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‘Dirty Old Town’: IQ’s Official Anthem

When the IQ team was drawing up its manifesto – to create a designer fashion brand where people would be actively encouraged to express their ‘Freedom of Speech’ with our selection of iconic quotes – we knew we’d have to adopt a song or piece of music as our ‘official anthem’… something that embodied our pride and passion, but also connected us with the roots of our own business journey.

Discussions were had round the table and all sorts of suggestions put forward, but one selection in particular – a folk song that has since become a standard within popular music – soared head and shoulders above them all: ‘Dirty Old Town’ by Ewan MacColl.

The jaunty tune first struck a chord with us at Old Trafford, where it would be played before Manchester United were set to kick off against whoever their opponents were that weekend; for the record, the version played at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ is by Irish musician Brendan Francis 'Brush’ Shiels.

With a melody to get the blood flowing on match day, its additional power lies in the lyrics, which capture so perfectly Lancashire’s saturnine skyline – one populated by factories, gas works and docks. Ewan MacColl was born in Salford and wrote ‘Dirty Old Town’ in 1949 as an interlude to cover a scene change in a play he’d written named ‘Landscape with Chimneys’. The song effortlessly pins down a succession of scenes that would have been commonplace in an industrial city post-Second World War. Fast-forward to today and it’s only fitting that the terraces at Salford City FC’s home games have also claimed MacColl’s mini masterpiece for themselves.

IQ’s brand’s slogan is ‘Freedom of Speech’ and we believe that ‘Dirty Old Town’ expresses itself in an honest, unapologetic way. It isn’t a glamourous, bombastic showstopper with worn-out lyrical clichés centred around climbing mountains or crossing rivers in the name of love; what you get instead is, in essence, a short story oozing with atmosphere that urges the listener to really listen – and we LOVE that!

We have strong roots to Lancashire, both through our team members and the businesses we’ve partnered with to make our vision a reality, so ‘Dirty Old Town’ certainly succeeds in bringing us back to where it all began.

The people of Salford and Manchester have always embraced a ‘work hard, play hard’ culture and we subscribe to the notion that working hard brings its rewards, but it’s just as important to unwind with the shackles off and do what it is that feels true to you. ‘Dirty Old Town’ reminds us to dream our dreams and kiss our loved ones for all the world to see… not a bad philosophy in our book.

To purchase our ‘Dirty Old Town’ T-shirt, which retails at £64.99, click here
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