To Crosby beach, near Liverpool, England in pursuit of culture. The beach, long, bleak and close to Liverpool’s docks, is home to one hundred naked men– part of sculptor Antony Gormley‘s bold body of work. At first sight, Crosby is not a very likely spot for a major art installation. The Crone and her sister drew up in the carpark and, before braving the windswept sands, decided it would be wise to first visit a Liverpool loo. Just by the grimy hot dog stand, there was a dilapidated municipal block that once housed public toilets, but it seemed to have last offered relief round about the time Cilla Black first had a hit with Alfie. Luckily, in front of the outhouse was a down and out,–whiskery, gap-toothed and sporting a pre-loved red hoodie. ” Need the toilet luv?” he asked the Crone” Go on up to the Fortune Cafe and say George sent you. Nice toilets there. You’ll have to buy a cup of tea. Tell them I sent you –I get one for free” This is marketing, Mersey-style.
To the cafe where the local clientele–Crosby beach, despite the Gorms, does not appear to attract a great deal of foreign tourist traffic–were tucking into full English breakfasts, although the man in front of the Crone had treated himself to a curried chip. Drank tea, mentioned George, used the bathroom and then set off through the sand dunes to the beach. Lots of signs for the coastal path, and many municipal admonitions banning just about everything anyone would go to a beach to do. No mention of Gormley and no sight of even one naked man. “Do you think we’re in the right place?” asked the Crone’s sister (known as the Cackling Crone) scanning the horizon for something pale and male. “Better be” said the Crone gloomily, as she trudged on, face to the wind. And then, just when witchy were about to turn bitchy, there hove into view some miles of strand and on them, facing the water, cast iron effigies with not a stitch on. Chilly.
The Cackler is a witch who likes to walk, so her intent was to personally greet each gorm,putting some miles on her wellies. The Crone however quickly concluded that when you’ve seen/photographed/fondled/one gorm there’s no need to trouble with the other 99 and so repaired to the ice-cream van for a 99 more to her taste. The wind blew sand into it as she walked back to the car. Another perfect day at the English seaside.