The Darling Buds were a kind of Primitives substitute to me – a blonde girl fronting fuzzpop blokes – but I never loved them even a fraction as much as I loved the Prims. They did have some good tunes though: the ace rumbledethump of ‘Shame On You’, the swooping ‘Hit The Ground’. There were a couple of great Peel Sessions that I taped and played to death, and our friend Mike put out a flexi with his fanzine ‘So Naïve’ that contained the swingorilliant ‘Spin’. It was a buzzy indiepop maelstrom that began and ended with the sound of er, like, a creaky merry-go-round speeding up and slowing down. Slightlydelic!
The Darling Buds’ joyfully ramshackle first single ‘If I Said’ / ‘Just To Be Seen’ came out in 1987, but by the next year I was fed up with the band. They got scooped up by Epic Records and became tainted with an aura of corporate bollocks. I couldn’t even be bothered buying the album ‘Pop Said’ it had an ugly sleeve with icky colours. I reluctantly bought a twelve inch of the single ‘Burst’ ‘cos it was on sale, but I always kind of despised it. It represented big shiny major label nastiness. Still, I seemed to enjoy the band the one time I saw them live:
'The Darling Buds / The Corn Dollies – Norwich Arts Centre, Oct 5th 1988
All squeezed into the back of the van and zoomed to Norwich Arts Centre and wow! it was packed. Most people I’ve ever seen there. Talked to N who had a funky green shirt with purple polka-dots, and we discussed groovy bands and getting a band together ourselves – me on stand-up drums! When I was telling N’s sister later she said ‘Oh N will have to do lead guitar and sing and it will probably be called N’s band.’ Ha ha!
Shine! were on first and were abysmal as ever – 100th rate Wedding Present. I bought a Darling Buds badge and then The Corn Dollies were on and the singer had a fab flopsome haircut and groovy baseball boots like our ‘Sportright’* ones. Their last song was groovy ‘cos it was mad with a squeaky violin!
Then The Darling Buds were on and we couldn’t get near the front ‘cos of all the dudes a-moshin’ and a-crashin’ (hardcore DBs followers the Skullfuck Crew mayhap?) The band were F.A.B. v.v. noisy. Andrea’s voice sounded squeaky and they put ‘Venus In Furs’ into the middle of ‘Just Say So’. Harley was v. cool and he’s got a brillo big shiny red semi-acoustic guitar. They played lots of songs and then two encores. People threw confetti and a balloon was being biffed around and it was all dead fabby wabby.'
My friend K. sent me a letter (old skool!) from Brighton telling me about The Darling Buds gig there. They were supported by The Waltones who were ‘a bit boring, but quite groovy I suppose’. The Darling Buds were ‘pretty good but too loud!! My ears were ringing so badly the next day that I couldn’t hear my lectures.’ The main news K had to announce though was ‘I’ve sat on the same loo as Andrea Bud!!’ Classy.
*Our Sportright boots were one of our greatest shopping finds. From some crappy shoe shop in a Norwich alley, they were ridiculously cheap (like £2 or something) black baseball boots with an amusing picture of an athlete embossed in the rubber circle bit over the heel. We wore them always, replacing as necessary when they wore out. No wonder my feet were so cold all the time.