Tag Archives: Liverpool poets

Roger McGough on The Liver Birds

The Liver Birds was a popular comedy series from the 70s. It was written by Carla Lane and centred on two Scouse sorts sharing a flat. Many lads my age have fond memories of Nerys Hughes.
Roger McGough was one of the Liverpool Poets popular in the 60s. By the late 70s/mid 80s he was part of what Ranting Verse was kicking against but at the same time Ranting wouldn’t have been what it was without antecedents like the Liverpool poets.
It’s notable that in 1972, when this clip is from going to a pub to see poetry was something normal for working class people to do, as reflected in The Liver Birds. The girls go to O’Connors Tavern where McGough reads from his collection After The Merrymaking.
The Liverpool poets were loathed by kids my age. I’ve been reading their Penguin collection The Mersey Sound whilst researching this blog and it’s much better than I remember. I think it was the trendy teachers making us read it that really put us off them. It’s worth remembering that in the 60s McGough, Patten and Henri were the punk poets. At school in the 60s it was groundbreaking that we’d get a Beatles song in a music lesson at school.
McGough’s band ‘The Scaffold’ sing the theme tune to the Liver Birds. The genius in The Scaffold for me though was John Gorman. He was a member of The Scaffold, as well as the Grimms who merged The Scaffold with the band Liverpool Scene along with Neil Innes and Viv Stanshall from the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. Even more importantly, Gorman was a regular fixture on Tiswas. Yes!
These days Roger McGough wears a hat.