Fuzzy Peach was a shower gel from a 1996 Body Shop ‘pick and mix’ gift basket, most likely accompanied by almond cleansing milk (consistency=emulsion), fruit shaped soaps and candyfloss flavoured lip balm. These were one of my favourite 1990s teen girl staple along with Athena posters of muscly men holding babies and, of course, velvet chokers, Troll dolls and impossibly tiny rucksacks. It was the first thing that caught my eye when trying to name the indie fanzine which my friend and I were creating (an ill advised method of naming anything important – I know someone who was almost called Dog Basket by his hippy parents for the same reason).
The cover featured Edina and Patsy from Ab Fab, a representation of our glamour and abandon which, in reality, extended to a feather boa from State of Independence, some Miss Sporty eyeliner and a sip of Babycham at The Bells. We managed to contact Arab Strap who very kindly filled out our cringe inducing who-are-your-influences style questionnaire. I still pray that the issue I sent Aidan Moffat was lost in the post. We featured a young up-and-coming band called Element (where they upped-and-went to I have no idea) and gushed about Bis, Kenickie, the Manics and Super Furry Animals. There was a page dedicated to my personal obsession with Johny Lee Miller which I thought made me edgy, despite the fact I had almost phoned the Samaritans in the wake of Take That splitting only a few months before. We persuaded my friend’s elder sister to make 100 copies of our zine at her Strathclyde Regional Council admin office (the days before photocopying budgets) and I borrowed money from my parents to put an advert for contributors in the NME.
Rather than my raw teen talent being discovered in the style of Julie Burchill or Caitlin Moran as I had hoped, the pinnacle of my music journalism career was a handful of some sympathetic reviews on the Teletext music pages. But Fuzzy Peach opened up a new world to me. I became obsessed with the idea that, if only I lived in a far flung exciting town like our zine swapping, mixtape sharing pen pals, I would be part of ‘the scene’, appreciated for my cultural pursuits – Nottingham! Wolverhampton! Swansea! Years later I was heartened to read that broadcaster Stuart Maconie had spent his teen years romanticising my neighbouring town, and home of Aztec Camera, East Kilbride. It was thrilling to exist in a shared space beyond the clunking of double tape decks, recording the Evening Session and Mark and Lard, two chord strumming and piles of Smash Hits and Melody Maker alone in my bedroom.
So it is probably no wonder that Fuzzy Peach became my Twitter handle. It turns out that – whether it be Britpop, feminism or mental health – shared agendas and interests, propelled hopefully out into the world, still provides genuine thrills. It is most definitely not an echo chamber to me – I’ve become part of rich and lively spaces full of warm and passionate people. Even though I’m no longer a pretentious teen (outwardly anyway!), Twitter is most definitely my Fuzzy Peach place and I won’t be having a digital detox any time soon. I still wonder at all of your indie mystique and glamorous, cultured existences in Leicester, Gwent and Milton Keynes . And one day, if you are especially unlucky, I might even share the original copy with you (as long as you promise not to show Aidan Moffat).