Review | Girls: meet your punk foremothers

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Image courtesy of BBC.

Image courtesy of BBC.

When it comes to documentaries on women in punk, the topic is usually given a brief five minute recap. A few token women are name-checked in between various dog-toothed male veterans discussing whether Lydon or Strummer influenced them the most. So when I see The Culture Show has a special half hour feature on women in punk I immediately sit down to see what it is all about.

In Girls Will be Girls, presenter Miranda Sawyer documents the history of women in punk during the early era of 1976/77 when it was limited to squats and small shows across London. Focusing on the stories of veterans Viv Albertine, guitarist in The Slits, and Chrissie Hynde, Sawyer inquisitively asks whether the female punk spirit still survives today. The answer is obviously yes, but let’s move on.

This review was originally posted on The F Word. Click here to read the rest of the review.

No I won’t get your tea on: self care in the punk scene

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Here we go. The not all men brigade strikes again. Legend has it the army has soldier posted near every woman, primed and ready for the moment she questions any part of the patriarchal nature of our society.

In the firing line this time is noise pop group, Joanna Gruesome’s singer Alanna McArdle who in an interview with Drowned in Sound made a few observations on misogyny in music. The article was posted on Drowned in Sound’s facebook page and in response readers wrote varying degrees of offensive comments such as “There’s nothing like blaming your own lack of success on imaginary things”, “Get over yourself, love” or the ever faithful “Now get my tea on”. No matter what your saying about misogyny it always boils down to ‘that’ comment in the end. Like an ever faithful dog that always returns to shit on your carpet, some form of the “get my tea” line will be repeated till the end of time.

Originally published at The F Word. Read more here.

Retrospective | Lady Bo

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lady bo

I’ve spent the last few days researching my black female guitar foremothers in an almighty playlist that I’ll share with you all soon. In the process I discovered Lady Bo, lead guitarist in Bo Diddley’s band from 1957-1961. Lady Bo, real name Peggy Jones, was the first female guitarist to be hired by a major act and was a huge influence on Diddley and his sound.

Jones’ life was changed after a chance encounter with Bo Diddley before a gig at the Apollo Theatre. She was carrying her guitar with her; Diddley who was so stunned to see a beautiful woman with a guitar invited her to the dressing room as Jones recounts in an interview with Lea Gilmore:

After a while he opened his guitar, asked me to grab mine and play something. When I opened my case he laughed louder than anyone I’d heard before. I wanted to know what’s funny? Hysterically he said what is that? He had never seen a Supro guitar. I said, “Now that’s a dumb question! First you probably never saw a girl carrying a guitar down the street before and want to know if I played it, did you think that was funny?” He said, “No!” I continued, “then you insult my ax and I listen to Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell and Charlie Parker and I think I’’ve heard of you! Do you think that’s funny?” He said, “No, but I like your attitude, let’s play something.” I said OK and the rest is history.

Although Jones had only been playing guitar for two years she had shown a talent for music from a young age. Growing up in the Sugar Hill district of Manhattan she enjoyed tap dancing at an early age and studied opera and learnt the ukulele at age 9.  She graduated from New York’s High School for Performing Arts studying dance, drama and music theory.

Read the rest of this post over at Don’t Dance Her Down Boys.

We Need to Talk about Racism in Punk

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black punk

I recently wrote an article about my experiences in a white majority punk scene and culture and why we need to talk about racism in the punk scene.

The initial article was posted on Collapse Board and received a lot of coverage and comments.

I wrote a follow up article on my music blog, Don’t Dance Her Down Boys, responding to some of the comments I received from the first article.

It is an issue that I feel strongly about and aim to write more about in the near future.

Review | Skinny Girl Diet / The Ethical Debating Society Split Single

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SGD  TEDS single

Originally published at The Girls Are

Skinny Girl Diet/Ethical Debating SocietySplit 7″ EP, HHBTM Records

When exactly did riot grrrl die again? Someone said it was in 1994, when it got too big and disillusioned. Some say it was when Bikini Kill broke up. Some say it was as soon as it began; a star too bright it obviously had to fade away. Why do things have to die? Can’t they rise and fall, hibernate for a few years and then re-emerge in a new form ready to fit into the time, culture and political landscape they find themselves in. In an age where Pussy Riot proudly declare themselves riot grrrls and the 90′s – and everything that came along with it including terrible comedy rap songs –  is cool again, it is safe to say that riot grrrl is alive, fierce and focused on the road ahead.

Click here to read more.

My Big Fat New Year’s Resolutions

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God, I used to hate these things. Meaningless! Rubbish! A warped conspiracy to get us to go to the gym more I used cry at the dawn of every new year. In my life I have only gone along with this tradition once and I found that I had so much I wanted to change that I had to write a whole list. You can find it on here actually somewhere.

Despite my cynicism, having a plan for your life for the next 12 months, or possibly more, isn’t that bad. Sometimes you need a little direction in your life and more specifically something to spur you on to do something different.

My biggest fear is staying still. Never developing or changing or learning from my experiences. Since I am by nature lazy as fuck I have to force myself to do anything that doesn’t involve sitting around the house in my PJs.

So here are my New Year’s resolutions that I will complete…hopefully:

  1. Have more of a social life- Yeah I need to leave the house and not just to go to work. I think possibly a random dance group or knitting club may be the way to go. Obviously seeing actual friends and going out on Saturday nights will happen too.
  2. Start writing a lot more- Well I have plans for this that will link up with resolution number 4 (guess what I wanna do when I grow up). Regular blogging always gets in the way of laziness I find. Hopefully I’ll be able to post once a week in the new year whether people read it or not (Obviously this blog won’t get updated that often. Who reads it anyways).
  3. Exercise- I know everyone says “I’m gonna exercise and get well skinny and that” but I have a plan and I don’t want to get “well skinny”. I think well-defined and streamlined is more what I’m looking for. I don’t actually want to lose any weight. It’s taken 24 long years but I’ve finally realised that I’m very happy with my size, I just need to be healthier. That includes exercising more regularly and eating healthier (urgh healthy food, my ultimate nemesis).
  4. Focus more on my career- I spent two years trying to get a job and when I did there was a huge hole left in my life that was previously taken up by applying for jobs and going to interviews every fucking day for two fucking years. Oh you say I was the best candidate so why didn’t I get the job then, huh WHY?????…. Sorry. Sometimes I get flashbacks but on a serious note I have no idea what I want to do in a year’s time never mind five years so it seems like I need to take a good long look at what I can do and how to get there.
  5. Make more music- I’m kinda doing this at the moment but there can always be more music in your life. Recording, gigging, touring, that’s my plan. Creating your own culture is the best way to spend your days.

Reclaiming rubbish design: eco friendly interiors with 2012Architecten

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Originally posted at Design Build Network.

As environmental issues become ever more important in our society, interior designers are increasingly looking to make their interior pieces more eco friendly. While many designers choose to incorporate sustainably sourced wallpaper, clay paints or organic fabrics into their designs, few have taken the route of the Netherlands-based company, 2012Architecten, who merge sustainability and innovative designs using reclaimed materials.

Led by directors Jan Jongert, Césare Peeren and Jeroen Bergsma, 2012Architecten was founded 15 years ago when eco design and sustainability was not as widely known as it is now. This focus on sustainability has led to some unique, mad-cap designs, including a dance floor made out of desks, windmill blades masquerading as a playground and an office decorated with old ceiling tiles and teddy bears.

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