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Tuesday, March 23, 1999 Published at 17:31 GMT


Sci/Tech

Essex girls get wired

Nicolagirl, YesSarah and GalCarrie

A girl band from the UK has put the music world in a spin - without making a live appearance or singing a note.


Snatch a glimpse of the girls in action
Angels Online are an Internet-only pop group who already have four thousand fans around the world - even though they have no record contract, no airplay deals, no agent and no publishers.

The 18-year-olds from the Greenstead estate in Colchester, Essex, function exclusively in cyberspace. Surfers from all over the globe are paying $10 each to browse their Website.


Alex Dunlop has an audience with the Angels
The fans can call up photographs, peruse biographies, exchange e-mail and even talk to their idols in the chat room.

Getting to hear them sing is not so easy.

Download time

"They did make one record and put it out on the Website, but it took too long to download and the quality was very poor, so we took it off," said Sharon Whitelock, the group's manager and webmaster.


[ image: It costs $10 to subscribe to the site]
It costs $10 to subscribe to the site
The song was a cover of the 1986 Sinita hit So Macho. The girls have now made a video of the song to be put online which they hope will sound better.

Nicola Stack, Carrie Woodcock and Sarah Thompson, set their hearts on fame while still pupils at the town's Sir Charles Lucas School, and would sing along to backing tapes during drama lessons.

"They were up for anything, they were always performing," said the school's head of music, Tony Mortimer. "They were full of life. I should think quite a lot of people will be following their example."

The girls have not given up their day jobs yet. Nicola is training in graphic design, Carrie is a computer operator and Carrie is a beauty therapy student.

Massive attention

Now dubbed Nicolagirl, YesSarah and GalCarrie, the girls confess to being amazed at the amount of attention they have received from Internet users.


[ image: The girls enjoyed performing arts at school]
The girls enjoyed performing arts at school
"It's massive," giggled Carrie. "We spend almost all our spare time online, chatting with people and sending e-mail.

"Thousands of people out there seem to want to know all about us every day, and they all subscribe to the site. It seems so unreal."

Now the girls are planning to record a song written and sent in by a dedicated fan. Called Online Lover it will feature real musicians on the backing track. "If we don't get along with them we'll do it all with our computers," said Nicola.

There is one dark cloud hanging over these happy-go-lucky girls: the Internet service provider America Online is reported to be less than happy about the use of the AOL abbreviation in the Angels' Web address and online material.



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