Rita was sixteen years… hazel eyes and chestnut hair… She made the Woolworth counter shine

Not many shops can claim to have inspired lyrics as beautiful as Nanci Griffith’s ‘Love at the Five and Dime” but Woolworth’s 99 year place at the heart of our high streets gives it a level of affection beyond whats ultimatly just a chain store.  Its likely disapearance will leave a huge hole in town centres like my own Walthamstow thats unlikely to be replaced with anything other than 99p stores (ironic given Woolies beginnings). More importantly its staff gearing up for the Christmas rush may instead find themselves jobless before the 25th.

The news prompted a mass outbreak of nostalgia amoung journalists recounting childhood memories of theiving the pick’n’mix or buying the latest Five Star single on 7inch. Even on the morning of its death throws Woolworths caused one last musical drama as executives franticaly tried to ‘stop that truck‘ carrying 200,000 copies of Take That’s new album to their distribution centre.  Had ‘The Circus‘ reached the depot and become ensnarled in the administration process the boymanband’s latest may have been but a gap on record store shelves.

There are some frankly awful records about Woolworth’s but here’s a selection thats anything but. The punk of X-Ray Spex ‘Warrior In Woolworths‘ and Music Hall star Stanley Holloway’s story about Albert, The Lion, and the finest broom handle Woolworths could sell. In the live version of the magical  ‘Love at the Five and Dime‘ Nanci explains her love for Woolie’s, what the plucked guitar string represents and her reaction to spotting a Woolworths in central London on her first visit to Europe.

I wanted them to stop the car and let me out
so I could go fill up my suitcase with unnesceary plastic objects

Nanci Griffiths – Love at the Five and Dime‘ (MP3)
X-Ray Spex – Warrior In Woolworths’ (MP3)
Stanley Holloway – Albert and The Lion‘ (MP3)
Hart Rouge – Love at the Five and Dime‘ (MP3)

Woolworths 1971 Stereo Spectacular sale (Youtube)
Jasper Carrot says Argos is staffed entirely by people who failed their Woolworths exams

TRACKS OF THE MONTH (to be continued)

Alva Noto – U_08-1‘ (MP3)
Yila – ‘Crush (feat. Alistair McNeill and Polarbear)’ (MP3)
Drums of Death – ‘dodfucksupanescorttune’ (MP3)
Torche – ‘Triumph Of Venus’ (MP3)
Madlib – ‘Dillalade Ride (Contact High)’ (MP3)
Richard Skelton – ‘Brook’ (MP3)
Busy Signal – ‘Tic Toc’ (MP3)
Mondkopf – ‘Sainte’ (MP3)
Lulu Lounge – ‘Bless You (MKLSMPSN remix)’ (MP3)
Lanterns on the Lake – ‘My Shield’ (MP3)
Charles Hamilton – ‘Two Left Feet (Swaggerless Swag)’ (MP3)