Thursday, May 28, 2020

Fran the Fan (from Liverpool)

This advert appeared on the back of the Beatles' "Day Tripper"/"We Can Work It Out" 45 sleeve, issued by Parlophone in England on December 3, 1965, the same day as Rubber Soul. I recently picked it up (I'm collecting the original Beatles U.K. singles, long-overdue) and was knocked out to see this narrative playing out, an of-the-era advertisement for a Morphy-Richards hairdryer. "Fran" and "Kate," two Liverpool lasses, are inspired to start up a fan club for the Frantics, a fictional northern band destined to be "the biggest group in the country next year." (We'll see.)  The girls are far more interested in the Frantics' "Walt" and "Pete" than in their own boyfriends. Who's the moody, arty one with the goatee? Anyway, the girls are amped to be the band's first real fans—"practically their best friends!" Kate enthuses, helpfully holding the dryer as Fran composes a careful letter to "Sam Bruce, the Frantics' manager."

All innocent fun and enthusiasm, of course, yet the girls' wide-eyed hopes of securing relationships with a rock and roll band, as embedded in an ad for a hair dryer, evokes the era in pretty graphic ways. Gender role playing, the power of the beauty-industrial complex, biological determinism playing out in the bedroom as "Day Tripper" spins on the hi-fi, that sly song's teasing, one-night-stand, weekend girls playing out another, dirtier story altogether. Ah, pop music.



Anonymous said...

I think the frantics were based on the stones if my record sleeve is anything to go by!.

Joe Bonomo said...

And they didn't just want to hold Fran and Kate's hands!