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A ‘Bombed Out’ Book Locations Tour of Liverpool City Centre: Mathew Street.

A ‘Bombed Out’ Book Locations Tour of Liverpool City Centre: Mathew Street.

Above Photo: How to find the site of former Punk and New Wave club, Eric’s on Mathew Street, Liverpool – all red-circled items have nothing to do with commemorating the club, which was located through the black doorway, below, right. (The main Beatles statue I have left uncircled as that predated Eric’s – see photo below).

(First published in 2015)

When I was back in Liverpool recently, a friend got in touch to ask could I take him on a walking tour of city centre locations mentioned in my ‘70s-‘80s Punk and New Wave Memoir, Bombed Out!, which he’d recently read and enjoyed.

So, of course Eric’s Club had to be the first stop, because back in 1977-1980, the Punk and New Wave music culture of Liverpool was centred on the club, which of course receives many mentions in Bombed Out!. I hadn’t been down Mathew Street for a couple of years, but I should have known something had changed when I encountered a number of large tour groups being led by guides.

Mathew Street. Liverpool - Cavern (rebuilt and refurbished) on your right, Eric's (site of) on your left...

A view down Mathew Street. Liverpool – the Cavern (rebuilt and refurbished) immediately on the right, Eric’s (site of) on your left…

I stopped to listen to one tour guide address his party at the top of the street, because I heard him mention Eric’s. This was a shock in itself, because guides usually only mention The Cavern and the Beatles.

bombed out punk memoir peter alan lloyd 1970s 1980s punk new wave liverpool recession erics club liverpool bombed out walking tour of liverpool city centre mathew street beatles overcommercialisation erics plaque (2)

A large plate of over-commercialisation please…..

As we walked down to the site of former Eric’s I was surprised by the continuing Beatles-ization of Mathew Street, from the Beatles Cafe (“Big Breakfast All Day”) to Lennon’s Bar, to the Tea Parlour (‘Fab 4’ Pizzas, Burgers, Kebabs – get it?).

bombed out punk memoir peter alan lloyd 1970s 1980s punk new wave liverpool recession erics club liverpool bombed out walking tour of liverpool city centre mathew street beatles erics plaque (3)

….On second thoughts, I’ll get it over here.

As we stood in front of the former Eric’s entrance, I was also disappointed to see how much Beatles junk has been dumped on the wall of the former club (see headline photo), and yet there was still no official commemoration of the site of Eric’s.

In the absence of any official description back then, it was left to me to explain to my friend that Erics Club had been responsible for bringing people together, providing a venue for bands and incubating a late ‘70s and early ‘80s musical culture that spawned and promoted many famous Liverpool bands, locally, nationally and internationally.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark onstage at Eric's in 1979.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark onstage at Eric’s in 1979.

These included Echo and the Bunnymen, The Teardrop Explodes, Dead or Alive, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Elvis Costello, Pink Military, the Spitfire Boys, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, A Flock of Seagulls and a host of others – they were all members of Eric’s and/or members of these bands all played in the club in some form or other.

Elvis Costello onstage at Eric's in 1978 (RF Lewis)

Elvis Costello onstage at Eric’s in 1978 (RF Lewis)

Eric’s members and former members of Liverpool bands who’d played there also went on to produce and song-write for the next few generations of British bands, as well as setting up world-famous bands that post-dated Eric’s.

Pete Burns with Nightmares in Wax plays Eric's in 1979. (Michael Reid)

Pete Burns with Nightmares in Wax plays Eric’s in 1979. (Michael Reid)

 

Wehey! And why not....

Home of Stags and Hens: Modern-day revellers on Mathew Street.

As I stood in front of the old entrance doorway to Eric’s I wondered how much more Beatles-related crap the council could allow on the wall without it falling over with all the weight. Not much, it looks like, but never underestimate a city that allowed the Cavern Club’s warehouse walls to come tumbling down in the early 1970s, without so much as a squeak.

The plaque of shame - affixed, cuckoo-like, right next to the entrance door of Eric's, sponsored by people who should know better, commemorating some more tacky Beatles shit or other.

The latest plaque, right next to the entrance door of Eric’s, sponsored by people who should know better, commemorating some more Beatles wall ‘art’.

If all this Beatles-related art is supposed to be so great that the council can go around flogging corporate sponsorships of it to gullible Liverpool companies and cynical tourism entities, they should go and ask the owners of the retail centre that now hosts The Cavern to put it up all over their property, on their side of the street, which would be entirely more appropriate, as opposed to smothering the site of former Eric’s with it.

Eric's club in the late 1970s. Note there is only the one commemoration statue to the Beatles to the top left of the Eric's sign.

Eric’s club in the late 1970s. Note there is only the one large, tasteful commemoration statue to the Beatles to the top left of the Eric’s sign.

Nobody would ever know, as they walked past the anonymous building at 9 Mathew Street that this had been the site of so much creativity and musical energy in the late ‘70s, early ‘80s and beyond.

Gary Jones outside Eric's. An iconic exterior shot of the club. Note the deep grooves int he stonework about three foot off the ground on either side of the doorway. (C Gary Jones)

Gary Jones outside Eric’s. An exterior shot of the club. Note the deep grooves in the stonework about three foot off the ground on the right hand side of the doorway, and the two metal bars on the wall on either side of the door at head height. (© Gary Jones)

The only way you can even tell the Eric’s front entrance is by these marks on the wall, taken from an earlier visit. You see they are the same as in the above iconic photo of the front of Eric’s.

How to identify the Eric's club entrance today - Liverpool tourism authorities - feel free to make use of this photo...

How to identify the Eric’s club entrance today (the signage above it changes from year to year).

It was with a heavy heart that I fired off a few photos of the site of old Eric’s, before we turned to walk back up Mathew Street on our way to the next stop on my unofficial Bombed Out! tour of town.

Buy a signed copy of Bombed Out! here: http://www.bombedoutpunk.com/buybook.php

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or signed paperback copies from:
News From Nowhere, Bold Street Liverpool; Waterstones, Liverpool 1 or Pritchards, Moor Lane, Crosby.

 www.bombedoutpunk.com © Peter Alan Lloyd

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1 Comment

  1. sharon Buchanan

    I was upset too when I took a walk down Mathew Street after many years away-too much over kill on the Beatles.

    Reply

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