Zigzag feature

October 1984

Cutting Remarks

Strawberry Switchblade by Mike Eyles

Whimsical lives pushed through the degenerate eyes of dancing polka dots. Finding plentiful fruit left to rise in blood and citric acid. Strawberry sweetness matched with switchblade smiles.

Camden backyard splayed open. There are few trees and no flowers to detest although 'the buildings that tower' bring with them the strength found in despair. No polyfiller, the economic system is to be smashed.

Do you like strawberries?

Jill: "Yeah, yummy"

Rose: "Yeah, great."

Have you ever owned a switchblade?

Jill: "I've never seen one "

Rose: "I knew someone who had a comb like a Switchblade! That's the nearest I've been to one."

Jill: "They don't use switchblades in Glasgow, they use hatchets."

Rose: "Hatchets, hammers and long swords."

"Nothing as dainty as razorblades."

"Nothing wee, something really big so they can do a lot of harm. So they can see the damage."

Behind the disguise of soft accents and constant laughing they hide behind a screen of such sadistic gratification. Nice girls really.

The occasional gig, positive press and name-dropping by their co-patriot iconics has created an enigma only broken by the debut single.


Jill: "It sold pretty well for an independent single"

Rose: "We only printed 10,000 copies and that's how many it sold. Though we didn't personally print them up"

Jill: "Every review was stupid saying it was a slushy song. Slushy song! Y'son come and say that to my face (Pardon?…Ed). Y'know we recorded it in the winter, it's about acrophobia [sic], yet they call it slushy."

Rose: "Some people think anyone who sings a nice word in a lyric like a tree and a flower are thought to be bad. Most people just walk around with their eyes shut because trees and flowers don't have to mean one thing"

A nation is prepared, the moment of truth is nigh approaching. Strawberry Switchblade's first LP. Jill reveals:

"The album is quite different from 'Trees And Flowers'. That was a long time ago. 'Cause we weren't working with a group this time. I mean, we did the whole album on our own with our producer, 'A Trio'." She pronounces in a chocolate advert style. "We cut it down to just the odd person coming in."

Are you the cute side of the Scottish Whimp Rock Scene?

"We're the definite whimp side of the Scottish Whimp Rock Scene! We're gals. Gals can't be whimps," retorts Jill.

Rose: "I'm not cute"

Jill: "She tries! Na ya can't be cute with an accent like this. Can ya?"

Beneath a tilting palm tree Roy Plumley stands. Vinyl cracked by sun and sand. The list is made.

Jill: "I love the Farmer's Boys LP"

My body falls, into a unison cringe.

She laughs. "You're gonna hate me for that"

Rose: "I would say 'This Is The Day' - The The. Edwyn Collins and Paul Quinn's version of Pale Blue Eyes and our first LP."

Jill, approving her tastes, "The first Buzzcocks LP cos that's brilliant"

Rose agrees. "I always think people might get confused because most people say we don't look like we sound."

So spake Jill. "They expect us to be clean cut, young and well shaven. Instead , we're scruffy, overmade-up and all the rest of the things."

Rose sinks into confession. "I like Blancmange"

Following Edwyn and contemporaries they took the low road to London. Forsaking Hackney for the hills of Muswell. Is Scottish racism on the increase?

Jill: "Our neighbour calls us Irish gits. That's pretty racist. He tells the caretaker we take drugs and make bombs and we're in the IRA."