Gosh, haven't they all done well! Indie losers having the last laugh

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The Independent Online

During their brief lifetime, student band Talulah Gosh were dismissed as the epitome of twee, "shambling" indie pop. But 25 years on the group has spawned a Turner Prize winner, Britain's top company mergers expert and a musical legacy cited as an influence on Nirvana and Radiohead.

Formed in 1986 by Oxford undergraduates, Talulah Gosh's fusion of punk and 60s girl-group pop earned them leadership of the short-lived "twee pop" movement and a top five Indie Chart single for "Beatnik Boy".

Rejecting rock's macho clichés, hairslide-wearing fans brandished lollipops at gigs, in honour of lead singer Amelia Fletcher. By 1988 though, the John Peel-endorsed band was defunct, its members embarking upon career paths quite at odds with their wilful musical amateurism.

This week Elizabeth Price, 45, who shared singing duties with Fletcher, took the £25,000 Turner Prize for her video installation which blended 60s pop with footage from a 1979 Woolworths fire. Price pursued a career in visual art after quitting music because she disliked being on stage.

Fletcher, 46, completed a D.Phil in economics at Oxford and joined the Office of Fair Trading where she became Chief Economist and Director of Mergers. Fletcher, who declares an interest if any music industry mergers cross her desk, continues to perform as singer with Tender Trap, a group featuring fellow Talulah Gosh member Rob Pursey.

Peter Momtchiloff, Talulah Gosh guitarist, is now Senior Commissioning Editor for Philosophy at the Oxford University Press, while backing singer and tambourinist Eithne Farry became a literary critic for the Daily Mail and Marie Claire.

After Talulah Gosh split, Fletcher, Momtchiloff and other members formed a new band, Heavenly, with keyboardist Cathy Rogers. But Rogers, who gained a Master's degree in Health Policy at Oxford, left after devising and appearing in the Channel 4 series Scrapheap Challenge and its US remake. She became a television star in the US and then, in her role as a producer, turned Wife Swap into a major US network hit. As the band members have emerged as high achievers, their musical reputation has also been reappraised. Talulah Gosh was cited as a major influence on the 90s "Riot Grrrl" feminist rock movement, based in Washington's Olympia. Kurt Cobain, the Nirvana frontman, said his group owed a debt to the leading lights of the UK's "shambling" rock scene. The vindication is welcome for Peter Momtchiloff.

"Talulah Gosh got quite a mixed reception at the time so it's nice to have a bit of affirmation now," he said.

So could the band follow The Stone Roses with a big-money reunion?

"I don't think any of us are into the idea of a big reunion. It would be hard to recreate it now," he said.