the viv albertine book

one summer around five years ago, i arrived in san francisco on a warm balmy evening.
with suitcase tossed into and around a hotel room, i then ran out into the city night,       like a rat up a drainpipe.
down round folsom way i ventured into a fabby shabby dive of a gay bar,where on entry,    the disc jockey was spinning the one and only slits record i know.
it was their version of ‘i heard it through the grapevine’                                                           this minor classic, aired on a perfect night out, made me love those girls forever,            even though i hardly knew anything else of their music.

dear reader..if yer a young girl starting out with a guitar, or if yer one of them there old beatniks,who grew up round the 1960’s or 70’s, you’ll be licking the print off the pages. you’ll race through it .. especially if you know swingin london. it starts out round highgate .. then art college.. and before lunchtime, she’s there, right at the very first hours of punk rock..

a close friend of sid vicious .. all of those bleeders.. well before any of them rag dolls had crystalised into groups or pop stars,
but there’s two hearty things that lift this book above many other music autobiographies.
the first is how she gives a compelling account of a comedown when her band breaks up,
but the main appeal of her storytelling is how she doesn’t just tell the truth about others, she lets rip equally on herself…
now there’s a few ways of dishing out truth about oneself ..
you can do it in a cute way .. a disingenuous stroke where you’d merely manipulate the reader into sympathising from your position,
or you can take fearless inventory on your own flaws .. this alone makes her book rise.

if you want to know what it was like for a girl with a guitar, who had her feet firmly on the dirty streets of 1970’s london town, then i highly recommend this easy to read book.
she writes in straight talking language… a london girl of true grit … great fun too.
best music book i’ve read all year.

love you love you love you viv albertine

i’m leaving one of my own songs at the end here in a vague hope that viv might find this. i’m hoping that she might like the lyric….a far cry…but there y’go… 

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4 Responses to the viv albertine book

  1. ❤ The Slits. I met Ari-Up once in New York, I still have a funny doodle she put in my sketchbook of a unicorn hung like a…well I suppose a unicorn is a type of horse isn't it? No surprises there.


  2. no surprises at all,jenny…and you had yourself the perfect ari-up moment .. for all the madness, she seemed a real sweetheart.


  3. tim says:

    I saw the Slits at Woolwich Poly in 78 supporting Eddie and the Hotrods. they were hanging in the bar after their set. Never took a great deal of notice of them but thanks to your piece i have now checked Viv out. What a gorgeous sexy 60 year old. Hope the new album’s as good


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