Swishing and searching for cool vintage clothes is very popular right now, but who would have thought that celebrated poet Roger McGough would be into recycling clothes!
Last week Roger, who is himself part of Liverpool’s musical heritage, lent the World Museum a unique item to adorn the walls of our massive music exhibition, The Beat Goes On. This unusual item is in fact a pair of trousers; but not just any trousers! They once belonged to Roger’s fellow Scaffold member Mike McCartney’s brother Paul, a member of another little-known band from Liverpool; The Beatles. (You may have heard of them, they were around a bit in the 60s.)
Roger told us how he came to be the proud owner of the trousers:
“I was friends with Mike McCartney at a time when I began teaching in local schools. It was obvious that I needed to smarten up and make an effort at work in order to set an example to the pupils, and Mike suggested I have some of his brother’s cast offs."
"I’m pleased they are going to be displayed somewhere for all to enjoy and The Beat Goes On is the perfect setting. It’s strange to think that when I used to wear them, the thought never crossed my mind that my mate’s brother’s trousers would one day be hung on the wall of a museum!”
They were also the inspiration behind a poem entitled 'To Macca’s Trousers', which is also on display alongside the trousers. The poem describes how Roger went from wearing the trousers on nights out in the 60s, to finding them packed up in a suitcase of old clothes in his attic years later. Here's the first verse for you:
You were part of a suit that Paul handed down to his brother.
High-buttoned Italian style, circa ‘Please Please Me’
The jacket fitted but you were too short in the leg
so Michael passed you on to me.
On Saturday night we went to the disco
and although we looked cool on the dance-floor
it didn’t seem right. Greater things you were meant for.
So I hung you in the wardrobe and awaited the call
‘Hello mate, can I have me trousers back? It’s Paul’
'To Macca’s Trousers' is also part of a new collection of Roger’s poetry being published this June by Penguin Books, entitled 'That Awkward Age'. The collection is a powerful testament to the miraculous in the everyday, describing one-off chance encounters, embarrassing questions and small wonders, as Roger resolves – and fails – to live every day as if it were his last.
We hope Paul won't be asking for the trousers back too soon!
Update 15/5/2009: Please note that this object will temporarily be removed from display from 22 May until early June.