No 1

3 September 1983

Strawberry Switchblade and Friends Again are two Glasgow bands en route for London - whether they like it, in the case of Friends Again, or not, in the case of Switchblade. Their highly individual styles of music have already attracted the attention of major record labels, TV and radio. We sent Paul Bursche to find what the fuss is about.

[Friends Again section not transcribed]

You'd think anyone who wore lots of polka-dot clothes and lived in Glasgow would jump at the chance to come down to the bright lights and heady flavours of London. But not Rose of Strawberry Switchblade.

'We'd rather spend out time in Glasgow', she says. 'It's just so much quieter than London. It's really silent where I live and you can relax'.

'Also there's a horrible train journey down and whenever me and Jill (the other half of the duo) are on the train we always end up thinking of other things we could be doing instead'.

The poor girls might have to make a lot of those boring journeys in the near future, however. They've just arranged to record a single for WEA in October and are setting up live dates for then.

But it's their current single 'Trees And Flowers' that has aroused all the interest.

A slow ballad played on mostly acoustic instruments, 'Trees And Flowers' tells the story behind agoraphobia - the fear of open spaces. It's something that Jill suffers from.

'A lot of our songs are like that', remarks Rose. 'About things that really affect our lives. Like one of our songs is about having to leave a house of ours.'

Rose and Jill met in a punk club in Glasgow in 1977 and have been friends since. They were in a four-piece band but decided that they'd prefer to play acoustically by themselves. Then David Balfe, the former Teardrop, heard some songs they did on the radio, got in touch and started managing them.

'We've been lucky like that', says Rose. 'All the people around us have been really nice, despite all the things you hear about the business'.

And those polka dots?

'Well it's not the polka dots we like so much', she says, 'it's the fact that they seem to be a part of a lot of Spanish clothes which is what we're really into'.

'We make our own dresses. We've made flamenco ones with all sorts of ribbons and so forth, and it just seems that polka dots are a feature of them.'

People in Oxford Street could have a lot of spots before their eyes in future.