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Shop Assistants

Formed in Edinburgh in 1984, this pop group used guitar inflexions enthusiastically borrowed from the Buzzcocks. They were originally called Buba and The Shop Assistants and released a solitary single – Something To Do – under that name.

With only 500 pressings on the obscure Villa 21 independent, it gained a reputation amongst record collectors for its monetary value as well as the spirited songwriting.

Guitarist David Keegan was the only one to reveal his full name to the press and was joined by Alex (vocals), Sarah (bass), Ann and Laura (drums).

All Day Long (on the Subway Organisation label) was allegedly Morrissey‘s favourite single of 1985, but by this time they had garnered sufficient plaudits from their exposure in fanzines and pop magazines.

The following year’s release, Safety Net, reached #1 on the UK independent chart.

Signing to the major Chrysalis label they released their self-titled debut album in 1986, which made a brief appearance in the Top 100 and then disappeared – as did the band.

When Alex left in 1987 the critical acclaim dried up.

Keegan also left, taking a job as a ski instructor, while Sarah and Laura went back to college.

The band reformed in 1990 with Laura switching to bass and Margarita taking her place on drums.

One of their later singles, The Big E, was a tribute to the guitar chord rather than the fashionable drug of the era. By this time they had signed to Andrew Tulley’s Avalanche label, although their status in the independent scene was eroded.

They split up again shortly afterwards, with Keegan joining The Pastels.

Alex Taylor
David Keegan
Sarah Kneale
Ann Donald

Laura MacPhail
Joan Bride