Long time readers of the blog will know that discovered Viv Albertine when I volunteered for the Brighton Festival back in 2014. Her autobiography Clothes Clothes Clothes, Music Music Music, Boys Boys Boys was coming out, and she was doing this talk as part of the book tour.
I had never heard of her before, but instantly she was the inspiration I never realised I needed. It was exactly like when I discovered Caitlin Moran, something shifted, and everything was new.
“Viv Albertine is one of a handful of original punks who changed music, and the discourse around it, forever. Her memoir tells the story of how, through sheer will, talent, and fearlessness, she forced herself into a male-dominated industry, became part of a movement that changed music, and inspired a generation of female rockers.” GoodReads.
This is a book written from memory, it’s candid and unflinching. Albertine is open about her ups and her downs, which skip between STDs, record contracts, life as a mother, and cancer.
The majority of the book covers her time before and during being part of The Slits, while the second half focuses on her marriage, motherhood, and finding herself again. While part one was fascinating, getting to see inside the world of Punk through the eyes of one of its members, it was the second half of the book that really struck me.
It was so refreshing, not only to read an honest account of the realities of marriage, but to read about someone feeling lost and needing to find themselves later in life. I’m only pushing 30, but to read about someone older taking risks and trying new things was a reminder that life really has only just begun. You can spend time over thinking and worrying, or you can live.
Albertine has been part of a music defining band, an artist, and aerobics teacher, has worked behind and in front of the camera, has created ceramics, gigged around the South East, and still is all of these things. She didn’t let anyone’s perception of who she should live her life dictate what she did, and even though that didn’t always cause happiness, it is inspirational.
I can’t recommend this autobiography enough.
What autobiography have you read recently?