Recruiting

If you’re visiting Liverpool, I think the only place to go now is Liverpool One. Not only a shopping experience, not even just a fine example of Enclosure, 21st-century style, it’s a mountain range of retail, complete with vertiginous perspectives and horrifying canyons of commerce. You can reflect on the fact that it’s built over the filled-in Pool, the tidal creek that was Liverpool’s first harbour and then the site of the world’s first wet dock, the city’s raison d’être and the source of its wealth, all that money skimmed off trade and slavery. From shipping to shopping. There’s a little porthole in the pavement where you can look down at an old dock wall disappearing into the darkness.

Yesterday there was a bouncy castle on the grass, only it was attended by soldiers. And it wasn’t a bouncy castle, it was an inflatable child-friendly assault course decorated with camouflage patterns and a huge regimental crest. At the far end, a military Land Rover with a military canvas awning over its back and a combat-ready trestle table looked ready for signing recruitment papers.

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