Yesterday I took part (if that is the right word) in the #TimsTwitterListeningParty for “Welcome to the PleasureDome” (WTTPD) by Frankie Goes To Hollywood. For those unfamiliar with these “parties” during the “lockdowns” during the COVID-19 new coronavirus pandemic, it’s when fans are encouraged to listen to the same album at the same time and Tweet about it. It’s all set up by Tim Burgess and you can find out more about him on Twitter and the parties on the website. Usually artists involved with the original album also get involved. This time it was Frankie lead singer Holly Johnson.
I hadn’t followed any of the other parties, and so didn’t really know exactly what to expect. And I’ve seen some messages after the WTTPD one that said that it had been a bit different to many of the other ones, with less tweets from Tim Burgess or, in this case, Holly Johnson, but with much more interaction between the fans. This didn’t really surprise me. And, it has further supported my ideas for writing a book about Frankie Goes To Hollywood – not so much about the band themselves (there have been autobiographies by Holly Johnson and Brain Nash (“Nasher”) after all), but about the fans of Frankie and what the music, etc. means to them. I am no stranger to writing books – having done novels and academic books (look out for Frankie mentions and Easter Eggs in my novels and some of my academic books). So writing the book won’t be the issue. Finding the time to do it will be the main problem. After that, I will need help from the fans themselves – getting their thoughts and comments about Frankie. The Twitter party is another thing that will help in this regard (I hope to download and analyse all the Tweets sent during the party – the ones done by Tim and Holly can be seen here). Facebook groups dedicated to Frankie also will. After that, I hope to have more interaction with fans. I plan to set up a questionnaire, but in the meantime, if people want to drop me a line about it, then please contact me via my alternative Twitter account, wHOODeyCP or via my Facebook Page.
As for the party itself, it was a lot of fun to be listening at the same time as reading so many positive tweets about my favourite album. I sent out a number of tweets also. Trying to keep on top of it all, did detract from the music a bit, but having listened to the album so many times (including earlier that day) meant that it didn’t impact too much. A bigger problem was that there are multiple versions of the album. Some of us were listening to the 12″ Annihilation mix of Two Tribes, while others seemingly weren’t. Some heard Ferry, others Happy Hi, others San Jose. In the end we all ended up in the same place, I think, for Wish (albeit with Holly Johnson pointing out his preferred title of the track) and for the ‘fourth side’ of the album. And we all finished with a Bang and “Frankie Say No More”. But we all know, even if the band says/sings no more, Frankie lives on. And Welcome To The PleasureDome stands the test of time so well as a classic album, not just of the 1980s, but of all music history. For its fans, it not even just the music – was it ever? It’s a journey. It takes you places. We all have our own memories and interpretations of tracks, the album, Frankie, and so on. The party was a great time to celebrate that. And I hope there were more opportunities to do so (another tour, please, Holly) – and I will try to help through a book if I can find the time.