bambi articles ::: pretty but schizo
I Love Little Pussy
Funnily enough there are very few all-girl bands who ooze stylish homoeroticism the way the real men mentioned in this zine do. The honourable exception would have to be Shampoo —- yes, SHAMPOO !!
Continuing the long tradition of cool blonde tribades à la Marlene, Greta and Sharon Stone were the two girls from Plumstead, Jacqui and Carrie. They presented an image of hardcore kitsch, aggressive kiddy-chic but then just as the blokes went weak, the girls got hard declaring only their undying love for one another, and always holding hands or cuddling (rather like certain male musicians I could mention). Jacqui even went through a glorious butch phase sporting glam suits teamed with her femme prettiness. For God’s sake, their first single had a B-side I LOVE LITTLE PUSSY.
In their heyday their homoeroticism rivalled that of their heroes the Manic Street Preachers. Now they are but a sad shadow of themselves talking about their boyfriends and recording tunes like I KNOW WHAT BOYS LIKE —- they don’t even live together anymore. Bah! —- ah but in their time Shampoo were homoerotic heroines par excellence.
Carrie is wearing a floor-length, pink silk skirt with a sequin muslin blouse and her hair in sunflower bunches. She looks like a ravaged Flower Child. Jacqui is wearing skin-tight PVC trousers and a tiny, tiny T-shirt that has TART spelt out on it in silver studs. She looks like ravaged Flower Child’s pimp (Caitlin Moran Melody Maker 1/10/94)
We’ve always known what we wanted and we’ve always wanted exactly the same things as each other. It’s always been like that. We’ve always thought the same things all the time, it’s really strange (Carrie in Deadline)
They called us lesbians because we were different. They hated us. We used to go into London and walk around Soho for hours just overwhelmed by the glamour (Shampoo in Select)
We’re not interested in boys. We never knew any! We went to a girls’ school and everyone thought we were lesbians cos we used to go round holding hands. When all the other girls used to talk about boys, we thought it was disgusting, we were appalled by it. We were disinterested in boys, we just liked our pop bands. And now that we’re a pop band we’re only interested in us (Jacqui in Deadline)
Their management must be praying they are lesbians (Deadline)
Article first appeared in Bambi #3. © Jane Appleby 1997
Shampoo, fuck yeah! Possibly the most underratted band ever. Shouty, girly punk with a huge vomit of pop! They made being 15 not so suicidal.
Good taste is death, vulgarity is life
Shampoo, remembered mostly for the bubblegum-punk perfection of their third single ‘Trouble’, were snottily disdainful of anyone over twenty-one and of anyone ‘still hanging out in Camden Town’. Jacqui Blake and Carrie Askew (their individual names seemed secondary to the bulletproof united front they presented) were informed by protective self-parody rather than stereotype, pouting and glowering in clashing styles and colours, a kitsch riot of fluorescent wigs, peroxide, high ponytails, dark sunglasses, animal print and glitter. Their songs were equally cartoonish, an escapist anatomy of the inane and mundane, staying out all night and staggering home at dawn to face the music, ‘running wild in the city’ and, in a line of splendidly evocative economy, ‘throwing up your kebab in a shiny taxi cab’. Hyper and combative where Elastica were laid-back, Shampoo’s music and image nevertheless evinced a similar kind of unimpressed and half-amused self-possession, offering no entry point for the vulnerability of sentiment or idealism. Their defensive, misfit outsiderdom lent itself to laconic lyrical viciousness: on ‘Dirty Old Love Song’ they casually skewered the very clichés which teenage girls were meant to swallow whole, and ‘Skinny White Thing’ derided proto-hipster culture with all the bored, bitchy observational accuracy of the playground and the small-town shopping centre sharpened into cutting critique. ‘Girl power’, before that term’s hijacking by the Spice Girls, had featured in the work of Swansea Ramones-botherers Helen Love, a band whose finest moment was to be Long Live the UK Music Scene, a 1998 reel around Britpop’s funeral pyre. Girl Power was also the title of Shampoo’s 1995 second album and its lead single. Although they were by this point a major label novelty act, Shampoo’s dour and dead-eyed anthem of ‘girl power’ as license for antisocial truculence (‘I don’t wanna go to college, don’t wanna get a job’, ‘I wanna smash the place up just for fun’) stood instructive comparison with the Spice Girls’ tamed and defanged brand of empowerment through consumerism, as well as mocking contemporary anxieties over female delinquency.
t-lf1 asked: Hi, I love this blog so much! :D
aw thank you! xx
t-lf1 asked: hi, do you know anything about jacqui and carrie nowadays? i love your blog :3
I’m afraid not - they have vanished completely :(