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Title: Liverpool lad
Source: Jackie Pop Special

You don’t need to be a musical mastermind to know that Frankie are from Liverpool. Jackie Pop Special took a ferry cross the Mersey and asked Mark O’Toole about his home town and what he thinks of Brookside…

What one word sums up your home town?

Brilliant!

Did the city’s great musical reputation influence you?

I’m sure it did. Even at school we were encouraged to join a band. The memory of The Beatles lives on — everyone is very proud of the city’s musical heritage. Most of my mates and all my brothers are in groups. They all have a go at me about our success, they think the whole thing is really jammy!

Do you visit home a lot?

All the time! We were all a bit sad when we had to move to London on a full-time basis, but really it was the only way we could continue with our work. We refused to get flats in London for ages because we wanted to remain loyal to Liverpool but eventually the strain of living in hotel rooms took its toll and we gave in.

But we all stay in contact with home and visit our families as often as we can. Holly’s mum is always phoning up and nagging him to pay her a visit. He gets all the usual stuff, you know, “I’ve forgotten what you look like,” or “Do you remember where we live?” etc. etc.!

What’s your favourite way of spending a Saturday afternoon in Liverpool?

That’s easy! I get togged up, meet all my mates in the boozer then it’s off round the shops for new gear. We usually end up spending what’s left of our cash in the Virgin Megastore buying albums. That’s where I first met up with Holly, actually.

Are the facilities good for bands?

They’re getting better all the time — although money’s tight in Liverpool like most other industrial cities. But I’d say things are definitely better than when we started. We used to rehearse in an old prison cell where they used to keep French sailors. The shackles were still on the walls — it was really creepy but quite a few bands used to rehearse there so we had a lot of laughs.

Is there anything you don’t like about Liverpool?

Well, I don’t like the way the city is becoming derelict and closed down due to lack of jobs and cash.

It really upsets me when I think about what a thriving community it was when I was younger. But I’m fairly confident that things will get back to normal sooner or later — we’re fighters and don’t give in easily.

Does being called a “Scouser” annoy you?

Not really. It’s quite a cheerful sort of word. It does annoy me when people in London can’t understand my accent though. Sometimes they look at me as if I’m from Mars!

Is everyone football crazy?

Nearly everyone — it’s definitely taken seriously and every pub on a Saturday night is full of men analysing their team’s performance. Loads of families are divided on a Saturday because half of them support Everton and half support Liverpool. I devoted too much time to music to ever get really interested in footie.

What do you think of Brookside?

Well, I know it’s pretty popular but it annoys me. I don’t think it’s a very genuine reflection of Liverpool life — it’s all too phoney. People always seem to be whingeing about petty little problems. I thought Boys From The Black Stuff was good in parts, though, and when I was little I used to like the Liver Birds.

What are the people like?

They’re very humorous people — always ready to crack a joke in the face of adversity. They’re tough, too and very genuine. There’s a really close community spirit in the city.

What’s your earliest memory of Liverpool?

Being taken down to the Mersey with my family to watch the boats going by. I thought it was another world across that stretch of water!

Would you like to dedicate a song to Liverpool?

All our songs are dedicated to Liverpool, it’s obviously been one of our biggest influences. We specially recorded “Ferry Cross the Mersey” as a tribute. It was a great moment singing it on The Tube.

Tell us a good Liverpool joke.

London — ha ha! Only joking. Actually, I can’t think of one — you’ll have to interview Holly. He’s bound to have a few.