The Mersey Sound


This coming Friday (30th September), poet Roger McGough is performing at The Potteries Museum as part of  Live Age, which is a series of workshops, discussions, get-togethers and performances celebrating and encouraging the arts for older people. Unfortunately, I fit into that now! I am hopefully attending, it will be my first ‘outing’ that is non-hospital or health related since my operation two months ago, I am moving through recuperation. I doubt if I will get to the Renegade Readers the day before because of the timing of my daily visit from the District Nurse.

I like Roger McGough’s writing and would urge people to read it, he deals with very moving and deep subjects in a coherent, sensitive and often amusing style.

The event reminded me how influential the Penguin Modern Poets book The Mersey Sound was on me. It was first published in 1967 and sold over 500,000 copies. When I was at school it was passed around and I bought my own copy in 1969 (pictured above) when I won a 10/-(10 shillings, 50p in today’s money) book token in a local schools poetry competition, amazingly beating pupils from Grammar and High Schools, I went to a Secondary Modern school. At the same ‘arts’ competition I also won a 10/- token for art materials as my painting won the art competition. I was 15 and things have gone downhill ever since!

The Mersey Sound brought three Liverpool poets together in one book, Adrian Henri, Roger McGough and Brian Patten. For me at the time it offered poetry in a language which was not ‘poetic’, I could sort of understand it, rather like pop song lyrics, the poems spoke of the ordinary, the everyday in a direct language. It also gave me lots of things to look into which I had no clue about.

I can only vaguely remember what my poem was about, something about meeting my ghost and discussing my future life. Turgid stuff I am sure. The painting was of a football hitting the back of the net and I remember the judges saying how they liked the life and movement in it. I must have bought other books, The Mersey Sound was only 3/6d, but I can’t remember what they were.  The Mersey Sound is still in print from Penguin, updated and a newer cover, but I will always treasure my now well worn copy.


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