Dazzle Ferry Across the Mersey: Meet the Captain

Posted on 4 April 2018 by Liverpool Biennial

Captain Jake Keogh. Photo: Harrison Phair

Captain Jake Keogh. Photo: Harrison Phair

This year is Liverpool Biennial’s 20th anniversary so we are looking back at the incredible artworks from our history. Sir Peter Blake's Everybody Razzle Dazzle has just turned 3 years old, so who better to celebrate with than one of the Dazzle Ferry’s Captains? Jake Keogh has possibly spent more time than anyone with this moving artwork since it was launched back in April 2015. We spent a sunny afternoon onboard with Jake to discover more about his experience of sailing this now-iconic feature on the River Mersey and what he has made of people’s reactions to Sir Peter Blake’s artwork.

So Jake, tell us a bit about yourself and what being a Captain involves?

I’ve been Captain now for three years, the same amount of time that the Dazzle Ferry has been around. The main part of my job is taking passengers to and from Liverpool safely, taking them across the Mersey and up and down the Manchester Ship Canal.

Sir Peter Blake, Everybody Razzle Dazzle, 2015. Photo: Mark McNulty

What was it like finding out that the ferry will be 'dazzled' by one of Britain's greatest contemporary artists?

I was actually the one that took Snowdrop into the Cammell Laird dock prior to it being transformed, so I was obviously aware that it was going to receive this new paint job but I never expected it to come out as well as it did.

What was your initial reaction to seeing the design?

Just “wow!”

Sir Peter Blake, Everybody Razzle Dazzle, 2015. Image courtesy Mersey Ferries

How have others reacted to the Ferry?

It has created lots of interest and helped Mersey Ferries to remain one of the top paid-for attractions on Merseyside, so it has made a huge difference. We’ve had a range of reactions to the design; some prefer the traditional colours of the ferry but there have been many visitors who have enjoyed seeing this unique artwork on the Mersey Ferry Snowdrop.

Are you a fan of Sir Peter Blake's work?

Yes, when the photos went up onboard of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s album cover, I immediately recognised it, but I actually knew about him from somewhere else. He did the album cover for Paul Weller’s Stanley Road, and while I’m not really a big fan of the Beatles, I am a big fan of Paul Weller.

Happy Birthday Dazzle Ferry! See it for free from the waterfront or hop on board to explore the curated display. Everybody Razzle Dazzle is commissioned by Liverpool Biennial, 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions and Tate Liverpool in partnership with Merseytravel and National Museums Liverpool. Find out more here.

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