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Love Letters to Liverpool

An ode to the places cherished by scousers, as told by Paul Toner and starring Jetta.


Jetta is a multidisciplinary musician from Liverpool, now based in London. Paul Toner is the online editor of 10 Magazine and founder of northern style publication, Clobberzine.

Forget New York. If you’re after a city that never sleeps, get yourself up to Liverpool. The northern powerhouse is built to flourish afterhours. With a seminal clubbing history and a thriving music scene marinated with a Do-It-Yourself-Attitude, the city has given birth to a myriad of sounds and style movements born directly on the dancefloor. If you’re after a proper night out-out, the 0151 is your best bet. But don’t go into it blind. To coincide with Valentine’s Day, Jetta and Paul Toner present a series of love letters to the beloved inner-city mainstays near and dear to scousers’ hearts, paying tribute to the talents who, to this day, position Liverpool as a cultural behemoth.

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Get to know Jetta

Self-producer, songwriter and vocalist Jetta is a musical shapeshifter. From her self-built home studio in Hackney, London, she moves through genres with ease and determination, creating her own universe where anything is possible. Moving from Liverpool to the capital in 2007, the multihyphenate has toured through a myriad of sounds on a series of EPs and singles, like 2018’s Tonic, a euphoric blend of soulful vocal melodies with hedonistic electro pop.

Having a totally DIY approach has been the backbone of Jetta’s creative vision since the beginning. Releasing her Livin’ EP last year, with the UK garage-infused self-titled track becoming one of Jetta’s most streamed songs to date, she is currently working on her debut album, due to drop towards the end of this year.

“It’s a collision of everything I’ve done so far,” says Jetta, who describes the project like a playlist, with a song for every mood. Gliding from grunge, through to indie rock and a selection of floor fillers bound to soundtrack your next big night out, the album is set to be a tour de force from one of Liverpool’s most exciting musical exports. “[The album] was all written and produced by me – AKA, anything goes. That’s the beauty I find being in total control of the operation.”

Despite now spending most of her days trawling around East London, Jetta’s heart and soul is stapled to Liverpool. “It’s just one of those places: once people get a taste for it, so many want to stay,” she says. “Liverpool is like a little world of its own.”

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The Saturday night ritual

You’ve seen the scouse glamazons parading through the city centre with their hair in rollers. And whilst you might turn your nose up at it (you’re a sad case if you do) getting ready for a night out in Liverpool is a full day job - a ritual in itself.

It usually begins with a tan: on the beds, or from the bottle. If it’s set to be a biggin, a trip to FLANNELS Liverpool is in order. First, a stop at the Beauty Bar to get your face on (more on that later), before picking out a party dress. From The Attico and Jacquemus, to Saint Laurent and Valentino, the store is prepped and primed to dress you for a night on the tiles: from a new piece of arm candy (it’s gotta be a Jacquemus Le Chiquito) to the red bottoms on your feet.

Off back home you go, where you and your day-ones pile into your bedroom, chuck on a bit of Crystal Waters and Robin S. and get the night flowing. It itches closer towards midnight and you all pile into a taxi. Once you arrive in town, a pit stop at The Merchant is in order, before venturing up to the pubs and clubs on Seel Street. You could call it Dorothy’s Yellow Brick Road, as you bop from Heebies through to La’go up to Red Door, before heading to the Bombed Out Church to try and flag a taxi home.

The Grapes: a prized fruit of Liverpool’s pubs

No Liverpool pub crawl is complete without a meander down Matthew Street. Famously the home of the Cavern Club, which gave birth to the Beatles and employed Cilla Black as the hat-check girl, it’s actually the boozer a few doors down which is a must see. The Grapes is the crowned jewel of Liverpool’s pubs. Ringo, Paul, George, and John were all known to frequent the joint, which is beloved by a new generation of partygoers alongside the blokes who have grown up with The Grapes and have called it their local for decades.

If you’re after a taste of tradition, The Grapes is your best bet. From the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band jukebox which soundtracks its hallowed halls, to the host of cover bands who perform in the pub on a weekly basis, it’s a prime spot for immersing yourself in the city’s rich musical history. There are few places which match a Saturday night spent belting your heart out to “Hey Jude” at The Grapes, a sacred spot where a bunch of strangers can suddenly feel like your best mates.

Scouse glam at FLANNELS Liverpool

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Getting ready for a big night out can often feel like a chore, so let FLANNELS Liverpool take the load off. Stocking everything from Pat McGrath Labs through to Kylie Cosmetics, the store’s Beauty Bar is home to the finest and most revered beauty products available on the market, prepped and primed with products set to become staples in your makeup bag. The store plays host to a series of masterclasses and 1-2-1 appointments with critically acclaimed makeup and hairstylists brought in from across the country, who are here to help you master your own signature Saturday night look.

As well as having the option to get both your hair and makeup done by professional artists in-store, you can also receive a series of ‘tweakments’ from Dr Esho (a.k.a. The Lip Doctor). Better yet, you can play around and fall in love with the products provided by FLANNELS Liverpool in your own space, as the store offers a series of Beauty ‘Changing Rooms’, a place where you can discover your new beauty go-tos privately, all whilst you sip on a glass of something fizzy from the ground floor restaurant, BACINO. Now that’s service with style.

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Jetta’s old stomping grounds

“We’d always end up at Heebie Jeebies. Obviously, you’ve got all your live bands playing there. I used to go to Bumper quite a lot, too. It all really depended on what kind of night I was having. Seel street, that’s where we’d always end up hanging out. When Parr Street Studios was there, we’d always end up going to gigs. There was a lot of local talent, and we’d all support each other. A lot of it has moved down to The Baltic Triangle now which I also love as it feels a bit like a mini-London. There’s so much happening in the city.”

An ode to The Mayflower

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No proper night out in Liverpool is completed without a trip to The Mayflower. Plonked smack bang in the middle of Duke Street, a stone’s throw from a cluster of the city’s clubs and pubs, the Chinese restaurant is usually the last stop of a successful evening spent bar hopping. Open until the early hours of the morning, you and your nearest and dearest can sit down for a feast of epic proportions before hunting a taxi home. Usually opt for a kebab to send off the night? Or a portion of cheesy chips? That’s the stuff of amateurs. At the Mayflower, your afters can be fed with crispy chilly beef, Peking duck and enough salt and pepper chicken that you’ll practically be clucking on the way out. See, a sit-down meal at the end of a night out might not sound good on paper. Yet this green carpeted haven is a place to make-up, to break-up and to come together to laugh about the night’s antics all over a plate of delicious grub, a watering hole for the city’s late-night revellers.

Better yet, if you’re itching for the night to carry on, The Mayflower has a host of karaoke rooms for you to try out your best Celine Dion impression. But first, make sure you warm up those vocals with a portion of vegetable chow mein.

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Remembering the dancefloors of Liverpool’s past

We look back at some of the shuttered clubs which have helped carve Liverpool out as a dance music capital.

Cream: Arguably Liverpool’s most famous dance music export, Cream began as a weekly house night at Nation nightclub in 1992. Cream was one of the North West super clubs which helped give birth to the superstar DJ, as house fanatics from across the country would flock to the city week in, week out to catch the likes of Paul Oakenfold, Pete Tong and Fatboy Slim. Quickly evolving into a global brand, Cream would put on nights across the world, including regular stints in Ibiza, and would launch Creamfields festival in 1998, which has expanded to become one of the biggest electronic music festivals worldwide.

Garlands: For 25 years, Garlands held the title of Liverpool’s most infamous gay bar. Opening in 1993, it was the first after-hours gay club in the city, which played host to some of the biggest DJs from across the country. As Manchester was already thriving as the North’s gay capital, Liverpool finally had its own dancefloor where you could be whoever you wanted to be. It was a place of pure hedonism, which fought off raids and attacks from far-right groups to remain a safe space for the city’s LGBTQ+ community until it closed in 2019. There’s no place like Garlands.

Quadrant Park: Situated outside the city centre in Bootle, Quadrant Park – or as it was lovingly known, the Quad – was Liverpool’s first legal, all-night rave, as it didn’t sell booze and was originally a snooker hall with a 24-hour licence. Transforming into one of the city’s most cherished dancefloors, the likes of Fabio and Grooverider, Sasha and Frankie Bones all played at the club, which managed to stay open from the late 1980s to 1991 despite various licencing laws threatening to shut the venue down. Today, the club still lives in legend as a credible rival to Manchester’s The Haçienda for its sheer sense of euphoria.

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Tales of a bouncer

A bouncer who has worked at some of Liverpool’s biggest clubs reveals his tales of manning the door.

“Everything you think a bouncer sees working the door, I’ve probably experienced it. Really. The hen parties are the best, student nights the worst, but they’re all full of life. Once some girl told me I had to let her in because she was Coleen Rooney’s cousin, despite not being able to even tell me her own name.
Everyone starts getting ready early too, you can see all the girls walking around with their rollers on before Mcdonald's breakfast ends. No one scrubs up well quite like scousers.
My worst night, I split up six fights before seven o’clock. No one involved could’ve been under 30, and half of them were dressed up like Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs (must’ve been a stag do). But for the most part, I can’t complain about the job. Nowhere else even comes close, and I’d take six bust-ups over a quiet Saturday night any day.”

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Not in those webs

Think again before trying to get into clubs in Liverpool in any old shoes. You’ll have more luck getting into Berlin’s Berghain peak Saturday night than swaying past a bouncer on Seel Street in your beloved trabs. That’s because most of the city’s clubs offer a strict no trainers, no sportswear policy. I know what you’re thinking: doesn’t that all seem a bit daft in 2023 (trust us, scousers can’t stand it either). But unless you want to spend every weekend sat in the house, feeling sorry for yourself in your beloved trainers, you’ve got to play the game. Lucky for you, FLANNELS has a wealth of smart dress shoes and going-out heels which will ensure you glide past the bouncer with ease. You can thank us later.

Styling: Miranda Mikkola, Hair: Amber Hassall-Jones at FLANNELS Liverpool using GHD, Fashion assistant: Ellie Byrne at FLANNELS Liverpool




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