"The kids didn't see this as poetry with a capital 'P', they understood it as modern entertainment, as part of the pop movement"
Otherwise known as The Mersey Sound, the Liverpool Scene of the late 1960s and early 1970s is very hard to define. The Liverpool Scene was a movement involving fresh, new, young poets from the Liverpool area. The band Liverpool Scene comprised Adrian Henry, Andy Roberts, Mike Hart and Mike Evans. Basically, they set poetry to music, releasing records and performing at festivals just like any other band.
The Liverpool Scene was the title of a poetry book, published in 1967, which brought the work of Adrian Henry, Brian Patten and Roger McGough to the public's attention. In the 1960s, Liverpool seemed to be the centre of the universe for the young trendies. The Beatles had popularised the city, and their legacy was very useful for these up-and-coming poets.
What made the poets of the Liverpool Scene so different? They showed a social conscience, with titles such as Bomb Commercials and The New, Fast, Automatic Daffodils. They took a liberal attitude to the use of language, which echoed the changing times in which they were living. For example, all 'I's were not capitalized, and the free verse style was often nothing more than prose chopped up into short lines. The subject matter was also fresh and daring. Many of the poems sound like lines from Coronation Street, Brookside, or even some of The Smiths' lyrics. The poets of the Liverpool Scene were part of the great tradition of artists who tell us how grim it is up north. George Formby, Morrissey, fish and chip shops, two up, two downs - all these things easily sit alongside the message of the Mersey Beat.
In 1968, John Peel began to champion the cause. He would play songs by the Liverpool Scene on his programme on pirate radio station Radio London. He also produced their first album.
The band the Liverpool Scene came to an end in 1970 when Mike Evans left the group to set up the jazz-rock band Highly Inflammable. Adrian Henry went solo also. The result was that the young began to write Poetry with a capital 'P' once again.