Strawberry Story were a very, very twee band who epitomised the late eighties/early nineties anorak/cutesy scene. Floral print dresses, high speed buzzsaw guitars, dinky female vocals and rat-a-tat biscuit tin drums were the order of the day. In hindsight this whole ‘scene’ (disparate though it may have been) was somewhat cloying and, in its own way, outstandingly pretentious and insular. But then, what scene isn’t? Punk rock led to post-punk led to C86 led to twee led to indie-pop led to riot grrl led to the international pop underground led to a constantly bubbling-under alternative to the alternative music scene…. not a bad heritage, really. I always liked the fact that despite being unutterably cute and bouncy, this kind of band were part of something that was defiantly outside of the mainstream.
Another Strawberry Story record to this one was, I think, the first record I ever purchased through the fanzine/postal network. Back then I didn’t have a chequebook, and had to ask my parents to write me a cheque from their book in return for a couple of pounds. Turns out, as I quickly learned, it would be totally acceptable to tape a couple of pounds to a piece of cardboard and post that off with a letter instead of using the more formal banking system – and that was pretty much how I operated within this scene from those early days onwards.
I was very excited to find this record being sold through some mail-order catalogue or other back in the day, as it was (and still is, natch) the very first Strawberry Story release. My copy has a telephone number written across the AA-side label, for somebody called Paul. The number has an 0609 dialling code – where is/was that? This was pre-mobile phones being in popular usage, and I don’t believe it would’ve been some kind of premium rate number or something like that. It doesn’t seem to be any dialling code that’s in use these days, however. At the time, I never had the front to call this number up to see if I would find myself speaking to – gulp – a member of Strawberry Story. I couldn’t have taken that excitement at the time!
(By the way, readers: still no turntable for me so far. My eBay purchasing plans have seen me drawn in to an uncomfortable landscape of Second Chance Offers and what may or may not be scams that need to be avoided. More news on this soon, I hope – and fingers crossed it’s good news).