Once upon a time, Virgin was known for being both a record label and chain of record stores, and not for owning trains which don’t run on time (apparently; I don’t think I’ve ever had the pleasure of riding a Virgin…train), or providers of Murdoch-baiting TV packages and sporadic broadband. (I hate Murdoch with a passion, but my dislike deepened still further a couple of weeks ago when he suddenly decided to stop BT (who I’m with) from airing the Fox Channel, just as the current season of “The Walking Dead” started up again. Twat.)
Anyway, in 1980, The Freshies released this slice of rather ruddy wonderful DIY pop:
Never slow to miss an opportunity to self-promote, Virgin guru Richard Branson wasted no time in waiting 26 years until 2006 when he launched a search for the Girl in question, to mark the opening of a new Virgin Megastore in Manchester. The quest was unsuccessful; had he found her then he would doubtless have been pictured lifting the poor girl up, for this seems to be his default setting for publicity shots. Type the words “Richard Branson lifting” into Google images search, and you’ll see what I mean.
The more astute of you will know that The Freshies were formed and led by the much missed Chris Sievey, who later found fortune, of sorts, as Timperley’s finest son Frank Sidebottom.
I love the fact that after Sievey’s (and by extension, Frank’s) death in 2010, fans got together to raise £60,000 to commission a statue of Frank which now stands in Timperley in his memory. I knew nothing about it at the time; had I, then I would have happily contributed. You know I would. I really really would.
Here it is:
This, of course, gives me a little needed excuse to post some more Frank. In a week where we lost yet another from the ranks of popular music, it seems appropriate to share Frank’s contribution to the NME’s 1988 charity release to support Childline, “Sgt Pepper Knew My Father”, an album where acts of the day covered the whole of the George Martin produced “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album.