Scyfi Love Liverpool pub crawl – what a night!

IT is the day after the night before and the Scyfi Love Liverpool pub crawl to celebrate this blog’s second birthday was an awesome night out.

With a posse of friends, we hit six pubs around Liverpool town centre – each with a science fiction link – and went on our way with a dash of Hollywood glamour.

The night had already got off to an awesome start, with well wishes from some huuuge names on Twitter.

Adam Baldwin from Firefly and Chuck, Hollywood superstar Jim Carrey and Oscar-tastic Russell Crowe all chipped in with advice and words of wisdom to my growing amazement and disbelief.

Adam Baldwin
Drink good water too. U’ll thank me in the morning 4 having not found Urselves in drunken Liverpudlian puddles. 😉

Jim Carrey
Neil,love your friends,hoist one in my name,don’t hurt a livin’ soul,and BRING OUT THE #BOING! ~8^}€=;

Russell Crowe
Leave your phones at home

What’s more, friend of the blog and Moon director Duncan Jones not only wished us well but gave us a Gerty drinking game to play. In case you haven’t seen Moon, Gerty is the moonbase robot who communicates using facial expressions.

The rules are simple:

1) Draw lots of Gerty faces on post-it notes – a mix of happy, sad and surprised.

2) Players have to guess what face will be next by putting on a happy, sad or surprised face of their own.

3) If they get it right, the game moves on. If they’re wrong, they have to drink, with some notes having the ultimate down-in-one forfeit.

Duncan, you’ll be pleased to know it worked like a charm.

So where did we go? Here’s the list and a map.

View Scyfi Love Pub Crawl in a larger map

Flanagan’s Apple

A popular pub on Mathew Street, this used to be a warehouse that was bought in the 1970s by Peter O’Halligan.

Inspired by Carl Jung’s dream about walking through Liverpool and finding a pool with island on it and a tree, glowing with light, Peter renamed the building the Liverpool School of Language, Music, Dream and Pun.

Shortly after he met Ken Campbell and asked him to consider staging theatre at the school. Ken found the book of the Illuminatus Trilogy (which had yellow submarine on the cover – clinching the deal) and turned it into a play.

The stage is set – and on November 23 1976 with Bill Drummond from KLF designing sets and Ian Broudie on guitar in the band, The Illuminatus trilogy is staged.

Taking in subjects such as magic, drugs, the number 23 and the justified ancients of Mumu, with 300 roles and 36 actors – including Jim Broadbent, Sylvester McCoy (but not Bill Nighy, who was injured in a car crash), the show takes eight hours but garners huge critical acclaim and moves to National Theatre.

The White Star

Liverpool has long been a point of departure for people heading to the new world and the White Star Line one of the most famous shipping companies. One of those people who headed for pastures new was Jeff Bridges’ grandad William Simpson, father of his mum Dorothy. He jumped on a ship when he was 14 and ended up in Massachusetts.

Jeff said he is very proud of having grandfather from Liverpool because of the city’s musical heritage, and they always got his grandad to tell the story at family get togethers..

And the sci-fi link – Jeff played the lead in the sci-fi film Starman of course.

Doctor Duncan’s

Liverpool holds a unique place in Doctor Who history, with two Doctors coming from Liverpool – Tom Baker and Paul McGann

Tom was born in 1934. His mum and dad were Mary Jane and John Baker, a sailor, and Tom moved away aged 15 to be a monk. Paul was born in 1959, one of the famous McGann acting family. He played the Eighth Doctor in the mid-1990s TV movie.

Liverpool was also the birthplace of two companions. The most famous is Elizabeth Sladen – born in the city in 1948, who worked at Liverpool Playhouse before being companion to the third, fourth, tenth and soon to be 11th Doctors.

One of the first Doctor’s companions was Vicki Pallister played by Maureen O’Brien, who is also from Liverpool.


The famous Beatles-linked pub also has a place in Who’s history, thanks to a photo on the wall of the pub. It shows a scene from 1965 Who story The Chase, where the Daleks chase the Doctor and companions using their own time machine.

Early on in that story, the Doctor and his pals look at the time-space visualiser which can show any event from any time. Vicki – the Liverpudlian companion remember – chooses to watch the Beatles playing Ticket To Ride.

Ironically given the number of lost Doctor Who episodes, this is only clip of the Beatles performing that song on Top of the Pops. The Beatles also wanted to appear as old men, but Brian Epstein wouldn’t let them.

The Pilgrim

Just down the road from The Pilgrim on Pilgrim Street is a battered old garage, with the words Doctor on call painted on it.

It was here in 1995 that the great Jon Pertwee made his final screen appearance as a Doctor-like character in a Vodafone advert. The advert also starred a young Kyle Maclachlan, as one of a pair of X-Files style investigators.

Pertwee passed away in America shortly afterwards.

I think it is fitting too that the word Pilgrim can mean an individual who leaves the safety of home for an often unknown destination, trusting in divine providence to find a way. If that doesn’t suit the Doctor to a tee, I don’t know what does. Rest easy Jon, on whatever stage of your journey you’re on. We’ll always remember you.

The Philharmonic pub

Our final destination is jJust yards away from Liverpool University Science Fiction library – the SF Hub.

Now 16 years old has collection of tens of thousands books, videos, magazines and other fascinating SF trinkets including two Hugo Awards, a manuscript of Day of the Triffids with John Wyndham’s hand written notes, and a collection of works by Olaf Stapledon.

It’s also the only SF library in Britain, the others are in California, Kansas, Calgary, Toronto and Switzerland – the wonderfully named House of Elsewhere.

And that was that – from 6pm to 11pm of solid drinking and a bit of walking too. Even the blisteringly-hot spicy beef pizza I ‘enjoyed’ on the way to the station couldn’t take the sheen off what was an awesome night out.

Thanks to everyone who made it and if you couldn’t, well, there’s always next year, and that goes to my new Hollywood showbiz friends too.

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