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24 October 2008

More than just the Beatles

Cultured crowds flock to Merseyside, while the people of Madrid occupy themselves in daubing fibre-g

By Ruth Collins

Capitalising on Culture

Liverpool has crowned its successful year as European Capital of Culture by winning the Visitor Impact Award at the North West Tourism Awards this week. The urban regeneration carried out to accommodate this year’s cultural programme has made Liverpool a tourist hub with record-breaking numbers of visitors pouring into the North West. Who could blame them, with a host of must-see exhibitions included in the Liverpool Biennial, featuring many up-and-coming international artists alongside established names such as renowned French architect Le Corbusier. Yet it was Tate Liverpool which really brought in the crowds thanks to the Gustav Klimt exhibition, the first of its kind ever held in the UK. The European Youth Parliament also paid the city a compliment by holding their 58th session there this summer and another first came just this week when it became the first city outside of London to host the Electric Proms. All these successes fuel the argument that Liverpool has a lot more to say for itself in the way of culture than just The Beatles.

Bringing art to the people

One would think the toros had been unleashed or that Damien Hirst had been hanging around Madrid’s streets this week, as a herd of cow sculptures took over the city. In actual fact, the life-size works form part of an ongoing project entitled “CowParade”,a public art event which has toured the world since its initiation in Zurich in 1998 by Walter Knapp. The fibre-glass sculptures were submitted in July in the “Paint a cow!” competition and the winning works are now on display in Felipe II Square until 29 November. Every cow has a unique design pertaining to a particular theme, cultural or topical aspect -the more surreal the better. Once the exhibition is over, all cows will be auctioned off and distributed around the streets of Madrid with all proceeds going to charity.

A turn up for the books

The literary agent Andrew Wylie was no doubt pleased to acquire the representation of the late Chilean novelist Robert Bolaño. But he must have been positively over the moon when a previously unpublished manuscript by Bolaño entitled The Third Reich turned up recently at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Little did Wylie, or indeed Bolaño’s Spanish publisher Jorge Herralde or his former agent Carmen Balcells, know that the writer would have one more contribution to make to the literary world. It is thought that Bolaño, the father of “infrarealism” who is best known for his 1998 novel “>death. A turn up for the books, one might say.

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