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Music nights sway to beat of bygone era.

Byline: The Bard of Birkenhead David Charters

SINGING STARS: Open Mic performers at the Cock and Pullet deliver a range of songs GLOOM drooped from the shoulders of my wise friend, the whisky-fancier, perched as usual on his stool at the bar of a pub near the river.

"That man, who just walked out, was so mean that he wouldn't lend an old pal the price of a pint," he said.

I nodded, sensing that he was on a roll.

"If he ever moved to Paradise, he'd find a spot where nobody else was allowed - and then he'd surround it with barbed wire and notices saying, "Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted".

"Maybe, when his time is up, he'll find a No Vacancies sign hanging on the gates of Paradise," I said.

"Do you think so?" said my friend, warming to the theme. "You know he uses each teabag three times and he has worn the same poppy for the past seven Remembrance Sundays."

Of course some people are mean by calling. Others are very generous with their money and possessions.

But, even more than that, your perambulating pensioner admires generosity of spirit, the desire of good people to give of themselves.

That quality abounds in this crusty old pie of a town, particularly among the rock and roll generation.

If they are not playing at gigs to raise money for someone on hard times, they are singing songs to small crowds, just for the love of it.

Such people can be found in pubs and clubs all over Wirral.

On Wednesdays, some gather for the Open Mic night at the Cock and Pullet (formerly the Royal) on Woodchurch Road, Birkenhead.

Most of these performers remember when Elvis was young - and our quiffed boys and pony-tailed girls tapped their toes to Lonnie Donegan in the first wave of frothy coffee bars.

But they make a superb band of constantly changing personnel, giving joyous expression to songs from the Kinks, Stones, Dylan, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Simon and Garfunkel and lots more.

Guitars, bongo drums, a sax and rapping hands rock into the moonlit night. A granny shimmers her tambourine and a teenage princess appears in her smile.

Perhaps the eyes are dimming behind thick lenses and the hair is greying, but the mood remains young. That music is a fine gift to us all.

Back in another pub, the whisky-fancier was still perched on his stool by the bar.

"Would you care for a pint?" I asked.

"Well, I think a tall story is worth a long drink," he replied with a sly grin.

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 22, 2014
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