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Liverpool: It’s been a hard day’s night for this London girl

2011 September 4
by Zoe Strimpel

The Beatles' hometown has become something of a glamour mecca.

The breasts of Scouse females were voted largest in the world recently (I imagine finding people (by which I mean men) to help judge that study wasn't too hard). See what we were up against? All the London snobbery in the world falls flat in the face of a good pair of Northern melons.

I rarely leave London (zones one to three) unless it’s for Capri, Mauritius, Boston, or Gstaad. Ok, that’s a lie. (Sort of). But my point is, like many self-made Londoners who have chosen the city over the country as a whole, I am a completely urban-centric, London centric snob. Food, architecture, weather (yes, even London’s weather is tropical next to the North), literary output of residents – all go into the snob-files.

So I thought it high time to leave my bubble and get out a bit into this mythical place called England (no, the Cotswolds don’t count). So when a friend who had previously done PR for such places as Coco Island in the Maldives and the world’s most luxurious train in India announced she had jumped ship to Visit England and would I like to go to Coventry, I said Sure! Only not quite Coventry, but…Liverpool. Ex capital of culture, home of my favourite band and almost certainly willing to live up to whatever stereotypes my be-snobbed London mind carried.

Hollyoaks on the brain, along with Colleen Rooney, we checked into our curiously plum-coloured Mersey-front hotel, made our way out for the evening and – it turns out – saw more than we’d ever hoped. First up: Marco Pierre White’s chophouse. A rather posh place, in a new design hotel. Also a date place. Everywhere we looked there were couples: slightly overweight men in crap blue button-down shirts tucked into dark trousers and their missuses.

Well, this town belongs to the missuses. The one at the next table to us had been – as most of them soon turned out to be – surgically enhanced. Never mind the sunbed (at the Liverpool Museum, a video filmed a local calling the women who hit the clubs at night like “a terracotta army in stilettos”), her breasts were enormous melons, her hair had been styled into a wedding cake cascade of chocolate curls, her nose an upward-carved triangle of spray-tanned cartilage and her eyelashes were a bank of heavy black curtains, only slightly pulled up at the ends by an invisible tongs.

At another table were the blondes. Two or three of them, louchely lounging, and god I hoped that were Wags. The menfolk were irrelevant: it was the women’s sculptured hair – the colour of a pale, minerally Sauvignon blanc with egg yolk as highlights – that drew all the attention. And their tiny bodies in tiny black dresses, heaving brown melons and bondage-style Louboutins.

Beginning to realise that any arrogance we’d brought to Liverpool – “The great thing about the North is that you always feel really thin”, said my friend on the train – was not necessarily accurate,  we left Marco’s and hit Alma de Cuba, a massive glam bar/club, where at 11 pm they throw rose petals off a balcony onto the gyrating crowd.

Here we realised very clearly: We are invisible here. We are so shabby compared to these girls it literally looks like we came straight from bed, in our pyjamas, in our (non-sex) bed hair. We are wearing neither bright colours nor 5 inch stilettos. We are pale. Our breasts are fairly safely concealed from view. Our hair is tied back and contains no trace of rollers or hairspray. We are fat (relatively).

It was a festival of tiny (fake) tanned women with (fake) big boobs, all dressed in what appeared to me to be couture or its best approximation. Not Paris-style couture, but some monstrous reserve stock or line made just for women like these: as if Dolce and Gabbana had gone mad and been violently sick in a bondage shop. Nothing looked cheap, dreary or high street – just eyeball-yanking and a touch headfucking (see pictures below for more on a “northern” take on popular couture brands). One dancer – in a tightly sinched white shift – kept drawing up her hemline to show the black silky triangle of her pants. Never seen that before. One girl had her hair sprayed into the shape of two coathangers on either side: it was more a square of cotton candy than hair.

Above all, it looked like these women lived for their glad rags, for the heaving fashion shows – the bars and clubs – in which they get to show them off. This was Vanity Fair in 2011, and I can tell you one thing about the Liverpool: girls like us, London snobs, actually come away feeling like London slobs. But of course, that’s the way we like it.

A Louboutin (Wag range?) in Cricket, Colleen R's favourite shop.

Yes, it looks like the Serenghetti after a hunting spree. This, however, is another Louboutin, note foot slit in the front. The thing behind is a matching bag.

More Louboutin, from the bondage line.

I know what you're thinking. But no, these aren't from New Look. They are expensive YSLs (oil magnate wife range?).


* An unrelated point. It is interesting that Adele has achieved world fame as a young, straight female singer while also being distinctly chubby. Not chubby for showbiz – just chubby. This is not coincidence. She has had to be 4,000 times better everyone else to get there. Eat your heart out Cheryl, Avril, Katy and frankly vile Gaga.


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