It was sixty years ago today

Pic: Tony Booth/

Sixty years ago this week The Beatles played a series of shows in Liverpool after several months away in Hamburg. The 27 December 1960 performance at Litherland Town Hall was a breakthrough – with over 1500 tickets sold – and cemented their name as Liverpool’s top live draw.

Just as sensational as the performance is this wonderful hand-drawn poster for the gig. The exuberant lettering for this and many other of their Liverpool concerts was done by a very talented signwriter, Tony Booth. The one above has been recreated from the original posters he did at the time for Brian Epstein. Booth’s story was told in a 2016 documentary for local BBC TV, which unfortunately I haven’t seen in full. It is previewed in this clip for BBC News, where you get a glimpse of Booth at work. Sadly, he died less than a year later, as this further clip tells us. His work lives on at this website, where you can buy the modern reproductions.

Tony Booth was just one of the many hundreds of poster artists (or poster writers, as they seem to have sometimes been called) who plied their trade in the first four-fifths of the twentieth century. Cinemas and department stores were major users of their work, but because of its nature very few examples seem to have survived. I would love to find out more about how these skilled tradesmen were trained and where they worked.

The Searchers of course had a number of national hits, but among the other support bands for The Beatles at Litherland Town Hall were The Deltones. It’s not clear whether this was the same Deltones as the band from Croydon which had Jeff Beck in their line-up although, according to this page, they had also played in Hamburg. The name seemed popular enough at about this time – there was another group called The Deltones in the US and a band called the Delltones in Australia. And of course later in the 1980s there was a British ska/reggae group with the same name. The other support act, The Delrenas (sometimes called The Del Renas) were another popular Merseybeat band, and some of their members had also played in Hamburg. It was obviously a popular career move at the time.



Got the memo

This bunch of ten fallow deer bucks in the Phoenix Park have got the memo: the rutting season is over, and it’s time for the male herd to regroup. Most days last week I spotted a few males in groups of two or three heading towards Acres Road, on the far side of which are the sports fields where the boys hang out for most of the year. Above is pictured the largest group I saw, ten in all. It was getting dark and they were quite a long way away so the picture quality is not too good.

In other deer-related news, the authorities are being more pro-active in trying to stop people getting selfies of themselves with the deer. The government’s Office of Public Works has taken up social media. It has posted a number of videos on Facebook and also now has an Instagram page, which it is trying to promote with a hashtag, #staysafedontselfie

A recent incident, witnessed by Dublin photographer Michael Keating shows how dangerous the deer can be. He told Dublin Live: “The poor family were panic stricken. They got too close to the deer however, and should not have been feeding them.” The man had been handing out carrots when an aggressive buck approached. His wife can be seen quickly bundling the two children away.

Pic: Michael Keating

Let’s be careful out there.