04 September 2009

The Freshies - I'm In Love With The Girl On The Manchester Virgin Megastore Checkout Desk mp3

Razz (through MCA)
MCA 670

The Freshies - I'm In Love With The Girl On The Manchester Virgin Megastore Checkout Desk

This fabulous piece of perky provincial powerpop faintly pestered the charts outside the top 40. Nice postpunk Skidsy guitars combine with 60s harmonies to give it a crisp playful momentum that matches the lyrics.

Mistakenly seen at the time as something of a novelty record, it's actually more the kind of indie wit that the Wonder Stuff would make a career of.

The lyrics are a fine documentation of that attitude, so common at the time but slightly mystifying now, that records were in and of themselves sacred and wonderful artefacts. And so, just like the way people disproportionately fancy bar staff due to some subconscious primal understanding of them as providers, we'd readily swoon at cool people working in record shops.

It takes the minimum of effort to have this song remind me of the woman who worked in Our Price in Southport. How I hoped she would be impressed by my pre-ordering cool records like Starfish by The Church. If she was, she hid it very well.

The Freshies continued that vinylophilic theme with their ploddy follow-up 45 I Can't Get 'Bouncing Babies' by The Teardrop Explodes.

But before that there was a problem to overcome with the Virgin Megastore single. This being the 1980s before everything was sponsored, and with the BBC putting masking tape over brand names when using cereal boxes to make stuff with sticky-backed plastic on Blue Peter, the namecheck in this single's title was a commercial hindrance. So it was recut as I'm In Love With The Girl On A Certain Manchester Megastore Checkout Desk. (Hear that version here).

Perhaps the rewording accounts for the words bring in the wrong order on this version's label ('Virgin Manchester Megastore' instead of 'Manchester Virgin Megastore').

Freshies mainman Chris Sievey later invented a Freshies fan, the staggeringly unfunny 'comedy' character Frank Sidebottom. Somehow he ended up doing Sidebottom for years on end, along the way spawning a cohort, Caroline Aherne's - who'd have thunk it possible - even less funny Mrs Merton character.

But never mind, because this single is such a glorious uplift.

download I'm In Love With The Girl On The Manchester Virgin Megastore Checkout Desk (4.1MB MP3)


Anonymous said...

Great stuff! and thanks for post ing at 192. Corky

Martin said...

Many thanks!

Anonymous said...

Nice blog, I've been enjoying to the Freshies recently, which I discovered because I'm a massive Frank Sidebottom fan. I humbly disagree with you, he was absolutely hilarious. You're probably aware he died recently, a sad loss either way. Cheers, stylofone@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Alliteration, articulation...a harmony in readers' heads. Wow, you can write. I hope you are receiving the remuneration or other rewards you deserve, for you perfectly praiseworthy penmanship (and research and wit). Thanks so much.