bolshevski
tioch y ar lah
erin go braith
oops a daisy!
goodnight from the night garden.

-Message Ends-
The Nerve Centre.


The Nerve Centre Interview...Tony Chestnut - The People's Poet.

On the very last day of The Nerve Centre's present run, Tony Chestnut turned up and gave a thirty minute show of his excellent poetry. As you may know if you were there, Tony is The People's Poet and in that he is very much a part of The Nerve Centre! I caught up with his fittingly be-suited self and asked some probing questions of him. His responses, fittingly poetic are below with some excellent photos of the man himself in action. Read on and be informed!

How was your performance at The Nerve Centre?
My performance was that of an Anarchist at heart.So I felt quite at home really.

You performed on the last day of The Nerve Centre. What was the mood on the day?
The mood seemed a little subdued yet positive.

Your poetry is to the point and highly entertaining. What influences your work?
The facts of reality that effect our lives political, social and esoteric. Nothing too flowery. Blood n guts poetry.

You aim to be the people's poet. What does being a people's poet involve?
The Peoples Poet is nothing without the people and to pass on love, positivity, humour. Express that which others may not be able to is my goal.

What is the message of the Nerve Centre?
Nerve Centre gather get gain and sustain don't let the bastards grind us down.

Did any pieces of art catch your eye?
Loved John O'Neill's paintings.


Is there a piece of poetry, either your own or someone else's, that you think captures the creative spirit of Liverpool well?
All Liverpool poets at some point convey an aspect of our city.

There have been diverse opinions of STOK's graffiti piece on the window. What did you think of it?
Graffiti should be more than tag name logo express more.

How did you learn of Nerve magazine and what is your favorite aspect of it?
Always been aware of Nerve since its coming from where I'm at.

Art and Liverpool. Why should these words match each other?
Liverpool is a diverse culture which has its voice in all the arts.


What should the future be for The Nerve Centre?
The future is to continue with using vacant properties when ever viable. Keep it fresh.

Finally, any parting thoughts for the people of Nerve?
Keep the faith in one another include more evolve beyond politics.

Thank you to Tony for entertaining us and remember that you can more of his work at his website.

The Nerve Centre.


Thoughts: The Nerve Centre is No More...For Now.

Well The Nerve Centre is no more - at least for now. All the paintings have been taken down from the walls, the artists left with their work, The spartan centurion, that stood guard and watched over everything, quickly left, crashing through the doors and shutters in the dead of night and running down Renshaw Street, towards lime street, frightening the last of the drunken yawning revelers, on his way back to his home by Sandhills station. The music, the film, the chatter has stopped. And now the Centre will be replaced by another group of artists. Who very quickly began to pull the place apart. As well as the upbeat vibe, the warmth, the creativity and the challenging discussions – some things stick in my mind. On the first night, someone said to me ; you know I have never seen any of these people at the art openings I go to’ During the the following weeks new people said to me‘ You gotta to keep this place going, the city needs it’ ‘You know during that discussion, I decided I was going to leave my job, and focus full time on The Nerve Centre’.‘let me tell you, I would have been dead, if I hadn’t have found The Nerve Centre that night, I really mean that, it saved my life’ ‘I laughed, I cried, I was moved, I felt so comfortable here, I have learnt so much, thank you’ And these are just a few comments. We need to start putting our ideas down on paper. The Nerve Centre is wanted and its needed. And this is only the beginning.
Darren Guy. 
Please feel free to mail your thoughts and hopes and ideas on The Nerve Centre's past, present and future to the blog. Use the comments box, mail via Catalyst or check the contact info on the front page. As Darren says, The Nerve Centre is wanted and needed, and no one is in disagreement there. Let's make it happen! 

The Nerve Centre.

The Nerve Centre Has Finished... For Now!

Yes, people, The Nerve Centre went out with a bang yesterday. A well attended day, packed with fun and discussion, music and forward looking, and much much more.

Despite the inevitable last-day feeling that was in the air, everyone looked forward to the future of the seed we planted that has grown bigger than any of us ever expected! Rather, then, a very large "to be continued" spray painted onto the now proverbial doors of our show. It doesn't matter who it is who makes the moves to make the continued continue, but on the evidence of our last night, there is a great want for a continuation of The Nerve Centre. Certainly, we're aiming for another location, but the feeling of community, creativity and openness present at The Nerve Centre is the most important thing. Personally speaking, and I know others feel this way too, I will miss the space we had. The next few weeks will be learning experiences in themselves, as we readjust and head back to the routines we temporarily abandoned when The Nerve Centre opened it's doors. 

Long live The Nerve Centre! We'll be back but we don't know when! Until then, keep checking the blog for reviews, articles and much more as we take a look back and a look forward as we make our first footsteps turn into great, catalystic strides!

The Nerve Centre.


Some Thoughts from STOK.

I recently met STOK, street artist of Liverpool and asked if I could make some enquiries of him about many topics. But, in the way that these things happen, a few days later I got a selection of thoughts from the man himself...

"STOK Thoughts:
Calvin Cleins UNDERPANTS! & Christine Aguilera’s KNICKERS, modern TOBACCO SCIENCE aimed at destroying Family Values! Yet some Modern Artists have taken it upon themselves on behalf of MANKIND (btw) to be Freedom Fighters or Graffiti Writers!
When kids pass seven the tobacco science is too powerful, the uneducated girls become tricked into becoming Lap Dancers & Prostitutes for the new Tourist Trade & Booze Britain Culture?
Liverpool Home of the Brain Washed Slaves!
When Graffiti is feared than all is lost! Ya get me!"

Said thoughts are above and are as mysterious as his often found murals. But there's a message there, and I hope we will find it one day. That is, perception is the key and the future is for us to make. 

The Nerve Centre. 

The Nerve Centre Interview...Dan Lynch of Rathole Radio.

Many faces have caressed The Nerve Centre with their art and their presence, and when Rathole Radio, broadcast not one, but two, hastily arranged shows from The Nerve Centre, many ears  - and an intimate audience- were tuned into The Nerve Centre. The eclectic range of music Dan Lynch, ever cheerful host of the show, plays is excellent and well worth a listen. In fact, you can check the sidebar for links to both the shows! Listen as you read the latest Nerve News! Even better, read this lovely interview with Dan...I dare you! (Yes, humour again. Sorry!)

|You did two episodes of Rat Hole Radio from The Nerve Centre during it's brief opening. What was it like to be on location at The Nerve Centre?

Fantastic! I usually do the show from home and while it's nice to interact with people online through chatrooms and other things, it's really different to have an audience in front of you and see their faces. It gives the show a different feel I think. It's nice to have a back and forth dialogue with people in the same room.

Did anything catch your eye particularly in the gallery?

I particularly love the large "people not profit" banner at the back. The colours are great and the message is one close to my heart. I sang a couple of Billy Bragg songs and as I said at the time, there can't be anywhere better to do that than in front of such a banner. I also liked many of the paintings by Carl and others but I'm afraid the exact names of the pieces escape me now.
A memorable quote from the first broadcast, referring to our big statue "as very off putting when you're broadcasting" echoes many comments I've heard. Now time has passed, what is your opinion of homage to "Democracy"?

That was mostly a joke for people listening really, I didn't actually find it that off-putting. It certainly catches attention and I think it's an interesting piece. It got people talking and I suspect that's the intention so that's good. It's a big statue though, I feel sorry for whoever has to lift it in and out hehe. It should be on a plinth somewhere in town, that would be great.
The banner that never stays up!

Now to a question that's had many answers, what is the message of The Nerve Centre?

The message, that's an interesting one, different for everyone you ask I suspect. I think the message for me is that no matter who you are and what you do you have a value. That value can't always be measured in pounds and pence, but it doesn't make it any less real or important. It was great to see so many people from different walks of life mixing and sharing ideas. That's the most valuable thing to me. No matter what colour or creed, we are all the same inside and it can be good to talk to people outside your normal peer group and realise that. I think that's healthy.
Once the closing party has wrapped, and the doors are closed, where should The Nerve Centre go?

I'm not sure but the value of having such a place in a busy part of Liverpool is clear. It's a real shame you can't stay in the current location. I think another City Centre location with good passing traffic would be ideal. The council should do more to support these things. It may be worth talking to the people at The Black-E in Chinatown. It's a big place and they have similar community values I think. I did an event there earlier this year and I really like the place, plus it's nearby.

How did you learn of Nerve Magazine and are you a regular reader?

I only heard about the magazine through my friend Neil who organised How Why DIY. I have to confess I didn't know it before these events. I hope to be a regular reader in the future though and perhaps this is one of the biggest benefits of having the centre. People passing by and learning about it who wouldn't otherwise get a chance.

A lens aims at Dan Lynch mid-broadcast. Fez's are cool.

Will we be hearing more of 20lb Sound, your newly Christened band who played at The Nerve Centre, soon?

Yes I'm sure we'll do more. We haven't really been going long and only just got a name. I hope we'll have more gigs and some good recordings of the original tunes to share with everyone soon. There's a website at 20lb.net , I call it a website but really I'm still building it at the moment. Hopefully there'll be much more to see very soon.

How do you go about choosing what you will play during the show?

I try to focus on Creative Commons licensed music and independent artists because I think it's so valuable to hear from people who aren't just told what to say by management or a record company. In this day and age it's so easy to self publish and promote what you do on a worldwide scale. I believe artists should be taking charge of their own destiny, not waiting around for a record company exec to deem them worthy. You can connect directly with fans now, we don't need the middle men. The criteria for the show is simple really, I listen to tons of submissions along with other stuff I find and then I play the things I like. Doesn't matter what style or genre, I think it's good to mix it up. Obviously I can't play a lot of mainstream music for copyright reasons and I don't really want to anyway, for the reasons I've already mentioned. 

Where would be your ideal place to broadcast from and why?

I'm not sure. I quite like my home studio if I'm honest, it's comfy. For the majority of the shows it's quite good to have a base like that. Doing stuff with a live audience is great though and having space for artists to play live sessions would be fantastic. So maybe an old warehouse I could convert into a studio/venue would be ideal. That's the pipe dream, if I ever get the money and time. 

On a similar line, where's the oddest, or furthest, place you've had listeners from?

Hmm, good question. A lot of people listen from a cafe in Amsterdam where the owner has taken a liking to the show, they broadcast it there on the PA. That's pretty amazing. I regularly get emails from people who listen in Australia, New Zealand and all over America as well as Europe. That's really nice to know. It's amazing that you can reach that far with just an Internet connection. 

The fez is still cool, apparently.

The music you play on Rat Hole Radio is highly eclectic. Is this a reflection of your own tastes?

It is eclectic yes. I think people get too bogged down in genres and pigeon holes when it comes to music. It's fine to know what you like but you have to try new things and not dismiss them without even listening first. You wouldn't eat the same meal 3 times a day for the rest of your life, so why would you do that with music, or any other art form? I listen to bits of everything and I only play the stuff I like, so it very much reflects my personal tastes I suppose.

What would you change about Liverpool, or the world, if you could change anything?

It's tough to say. I love this place and I defend it with a passion like many others. I think perhaps sometimes though we are a bit too quick to go on the defensive and get upset. The city has been run down in the past and we've had reason to feel neglected, but we need to look forward and not harp on the past so much. There's a lot of positive history around Liverpool but somehow you never hear about that, you just hear negative stuff. I hope that's changing, we can't sit around feeling sorry for ourselves. I'd like to get more people coming to Liverpool and giving it a chance. I organised a large technology event called OggCamp in April and that was partly the goal. So many people came from all over the world and said they'd been totally wrong in thinking Liverpool was crime-ridden or nasty. That's very satisfying to hear. We certainly have our share or problems here like crime and poverty but I think the misconception of Liverpool people get from the outside (often people who've never even been) is what I'd like to change.

Finally, any last words, pieces of advice etc for The Nerve Centre?

I would just like to say please keep doing what you are doing because it's massively valuable to the community. I think the world would be a better place if every high street had somewhere like the Nerve Centre on it, rather than just a succession of Starbucks, McDonalds and other faceless corporate outposts. So much of what we see today is harmonised and bland, individuality should be celebrated. I think the Nerve Centre has done that and provided a place where many people can find a home. The importance of that can't be underestimated.

Thanks to Dan for a revealing interview. You can listen to Rathole Radio via the website: ratholeradio.org/

The Nerve Centre.


Friday 10th September at The Nerve Centre.

It's Friday 10th September, and if you should be going anywhere, its The Nerve Centre! If you're still in any doubt, let me tell you what's going on...

From 12pm to 2pm, we have another movie showing, and today it's No Impact Man. Trailer below...

From 2pm until 3pm we present poetry and discussion from Eleanor Rees and Dave Ward. Eleanor Rees’s Andraste’s Hair presents Liverpool as a fantastical city while Dave Ward’s Where The World Begins focuses on the dockers’ Strike. 

Then, from 3pm, Carol Laidlaw leads a discussion on who makes laws, how they work, and how people can use them to to challenge injustice. 
(Update: Unbeknown to me, Carol was unwell so couldn't make it. So, no discussion occurred! Sorry for the inconvenience if you turned up and were disappointed.)

If this doesn't tempt you inside, then check out the events lined up for our - cue the violins - last day on Saturday 11th. It'll be a grand send off so make sure you're there!

The Nerve Centre.


STOK Paints The Nerve Centre.

Liverpool Artist STOK appeared from the ether and painted the front of The Nerve Centre a few days ago. It's still here, right next to the front door of The Nerve Centre and here I present a few images of STOK's mural for your attention. Street art can be like the proverbial Vegemite for a lot of people, which means you either love it or hate it. But instead of casting opinions about, we'll invite you to judge for yourself...

The Nerve Centre thinks this won't be here long, so enjoy it while it's outside our gallery!

The Nerve Centre.

Photos by Ritchie Hunter (Top) and Sebastian Gahan (Rest).

The Nerve Centre Interview: Mashemon.

Here it is , people, the one you've all been waiting for! I probed Mashemon's Ronny and Rocky with some delightful questions and got some delightful answers....

You performed on Saturday in the shop window for the pleasure of many. How was it for you when the crowds started appearing?

Ronny: I found it quite a pleasant experience, watching people go past and seeing the surprised looks on some of their faces. It was particularly gratifying to see the traffic stopping. I’m glad people enjoyed it.

The Nerve Centre has seen much activity in its short open time. Have there been any highlights for you?

Rocky: It’s unfair to single out particular things when the whole thing has been fantastic. But I’m going to do it. I really love the work of Carl Fletcher and meeting such a really nice and genuine fella has been the highlight for me. Jonathan Corkill has also produced some really hypnotic pieces. The visual equivalent of listening to Can. Fantastic stuff.

What are the influences on your performance and music?

Ronny: I’m not really sure. Obviously the music we listen to has a bearing on what we do, but the greatest influence for me is what sound I can extract from the instruments, fitting together melodies and harmonies that interest me and trying not to come up with any particularly rubbish lyrics.

Rocky: I’ll answer the question then! Berlin period Bowie, early Human League, Neu! And Nick Cave.

You were offering copies of your CD in exchange for various "currencies" during the show on Saturday. What's the best deed I could do to get a copy of your CD?

Ronny: The best deed? That’s a question that has puzzled philosophers for thousands of years. What I would like to see is people making other people happy. Spread a bit of love. It is really not that hard to do.

Rocky: Dropping a turd in Otis Ferry’s cereal bowl would make me a happy boy.

What, in your opinion, is the message of The Nerve Centre?

Rocky: I like the fact that people are given a platform for having a go. There seems to be a growing movement of people getting together and saying “enough of this shit, we can do a better job.”

Talk us through the formation of Mashemon.

Ronny: We were working together for the NHS and I had been trying to get out and make some music after moving from Wales. I played Rocky a tune, he liked it and off we went. Bands can be complicated beasts, there’s always someone to pacify and compromises to be made. Thankfully, since we’re both pretty simple and laid back we don’t have that problem. We just do stuff that makes us happy.

Did you have a look at the gallery and did any pieces catch your eye particularly?

Ronny: I liked the Strange Cargo piece.

Many have commented on the visually striking statue in the centre of the gallery. What was your initial reaction to him?

Ronny: An ancient Greek Hulk! (Note: Imagine you're watching The Hulk for a few seconds now!) Hulk comment on modern day political system and failure of democracy! Hulk cold, want pants!

Is there anything you would change about Liverpool?

Ronny: Same thing I would change about the entire country; less violent drunks, fewer wife beaters, get rid of the parasitic consumer outlets, exile everyone who drops litter and don’t pick up their dog’s shit, more art, more original music, fewer CCTV cameras. The list is endless. More kind people who care about other people would be a start.

What should the future be for The Nerve Centre once the closing party has wrapped?

Rocky: I’ve been left wanting more. I honestly think it has been special and I wonder if that has been because the people involved have had so much to say and do, but with so little time to cram it all in.

Any final thoughts for the people of The Nerve Centre?

Ronny: It has been a grand enterprise! More!

Rocky: I’d like to say a big thank you to you all for getting off your arses and making this happen despite all the shit and hassle that was thrown at you. You did it. Feel proud.

Thanks for your Mashemontastic responses! If you're one of those people whom ignores YouTube videos between text, shame on you! Watch the video now!

Probing by Sebastian Gahan.
Video by Mashemon.