After Hours

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The Independent Culture
At the moment French restaurants are my favourite and I'm lucky because there's a very good one in Liverpool. It's called Alouette, Lark Lane (051-727 2142) and I often have lunch in there. Breakfast has always been a very important meal for me and I go to the Mercantile Cafe, 25 Castle St, Liverpool (051- 236 2667). It's like the canteen from On the Buses: you feel as if you're stepping into a time- warp. The staff are wonderful: you know, middle-aged women who act like your mum.

Another of my favourite places is the Woolton Cinema, Woolton Village, Liverpool (051- 428 1919). It's a small independent cinema run by an ageing husband and wife. They show ordinary films but halfway through the film, and it doesn't matter where, it could be the most exciting moment, everything grinds to a halt and the wife comes out selling ice-creams. The films may be generally rubbish but they have those lovely armchair seats.

Another place I go is The Lomax, Cumberland St (off Victoria St) (051-236 0329/6458). In Liverpool we've got all this history of live music but really there's been no place for bands to play, until now: the guy who runs The Lomax put all his money into it. He really supports up-and-coming bands and it's very cheap to get in. I really respect him making an effort to support the counter-culture.

Often I'm driving back to Liverpool from London and if it's rush hour I just can't face the traffic so I dive into this Italian restaurant called Mama Rosa 144 Finchley Rd, NW3 (071-794 9942). It's run by this mad Sampdoria fan, there's pennants all over the walls. But he really looks after me.

Ian Broudie is the lead singer of the Lightning Seeds

(Photograph omitted)

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