Strawberry Switchblade





IF WE ARE TO HAVE Pop Stars then make mine the ones that cock-a-snook to the crown jewels of their chart placings and are strong and strange enough to be a part of and apart from the industry.

The queue to interview Strawberry Switchblade wound up the staircase and into the WEA press office. Sometimes such places strike me as being the Carry On film that never got made. One imagines Sid James leering over nipples in the art department, Barbara Windsor filing her nails over a typewriter with no ribbon, the 70-year-old errand boy Charles Hawtrey struggling about under a huge pile of LPs while Kenneth Williams bursts in from the A & R department brandishing a cassette of his latest signings, imploring the assembled to "pin back your lug 'oles..."

Strawberry Switchblade are deceptively strong and marvellously strange. The knowledge that Rose used to be in a group called The Poems who once made a single financed, at least partly, by shoplifting tends to imbue her current endeavours with a somewhat sterner significance.

Their songs are sometimes cute, sometimes irksome, sometimes fun, sometimes twee. If I was 10 they'd be on my wall. But I'm not. And they're not. Instead we're sitting behind a sliding glass panel in the corner of the WEA press office – how very zoo!

They've spent the day doing interviews and making occasional demands for cake. I've decided not to mention jewellery (although a magazine phones to ask how much the pair possess. "In tons'?" asks Rose, "about a crateful each") or clothes – Rose has an enormous white ribbon set into her black hair. Such a thing simply speaks for itself.

Will those who buy your records learn something about you as people?

Rose: "They might have an idea but goodness knows what sort of idea."

Jill: "They might have a small idea."

Rose: "It could just give them a hint. We don't write them very obviously."

Jill "It's difficult to write very personal lyrics that give a lot away. It's something that is close to you so it's difficult to write about it in an objective way that isn't really cringey."


To continue reading this article and to discover many more (over 140,000 words-worth!), purchase Mick Sinclair’s Adjusting the Stars: Music journalism from post-punk London. 



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