What better way to recover from a night on the town in Liverpool (your correspondent strongly recommends the locally distilled gin at The Belvedere) than a soothing facial? Especially when that facial comes with the cultural endorsement of the Liverpool Biennial. No matter that my treatment—on Friday 13th—took place in front of the assembled ranks of the arts press, such was the skill of Helen, the beautician selected by the artist Taus Makhacheva for her ASMR Spa, that all shutter clicks and background rumbles were subsumed into a blissed-out haze. Even the biggest rumble of the day, the arrival in the UK of Donald Trump, was smoothed into silence.
What I was experiencing at this very special spa in Blackburne House, an educational centre for women in the city’s Georgian quarter, was a Sculptural Signature Facial. “It’s called sculptural because it makes you more defined, fills the cracks,” Helen whispered conspiratorially as she commenced proceedings by massaging my weary and decidedly cracked old visage with Mixed Clay Cleanser, the first in a series of six treatments based on the component parts of artworks “because this is all about making you into a work”.