Friday, 30 November 2018

'Curly & Raquel' by the band Martha

Yesterday, ITV3 showed a significant episode of classic Corrie. Originally broadcast on 23 January 1991, it was the first appearance of Raquel Wolstenhulme played by national-treasure-in-waiting Sarah Lancashire. Introduced as “Mardy Raquel from the meat counter”, she had the dubious honour of being Miss Bettabuy 1991. 

They were very different times and Reg Holdsworth instructed his Assistant Manager, Norman Watts to talk Raquel into wearing a swimsuit to read out the winning ticket in Bettabuy's “grand trolley dash”. Her first line was shown today in an episode from 25 January 1991 when she announced it was number 986.

I can’t think of a better symbol for the juxtaposition between the glamorous and the mundane that Raquel would go on to embody with such melancholic beauty.

In celebration of Raquel's arrival on ITV3, I’d like to share an amazing song that I’ve only recently discovered. A mate of mine pointed it out to me after my recent blog on the young Curly Watts (which is still available folks, right here).

The track is  ‘Curly & Raquel’ and it’s by Martha. Not Ken Barlow’s fancy woman on the barge, but a socialist pop-punk band from County Durham.

Not that Martha but this Martha

They’ve released a couple of albums and the second, ‘Blisters in the Pit of My Heart’ - from 2016 - features the aforementioned song. Simply put, it’s marvellous.

The lyrics contain the following nostalgic Corrie references:

“All the stories that we tell,
Roy and Hayley, Curly and Raquel,
Romantic reference,
Come on, tell me what’s your preference?”


“Weatherfield Mademoiselle,
Thinking back to Curly and Raquel,
On your arrival,
I can stick on the subtitles.”

It’s sort of part-homage and part-metaphor. The band gave a nice quote to DIY Mag when they explained:

“It is in essence a song that’s about love, but also being a weirdo – and we kind of looked at Coronation Street and pop culture in general because as we grow up that’s how we develop our conceptions of love… Coronation Street can be the most mundane, everyday s**t, and that’s sometimes really easy to relate to” ... “especially with Curly and Raquel because Curly was always a bit of a nerd and we really relate to that”.

The band even had a comic strip poster designed for sale on their 2015 tour. It was by Jack Fallows and was fantastic:

Without further ado, I implore you all to take four minutes to think back to Curly and Raquel with this gloriously vibrant slice of pop-punk (stream available below):

Another reason why I love this song is that the chorus nods to Billy Bragg - a major influence on the band - by lifting and adapting a couplet from ‘Greetings to the New Brunette’. He’s apparently a fan of the band. Nice!

The rest of Martha’s stuff is also worth checking out, but ‘Curly & Raquel’ will always be my favourite. It is every bit as enthralling as a trolley dash up and down the aisles of Weatherfield's finest supermarket.

By Martin Leay
Twitter @mpleay
Corrie Blogs @

All original work on Coronation Street Blog is covered by a Creative Commons License

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