1, 2, 3, 4, strawberries, let's go

"the stereotypical sarah band isn't even on sarah.. it's probably someone like strawberry story"*

well, it appears that the stereotypical sarah band are back. blimey. for those of you lucky enough to be young, and who unlike us didn't (for example) own their flexis, largely adore their various 7"s (all later lovingly compiled by those occasional curators of indie-pop past at vinyl japan), or trek up to the heaven records xmas bash in notts or the unlikely confines of the victoria inn in derby to see them play, we can tell you that northallerton's finest, strawberry story, were indeed ace. da story were not universally popular back then: they attracted mild scorn from hardcore sarah-ites because they were guilty (allegedly - don't know the facts) of having a girl singing lyrics written by boys: at the time this was considered something of a crime (that may seem quaint, but pop and sexual politics was always a delicate thing then: we remember a huggy bear gig where the band started ganging up on a member of the audience who'd been singing "boy / girl revolution" along to "her jazz", carpeting him in no uncertain terms for failing to recognise that the band was actually calling for "girl / boy revolution"...)

for what it's worth, s. story sounded nothing whatsoever like the primitives or the darling buds, and were never ever going to be troubling TOTP. they did however have their own very real charm, based heavily on hayley's distinctive vocals, a hardcore dedication to guitar fuzz, and a durable if not top-of-the-range drum machine. although pigeonholed as somewhat inconsequential, they were able to pull out of the bag some quite poignant stuff when they wanted to: we remember listening to "26", at the time that age seemed a long way off in the future, and it *churned*. when they did slow songs, it didn't always work, until their gorgeous "caroline" and "the man with the stereo hands" eps, by which time it worked damn fine. they got a joint single of the week for the latter in nme and we even told our friends, who were usually impressed with such things, but the vogue then was for wah-wah and all things pointlessly masculine so they didn't seem to care. ah well. there were even brief moments on that ep ("i never loved you") when the 'berries went "baggy", but delightfully they then packed in the shuffle-beats in time for the chorus, resorting to the tried and tested many-bpm fuzz guitar attack.

after a final, and perfectly sound, cd-ep on vinyl japan, we heard nothing more from them: it was a stark contrast to the heady initial blitz of appearances on compilation tapes. but, whether or not they are welcomed with open arms by the year 2007, there will always be a place for them in our hearts.

today's strawberry story top ten is: 1. twenty-six. 2. close my eyes. 3. the life and times of a teenage romeo. 4. kissamatic lovebubble. 5. well what do you think of that then ? 6. pushbutton head. 7. ashlands road. 8. the man with the stereo hands. 9. buttercups and daisies. 10. caroline. we're not going to be able to make their forthcoming gig at the horse & groom (it's a work ting), so if anyone is able to let us know the outcome of that, please do.

* the above quote btw is our recollection of something clare wadd once said... don't sue us if it turns out actually to have been peter ustinov or someone...


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