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Brian Sewell slams Liverpool

by John Harkin. Published Tue 25 Aug 2009 14:40, last updated: 25/08/09

Snooty art critic Brian Sewell is under fire after he mocked Liverpool's status as a European Capital of Culture.

Sewell, 78, claimed Liverpool does not produce anything of "great cultural consequence" and said the city's appointment as Capital of Culture was "a laugh".

Londoner Sewell made the comments on the Radio 4 Today programme during a debate on the Department of Media, Culture and Sport's decision to name an annual UK City of Culture.

Rural tourism groups want the "the UK countryside" given an opportunity to bid for the UK City of Culture crown.

He said: "The advantage of making Liverpool the city of culture - there's a laugh! - was at least you knew were you where getting the train to."

Asked about whether the countryside was a candidate when it came to appointing a capital of culture, Sewell added: "We do neglect the countryside.

"We tend to focus far more on Glasgow and Liverpool, which don't produce anything of great cultural consequence."

But Mr Sewell's scathing comments have been slammed by Liverpool Academy of Arts Director, June Lornie.

She said: "I think Brian Sewell must be walking around with blinkers on.

"I don't know if he has been to the city lately but if he hasn't I think it is about time he came back and had a look at what we have to offer.

"The city is rich with art and culture.

"To say we have produced nothing of cultural significance is unbelievable.

"The Beatles set the trend for culture in the whole of the UK in the 60's and still have a massive influence on popular culture today.

"I travel to a lot of different places in the country all the time and I'm always amazed what a great cultural offering Liverpool has, compared to other cities.

"Not only do we have some of the finest museums in the UK but we are blessed with numerous art galleries and superb architecture.

"Mr Sewell's star must be fading, or he is just plain jealous. This was such an unnecessary and petty-minded outburst against the city of Liverpool and its culture."

Business leader Frank McKenna accused Brian Sewell of 'unfounded prejudice' against the city.

Chairman of Downtown Liverpool in Business, Mr McKenna said: "I am surprised and disappointed by the comments made by Brian Sewell considering the fact that Liverpool's years as European Capital of Culture was such a resounding success.

"However, I think the city should take these remarks as a compliment.

"Brian Sewell was one of the people who thought we would make a right mess of it.

"He was proved wrong and unfortunately he is not prep to swallow his pride and congratulate the city on what it achieved.

"It hi-lights the prejudices and misconceptions that Liverpool still has to overcome - not internationally but here in the UK.

"I get more negative reactions when the name of Liverpool is mentioned south of the Watford Gap than I overseas.

"Mr Sewell is one of these people who has an in-built prejudice against Liverpool. People like him do not take account of the fabulous achievements of the city in recent years.

"We do need to be concerned about these unfounded and misinformed prejudices which we need to break down.

"I hope he will come to Liverpool and see for himself our great cultural offering and see how it is being expanded all the time."

A spokesperson for Brian Sewell refused to comment further.


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"Whenever I hear Brian Sewer speak I think what a pretentious twit. You can't take him serious with that pseudo accent. A serious bore! " Roert, Wirral around 5 years, 9 months ago

"Just moved back to Liverpool after spending twenty exhausting years living in crowded and aggressive London. Loving my new quality of life!" Jan Wilson, Liverpool around 5 years, 10 months ago

"Has Brian Sewell ever left London? Am frequent visitor to both cities and Liverpool wins my vote every time! Has fab buzz and oozes culture " Margaret, Ormskirk around 5 years, 11 months ago

"what an absolute muppet Yes get the train Brian Get up here and open your eyes" dave, liverpool around 5 years, 11 months ago

"Who gives a toss 4 Brian Sewell comments he's a self appointed no mark how can u take anyone serios with an accent like that? Cloud cuckoo " Chris Bakstad, Liverpool around 5 years, 11 months ago

"When did this man last visit Liverpool? He just highlights his ignorance. " Phil, Liverpool around 5 years, 11 months ago

"Brian - thanks for raising awareness again about Liverpool. In your quest for self publicity I have to say we are the benefactors yet again!" James, Liverpool around 5 years, 11 months ago

"Pretentious snob Sewell. What most people regards as culture he does not as it is not old. Only paintings and opera is culture to him." Waterway, Liverpool around 5 years, 11 months ago

"I always believe Brian Sewell says things simply because he thinks he's better than everyone else. I don't value his opinion of anything." Peter, Liverpool around 5 years, 11 months ago

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