Sam Freeman

Storytelling | Theatre | Arts Marketing

Feeling Mello.

I’m currently sat in Love Crumbs, (find it here…) a delightful cake shop in Edinburgh before toddling off to a wedding so, with 45 mins to kill, I thought I’d get some diabetes, caffeine and write a blog post.

It was recently announced that Mello Mello, my favourite bar/cafe/arts space in Liverpool is to be moving and I had mixed feeling about it. Love Crumbs is very much in the same mould, a bohemian, relaxed space, decorated with cast-offs but with a charm that can be hard to create. I’ve been here twice before but felt at home the second I ordered my Rhubarb Meringue Pie.  It reminded me of Mello.

When I first moved to Liverpool I knew noone in the city, somewhat of a risk at the time, and those first few months were pretty lonely if I’m honest. But what helped me get through it was finding a space where I could hide away, listen, watch, learn and start to begin that inevitable process of assimilation that occurs when you move to a new city. That place was Mello.

I’d lived in York beforehand and there wasn’t really a similar place, somewhere utterly unpretentious, with a relaxed feeling where you felt like you belonged straight away. I remember the first time I went in (I think really clearly), there were 3 people working who I named as Tall Ginger Man, Tall Blonde Girl and Scottish Curly Girl.  I stayed for about three hours and drank coffee and ate cake and read the Guardian, and despite not knowing anyone, the staff were so incredibly chatty, friendly and warm that I decided that this would be my new hangout.

And so started a habit. Every weekend I’d walk into town by the riverside listening to a podcast (usually The Bugle or Daniel Kitson), then sit in Mello for 3 hours, writing and reading, and then get the bus home. It was the place where I first became aware of Impropriety, watching a show and then taking part in the workshops. I first tried Barley Wine, far far too much Barley Wine, to the point where I stumbled home and swore I would never drink again. I went on dates there. Wrote Floating the play that toured nationally, over about 3 weeks in there, then rehearsed it while drinking strong coffee and eating lovely veggie grub. It became somewhere I grew a fond attachment to.

I think it’s safe to say that without Mello as a central point for me to go to I would have left Liverpool, I certainly wouldn’t know half the people I do and I would have eaten considerably less cake. It’s with that in mind that I was a little upset that Mello would be moving. Although I’ve only known it for four years it has been very important to me. I feel like I’ve grown as a person as it has changed, matured and developed.

However, Mello isn’t dead, rumour has it there will be a new venue and cafe, a new place to call home. I personally cannot wait. Having met the people who run the cafe, the staff, the people who go there and support it, their dedication, commitment and ambition, I know it’ll be amazing.

Right, now off to the wedding with a massive sugar high.