This November, I’ll be telling 30 stories about 30 albums. The albums on this list are not necessarily my favorite albums, but they are the ones that are instantly associated with a time and place. All of these albums represent a chapter of my life. This is the story of those albums, and by extension, the story of me, presented mostly chronologically.
Album 4: Self Titled by Strawberry Switchblade.
For some reason, in 1985, my parents sent my sister and me on a tour around the UK by ourselves. We were both young, socially awkward, and introverted. I am way more introverted than my sister, but neither of us was a social butterfly and we were not at all worldly. I had never been on a plane before, let alone a plane across the Atlantic.
Why it is that our parents chose to send all of their awkward offspring to another continent by ourselves when neither of us was old enough to vote is something I’ve never been able to figure out, especially since, shortly afterward, when I turned 15 and was legally old enough to work, they forced me to get a job and support myself. I’m sure that trip wasn’t cheap. My mom was never very good with money and priorities though. I wish they had waited to send me now; I’d enjoy it a lot more.
In any event, my sister and I spent nearly a month in the UK. We started off in England, then went to Ireland and Scotland. Our family had friends in some of those places.
In London, our tour guide was a friend of a friend who couldn’t have cared less about the two American girls. He drove us on a sightseeing tour so fast that everything was a blur and abandoned us at a pub near our hotel. It was my first time inside a bar.
In Ireland, we stayed with some people who were already hosting a friend of the family. She was staying there for a year; we were there for a week. I don’t even remember if we were in northern or southern Ireland. I do remember a voyage across the Irish Sea and visiting the ruins of some fort or castle on the coast. I remember Ireland as beautiful, but brutally cold.
All I really recall from Scotland is the view from the top of Princes Street in Edinburgh and this song. It had just come out the week I bought the album in some record shop in Scotland. From now until the end of time, Strawberry Switchblade will remind me of being so far away from home on another continent, terrified, yet exhilarated.
I don’t even have this album anymore, but I do have this song on an 80s music compilation. It’s the only song I remember anyway.