Viv Albertine The Slits

Viv Albertine's excellent and confessional book has bookmarked events, that are short chapters or snapshots about her early life, growing up in Muswell hill North London, the music that transpired before her, the way she got into politics and fashion, and how they all came to inspire her.This book is called Clothes Clothes Clothes, Music Music Music, Boys Boys Boys. Originally from Australia, she arrived in London when she was four years of age, and would remain there till eventually many years later, moving away to Hastings for a bit, all is explained here in the book. I found this book to be really honest, enlightening and very gritty, and what a journey through life Viv took on, at times this book is quite heavy, and to me she is such a warrior a real fighter and an heroic character, oh and she was also in The Slits, a brilliant original and challenging band that came out during the punk scene in the seventies. When l first heard The Slits, I had never heard anything like it. l really wondered where that kind of music would get its influences. l could hear in other bands, where they got their inspiration from, but The Slits really had me guessing. This book gave me a better insight into where they got their unique sound. It would have been in the early eighties, when The Slits had the most impact on me, l remember getting the Return of The Giant Slits album, and l can say this album is a tester. l was around 15/16 years of age, around 1981, and in a strange place, so this album and me really connected. l can remember ,that nobody l knew liked this, but l didnt care, this record was like a warning, telling me its a fucked up world out there and indeed it is. However, it also gave me guidance into another world of diverse musical stuff, like Jazz, Dub Reggae and Avantgarde/experimental stuff. Listening back to this album today it's interesting as it's still very ahead, though it still seems to fit in with what's currently out there, if you take a band like Tune-yards, l can hear sort of similar stuff going on. l often wonder if The Slits had an influence on Riot grrrl, the female music/art movement that came out in the early nineties from The USA, where bands like Bikini Kill came from. l read they were inspired by bands like The Raincoats who were also around the same time as The Slits. After The Slits, Viv went on to become a film-maker, and directed and made videos for bands like The Butthole Surfers, She even settled down, got married and eventually had a daughter, then she became very ill and after a series of problems recovered, and somehow, managed to get the music bug again, and is now doing brilliant music again, this book is so open and honest you would be foolish not to read this. It's not just about Punk it's about life. Chris McDougall


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