Last year, I attended the first Labour Live event held in the City of Chester. This was my report of the night. Last night, it was my pleasure to repeat the experience. As per the first occasion, it was held at the Chester Music Theatre, a brave and admirable outpost of culture in what has become a bit of a cultural desert as far the wider population is concerned. There are for example, for those of you who don’t live here and who don’t know, no big cinemas left in Chester – you have to go to Ellesmere Port to find the closest truly widescreen experience. And whilst theatrical performance is restricted to ad hoc venues, and whilst the Mystery Plays and outdoor theatre in general have their own wonderful histories and legacies, a city like Chester really doesn’t deserve to be without a properly cemented venue.
Anyhow. The Chester Music Theatre did us proud last night, and for that we must express our sincere appreciation.
I get the impression we did the Labour Party proud too.
It was an eclectic choice of music; and an eclectic audience which turned up. The presentation was slicker than last year; it was good to see crowd-rousing music from music-hall days coupled with guitar-riffed walls of sound from far younger origin. And even the comedy managed to surprise: Councillor Ben Powell not only succeeded in making us laugh, he was able to do a stand-up routine lying down in bed with a threesome of rather politically significant personages of our times!
As far as I understand it, this kind of event serves to embed Labour in a community where doorstepping, envelope-stuffing and telephone-canvassing are not the only things which the Party may – indeed, should – mean to its members. We need far more of this, of course; we need it to get covered, to get onto the news and to enter the public domain in a big way.
But for now, building on last year’s first steps, this is quite an achievement in itself. To realise, in a city like Chester, that there are ordinary people who might think like you and enjoy the same stuff … well, it’s nice to know and comprehend. It’s good when one feels the need to overcome the sense of strangeness and isolation that being surrounded by leafy wealth can lead to.
Thanks to all involved.