Released today in 1987: Rent

Parlophone R6168

Parlophone R6168

The promotional clip for Pet Shop Boys’ single Rent featured actress, presenter and Queen of Liverpool Margi Clarke. She had recently appeared in the film ‘Letter To Brezhnev’, a low-budget romantic comedy from 1985 that had become a surprise hit. The Evening Standard named her Most Promising Newcomer the following year, but she had been active in film and television for some years before that. Her earliest acting credit on the Internet Movie Data Base is an appearance on the soap opera Brookside, a show that could make good use of her distinctive accent.

Her infectious, compelling personality was another thing production teams made good use of, particularly when she was hired for presenting jobs. In the late 70s she had been an anchor on a late-night Granada television programme called ‘What’s On’. At that time, she was regular on the punk music scene. A few years ago, she said about her interest in the music and culture of that time: “I love punk, but I have mellowed. I loved the attitude of punk, it could only come from this country. The spirit hasn’t gone away, but then again the spirit of Mary Whitehouse hasn’t either.” 1 Mary Whitehouse she wasn’t. In fact, Margi was probably the anti-Whitehouse; her views couldn’t have been further from those of the veteran campaigner whose toweringly dull opinions on standards of decency were lapped up by the right-wing press throughout the 1980s. In the early 90s, Margi would famously present ‘The Good Sex Guide’ for ITV in a similar time slot to that of ‘What’s On’.

Margi remained a familiar face on the music scene after the decline of punk when another presenting gig came her way in the 80s: she stood in for regular presenter Paula Yates from time-to-time on the Channel 4 pop music show ‘The Tube’. She was also a recording artist in her own right, appearing on a single with Half Man Half Biscuit in 1991. It was a cover of Je Ne Regrette Rien.

As for that moniker ‘the Queen of Liverpool’, she had this to say: “Apparently Malcolm McLaren came to Liverpool and he ended up in a gay club with loads of queens. One came forward, someone called Lady Scanne, and said to him, ‘I’m the queen of Liverpool’. To which he replied [slurring speech]: ‘No you’re not. Margi Clarke is.’ I didn’t give myself the name.” 1

1 Ingham, Tim. “60 second interview”, The Metro, 27 October 2009.

NEW SINGLES on sale from Oct. 12
A-HA Take On Me (Warner Bros W9146)
BON JOVI (Jon Bon Jovi) Runaway (Vertigo VER14)
The SISTERS OF MERCY (Wayne Hussey) Walk Away (Merciful Release MR033)
SPANDAU BALLET Highly Strung (Reformation SPAN5)
ULTRAVOX (Midge Ure) Love’s Great Adventure (Chrysalis UV3)
AZTEC CAMERA (Roddy Frame) Deep And Wide And Tall (WEA YZ154)
EURYTHMICS Beethoven (I Love To Listen To) (RCA DA11)
INXS (Michael Hutchence) Need You Tonight (Mercury INXS8)
George MICHAEL Faith (Epic EMU3)
PET SHOP BOYS Rent (Parlophone R6168)
T’PAU (Carol Decker) China In Your Hand (Siren SRN64)


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