Blackpool's music scene pays tribute to eccentric poet after death at 74

Grassroots music and poetry fans gathered at the Galleon Bar on Abingdon Street to pay tribute to Michael Fox, a well-loved ‘oddball’ poet who passed away at the Red Oak care home.

By Lucinda Herbert
Thursday, 21st July 2022, 3:45 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd July 2022, 11:31 am

Michael was a familiar face on Blackpool’s open-mic circuit, performing as his alter-ego, ‘Merlin The Poet’ at the Blue Rooms, and the old Galleon Bar on Adelaide Street.

He was known for his outlandish costumes and zany poetry, until he took ill in 2019 and was taken into care.

He passed away on 7 July 2022, at the care home on St Annes Road. Staff described him as a nice gentleman, who was very caring and eccentric.

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He’d been a regular at the Galleon Bar, since it opened on Abingdon Street in 2010.

When club owner, Stephen Pierre, learned of his death he wanted to do something in his memory.

Stephen said: “He loved grassroots music, art and poetry and was always there to support young artists around Blackpool and the Fylde Coast. He was always out around town wearing outrageous clothing. He was a harmless eccentric that was in on the joke. He was a very intelligent guy.”

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Stephen added: “He always wore a top hat and feathers, and called everyone ‘brother’. He liked a drink, and was kind to everyone.

He never got published, he was just happy doing the mics. He had a gift of picking up a newspaper and creating poetry out of the stories of the day. It was very topical and funny stuff.”Michael was born with the surname McGraph, but known as Michael Fox to friends.

So the Galleon Bar held a night of live music on 19 July to remember their old friend, and also raise money for Michael’s favourite charity, Streetlife. The night raised £365.20.

Stephen said: “Michael was a big supporter of Streetlife, a local charity that helps vulnerable young people who are going through tough times. He was always there rattling his donation bucket."

Merlin The Poet with Jon Bamborough, Blackpool Music Festival organiser

Jon Bamborough, organiser of Blackpool Music Festival added: “Merlin would be well chuffed at the turnout for his memorial night which raised a few quid for Streetlife too.”