Liverpool Tales from the Mersey Mouth - A book by John Williams

"This is a wonderful collection of writings by John Williams. While it isn't specifically about the Beatles, they are clearly a part of the story, along with the very fiber and fabric of the city that influenced him and them as well. The pieces are short, well written and filled with a delicious sense of humor that shines in the titles as well as the essays." Jan Perry, Cincinnati Post
"John Williams writes in the language of Liverpool, a Scouse scribe who brings to life the people and places, inner thoughts and outer images, the vigour and vitality and essentially, the iron humour of a unique city." Bill Harry, founder of Mersey Beat

Liverpool Stories

The stories on this site are not included in my book.

The tales are snapshots of my life in Liverpool, the home of the Beatles, and the echo chamber of the Mersey Sound that in the sixties resonated around the planet like an acoustic Tsunami. The stories cover a period of 50 odd years and so they touch on every aspect of my life from the rites of passage to the passing of youth. I hope you enjoy them.

Silver Surfers

silver_surfer1.jpgOriginal image by SJS photography. Story by John Williams

I recently came across the phrase 'Silver surfer', used to describe those legions of senior citizens who surf the net. Now although my hair is a quite undistinguished shade of grey, mousey to be absolutely accurate, I prefer to refer to it as 'Moonlight Blonde'.

  I like to think it adds a touch of mystery and passion to my otherwise mundane existence as it conjures up images of Moonlit beaches, sarongs and gently undulating palms.

I quite like too the notion of being a 'Silver fox' as it brings to mind predatory nights hunting chicks at the Grafton Dance Hall. Not that I've been to the Grafton since the late sixties. In fact the last time I went to a dance Otis Reading was knocking on wood and Yoko Ono was knocking nails in ceilings.

My favourite dancing venue in Liverpool was the Locarno, which was situated less than ten feet from the aforementioned Grafton, and which had a snazzier image, but not because of any association with the manager, the sartorially challenged Eric Morley who later became the driving force behind the much criticised Miss World contest.

Whatever the reason, the 'Lock' was patronised by a younger clientele than the Grafton, which appeared to cater mainly for those over the age of majority. In those days twenty one seemed old to me!

Mohair suits were all the rage then, and the more a suit material shimmered the more material were one's chances of shimmying with a nice looking girl. My suit was almost irridescent as I gyrated insouciantly to the sound of the Kinks singing ' He's a dedicated follower of fashion'. I must have looked a right pratt.

Nonetheless I have fond memories of escorting young ladies to their residences, commonly referred to as, 'gettin' yer tail 'ome'.

As the sixties drew to a close dance halls became passé as more and more young people saved the last dance for somebody at the Isle of Wight festival, or Knebworth or Glastonbury.

Before long disco's had taken the place of the Locarno, although I think the Grafton survives, probably because the Conga and the Gay Gordons are ageless. I am only kidding, nobody does the Conga now.

Occasionally I get a glimpse, via television, of modern dance venues, such as the Cream club in Liverpool, where thousands of kids, packed hip to swaying hip, dance to hypnotic music while their ecstatic faces are lacerated by laser beams lancing through the dappled shadows.

It all seems a long way from slow spinning mirror balls or those ultra violet lights that mercilessly exposed dandruff and the like.

I remember once dancing with a girl who, as she was smiling, was horribly unaware that under the ruthless scrutiny of the ultra violet lights her acrylic crown ceased to reflect light and so she looked as if she had a tooth missing, rendering her a female version of Terry Thomas, the English comic actor. It was an image that proved hard to shake off and we were never the same after that particular Danse Macabre.

I seem to remember that there was a comic book hero called the Silver Surfer, who took on villains and was a contemporary of Spider Man et al.

Perhaps there is somewhere a bold film producer who would be prepared to create a new middle aged hero called 'The Sterling Silver Surfer', whose name would reflect the steadfast characteristics of a man who remains calm when Windows crashes and who speaks in a universally understood language, say HTML, while providing online support for oldies who can't configure their hardware anymore.

I'm up for it Mister Tarantino. I can even see the name of the first blockbuster movie.

Reservoir Dregs

My thanks to Tim Kelly and Brigitte C for the new look to my site