Tuesday, July 12, 2005


With the news that Gretchen Franklin, Eastender's Ethel, has died at the age of 94, it's fitting for us to mention her three worthy rock footnotes. First, of course, she was a cousin of Clive Dunn, who had a novelty number one (Grandad, which featured Rick Wakeman doing the bulk of the musical duties); secondly, she appeared - albeit uncredited - in the Beatles' Help movie. Thirdly - and this is how we'll always remember her - she made a guest appearance in one of Mark E Smith's most bemusing couplets, from Telephone Thing:

How dare you assume I want to parlez-vous with you/
Gretchen Franklin/
Nosey matron thing

To this day, we've never quite worked out what he meant.


Anonymous said...

New Musical Express, January 25, 1990, pp. 24-26

And what about this very interesting line: "How dare you assume I want to Parlez-vous with you / Gretchen Franklin?"

Gretchen Franklin?! The woman who plays Ethel on Eastenders?

Mark buries his head under the table in what appears to be shame. He groans.

"I know! I know! I thought I'd made up that name. Coldcut and Craig Leon were going to me 'That's a great name to make up, Gretchen Franklin', it just came out of nowhere. And then I was watching Eastenders and ... it was terrible! Maybe she'll be flattered, you usually find people are flattered. I don't even watch f-ing Eastenders. I hate it! It must've just lodged there somewhere, out of the blue. It's subliminal - I've nothing against her - I can't even remember what she looks like now.

She wears a tea cosy and carries a pug.

"OH NO! It's not the woman with the dog is it? It's not!"

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

I suspect this might be my most favourite comment post ever.

We don't do tea towel and record tokens, but if we did, you'd certainly be getting one.

Good work...

Anonymous said...

I remember that quote - fantastic - mark e smith embarrassed - doesn't happen that often I'm sure. I thought The Fall were great live around the Extricate period. Martin Bramah was back on guitar - cracking tracks (better on vinyl - over long on cd) - Littlest Rebel - Chicago Now - great drumming from Simon Woolstencroft. Levitation were support when I saw 'em at Trent Poly...

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