Sleeping with The Joker
A famous villain is in town. And I don’t mean in the panto. In Liverpool’s Salthouse Dock, strings of fairy lights pick out red lips and a white face, swaying and twitching in the black. Sirens blast past on the main road, adding to the urban noise. We walk down an icy ramp, unsure of what lies ahead, not knowing we are about to be seduced by The Joker.
The Joker Boat Liverpool
The boat, named after the world’s biggest trickster, immediately delivers on surprise. Two halves of the eerie face split apart, teeth flying into the wind. A man’s face appears, brightly lit from behind. We are greeted by a blast of human warmth in the shape of Alfie; boss of Hollywood Limousines and owner of our floating luxury apartment.
“Welcome to Liverpool. Come on in.”
This is no ordinary barge
We spill into our new home for the next three days and soon discover that The Joker is as bright on the inside as it is purple on the outside. The kitchen is gleaming, the bathroom furnishings seem to be made of glitter and a huge TV fills one of the walls. The kids are immediately drawn to a set of fuzzy little men kicking a ball around a pitch. Alfie slots glasses onto each of their their faces.
“3D,” he grins, before giving us a tour of the six berth boat that we found on www.wimdu.co.uk.
On this Hollywood themed barge, movies feature heavily. The kids squeal as they realise there is a TV and DVD player in every bedroom, with a satellite dish providing hundreds of free channels. A life size picture of Marilyn Monroe sparkles above the sofa; her sequinned eyes seemingly following us around. But this isn’t some Hollywood wannabe boat; apparently it’s the real deal.
Alfie explains he found the Joker in an LA scrapyard when he was in the USA looking for engines and gear boxes for his fleet of seven limousines. “It was stuck in a corner painted in all these mad psychedelic colours. The six chrome turrets outside on top used to hold The Joker’s machine guns,” he tells us. The boat was used as the location for the celluloid villain’s home in the Batman movies. But unfortunately while Jack Nicholson survived the Hollywood editing process, his fictional home ended up on the cutting room floor. Further mishaps occurred when important film memorabilia sunk on the way to the UK when the side of the boat collapsed. But Alfie has made up for this by the luxury refit; The Joker is now something of a purple palace in a city that really knows how to do bling.
The Joker is currently alone in the Salthouse Dock, right next to the Albert Dock, but will soon be joined by two more Hollywood themed boats; Yellow Submarine; filled with Beatles memorabilia, and a partly submerged Titanic. As Britain marks the centenary of the sinking this year, it’s a timely addition.
No dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight
Alfie shakes our hands and departs, and we drag the kids away from the TV. Eventually. When they are tucked up in their purple cabin beds, we contemplate climbing onto the roof and ‘dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight,’ in homage to Batman’s nemesis. But it’s raining. And with underfloor heating, hundreds of channels of TV and six pairs of 3D glasses between two of us, we decide to curl up with a movie instead. No one said The Joker always had to party.
- You can go to the Republic of the Moon, FACT
- Where’s there’s tea there’s hope
- I lost my tooth to art, Palaces at The Bluecoat
- Down the Rabbit Hole at Tate Liverpool
- Danny and Yazz take us on The Old Dock Tour
- Meeting the Locals in the Friendliest City
- Sleeping with the Joker in the Albert Dock
- It’s Like a Dream but Better
- I’m taking the kids back to my Liverpool Childhood
Disclosure note: Thanks to the people at Wimdu who provided a voucher to enable us to sample the service and supported us in bringing you this story. More here about how Wimdu works.