"You wanted to talk to my daughters?”
It’s the mother and writer of current No. 2 hit single The Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum). If you have so far missed the novelty hit of Christmas 2002, here’s the chorus: “We are the cheeky girls, we are the cheeky girls, You are the cheeky boys, you are the cheeky boys Touch my bum, this is life.”
That’s right, it was mum who wrote those lyrics for The Cheeky Girls, 20-year-old identical twin daughters Gabriela and Monica Irimia. What was she thinking?
“It’s so much fun it’s unbelievable,” garbles Margaret Irimia. I can understand why she doesn’t understand my Nottinghamese. She is Romanian. And on a mobile in a car which will cut out more than once over the next ten minutes.
Time is short — they are in demand — so I choose not to pursue what mother was thinking getting her daughters to wear hotpants and insists we make contact with their behinds.
“Hello, Gabriela on the phone.”
Where are you exactly?
“We are now in the cars going towards London but we are still far away from London, we are in North.”
They are heading for CD:UK rehearsals and an interview on the ITV news. Since their debut single beat Robbie Williams’ Feel to claim the No. 2 spot in the UK chart this week they have been busy girls. Yes, that’s Robbie “£80m deal” Williams who was beaten in to fourth place by Eminem, Daniel Bedingfield and a pair of Romanian sisters singing a novelty ditty written by their mum.
Monica and Gabriela have been in Britain just a year. Much has been made of the fact that they were born on Hallowe’en 1982 in the city of Cluj-Napoca in Romania — a district still known as Transylvania. Should we be scared?
“We only bite at night,” says Gabriela, probably not for the first time.
Throughout their time at school and college they studied ballet, music, dance and drama.
Why did they come to the UK?
“To be with our mother. She married with an English.” With an English what? She giggles. “Err... of course, I want... ahhh... just a second... I will pass to my sister because her English is better... okay, bye...”
“Hello I’m Monica.”
It could be Gabriela again for all I can tell. Same face, same voice. Your English is better is it? Mad laugh. “Yeah... I don’t know. Maybe now, maybe Gabby has days hey dobby motions you know.”
Err, not then.
“So like she said. Our mum is married with an Englishman which is our stepfather.”
Phone goes dead.
I call back.
“It has cut off, I am so sorry,” says Monica, possibly.
“We are on the road and there are sometimes where we don’t have signals. You will never know it.”
I’m sure I don’t.
Part of the legend/farce/whatever of The Cheeky Girls is that the song was written by mum “just hours before” they auditioned for Popstars: The Rivals in front of Pete Waterman, Geri Halliwell and Louis Walsh. Sort of true. Mum, former nurse-turned-housewife, now a pop writer and manager of sorts, wrote the song, recorded the girls singing it half an hour later on a camcorder and sent the tape to the show’s producers. They were then asked in for an audition. Despite failing to get to the finals — they also failed the auditions for another reality TV series Model Behaviour — they signed to Multiply Records, a dance label home to Sash and Phats & Small, and are now in the chart before Rivals groups Girls Aloud (awful name) and One True Voice (even worse).
Now Gabriela and Monica wander the country singing “touch my bum” to anyone who will listen.
“I’m sorry it’s not rude,” insists Monica.
Well, it certainly sounds rude to me.
“It’s not, it’s funny.”
And what is it with the line: “Touch my bum, this is life”?
“I don’t know,” she admits.
“The whole song is a party song.”
Indeed it is. Like it or not, you can guarantee you’ll be singing/dancing/wincing along to this at any number of parties over the coming weeks. But, ladies, be careful singing the chorus too loud, there are endless David Brent types on the loose who will take the invitation literally.