Back once again last week to How Does it Feel? in Brixton, the guest DJ this time Amelia Fletcher, indie pop stalwart of Talulah Gosh in the 1980s and subsequently of Heavenly, Marine Research and lately Tender Trap.
Amelia played a set consisting entirely of female-fronted sounds from the Shangri-Las to Stereolab via Le Tigre and Bis. As on previous visits, I was full of wonder that there's a dancefloor in South London full of people of various ages dancing to this stuff. In fact there's a little scene of places like this, including Spiral Scratch in London. There are also plenty of new indie pop bands, not all of them from Scandinavia!
I enjoyed the Indie Pop explosion in the mid-1980s, associated forever with the free C86 cassette compilation given away with NME but actually much more interesting than that. I was in recovery from a period of black-clad anarcho-punkdom so it was great to be able to go to places like the Camden Falcon in a paisley shirt and sate my taste for melody with the likes of The Razorcuts, Jasmine Minks and Revolving Paint Dream. There was anyway a punky aspect to the whole scene, not so much in the music but in the DIY attitude. In the sleeve notes to the Rough Trade Shop's excellent indiepop 1 compilation, Matt Haynes (then of Sarah Records, now editor of Smoke magazine) recalls: 'everywhere you looked... people were doing things: writing letters, editing fanzines, inventing bands, compiling cassettes, setting-up record labels, plotting revolutions'.
There was also a wilful musical amateurishness which Talulah Gosh embodied, not to mention a 'twee' critique of gender that created animosity from rock boys everywhere. Haynes again: 'It's easy to forget how revolutionary this was - women being part of the motor rather than just the decoration on the bonnet. Or to forget how much genuine hatred and loathing Talulah Gosh inspired. And how much fun it was watching people trip up in their unconscious equating of femininity with inconsequentiality'.