Ask any teenager in 1963 where they would most like to be and there was only one answer – Liverpool. But – when your grandmother starts strutting her stuff on the dance floor, it’s time for a quick exit. The Cavern re-opened, after shutting for financial reasons, in July 1967. Harold Wilson, the then-Prime Minister cut the ribbon with Jimmy Saville, Bessie Braddock and Ken Dodd in tow. Enough warning there to say this place is no longer cool. The centre of the creative universe just a few years ago had become yet another dull club living on past reputations.
The Swinging Sixties had a massive liberating effect on music, the arts and fashion. Sadly Miss Wartski seems to have hit the wrong tone. Lesson one in marketing – get a good, memorable name. Wartski somehow doesn’t sound quite right.
I am not sure where the shop was – I think Bold Street – but thanks again to Pat Weekes for two memorable images.
I am often asked if I have photographs of the Stadium in Bixteth Street. I have only a small number, including this one taken in September 1950, when Tom Bailey and Jim McCann topped the boxing bill. The venue was opened by the Earl of Lonsdale in 1932 and became the main venue for boxing and wrestling in the city.
For many, its particular attraction was the regular rock concerts held there, particularly in the 1970s. In earlier days, Louis Armstrong had played there in 1956 and The Beatles appeared well down a Gene Vincent concert bill in 1960. The 1970s concerts had an astonishing array of talent, which to my eternal shame I missed out on completely. In 1971, Led Zeppelin appeared, followed by David Bowie, Jethro Tull and Frank Zappa in 1972. In 1973, it was the turn of Queen, followed by Steely Dan, Captain Beefheart, Bad Company and Judas Priest in 1974. The final concert was held in December 1976 with Ultravox and Eddie and the Hot Rods. Of course, I have omitted dozens of other artists but the shortlist will give a good flavour of the calibre of artists, with tickets rarely more than £1.50.
By the time the final acts played their last chords, the Stadium was badly run down. The management had been badly shaken by the horrendous gang-rape of a young girl during a concert there which reflected on the decrepit state of the venue. However, for the greatest part of its 40 plus years, it made a glorious contribution to the sporting and music history of Liverpool.