Wednesday, 18 February 2015

A bevy in the Snatcher

when I was a lad . . .

growing up in a provincial town in the 70s the earliest graffiti I remember was the acronym LEBB. Cast your mind back: these were the days of Slade on TOTP and Kevin Keegan at LFC - it was not a time of subtlety and style. LEBB stood for Leasowe Estate Boot Boys.  Some of the time it was Bovver Boys rather than Boot Boys.  I'm not sure if they had a committee meeting with a proposal for a name change put forward, seconded and  voted on but I'm pretty sure it did change.  I did a bit of googling to see if anyone else remembered and found this attached to a Flickr photo of the Oyster Catcher pub in Leasowe:
Back in the 70's early 80's there was a small police station next to the Oyster with the words Dodge City painted on the outside, other grafeity would include LEBB, Leasowe Estate Boot Boys, or Bover Boys and ASL Anti Scag League. the LEBB would go hunting in packs with the enamy being the MABB who hail from Moreton, the MABB's meeting place would be under the roof of Les Turners shop in Moreton Cross, of course that was many moons ago. the Oyster Catcher has allways been a really good comunity pub, as far as i'm concerned if you havn't had a bevie in the Snatcher you havn't lived.

Elsewhere I found a comment to the effect that the reason Leasowe didn't have a drug problem in the 80s (at a time when nearby Ford Estate was known as Smack City) was that the dominant criminal family that operated out of the Oyster Catcher didn't approve of drugs. 

I had a run in with LEBB once.  There were half a dozen of them and one of me.  They were all around 16-18.  I was about 10 or eleven.  They were skinheads, with the boots, the braces, the white t shirts and jeans.  It was summer and I was riding my bike at Mockbeggar Wharf.  They bent my handlebars.  I never told anyone this before. Thought it was my fault.  Anyway, back to the graffiti.  There was LEBB.   There were some individual tags, including TIGS. And there were what we used to call Flying Kiwis. Still see them around sometimes. Most graffiti at that time was small scale and found on buses and in telephone boxes.

The MABB didn't come to our side of the motorway. There was a subway under the motorway - the Underpass - with a bit of waste ground between it and our school. This was used for gathering, school fights and the like. Here's a little something from the local paper in 1973:

The school was opened in 1961 and it is only recently that it has been subject to vandalism. It is thought that one of the major causes was the building of a pedestrian underpass beneath the New Brighton link to the M53 motorway.
"This underpass is a meeting place for the worst elements of society," said Mr. Bradshaw. "The playing fields have been fenced off, but it has been smashed down so often the Corporation have left an opening for them to get through.

"The worst elements of society".  What Mr Bradshaw seems not to realise is that these worst elements of society were his present or former pupils.  Bradshaw was known to one and all as Sam, a reference to a long forgotten crooner by the name of Sam Costa.  Costa had been popular a couple of decades before my generation. Sam was never popular.  

Sam Costa, Radio Times illustration by Bob Sherriffs, 1956 

Here's another snippet about Wallasey school life from a very entertaining page

On Wednesday, 21st March saw a remarkable walk-out by fourth formers at Oldershaw Grammar School in protest of being deprived of a games period. One-hundred pupils refused to go in for afternoon lessons and stayed on the school playing fields. They were also joined by 100 third-formers who came out in sympathy. Headmaster Mr. M. Mullett described the incident as "disgraceful". Leader of the rebels was 15-year-old Trevor Langton, of Trafalgar Road, who said "we were kept in after morning assembly for singing practice. This meant that we only had about 20 minutes of games, so we decided not to go into school in the afternoon". He continued, "our main grievance is that we have to have two assemblies a week - one would be enough, The friction has been building up for some weeks, so we decided to take some action".

Wonder what happened to Trevor.

Way back then the two most common canvasses for graffiti were buses and phone boxes.  The inside of buses and phone boxes.  Mostly it was of the TIGS WOZ ERE, LEBB and LFC type.  There was a wall in up-market Chester by the River Dee that had SANTANA sprayed in large letters which always seemed incongruous.  Around Liverpool there were areas where FTP graffiti predominated.  This tended to be in LFC areas not EFC areas (because Everton supporters were Catholic and Liverpool fans Protestants. And FTP was a bit of anti-Papal graffiti).

Meanwhile in NewYorkCity taggers were hitting subway trains.  Tagging a train which would then be seen all over the City was worth a bit of effort.  Tags got fancier and fancier.  Someone should write a history. On the walls.

These are from Southampton, by the very committed Jip Cr2em.  Improving the world, one wall at a time.

Jip Cr2em, Southampton, 2015

No comments:

Post a Comment