In this week in 1960, almost half a century ago, in the outskirts of Reading, Berkshire, John Lennon and Paul McCartney appeared in their only known performance as a duo, dubbing themselves “The Nerk Twins”.
A far cry from the arenas and concert halls the pair would go on to sell out as frontmen of The Beatles, it was The Fox and Hounds, a humble working men’s pub, owned by Mcartney’s cousin, Betty, in which the Nerk Twins made their exclusive 1960 performance.
McCartney revealed that the two had “hitchhiked down from Liverpool to help out in the pub” during the Easter school holidays, saying that they “dossed around for a week and worked behind the bar”. But following a suggestion from Betty’s husband, the two took to performing in a one-off acoustic duet on that Saturday night in the tap room of the ale house, making their own posters advertising the show.[pullquote]The two took to performing a one-off acoustic duet in that night in the tap room of the ale house[/pullquote]
By all accounts, the regulars of the Fox and Hounds weren’t quite convinced by the show, concentrating more on their bitter than the blues.However, as Mike Robbins, the landlord at time recalls, “they brought a bit of life into the pub”, which speaks volumes of the pair’s infectious charm.
This performance was one of many in which John and Paul collaborated during this early era of their careers, for example as members of The Quarrymen and The Silver Beetles, all aliases of the pair and their skiffle and rock n roll style.
In the Liverpudlian slang of the time, “Nerk” would have been a jesting derogatory term for someone who isn’t particularly cool, showing the boys’ taste for humour and irony in all their ventures. Perhaps it is the nature of their title in this performance that has fuelled the search by more dedicated fans of the Beatles as well as Lennon and McCartney for the original handmade posters for this show, crafted by the Nerk Twins themselves.
The most valuable Beatles poster to date is from a show at the Shea Concert stadium, selling for £75,000, and it is estimated that if found, the “Nerk Twins: Live at The Fox and Hounds” flyer could be worth up to £100,000.