The urban spectacle and conflict

Liverpool is going to host another spectacle involving giant puppets in the summer. This odd event is intended to relate to the First World War. It follows on from an occasion where the same company used puppets to tell a narrative about the Titanic. We have been repeatedly assured that these bizarre events make commercial sense. Certainly, large crowds of people gather at them. It is worth noting that this happens after massive advertising on diverse media. 

The city is suffering from an acute financial squeeze at present. Whether it should be spending large sums of money on a spectacle of this type is open to question. However, modern city authorities often engage in this type of behaviour. The geographer David Harvey has documented how local government has moved from providing welfare to delivering entrepreneurial strategies.


Reading ‘Goodbye to All That’ by Robert Graves, one wonders what ‘war poets’ like Siegfried Sassoon would have made of the Liverpool event. Graves himself did not even enjoy the Armistice celebrations. Will the sight of giant puppets blundering about the city make people less disposed to conflict? It is a hard question for a provider of cheap copy to answer…

(My book review is still being reflected on.) 


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