Liverpool in 2008: ‘Super Lamb Bananas’ and Urban Patriotism

Clara Paillard and Leo Singer have written an excellent article for Mute magazine on corporate regeneration and resistance in Liverpool’s Capital Of Culture year. They also look at how the “creative industries” have been used to deliver “cross-class” messages about how the city is changing (in other words ‘Look how great our Liverpool is becoming! We have brand new chain stores and posh flats; aren’t we unique?’).

The egregious summer plague of ‘Super Lamb Bananas‘ is held up as symbolic of this process:

“The Super Lamb Banana is a mutant of a lamb and a banana referring to the port’s history of exporting lamb and importing bananas. But the City of Culture grasped the potential of this piece of public art and turned it into the symbol of ‘wacky’ Scouseness, thus packaging all sorts of stereotypes about Scousers into a much celebrated commodity. The Liverpool Echo is exemplary in whipping up this kind of hysteria. One of the top articles recently reported about a group of local scouts who within 24 hours managed to visit all 200 plus Lamb Banana statues scattered over the city!”


2 thoughts on “Liverpool in 2008: ‘Super Lamb Bananas’ and Urban Patriotism

  1. Tao

    Great article I’m coming back to your blog to read more.I love the piece on Liverpool’s “redevelopment” too, Apparently when I’m out with my digital camera and digital video I seem to find myself in places that the security guys don’t like me being. I’m been moved on quite a few times from “secret” government buildings in case I take a photo (of mass destruction no doubt)


  2. Kenn

    Hey Adam,How’s it going? Yeah, that Mute article is interesting, though it goes over the same old stuff, ‘regeneration is bad’, ‘capital of culture is bad’ once again without suggesting what else Liverpool should do other than ‘structural changes’. Like what? The revolution? How we going to start that? Didn’t we try that in the past and cosistently fail miserably? Who would be in charge? Also, if you ask the average working class scouser, and please let’s not get into semantics about this, whether they preferred the Superlambanna’s or some ‘underground/avant garde/revolutionary’ whatever, I can tell you what their answer would be. Same if you asked them whether they’d rather have Quiggins or Debenhams. This is why I fall out with so many people on the left because they don’t realize they’re just another social elite as much as the ‘yuppies in flats’ they love to bang on about. I think the SLB’s are shit too, but that is because I’m part of that social elite. You do not reperesent the working class, you represent a narrrow social elite. Nothing wrong with that, but please don’t try and claim that you speak for ‘Liverpool’s underclass’ because no one elected you and I think they’d have very different opinions on a lot of things than you. Sorry mate, got a lot of respect for you but you touched a raw nerve there.


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