Liverpool graffiti: DELTA FUCK OFF, THE PIES THE PIES…

 April 21, 2009         33 Comments

A post on FACT’s blog reminded me of some graffiti I’ve been walking past around Jamaica Street, in what is euphemistically known as the waterfront business area: DELTA FUCK OFF.

I’ve noticed the graffiti a few times over the years and often wondered what it means. Was it aimed at the taxi firm? Did it indicate a taxi war? Was it part of some other sectarian stuff scrawled on other walls in the same area? Was it a Bad Wolf-style meme? Or was it just some baffling gibberish designed to be ambiguous?

Delta fuck off

A little detective work indicates that indeed it is aimed at Delta Taxis, and was a reference to Delta allegedly undercutting other firms. DELTA SCAB CABS seems to confirm this.

So, like all things the reality is rather more mundane than my imagination may have suggested. Although I’d be pleased if there was a follow-up spray job to indicate how the story transpired. Nothing major, maybe 500 or so words.

Still, the sight of it reminded me of other famous Liverpool graffiti I’ve noticed over the years.

NO POPE HERE was the first one I noticed as I pulled into Lime Street for the first time. I seem to remember it being near Edge Lane, and presumably stems from the Pope’s visit to the city in 1982. Welcome to Liverpool.

More cryptic was THE PIES THE PIES, in the same area, and also seen in dozens of other places around the city. I liked the utter Dadaism of PIES in that it simply seemed mindlessly crude – designed to be a wilfully daft affront to civil society.

Sadly, it turned out to be for some band, but not before it became a macguffin in an Alexei Sayle novel called Overtaken.

The only other one I regularly remember seeing around the city was the legend: Again, its deliberate obscurantism intrigued me so I emailed the address. I got back some left-of-centre stuff about capitalism.

I suppose in a way it was a forerunner of the internet for distributing information in a time when only about eight people knew how to use the internet.

Another area where I’m often be seen looking bemused is Ropewalks, which is currently covered in graffiti asking me if I feel happy, and inviting me to guess how many people commit suicide.

The first time I saw these I assumed I was experiencing some sort of devastating psychological crisis, though luckily I soon realised they were part of an exhibition as part of the Biennial. I like them.

There’s also lots of great Banksy stuff, generally around Ropewalks again. After initially trying to idiotically cover it up, the council wised up and much of it is still to be seen, most obviously the rat on Berry Street.

Banksy rat Liverpool

I suppose there’s some sort of conclusion to be drawn about the fine line between art and vandalism here, but I’m damned if I can think one up. Instead, I’ll simply ask readers to comment on any other intriguing graffiti around the city I may have missed.


• For more Liverpool graffiti, try this Flickr search. And don’t nick any.

DELTA FUCK OFF image by MC =) via Creative Commons.

Banksy rat image by nic0 via Creative Commons.


  1. I believe the “futureworld33…” message is by a local photographer and activist Leroy Cooper. Interestingly, earlier versions of the Wikipedia page on the Toxteth riots suggest that his arrest was one of the key triggers for the riots – see

    I’m always amused by the the poorly drawn aliens sprayed around the Ropewalks area…

  2. The following links will give you more information regarding the originator of the legendary grafft of liverpools leading underground artist and creative genius whose e-mail is….

    Also search for the articles in diverse magazine entitled…






    Leroy Cooper is a photographer who has focused on the multi-cultural community of Toxteth, Liverpool over twenty years since 1984. The work represents Cooper’s unique relationship with his immediate community and also with the city of Liverpool. Cooper believes his work shows the human face of a community that has been ‘marginalised and excluded from the mainstream of Liverpool life, suffering the disadvantages of institutional racism, high unemployment and social exclusion.’

    The collection has to be seen to be believed.

    A life times work, a labour of love,
    a testament to a positive side of Liverpool that is never given credit or recognition.

    A legacy for future generations to treasure.

  4. Leroy Cooper took a photo of me and my boyfriend (now husband) on Berry St circa 2000/2001. I would love to know if he still has it, and also see more of his Liverpool shots – does anyone know how to get in touch with him???

  5. The Delta cab thing is because Delta are a bootle cab company who should only drop off in Liverpool, but what they are doing is hanging round waiting for calls and taking business from Liverpool cab drivers who have to pay more for their plates/licenses/badges/insurance etc than Delta has to pay to Sefton council.
    Its really affecting the black cab business in Liverpool.
    Its actually illegal for Delta to do this but if they are found parked they just say they are taking a break…

  6. The Pies The Pies are back on the bridge pity never got to see the one at old speke airport tried to but car got stuck in mud BEST LAUGH EVER take care Mr Pie x

  7. I remember the pies’ flyer – it had a pie with a kind a sinister face on it – has anybody got a snap of one cause there aint none on google boo hoo, I wanna see it again

    the pies thepies forever forever

  8. the pies are bringing out 20 years of thier unheard music shortly called ‘a brief history of pies’ it includes graffiti interviews with the police, and other humerous stuff, as well as the music, m57, m58, tunnel tower, edge lane sidings.

  9. Brief history of the Pies is a must its BRILL, a one off cd like nothing I’ve heard before good music and really funny go buy it before there all snapped up I was lucky enough to get one and still laugh everytime I hear it WELL DONE MR PIE

  10. the sinister pie face is on the back of the cd, just got one from probe records £5, its dead funny, good music too

  11. Just want to say thanks Mr Pie for dropping by with my cd did nt have time to thankyou writing Eve on it was good to THANKS X

  12. Regarding Andy’s comment, the footbridge over the railway near Southport station did indeed say ‘Dean Mitchell is a fart sucker’ in the 80s, complete with a phone numbeer underneath.

    Having been done in tough red gloss paint, it was there for years. When Southport phone numbers were changed from 5 to six digits with the addition of a 5 at the start, some wag got out their red paint and added a 5 to the phone number.

  13. Does anyone what the “Orange Killed Maddy” graffiti is all about? It’s appeared all over South Liverpool recently.

  14. Orange killed maddy is pretty obvious if you think about it. The McCann’s were big Everton supporters. There is even a picture of Madeline with her wearing an Everton Shirt. Certain people in Liverpool try to cultivate the myth that support of Everton or Liverpool is linked the sectarianism, with Everton being the team for protestants, and Liverpool for catholics, therefore making the link between Everton and the Orange Order would be a logical line of reasoning (for them anyway)

  15. The greatest graffiti I have spotted in Liverpool was on Derby Lane, Old Swan. Someone had scrawled in black marker pen on a lamp-post ‘Billy’s ma’ looks like Eminem’ . Sadly, I did not have a camera with me to capture the scribe.

  16. the pies are playing the carling academy liverpool on sept 11th 2011. its the first proper public performance for many years, it will be the 10th anniversary of the twin towers

  17. Leroy Cooper exhibition at KEITHS WINE BAR LARK LANE LIVERPOOL 17 from 01 01 11 till further notice….

  18. if you want to see some of Leroy Cooper’s work GOOGLE… him and add… liverpool artist…. and you should find photography, paintings and graphics…ENJOY

  19. Another cryptic one: HOGO RAVER IS JOHNNY ACID PANTS on the back of a shed visible from the train near Aintree station, early-mid 90s time. I always read it as ‘Hogo Raver IS Johnny Acid Pants’, like it was confirming a rumored secret identity. Anyone know what either of these pseudonyms were about?

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