Belfast Telegraph

Stiff Little Fingers as cult track played on Coronation Street

Punks: Stiff Little Fingers
Punks: Stiff Little Fingers
Ivan Little

By Ivan Little

Legendary Belfast punk band Stiff Little Fingers (SLF) have enjoyed an unexpected starring role on that most traditional of British soaps, Coronation Street.

The SLF anthem Alternative Ulster blasted out to millions of viewers of the show as two former lovers from Northern Ireland were reminiscing about their past.

And Alternative Ulster, released at the height of the Troubles, was said to have been "their song".

The song about teenage boredom and the youthful rejection of the old sectarian divisions in Northern Ireland was playing in one scene featuring Vicky Jefferies - played by Kerri Quinn from Belfast - and her ex-partner Jed Moss, played by Corrie newcomer Branwell Donaghey from Eglinton near Limavady.

At one point Jed, who's the father of Vicky's tearaway son Tyler, told another Corrie character: "This used to be our song.

"I wooed her for months, she didn't want to know but when I took her to see a punk band she was putty in my hands."

Stiff Little Fingers took to the road in 1977 and Alternative Ulster came out the following year and was quickly adopted as the anthem of thousands of restless teenagers.

The song referred to the "RUC dog of repression" and mentioned the old Pound music club in Belfast and how young people would walk back to the city after gigs in the Trident bar in Bangor.

The use of Alternative Ulster in Corrie came a surprise to many old punks. On Twitter one man described hearing the song on the soap as "surreal".

Some local music fans have questioned how the two characters could have been part of the punk movement, saying they're far too young.

Another man posted that he couldn't believe his ears when he heard Alternative Ulster on the television and looked up to see that it was Coronation Street his wife was watching.

Another post said: "The world is a wonderful place. Who would have thought Stiff Little Fingers' Alternative Ulster would be played on Coronation Street?"

In a message to SLF, a fan said: "Now you have REALLY made it."

So far there's been no response from the band who are still gigging and recording albums with their original singer Jake Burns.

SLF, who had a huge hit with a song called Suspect Device, will be playing Belfast's Customs House Square in a few weeks' time before embarking on an American tour later in the year.

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